Luke 1:37 – For nothing is impossible with God. (NIV)
Jeremiah 29:11 – "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)
Thanksgiving Day 1961, my fourth year in Laos, drew near. My three partners and I were used to eating rice three times a day at our remote outstation. Usually we had fish or pork with our rice, occasionally chicken. I had much to be thankful for, anyway. The previous week the rebel forces had been advancing toward Attopeu, but they had turned back without attacking. God was taking care of us. I didn't let myself think about having turkey or pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, because it seemed impossible. I could celebrate Thanksgiving Day and be thankful without a turkey.
We knew there were some special forces soldiers camped outside of the town, training the local army. The young men were friendly, and we longed to minister to them in some way. But since people in Laos tended to think we missionaries were really working for the American government, we tried to dissociate ourselves from the soldiers. A war was going on in Laos and Vietnam, and we tried to stay neutral so that people would pay attention to the spiritual message we were giving them. Jesus was the only Saviour who could give them eternal life, and that was what they needed most, no matter which side won the war.
Two American soldiers showed up at our door one morning. "Could you tell us how to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving?" one of them asked. "The army will drop us some frozen turkeys next week, but we don't know how to cook them. We don't even have an oven at our camp."
I told them they could use our Dutch oven, placing it over a charcoal fire. "Great!" they exclaimed. "We will give you one of our turkeys if you will let us borrow your oven." I told them how to prepare the turkeys, and gave them an estimate of how long to cook them.
They also wanted us to bake some pies for them. I felt sorry for the young men, living out in the forest, far from their families and the comforts of home. I knew I could make a pumpkin pie from sweet potatoes since I had the right spices to add, so I said that if they could get several cans of sweet potatoes from their base camp, I would bake pies for them. My co-workers — one girl from Canada, one from England, and one from Switzerland — had no idea how to cook a turkey or bake a pumpkin pie. They weren't sure they would even like pumpkin pie!
On Thanksgiving morning I baked six pies (four for the men) and cooked our turkey. Late in the day, the men came for their pies and borrowed our oven overnight. Actually, this was the first time in my life I had ever cooked a turkey, but my co-workers said it was delicious. And they even enjoyed the pumpkin pies! We had a truly international Thanksgiving Day deep inside Laos in wartime, because our Heavenly Father provided for us.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to remember always that your love and care is the greatest gift we can have, and that you will provide the extra joys if we have thankful hearts. Comfort those in need today, provide food for the hungry, and satisfy our hearts with Jesus, the bread of life. Amen.