We had the funniest Thanksgiving ever, which proved to be one that we will not soon forget. Another minister friend of ours, a missionary from another denomination, received an invite for all American ministers and their families to come to his home and share a “Thanksgiving” potluck. So, carloads of our families and us show up at the appropriate time, with potato salad, greens, desserts, etc. Only to find out that the “Thanksgiving” celebration was schedule for this Saturday!
His wife was not happy with him, as more and more cars showed up. Most left, but the 3 cars that were in our caravan just sat there looking stunned and very hungry. Before I knew it, I was inviting those cars to our home. Everyone stopped at, of all places, Kentucky Fried and bought chicken, added it to the table and there was our Thanksgiving! It was clear from the way the room fell silent, that the chicken, salads and most of all the greens had us all thinking about our families back home. But when the silence broke and the chatter began, we were “family” in the spiritual sense and a bond was formed that we will always treasure.
I truly felt like my house was Lydia’s House from Acts 16:13-15,where we learned of her hospitality to those early “ministers” of the Gospel. Lydia’s house is also the name of a women’s empowerment project that I was blessed to help create.
As William, Toni and I were saying good-bye to the last of our guests, I couldn’t help but thank God for such an experience, knowing it would have never happened if we had not been here in South Africa, “at such a time as this”.
Saying “Yes Lord Send Us”, has opened our hearts and eyes to God’s creation in profound ways. We all gave thanks, not just for the food, but also for each other and a moment of respite from our very intense ministries here in South Africa.
Sometimes God gives us opportunities in our ministries to pause, reflect and comfort ourselves. Greens, potato salad and our favorite desserts are some of the many comfort foods that we bring out on special occasions. Lydia’s spirit of hospitality provided that same form of comfort to some of Christ founding ministers, and I felt humbled to have been given an opportunity to follow in her footsteps.
William and Veronica Kyle serve with the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Veronica serves as a coordinator for education, social, women and youth programs. She will also serve as a consultant to the Bridgman Center. William serves as administrative assistant to the general secretary.