2015 Reflections of Gratitude

From His fullness we all have received Grace Upon Grace” John 1:16

As I reflected on this past year, I was reminded of God’s goodness to us in so many ways.  My dear friend, Cindy, shared the above verse and it mirrored our sentiments exactly.  Much of His goodness has come in the shape and form of people!  God has surrounded us with so many warm, loving, kind-hearted generous souls who have opened their homes and hearts to us throughout our year on the road.  While I would love to list each and every one of them, this post would become way too long.  But I did want to take the time to say this:

Gracias to our friends in Mexico who embraced us immediately and allowed us to fold right into the church and your families for the first 4 1/2 months of our journey.  We will hopefully see you soon.  Reflections at Four Months.  Take a peek at one of the most important lessons I learned also while in Mexico:  Why Not Rather Suffer Wrong.

Thanks to our friends in California, who remembered us and treated us like family returning home.  Please let us return the favor and come visit us in beautiful Chicago.  We even had a dear Chicago friend in San Diego for a conference!  He flew into San Diego the day we flew out of Los Angeles, and we were able to connect for a few hours over lunch.  What a treat and wonderful taste of home.

Thanks to new friends in New Zealand, Sydney, and the Blue Mountains who opened your homes and shared your meals as well as your holidays and family reunions.  What a unique joy to experience this kindness when the only thing connecting us was other friends.  I don’t have nearly enough photos of our new friends here, because I was enjoying the interaction too much!  To the Gramly and Roberts’ families, apologies for the lack of photos!  We had a little computer crash and have not been able to recover some of our Sydney and Blue Mountain photos!

Terima kasih to our teacher friends in Indonesia for hosting us and showing us how fun Jakarta could be.  It was fun to laugh and be pampered!

Kob kun kah and kob kun clap to our friends in Thailand and Myanmar who shared their love of Thailand with us, taught us more about the sex trafficking industry and ways to help, and/or helped us search for lanterns to light our very last evening there.  ZOE and Sex Trafficking.  A special thanks to the children in Noah and Ruth’s home for allowing us to share life for a short time –  Noah and Ruth and to Jason and Toby, for their warm welcome and willingness to connect us with these ministries.

Dankie to our inspirational and hard working friends in South Africa, who daily demonstrated to us what it means to make a real difference in the midst of overwhelming suffering.  We love and miss you guys and will continue to pray for you during this painfully difficult time in your lives.  When People Make a Difference.

Thanks to the Massiehs family for inviting us into their warm home on an unusually cold day in Cairo, after hours of touring the Pyramids and Cairo.  Dear friends from Chicago connected us with the Massiehs, long time friends of theirs and their loving hospitality was so welcomed appreciated by Ryan, the kids, and I!  Ancient Egypt and the Pyramids.

Shukran to our dear friends from Grace who pampered and fed us, helped us explore the beauty of Jerusalem, and showered us with such love and generosity.  We are excited for this next journey in your life and look forward to being a part of it.   See The Wailing Wall and The Beauty of the Empty Tomb.

Molte grazie to old dear friends on the Island of Capri for your warm and loving hospitality.  Twenty years may have gone by since we last saw you, but getting our families together was a real blessing to us.  And many thanks for the delicious Italian meals!  The Amalfi Coast and Capri.

Merci ya’ll to our Texas-loving Swiss dwelling friends.  Being together with you guys was like being with family again.  We love and miss you all.  Let’s not wait another seven years!

Muchisimas gracias to our dear friends in Barcelona.  We were so blessed by your loving hospitality and overwhelmed with your generosity.  We especially enjoyed sharing life together for this short moment in time and now have memories that will last forever.  We look forward to staying in touch and hopefully one day hosting you in our home.  Next time, I must take more photos.  Love and miss you guys!

Merci to an old and dear high school friend now living in Paris, for carving out a few days in your busy schedule to just hang out with us and talk!  It was so neat to be together after all that has happened in life, and we pray that God blesses you richly in the years to come.

Thank you (with a heavy Scottish accent) to our friends in Perth, Scotland!  We so enjoyed meeting you in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and were blessed to then spend a week with your family in Scotland.  We especially enjoyed the Cailegh you planned for us (what a treat!) as well as the Fourth of July celebration.  Thank you for your warmth and hospitality!

Like I said, there are so many people who could have been included in this post, but it’s impossible to narrow down 14 months of blessings into one tiny post.  I did, however, want to express my gratitude and love for the ways in which all of you have enriched our lives and the lives and hearts of our children.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you.  May the Lord richly bless you in the years to come and may our paths cross once again this side of Heaven.

 

2 Comments on “2015 Reflections of Gratitude

  1. Hi Deena, Thank you for including us in your post and journey. We miss you and glad we were a small part of it. So glad to have met you and your family!

    Hope you all had a merry Christmas and happy new year!

    Love, Janna, Alan, Kamala and Luke

    >

    • Thanks for your message, Janna! We enjoyed seeing Alan again after so many years and finally getting to meet you, Kam, and Luke! Thanks for your wonderful hospitality. We hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well. Love from all the Gainor cousins!

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