While on Mission Year we are given only two breaks: Christmas Vacation and Spring Break. All other holidays are meant to be shared with other members in the community. Our first holiday away from family members this year was Thanksgiving. We were encouraged to accept any invitations for Thanksgiving from neighbors and even try inviting ourselves over if we start getting desperate. We were fortunate to have an invitation fall in our laps. A woman named Christina, who is the mom of one the girls in the after school program, kept telling Grant and I that she was a good cook and that we should come over some time for “Soul Food.” Then she asked if we had a place for Thanksgiving and if we wanted to come then. Yes! Success! Although I had my hesitations about a “Soul Food Thanksgiving.”
We found out a little later that Christina’s birthday was falling on Thanksgiving. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Christina called me and told me that she didn’t want to cook on her birthday and if I could come over on Wednesday and help her cook it. I said sure and so I found myself the next day, chopping cabbage and onions and apples and learning about how everything would be cooked. I saw how the pork neck and oxtail were boiled before being added to the cabbage and the collards greens. The turkey was cooked with bell peppers and onions. We made dressing and potato salad too. There was so much food that I didn’t feel guilty securing an extended invitation for Josh and Debbie as well. Then I took Trinity, Christina’s daughter, back to my apartment to make brownies, pumpkin pie, and a lemon birthday cake for Christina.
On Thanksgiving Day, Grant, Josh, Debbie, and I walked over to Christina’s with desserts in hand. Everyone we met on the walk wished us a Happy Thanksgiving. When we got there Christina got us women folk in the kitchen. Debbie reheated plates while I made fresh lemonade. The men folk were told to stay in the living room, to Josh’s chagrin and Grant’s relief. There wasn’t a table big enough so we ate in the living room on the end tables. I shouldn’t have worried because the food was delicious! And there was a TON of it! Between us, Christina, her for kids, her mother, her grandson, and the cats we only ate about a quarter of everything that was prepared! We spent the day talking with the family. Grandma made sure to ask us if we were Christians and went to church every Sunday. We watched some movies. We sang Happy Birthday to Christina and ate cake. It was a good day.
Then the next day, we as a team decided to have our own Thanksgiving dinner. We enjoyed our Thanksgiving at Christina’s but we were craving traditional Thanksgiving food. We bought a 10 pound turkey for $6! (Woot! Woot!) I brined it and roasted it in my usual. (I am the best turkey roaster I know) We had mashed potatoes (one thing that Christina did not have much to our disappointment). We had stuffing mix that had been sent to us from Josh’s family. We had frozen green beans that we steamed with butter. And we had a homemade pumpkin pie made from pumpkin that had been donated. It was delicious. And we have lots of leftovers. 🙂 God is so good to us. We have more than enough food, new friendships with our neighbors, a great married team, and a support network of family and friends around the country who support us financially, send us care packages, and pray for us regularly. We are truly BLESSED!