Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you all. By now you’ve probably put away the fancy plates and packed up your mother’s silverware. With any luck, you have fixings for a few turkey sandwiches, my perennial favorite. In my family, we have a tradition of going around the table to share what we’re grateful for. You may have done something similar with your loved ones. Earlier this week I sat around the table with the kids and staff at Hope House to ask them what they were thankful for this year.
The first words of thanksgiving came in the form of a prayer, “Gracias por estos alimentos. Thank you for this food.” Once we started eating I put the question out to the group. They started by giving the typical answers you’d expect from kids: I don’t know. Nothing. I’m grateful for food (oh yeah, food!). I’m grateful for life.
Then one of the boys shared, “I’m grateful to have a home.” What’s a home? “A place to live,” someone said, “where they treat you well.” Another chimed in, “A place where Jimmy can get glasses!” “I’m grateful to be able to study.” “I’m grateful to be here with my little brothers.” “I’m grateful for trees, and plants, and water!” said one boy, enthusiastically.
The conversation then turned to people they were grateful for. “I am grateful for the cooks, for the people who visit us, and for my mom.” “I thank the missionaries who work with us.” “I thank the counselors who care for us.” “I thank the people who don’t hesitate to help, even when they don’t know us.”
At this point, the list began to grow long with plenty of silly comments mixed in with the serious. However, one comment from a long-time Hope House boy caught my attention: “I’m grateful for all the people who invest in us and for the young man that I am because of it.”
I spoke with the staff next. Everyone said they were grateful for their work at Hope House. Our administrator, Ismael, told me, “It’s a blessing to wake up every day and come to work, to get to know these boys and live beside them.”
We have much to be thankful for at Hope House this year. The fire and the hailstorm, trials though they were, led to such an outpouring of love and resources from you and all our partners. I sat down with Annel Valdovinos, our director, to discuss what she was grateful for on an organizational level.
“There are two main things,” she said. “The first is stability. Often times in a home like ours we see kids leave for bad behavior and their inability to integrate well into the program. This year, many of the children who have left Hope House have done so to be reunited with family members. This is wonderful for our kids. The second thing I’m grateful for is a house that is more secure, more “home”. We now have colorful flowers lining our entryway. A new camera system has been installed. The transition home is nearly finished. We’ve fixed issues with the water. We have new flooring and a new classroom space. After all the chaos this year, everything is going to end well.”
I asked her what she wants to share with our supporters, the people who give and serve and pray for us throughout the year. Her eyes glistened with tears in her response. “I want to bless you for what you all have done for us this year. For those of you who give, your funds are being used wisely. For those of you who pray, I feel as though we’ve had a covering over the entire house. Thank you.”
Hope House is full of gratitude this Thanksgiving weekend. I hope your house is as well.