Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reflections at Year End

We submitted our applications to ELCA Global Mission in early January, 2009 and thus began a process of discernment, prayer, discussion, the interviews and decisions, orientation, and finally, travel half-way around the world to a new home, a different culture, a strange but beautiful country, and loving people ready to receive us. We ended the year of 2009 celebrating New Year's Eve with a communal meal with our newly adopted family that included Lynn, James and Manoa and their children, Hans, and an un-named friend of James and Manoa who just happened to be around for the meal and we pulled up a chair. For our New Year's Eve meal, Manoa bought two chickens and we contributed $K10 (about US$7.50) for fresh fish to be caught by the night fishermen. We decided that we would all gather together around the same table to give thanks for our many blessings. We women cooked all afternoon---sweet potatoes, pit-pit, taro, fish smoked over an open fire, chicken, greens, pineapple, eggplant, rice. In the course of the evening, I found myself thinking about our well-known hymn I The Lord of Sea and Sky, focusing on the last line of the refrain "I will hold your people in my heart". What does it truly mean to "hold God's people in your heart"? It is good to stop and reflect, I believe, on God's call to each of us to hold one another in our hearts. Manoa, James, Gejmsao, Elizabet, Inok, Imanuel, Angua, Lynn, the nameless friend, Pastor Steven---all have made a claim on my heart that is irreversible. The generosity with which we were greeted and the welcoming presence is truly a gift of God. We have been supported by so many people throughout the year, so we know we, too, are held in many hearts. May we give praise and raise grateful hearts as we go into 2010.

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