Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dorm Thanksgiving

I am always amazed by the joy that can be shared when a group of people comes together under one roof. Last Thursday we celebrated 'dorm Thanksgiving', which means that we celebrated a week earlier than in the US (which also means I get to start listening to Christmas music now, but I won't get too ahead of myself...). We celebrate it this week to give the dorms a chance to take ownership of the holiday, and also because of how busy the next (and last) four weeks of the semester will be. So back to the joy. All day Thursday (and some of Wednesday too), Jen, my dorm mom, and I were in the kitchen, we laughed and sang, and cooked, and even cried a little and managed to come up with dinner for 32 people. My contributions this year were pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake (actually just a cake in the shape of a pumpkin), and ciabatta bread with sundried tomato dip. We seriously had a great time in the kitchen all day, getting ready and anticipating the guys' arrival home. We made an effort to have the table set and decorated by the time they walked in the door to set the mood, even though it was still several hours until dinner time. The guys had been looking forward to this day, and their excitement was infectious as our other guests arrived, and the food was set out. The meal was delicious, and the love around the table was nearly tangible. The highlight of the meal for me, came right after dessert was served. Normally, when the guys are finished with a meal, they want to get up and get on to chores and homework. Thursday evening, however, they were in no hurry to leave. One by one, we went around the table sharing what we were thankful for. The first few shared how thankful they were for the dorm, for the unity we share, for the staff :), and for their dorm brothers. Always encouraging. By the time we were halfway around the table, the theme was still the same. Each student shared genuine thankfulness that God had placed them at Sonne with each other. It was truly thrilling to hear them share so openly. When people make themselves vulnerable to others, there is a bond felt between them; if it was absent, it's presence is felt. If it was there before, it becomes stronger. After the meal was over, the spirit of thankfulness continued as everyone helped with clean up, and then sat around to rest and simply enjoy each other's company. So much joy. 
So although dorm Thanksgiving is past, I want to make public my thanks to God for allowing me to be here this year, to work with an amazing staff, and the best students anyone could wish for. I am also incredibly thankful to my praying and financial supporters who have partnered with me as I walk through life with these students. Your influence is felt every single day. To my Sonne guys, past and present, I am thankful for every single one of you. Whether you knew it or not, you were and are tools in God's hands to shape me into what He desires. Thank you for touching my life. You know that I love you! 
Pumpkin cake!! I think this was the chocolate-vanilla marble one.

Our lovely Thanksgiving table

Appetizers. Can you find both turkeys? :)
The best part about Thanksgiving here is that I get to celebrate multiple times!! Stay tuned for more celebrations of thankfulness this week. Blessings!!