DORADO, Puerto Rico
Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.W.T. PurkiserOn Thursday, Nov. 26, the colleagues enjoyed an Abante and friends Thanksgiving Day. The staff of Abante recognizes that the holidays can be hard on the colleagues, as they become homesick and nostalgic. With that in mind, a lot of effort is put into making the Thanksgiving celebration a special time for the colleagues, which includes special moments for interaction with their families via media venues, their favorite Thanksgiving foods, a special gathering with family and friends of the program who have adopted the colleagues as their own, and a nice program with fun, inspiration, and lots of interaction.
The colleagues were involved in every part of the celebration. They helped cook the meal, clean and prepare the dinning area, decorate, prepare music, a skit, and a few songs. They greeted and welcomed the guest as they arrived. They also helped serve the guests and clean up afterwards. The atmosphere was joyful, and thanksgiving was truly at the heart of every conversation.
Somehow, this day became colored with splashes of organic discipleship moments. By now, the colleagues have connected well with the community, which is a great thing because it allows for many interactions with the neighbors where the team learns who the needy families are, who is sick, who needs work done in their home, etc. The colleagues invited several neighbors and other friends for the day’s festivities.
Some of the neighbors who are sick were treated to a warm meal by the colleagues, either at the Abante house, or they brought it directly to heir homes. It was a beautiful picture of fellowship and servant leadership in action. While executive director, Brian Schlottmann was on his daily morning run, he noticed a man painstalkingly pushing himself on a wheelchair (which was not in good condition) up a hill. He stopped to help him out, and the man was extremely thankful. He found out the man’s story and invited him to share a meal with the team. The colleagues were excited to meet this special guest, and get to know him. Although his wife could not make it, it was with great joy that the team helped carry him up and down the staircase of the Abante house, and prepare food to go for his wife.
The point is simple; Thanksgiving is not about food, and programs, or about nice outfits, and great decorations. It is about how we use our blessings. It is about serving and looking beyond ourselves to the needs of others. Everyday is Thanksgiving day for those who have experienced mercy and true compassion.