Haven't been able to keep up with much of anything blog-related this summer, so I have no idea if the Thankful Thursday meme is still going on, but decided to do my own bit of giving thanks today. Because there is MUCH for which I'm thankful!
Up first, the many, MANY, MANY miles of travel safety. Not that I haven't mentioned ALL THE TRAVEL a time or two ;) But how great it has been to have the opportunity to see so many wonderful people!
And that brings us to the second thing: we wouldn't have been able to do all this traveling if it hadn't been for the generosity of our home church, that bought and insured a lovely little Saturn for us to use while in the U.S. Thank you to our "family" at Countryside Bible Church!
That same "family" has helped out in a myriad of ways during this furlough: friends from church are letting us use a house, others helped furnish it, we've received fresh vegetables from various gardens, a large quantity of beef from a family that raises their own cows... I could go on and on. It's such a blessing to be part of a loving, supportive church.
The blessings don't stop with our home church, though. We've been encouraged and cared for by many other churches as well. Everything from a gift toward my medical expenses (one church) to funds to buy a projector (another church) to an increase in support (yet another church). And that doesn't include the folks who have hosted us, fed us delicious meals, and taken time out from busy schedules to hang out with us.
I'm also really thankful for the wonderful men and women who work at the home office of Biblical Ministries Worldwide. What we love most about them is their servant hearts, an attitude that they will do whatever they can to help, in whatever way is needed. It's a privilege to work with such a great group of people!
And then there's family. Those who know us so well and love us anyway :) Son, Jon, our IT guru, has been a huge help as we've replaced computers and figured out what software we needed and how to use it. Kyle and Tina provided cell phones for us to use while in the U.S. Ivan's mom and siblings cheer us on, encourage us when we're down, love on us, and make us grateful to be part of the Hoyt clan. My sister is my #1 cheerleader. Extended family support and encourage.
Like I said before, I could go on and on.
But bottom line, all of these and MORE are gifts from God. All that we have comes from His hand. We've seen time and time again His care, in ways both big and small.
Let's talk about some of the "small" ones...
Next year we'll be building a not-so-big-house/garage on our lot in Carlos Paz (the square footage for our living space will be about 700 square feet). We need to do this as economically as possible and one of the ways we plan to keep costs down is by buying used-but-still-in-good-condition items whenever possible. We'd heard about, but had never been to, the Habitat for Humanity ReStores. That all changed this trip, as we've tried to visit as many as possible! So far: six stores in three states. Each one is different, because it depends on what's been donated, and from what we've been told, materials flow in and out quickly so it's a good idea to keep checking back if you're looking for something specific.
[NOTE: For those not familiar with ReStores, they're kind of like Goodwills but for construction materials. People who are renovating can donate the items they take out of their home, and then others can buy them very inexpensively, and the money is plowed back into the Habitat program.]
Obviously we can't fit a lot into our suitcases, but have been able to find some smaller items that we can take back. Like faucets. People, do you realize how expensive new faucets are these days?! And they cost even more in Argentina, where everything is imported. So we were THRILLED to be able to find both bathroom and kitchen faucets for $8 to $10/each. Also towel bars. One of the ReStores had brand new ones for $8/each! I've also been collecting small, round, white ceramic knobs to use on cabinets. And we scored brand new cabinet door hinges. A very good thing since Ivan will have to build all our cabinets.
Small things, but we're saving a huge chunk of change.
Then there's the whole how-many-suitcases-will-we-need dilemma. We've been collecting items we want to take back -- everything from melamine dishes to faucets and towel bars to fabric -- and it's definitely going to require more than the two-bag-per-person the airlines allow. This was a two-part dilemma: (1) acquiring the additional suitcases needed, and (2) actually transporting the suitcases.
Part #1 is coming along nicely. I've been able to pick up a few suitcases at Goodwill and other thrift stores. At church last Sunday they announced we needed suitcases and we've gotten one through that already. Then yesterday I hit the mother lode! A group of women hold a large rummage sale every year to benefit a nearby college. A friend called me at 9:30 yesterday morning to let me know they had a ton of suitcases at the sale. I rushed right over and scored seven for $14! Woot! I'll be packing suitcases over the next week or two and think that what we now have will be sufficient. And if it's not, I'm trusting God will provide what's lacking.
Part #2 is also coming along nicely. I believe we'll have two groups coming to visit next year, and between the two, looks like they can bring all the suitcases. DOUBLE WOOT!
You can't see me but I'm doing the happy dance :)
So, yes, I have a lot to be thankful for, but most of all I'm thankful for a God who cares about the small stuff. You see it in Scripture and you see it in our lives. Can I get an Amen?!
What are you thankful for today? Anything in particular?