Electrifying the world: one village at a time
Oklahoma Association of
As we enter the month of November, it’s a part of our culture to think about the festivities of Thanksgiving and the many reasons we have to be thankful, such as our families, friends, local communities, churches and our work. I recently had an experience that made me contemplate how abundantly blessed we are. Last month, I had the privilege of visiting two remote villages in Guatemala where volunteer co-op linemen from Oklahoma and Colorado worked to bring first-time access to electricity. These poverty-stricken villages, Pie del Cerro and Tierra Blanca Salinas, lack access to basic necessitites such as food refrigeration, plumbing and running water. The villagers are no strangers to hard work; they labor from sunup to sun down making sure they have food on the table to feed their families; they rely on crops of corn, coffee and spices for sustainment and for trade.
It was an honor to witness the hard work of volunteer linemen at these villages and the bonds they formed with the local people. Our volunteers collaborated with a local municipal utility, Empresa Municipal Rural de Electricidad (EMRE), working on a span of nearly nine miles of line to bring electricity to more than 100 homes, two elementary schools, two health centers and five churches. At the lighting ceremony, also known as “Inauguration Day,” local leaders expressed their gratitude to our team. They sang the national anthem of Guatemala as well as the U.S. National Anthem. It was a moving moment where the bonds of friendship were strengthened above international boundaries.
Despite their economic hardship and lack of material possessions, the people of Guatemala are filled with joy and gratitude. It is our hope that access to electricity will aid in their economic prosperity, enhanced education, better access to health care and a higher quality of life—just like it did for us in rural America when electric cooperatives were formed. This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my newly formed friendships in Guatemala, the gift of electricity that they will enjoy for generations to come and for the many blessings we partake of with our families and friends here at home.
Thanksgiving: a time to be thankful
Oklahoma Association of
Fall is my favorite time of the year. Coming out of a hot summer and welcoming cooler temperatures, beautiful fall foliage colors and crisp mornings really make me appreciate God’s beautiful creation that is all around us.
Thanksgiving Day is an annual national holiday in the United States as well as other countries that celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. It is generally acknowledged that the first Thanksgiving Day celebration in America occurred when the Pilgrims, by order of Gov. William Bradford, held a three-day festival to commemorate their harvest in the autumn of 1621.
Despite this early beginning, Thanksgiving Day was not celebrated in America as a regular national holiday for more than two centuries after 1621. During the Revolution, days of thanks were set aside for special occasions and Nov. 26, 1789, was proclaimed by George Washington as the first national day of thanksgiving. But the day still had not become an institution. President Lincoln proclaimed a national harvest festival on Nov. 26, 1863. From that time on, Thanksgiving Day has been an annual holiday in the United States. In December 1941 Congress passed a resolution making the fourth Thursday of November a national holiday.
Thanksgiving was and, in some forms, still is a home festival with religious connotations. As in the days of the Pilgrims, turkey is the traditional meat for that day, and other autumnal dishes, such as pumpkin pie that stress the harvest theme. We have a lot to be thankful for in our great country. As it is expressed in Psalms 95:2, “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” I hope you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving.