Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Torit

 We celebrated Thanksgiving two days this week. 

We have a huge pumpkin garden and a pile of pumpkins we have harvested.  These are a few I saved to make pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving. 

On Thanksgiving day,  Abigail and I made a turkey out of a toilet paper roll.  As missionaries, we learn not to throw ANYTHING away!  You may see towels covering bowls on the grill in the background . . . those are rolls rising in the sun.

Kevin smoked some ribs to share with the Kenyan workers and staff.  We shared why we celebrate Thanksgiving in America and told them we traditionally gather with family and EAT EAT EAT! 

On Saturday, we gathered at the Bylers' with other missionaries and pastor Peter and family from church.

Our table center piece, complete with Abigail and my toilet paper roll turkey and a Hokie Bird (VA Tech's mascot, Kevin's alma mater).   A short term missionary left it at the Bylers' house and it made Kevin feel at home!

Who needs Starbucks?   I was craving a pumpkin spice latte. So, I found a recipe and made some to go with our appetizers out of the leftover pumpkin.  One of the missionaries from Canada brought some Canadian smoked Salmon (my favorite!)  We ate it on some crackers the Bylers' brought from the states.  These are treats that are hard to come by, rare, and travel MANY miles to grace our tables in Sudan!

Our Thanksgiving . . . tur . . .chicken.   This is also a very rare find in Sudan.  There is a new restaurant in town run by Arabs that has wonderful chicken.  The local chickens running around our compound are too tough to enjoy.  The restaurant sold these whole frozen chickens to us.  Linda Byler made stuffing and stuffed the chickens and baked them in her charcoal oven.  They were GREAT!  

Kevin is our traditional tur . . .chicken carver. 

Phillip Byler carved one of the tur . . .chickens.

Debra is a new missionary with African Inland Mission from South Korea.  She is here working with local street kids now living on the African Inland Church compound. 

Phillip and Linda Byler enjoyed hosting our Thanksgiving meal. 

Philip Byler asked us to find a symbol around the house or yard that symbolized what we are thankful for.  I chose a picture of a little child.  I am thankful for Abigail and our children that have come to Hope for Sudan.  Kevin chose his cell phone.  We are both thankful for our means of communication.  A few more feet from our compound we would be out of cell phone and internet range and have to use a satellite phone.  I often think about that not too long ago missionaries in Africa had little to no communication with their friends and families in their home countries. 

After our meal we gathered around and sang Christmas songs and lit the first candle in the yule log (a few days early) to celebrate the beginning of advent. 

 The Yule Log

We ended the day with a piece of pumpkin pie from pumpkins out of our garden.

Abigail enjoyed putting her hands in the cake and pie and helping herself!

 We continue to be thankful DAILY for you, our friends and family, who support and pray for us, the staff here, and the kids. 


  1. beautiful! Looks like a wonderful celebration. I do have to say that stuffed turkey doesn't look like a Hokie bird though. Looks like a beanie baby:)

  2. Shalene,

    I love reading about your adventures as you serve in Sudan. I have three boys and would love for them to grow up with missions in their hearts. We give to missionaries through our church, but would love to have a more personal way for them to give. I was wondering if there is any way to send you things that you may miss from the states or little gifts for Abigail. That way we could follow your blog together as a family and they could see the family we are praying for and sending things. Please let me know. You can email me at

    Christy Sanchez (formerly Christy Watson from New Life)