No Drumsticks Then!

This afternoon, as I’m writing this, we just returned from a 3-day conference of Japanese Christians.  Only a few people remember that we actually started this annual gathering back nearly 20 years ago and it’s rocked along, hit and miss since then.  Then, about 3 years ago, it really got to moving and this was the third “new and revised” event, attracting about 150 Japanese and associates from all over Australia, New Zealand and beyond.  We stayed in a Christian camp which was nostalgic of our younger days but reminding us again we’re not that young.

To say “Mune ga ippai” (our hearts are full) would be an understatement.  Quite by accident we’ve become the elder statesmen of the group, and we heard “Tony and Marsha” so many times in so many situations, from those first memories, to continuing excitement about Tony’s doctoral Bible study called “Anagaion”. And of course there was plenty of shock and concern to go around in light of his recent diagnosis.

While hiding in my room this morning for some respite, I came across an article, apparently written last year, about the “Surprising Story of the First Thanksgiving”.

I’ll put the link here, if you want to take the few minutes to read it

Otherwise, lets see if I can summarize it:

Apparently the Pilgrims took meticulous records, which add a lot to the well-known story we’ve all heard in history class. According to this article, they weren’t escaping religious prosecution as much as looking for a place to raise their children without the troubling influences of the people they found both in England and then later in Holland. They wanted to work for a living and have time for their families instead of pouring out their lives in factories.  (Does this sound familiar?)

Contracts drawn up with the king of England, they set off for North Carolina but, due to the wind, ended up at Plymouth Rock. As we know from history, they had a pretty bad time of it from the moment they set foot on dry land. Many of their people died the first winter, including 14 of the 18 wives and mothers that set sail.

Being a wife and mother myself, the first question that struck me was, “How in the world did they ever get that first Thanksgiving meal on the table?” As it turns out, that first feast may have been a little different from the one pictured in my history book. Actually, quite a bit different from anything we might get to experience here in Australia.

No turkey was mentioned in the records, and wow, they mentioned everything.  They probably did enjoy some kind of water fowl, but the bulk of the meal was probably made up of turnips, parsnips and ……..(wait for it) EEL!  They ate with their hands and most likely sat on the ground that first year. Tables, chairs and eating utensils  were still pretty low on the priority list of things to make.

I guess this article resonated a bit with me because this week is Thanksgiving and our hearts are full of gratitude to God for giving us a lifetime of ministry to a people group that’s so easy to love.  Also we’re thankful for how even though we feel a little like the pilgrims, “We left for North Carolina and ended up in Maine”; and yet He shelters us every day in this cancer storm, thanks in large part to your prayers.

I’m happy to say the “Hormone Therapy” is going as expected. Apparently all the cancer cells have been frozen in their tracks, due to the double punch of medicine along with restricting anything in the diet that cancer likes (like sugar, meat,and dairy products). That, in combination with the recently-purchased tread mill, is resulting in a new look for the man of my dreams! He’s already shed 15 pounds and hasn’t slowed down yet. As he put it, “Whatever happens, I’m gonna look good!”

On Thursday morning Tony will get a “mid-treatment’ injection of another kind of hormone therapy.  We understand this is not a cure, but simply debilitating the enemy so that sometime in March, they can pull out the “Big Gun” and start with the radiation. The main problem in these situations are all the little cancer cells that escape unseen. But, we were told, Australia has the best imaging equipment in the world, and in the doctor’s words, “If I can see it, I can shoot it.” Thank you for joining us for this prayer.

Also on the schedule this week is a visit to the grandkids’ school to see extraordinary performances coming from our gifted and talented Grandboys (aren’t they all?)  I made Ezekiel a very cute (I must say) shepherds get-up and his mom will ‘unhide’ the 5 foot staff right before they leave for school.  It was entirely too handy for rounding up his brothers around the house.

You all have a nice feast on us.  Later on Thursday we’ll probably drop by the store and get a roast chicken, oh wait……guess it’ll have to be a ‘soy’ chicken, but it’ll taste nice with the people we love.  Wish you could join us!

Stay safe this weekend and try not to get stranded when the wind blows you off course.


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