Turkey Day in the Tropics

Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving; 

(Colossians 4:2 WEB)

ThankisgivingChristmas wasn’t the only holiday we celebrated overseas. Since Guam was a U.S. Territory most of the mainland holidays made their way to Guam to be added to the local historical holidays. Thanksgiving Day was celebrated regularly with the abundance of food, fellowship and games.

Most of the staff on Guam came from the mainland and were familiar with Thanksgiving. Teaching our Asian colleagues about the holiday was fun and they quickly learned to enjoy the food if nothing else.

One year we took the opportunity to gather together as a staff to celebrate. The celebration included dressing up in costumes. Thanksgiving provided many different remembrances.

During the 80s the Space Shuttle missions were also beginning and developing our reach into space. One Thanksgiving a gentleman from one of our home churches came to Guam. The island serves as an alternate landing site for the shuttle so he was there “just in case.”

The day before Thanksgiving a typhoon came through the area creating a mess and interrupting the power and water systems. But a good American holiday is not to be passed by idly. Some things are worth the extra effort.

We lit the gas on our stove, dressed the turkey, and cooked until the house was a bit warm. The lack of electricity for fans or air conditioning didn’t help. Fortunately the electricity returned just before we ate to provide a bit of light and a cool breeze from the fan.

Our guest, along with other friends on the island totaling twenty five, came and we celebrated big time. Lots of food and fun. As we neared the ending of the meal there was a small problem. There was still no water.

Actually, the lack of water was quite a problem, especially with the mess created having a dinner for twenty five people! Add in the problem of toilets and other amenities and this made the later afternoon interesting.

Praise the Lord for fifty five gallon barrels! Over the years missionaries have used these barrels to ship their goods from country to country. We used a container, the modern larger square version of the “missionary barrel.” However, some of these drums were still shuffling around the island when we first arrived.

Knowing there were occasional water problems we acquired a couple drums, placed them under the down spouts of our roof and they were filled by the seasonal rains on the island. With this ready supply of water at hand the solution presented itself.

Out to the barrels we all went to clean our faces, hands, and a number of the dishes as well. Not conventional but functional to be sure. Everyone standing around the barrel waiting their turn added more opportunities for great conversation and fun.

Each year we celebrated this homeland tradition with friends and family and the requisite turkey. For us this was one of the special memories we wanted for our children. We hope they remember them and enjoy them as much as we do.

God calls us to remember His provision. That year He provided, even in the midst of the storm.


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