’Tis the season, in countries around the world, to give thanks. Canada celebrated Thanksgiving last month. In Russia and Ukraine, evangelical believers decorate their churches with the prettiest produce straight of out their gardens and thank God for his provision. Japan builds on an ancient harvest tradition by commemorating Labor Thanksgiving Day — a time to honor production and to thank one another. And in the US, the turkey is (hopefully) bought and folks are preparing to gather, all to give thanks.

As a missionary, you not only get to participate in other cultures’ Thanksgiving celebrations, you also develop a deep awareness of what a wonderful privilege it is to be used by God to build his Kingdom. And so, SEND missionaries tell us:

“I’m thankful I became a missionary because …”

There is nothing more exciting and fulfilling than to sit down with someone who is beginning to grasp spiritual truths and point them to Jesus. — Eileen Barkman in Japan

I’m so thankful because there is no other path I want to be on other than the one God calls me down. If I had said “no” to him, I would have missed out on the joy of reaching people who would not have heard if I hadn’t come. I could have continued with my comfortable life in the States, only to find myself wondering why nothing satisfied me and why I was bored out of my mind. There is no adventure like God’s path. That’s where I want to be. — Giles Davis in Spain

My mind has been opened to God in a new way by learning a new language and culture, and by focusing on his Kingdom work in an unreached people group. My world and view of God are so much bigger now. — Amelia Klemm in Taiwan

I get to make new friends and try out new things that I’ve never done before and eat new foods. And I get to share God’s Word with others. — Ellie, age 9, in a security-sensitive location

I’m thankful because being a missionary has allowed me first-hand access to the joy of seeing God work in people’s lives across a variety of cultures, a deepened ability and need to rely on God both for finances and as a single woman living abroad, and more self-confidence. I never could foresee that figuring out how to connect a DVD player with Spanish instructions (but North American plugs) to a TV with Polish instructions with cables that I researched and bought online from Germany would bring me such a sense of accomplishment—an “I will make it here!” feeling. It’s a bit laughable to think about, but I appreciate how God used it to build my confidence and bring some humor in the sometimes quite difficult transition to life in a foreign country. — April McDonald in Poland

I have the joy of learning from believers in other cultures and through them getting a bigger view of my great God. — E.P., who served throughout Eurasia and now ministers to diaspora communities in the US

Learning the Scriptures

I’m thankful because being a missionary has made me starkly aware that I don’t “belong” anywhere here on earth. No place feels like home anymore. And that is a wonderful thing, since my citizenship is in heaven anyway. — Darlene Armstrong Jovellanos in the Philippines

I get to see God work in mighty ways from a perspective I never had when I was in the US. — Amanda Benson at Faith Academy in the Philippines

Serving as a missionary has taught me to live for eternal things, not earthly things that will pass away. — A.B. in a security-sensitive location

I’m thankful because I can see God’s mighty work in a cross-cultural setting. — Brandon in a remote village in Alaska

I’m thankful because of God’s grace in my life and the joy of following his calling. — Darwin Daquis in Thailand

I’m thankful because I have the privilege of training future church leaders in the Russian-speaking world. — Jerry Benge in Ukraine

I’m thankful I’m a missionary because I love Jesus. — Ella, age 8, in Siberia

We’re also thankful for you, and for your heart to reach the world with the love of Christ! A SEND missions coach can serve as your personal guide along the the path to cross-cultural ministry. Click here to start a conversation that could bring deep gratefulness into your life and the lives of countless others.