Thanks to no pilgrims and a completely different harvest season, Chile doesn’t celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This past week we didn’t cook up a big turkey or gorge ourselves on Mama Gross’ homemade pies. We didn’t watch the Packer game (although this year we were happy to miss it). We also didn’t get to hang out with family and share our thanksgiving beans (a family tradition).
We did order a ginormous amount of sushi, and we did gorge ourselves on homemade, straight from the box, caramel flan. We were blissfully unaware of the Packers game, and we hung out with our church family and friends. It certainly wasn’t a traditional Thanksgiving meal, but it definitely was a day of thanks! More specifically, we celebrated and gave thanks for our friend Luciano.
You might remember Luciano from a previous blog post. When we first arrived in Chile, it was easy to become fast-friends with Luciano … a major reason bring that we could actually understand him! (Luciano speaks almost perfect English). Although Luciano is a young 22 year old, he quickly took us under his wing and started to stop by our house on Friday nights on his way home from law school in a nearby city. He is a great Spanish teacher and a wealth of information about almost anything.
Luciano started going to our church when one day he was walking by and noticed the Lutheran Church sign. Growing up he had Swedish and German friends that were Lutheran so he made a connection and decided to walk in through the open door. He decided to start taking bible information courses and quickly became a loved member of the church family. We call him Luciano #2 since there was already another Luciano in our congregation.
A week ago Sunday, with a full church and four visitors (including Luciano’s mom), Pastor Erickson preached about the confidence we have as Christians and the JOY we will have on the last day when Jesus comes again. Following his sermon, Luciano stood in front of the church and proudly professed his faith becoming a confirmed member of the body of Christ! We ended the service with a round of applause, the “sacred” placing of the lei around Luciano’s neck (a Chilean Lutheran Church tradition just for fun), and lots of cake.
Our non-traditional Thanksgiving meal came later that same week. We celebrated Luciano’s confirmation with friends from church, Luciano’s lovely mom, and his favorite food. We even went as far as to sing “Feliz confirmación a ti” (Happy confirmation to you) and had Luciano blow out a match we put in his flan (we were low in the candle department).
As I said before, this past week we weren’t able to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving, BUT we still had a whole lot to be thankful for!
Happy confirmation Luciano! May you forever have confidence in God’s never-failing love and grace.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings… Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:22-25