It's Canadian Thanksgiving today, and I can't help but take a bite out of my nostalgia and talk about my most memorable Thanksgiving from up north.
I was serving as a missionary for my church in downtown Hamilton, Ontario. It was also known as "Gothem City" since smoke would rise from the sewers like in the movies. It was an old, dirty town that, quite frankly, was also pretty dangerous. We were invited for over for dinner by a member in the congregation we were serving.
At the time, I was working with Maddie Hofer (although, as missionaries, we referred to one another as "Sister"), and we were really looking forward to a big hearty dinner that night in celebration of harvest. Now, usually, when we think of Thanksgiving, we think of warm food on a chilly day.
This was not the case. Instead, temperatures were hovering somewhere around 100F with like 1 billion percent humidity. In all my days in Canada, this was the hottest I can remember.
Sister Hofer and I were desperately trying to preach the good word to those we saw on the streets, but we were slowly melting... we were little, slow-moving puddles of ripped nylons and knee-length skirts.
At one point, we couldn't take it any longer, and about 10 blocks from our dinner appointment sat on a curb and tried to find some semblance of energy in our sweaty souls. It was one of those "what the heck am I doing? What's the point?" moments.
Once we were on the brink of passing out, a colorful, vibrant girl of about 16 danced up to us and inquired why we were all dressed up sitting on the curb. It must have looked pretty funny. We explained who we were and she listened intently. Turns out, she was a homeless runaway and was looking for some truth for herself. She asked us tons of questions and her energy became contagious. By the end of the conversation with her, Sister Hofer and I were practically running to our appointment- both because we were late (due to the length of the conversation) and because there is nothing more energizing than letting someone know that God loves them and is aware of their life, and have them believe you.
We got to the house filled with Thanksgiving goodness and found the other missionaries were also sweaty messes. I think we drank the entire Lake Ontario with ice before we braved the steaming turkey. But I remember that every single one of us was truly grateful for the opportunities we had that day. Which, I mean, really was the whole point.
Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!