Reading books to the kids about Thanksgiving this year, I had a new appreciation for what the pilgrims went through. I certainly wouldn’t put my own experience on the level of theirs, but I have a better lens through which to view their experience having lived here. As I looked at the pictures of Wampanoag Indians huddled around a fire in a thatched hut, I couldn’t help but realize my neighbors’ homes look basically identical. As I read about the pilgrims landing in the New World having no food, no homes, and no friends to greet them or even a way to grow or buy food, I thought of my own experience of coming to this new land and how hard it seemed to arrive in a new place…but I had people to pick me up at the airport and drive me to my furnished home and show me where to shop in stores stocked with food. Landing in PNG seemed hard at the time…but I’ve been imagining if we had sailed on a boat for a couple of months and then FINALLY made it to then be totally dependent on the natives to help us survive. It’s easy for me to imagine what the Wampanoag must have been like, because the people we live with are not that different from the native Americans. They look different, but their homes and their livelihood and their traditions are very similar. As I was boring the Chappell boys on Thanksgiving discussing this with them, they aptly added that the pilgrims also had to deal with super cold weather and that the Indians were speaking a language like Menyan, not an easy language like Pidgin! So If the Mayflower dropped us off right here in Menya I could imagine being taught by the Menyans how to garden and how to build a house using what is here…but it would be SO hard. I have so much…an amazing house, running water, planes to take us in and out and to bring us groceries, a store full of food to order groceries from, support missionaries helping us out, doctors, not to mention internet access and the ability to connect with all of you who we left behind! So I read the books about pilgrims with a new perspective. Those were some tough people who founded our country. I won’t even get started on the ladies who went on the Mayflower pregnant! I don’t think I would have made it on the Mayflower. Or in the New World. I probably would have stayed in Holland if I had lived in 1620. I’ve learned how weak I am here, and that makes me all the more impressed with the Pilgrims.
While we were thinking through what the first Thanksgiving was like, we were enjoying the many perks we have that the pilgrims did not. And we were thankful! We had a wonderful thanksgiving! We had such a great day and were absolutely pooped when the day was over! We had the Chappells over all day. We wanted to pretend we were having a real American Thanksgiving celebration, so we played a football game on DVD, ate snacks and played some games while Penny and I worked in the kitchen. We all ate way too many snacks and were hardly hungry for the “feast,” as our kids called it. But we feasted anyway! We ate pretty much everything we eat in the states. We even had a turkey this year–our first in PNG! We are so blessed with wonderful partners. We are so thankful for them! We loved celebrating with them.