Just as leftovers extend the deliciousness of Thanksgiving dinner (pie for breakfast, anyone?), extending the thankfulness of the holiday is especially satisfying.
By participating in ELCA Missionary Sponsorship's Operation Thanks-Giving (OT-G), 67 congregations, women's groups, Sunday school classes and individuals are extending thankfulness and offering ELCA missionaries a satisfying helping of appreciation. Make that a heaping helping: 2,706 cards were received — 14 cards for each missionary household. Most of the cards were handmade and many featured stickers, stamps, glitter and feathers.
The cards sent to the churchwide office were distributed to missionaries as "random acts of thanksgiving." On the card she made, Becca Poock, who identifies herself as a confirmation sponsor from Evansville, Wis., wrote:
Dear Beloved of God,
I write not knowing where you are, but I pray that God is with you and blessing you in your call to God's mission. May your heart be filled with peace and your days overflowing with love. May the Holy Spirit flow through your community with a passionate energy! God bless you in the name of Christ.
Profound in a different way, a favorite card from last year's first OT-G effort read:
When life gives you turkeys, make Thanksgiving!
Hannah Griese, a 2009–10 Young Adult in Global Mission serving in South Africa, is thankful for the cards she received. "I was a recipient of several cards from Operation Thanks-giving," she wrote. "They came at a time that was quite difficult — my first major holiday away from home. I kept these and other cards posted during the year. These cards, created and sent by friends and strangers, were the concrete expressions of love and support. They held me up throughout my year of service, reminding me that we do not labor alone but work together to bring Christ's love to the world in many ways, big and small."
Three final thoughts:
• A verse of thanksgiving: "I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers" (Ephesians 1:15–16).
• A thankful reminder: Operation Thanks-Giving cards offer ELCA missionaries needed, encouraging support. Generous donations to ELCA Missionary Sponsorship (www.elca.org/4missionaries) provide needed, sustaining support.
• A thankful suggestion: If you care about a mission or ministry enough to make an end-of-year gift, make a resolution to extend your generosity into the new year.
To learn more, visit www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship and www.elca.org/operationthanksgiving. Contact Twila Schock, director for ELCA Global Mission Support, by calling 800-638-3522, ext. 2641, or e-mailing email@example.com. The second and final round of 2010 cards will be mailed to missionaries in December.
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