Another Bible School Thanksgiving has come and gone! Well over a month ago, we began the preparation process of sharing this American tradition with our students, friends, and church family here in Italy. Turkeys were sourced, ordered, and prepared with care.
Trips to no less than half a dozen different stores were made to gather all of the necessary ingredients and decorations to create the perfect food and atmosphere. Impossible-to-purchase-in-Italy ingredients, like cream of chicken soup and jiffy corn muffin mix, were homemade in advance. The menu was finalized and set into motion five days in advance to give adequate preparation time given our countertop, stovetop, and oven limitations.
The classroom and living room were transformed into dining and serving areas with little touches of Italian hospitality to make our guests more comfortable. Invitations were extended and accepted and even so we still had no idea how many people would actually attend. In the end, we had a lovely evening with around 80 of our nearest and dearest and a few new faces too!
The addition of an “aperitivo” with American style appetizers was a huge hit. The guests oohed and ahhed over the turkey and they cautiously eyed the casseroles with a bit of doubt as to their tastiness, but they knew better than to ask how much sugar was in the American desserts - opting instead to simply indulge and savor the experience. It was a special treat to connect our church family with those who we study with each week and a beautiful sight to see all of our Italian worlds gathering together in one room. Our friends gave generously to our meal and to our church food pantry.
Friendships were both made and re-kindled after extended periods of time. It was truly sacred time and space around the tables that evening. Fittingly, the most appropriate response for that time and for those people was sincere and joyful thanksgiving. It may have been a bit early on the calendar, but the timing was perfect to lead us into this holiday season rejoicing over the work the Lord has done and continues to do in our community.
The Avanti Italia family would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! We pray each of you will also find sacred, blessed moments this Thanksgiving as you gather.