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Thanksgiving, 2020

Dear friends and fellow missionaries,

I suppose it is no surprise that we focus on gratitude, at least here in the US, during this time of year.  I want to suggest, however, that gratitude is worth focusing on ANY TIME of the year, and not just for it’s obvious spiritual and emotional benefits.

What do I mean?

Just as St. Paul says, “over all these things put on Christ,” I believe a corollary for us in the grant-seeking world is to “over all parts of the grant-seeking process, put on gratitude.”  We will become better at what we do when this becomes our driving attitude.

If you asked me how I know this to be true, I would point you to a group of missionaries in Bangladesh.  I have known them for years now.  As all of you know, that is a very difficult part of the world right now. But it is not their courage in addressing such enormous challenges that impresses me.  It is their gratitude, seemingly for all things.

It struck me recently, in reviewing the emails I have received from them over the past several months, that most of the emails were not connected to a grant application or other request but were both formal and casual expressions of thankfulness. Thankfulness, for all that has been given to them, including their suffering.  More than money, they asked for my prayers, and they promised theirs in return.

The effect this has had on me is at least two-fold:  first, it has somehow made me want their work to succeed and increased my desire to be helpful in that process. They are generating very good and holy energy! Second, it amplifies, at least for me, the sincerity of their pastoral hearts. I believe I’m working with people who care and care deeply about the people they serve.  This makes it very easy to believe in the value of their projects, and in the importance of trying to fund those projects.

Simple thing, gratitude.  Simple, but wonderfully diverse in its benefits.  May God shower all of us with more of it!