Rejoice and Give Thanks

Carolyn and Dick Otterness

READ : 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (vv. 16-18)

The scene is a small Roma village in the middle of nowhere in the Hungarian-speaking part of rural Ukraine. A collection of hovels. One well in the village, two outhouses. Filthy children playing outside in the mud. The only foods we saw were potatoes and candy. Yet we could also see a window with a pretty lace curtain and a flower pot blooming on the windowsill.

We entered a home. Inside was a group of Christians singing powerfully with heart and soul. In the midst of poverty and squalor, their prayers were filled with praise and thanksgiving for all that God had done for them. They taught us songs so we could sing with them. They asked us how they could pray for us, the Americans.

Since that first visit two years ago, we have moved to Hungary to share Christian fellowship and service with them. We have much to learn from them. And now, that small Roma village has a new church built from handmade bricks of muddy clay. They are still singing their songs and praying their prayers, giving thanks to God for all things.


Dear God, help us to be like these Christians, rejoicing and giving thanks in all circumstances. Amen.