Sailing into Thanksgiving

 

here is an old African proverb that says, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” That means we at LOGOI should be excellent sailors. Throughout LOGOI’s 50 year history we’ve always had to navigate rough financial seas. But I thought 2018 just might sink our ship.

Then God showed up. 

OK, He was always there, I just was having a hard time finding Him. He was in Cuba. 

This is a strange way to start a Thanksgiving letter to you, but maybe like me, you’re trying to navigate rough seas. Perhaps like me, Thanksgiving and being thankful are far from your mind. So come with me to Cuba.  

The truth is, I didn’t even want to go. There were a hundred other pressing needs and I wasn’t too excited about spending the money to go again. With our difficult financial year I was discouraged and full of questions about our future. Besides, we were just going as observers to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Los Pinos Nuevos Seminary my grandfather co-founded in 1928.

I did have one small speaking assignment. I was asked to be part of a panel discussing the impact of Christian Education in Latin America. 

The panel consisted of a group of distinguished men with impressive PhD’s — then there was me. I can hardly spell PhD.

A couple of days before the panel, there was a graduation ceremony for 20 Los Pinos graduates.  Several hundred people had come to watch the special occasion. I was honored to be up on the stage to shake their hands and give them some LOGOI books as they received their diplomas.

I stood next to a young pastor who was also a professor at the seminary. He was beaming. “You are a Thompson,” he said with a big smile. I smiled back and said that I was. “I am standing here,” he said, “because of your grandfather, your father, and your ministry.”

That’s when my Heavenly Father showed up. In an instant, my thoughts and attitude changed.

For most of the year, I’ve been frustrated and discouraged with our financial struggles. “Why is this so hard?” the Lord has heard me complain on a regular basis, “Why are funds always short?” But here I was in the middle of Cuba seeing exactly why the struggle is worth it. Twenty faces beaming with joy and enthusiasm about leading others to Jesus.

“You know,” my new friend said as the twenty men and women began the procession to receive their diplomas, “they have all studied LOGOI Bible courses. They are part of your family.” He smiled even bigger and added,  “You are helping proclaim the Gospel in all of Cuba.” 

Thanksgiving arrived. Waves of joy flooded my heart as I knew this same “LOGOI story” is being repeated all across Latin America.

As I stood there shaking their hands and offering, “Congratulations,” I could picture Jesus smiling at me and saying, “Oh you of little faith. Why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was great calm” (Matthew 8:26).