As I write this, most of our students have made their way home for Thanksgiving. A few of us are not going home for the long weekend, so we will gather for our Thanksgiving meal with a potluck feast hosted by seminarians Ashton and Jennifer Roberts in their on-campus apartment. As the campus gets quieter, and we turn toward some Sabbath brimming with gratitude, I bring you a word of deep thanks for the fully stocked food pantry and gift cards for grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants.
I wish you could see their faces when I hand them a gift card. One student asked, “Who’s it for?” even after I had told him I had a gift for him from the people of the South Carolina synod. Another said, “Oh, but I’m not Lutheran or from South Carolina,” as she tried to hand it back. When I assured her the people of the synod have been generous to the whole of our student body, to whomever has need, she looked down at the card before smiling at me and asking where she can send a thank you card.
This week, I asked some of the recipients how they spent their gifts and how it felt to receive them.
Here are some of their responses:
“Having strangers take care of me by helping to put food in my mouth feels like God working in my life. It is/has been literal, tangible fruit of the Spirit.”
“It was such a blessing to receive a gift card to buy groceries after having to give up my job to move to seminary. It is very reassuring, and affirming, to know that we as seminarians have such great support from others, especially those we have never met.”
“I used the gift card to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheese, and meat. I am so thankful that the SC synod provided gift cards so that I can have fresh, whole foods! Fresh options just aren’t possible at our campus food pantry.”
As we move into the end of the semester, finishing major projects, writing research papers, and taking final exams, our thanks for those who lift us in prayer and support us in various ways is profound. Giving thanks to God for every good gift is our duty and our joy, and we count you among such gifts.
In Christ’s astonishing love,
Jennifer L. Shimota, MDiv (Class of 2012)
Coordinator of Seminary Enrollment