Celebrate Thanksgiving @ the Refuge

What is Thanksgiving Day? Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in Canada, United States and Liberia in various dates between October to November. Though they differ in dates and origins, the essence is the same, it is a celebration of thanksgiving by their respective immigrant forefathers for a safe travel and bountiful harvest. Among the Thanksgiving-celebrating countries, the most popular is that of the United States which the country was once a Colony and a Commonwealth of.

For that matter, Thanksgiving is gaining popularity in the country either trivialized into turkey-eating celebration with mall sales or ingrained in a deep sense of faith by thanking God for a wonderful year he has given as the year is drawing to a close. For the latter, my growth group in Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF), Refuge, celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. Refuge is home to a number of transient Americans and expats who found a spiritual home in GCF Ortigas through Refuge.

Starting with a call last Monday by Sam, Refuge was able to gather other people to bring in Thanksgiving food (their innovations) for us to enjoy. You sure know by now that Refuge people really loves food and the fellowship bonding it brings. This Thanksgiving reminded me of how God has been blessing me and working by me even in my afflictions. Indeed, we must be reminded of His faithfulness not just in bad times but in good times too. The closing lesson on the story of Ruth was a reminder that no matter how things go against us, we should never be bitter for God is a witness to our sufferings and will always find a way to redeem us from the debt of our hearts in his best time.

After offering our thanksgiving to God, everyone had a sumptuous dinner. Cranberry “sauce” will always be present in every Thanksgiving celebrations but the turkey had a different twist. Instead of being stuffed with bread crumbs, this turkey was stuffed with pesto rice. Though chicken and turkey are both poultry products, turkey has a more distinctive taste with red meat parts on the legs and the wings which is my personal favorite.

Since our group has a resident vegetarian, we ought to bring vegetable-made food too. For me, it was a good break from all meat to have a healthy siding. Despite limitations and time constraints, Christina was able to bring a string bean cream topped with… crackers? I’ve seen string beans in cream of mushroom but that being topped with crackers is a new thing to me. The best of innovations do come out when ingredients are at its least, something I am happy seeing. Since Paolo did not have time to cook, he brought vegetarian pizza which I gladly feasted on. I love it!

Dessert was a filling treat too when Kuya Micah brought his “pumpkin” pie innovation. Pumpkin in the Philippines? Not really for it is a mix of pumpkin’s closest tropical relative, squash, and sweet potatoes. Pretty ingenious of an idea to add a traditional thanksgiving pie into the food mix. Pauline did her touch with mango pie with a kick of cinnamon which made it extra special. I wish I could’ve had more. RJ brought buco pandan for more of the Filipino twist to Thanksgiving. I could’ve made a debut of my peanut butter piaya there but my hands were too tired to mix more dough so I brought them piaya.

Apart from the food, what matters is the fellowship of friends and siblings in Christ that live a life of thanksgiving in the light of today’s celebration. Above all, I am thankful that God led me to a growth group that cares, understands and shares. Refuge is a cosmopolitan group of Singles/ Young Adults from various fields and professions meeting every Wednesday, 8pm at BM02 at the Mezzanine Floor of Greenhills Christian Fellowship, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.


About Mark Mayo - Magallanes

MARK MAYO - MAGALLANES – blogger by passion, cook by hobby, student by life, theater actor by fate, writer by work, and Christian by grace. Part Filipino, Chinese and Spanish by blood, he is proudly 100% Negrénse. His love for his home Island of Negros, heritage and lifestyle has led him to write much about it and full-time, all-time. View all posts by Mark Mayo - Magallanes

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