By Jean M. Brinde

Thanksgiving is about hope. During their first year the Pilgrims, living in what we now called Plymouth, saw the death of all of the children and most of the women. They were without adequate shelter, food or medicine. The homesickness, grief and suffering of the people were immense.

Thanksgiving occurred the next fall as the Pilgrims faced again the hardships of the climate and the lack of previsions. Yet, they gave thanks. They gave thanks because they knew God's faithfulness and hope had not disappointed them. God would continue to be faithful.

Thanksgiving is a celebration of hope for what God will do. Thanksgiving is a celebration of hope that God includes us in the plan.

The Capital Campaign for the North Indiana Conference Outdoor Ministry Project at the Epworth Forest campus in North Webster also is about hope. We are called to be thankful that we have been given the honor to be the people to bring great change.

Did you know?

  • According to the Barna Research Group, 87 percent of all people who make a decision for Jesus Christ do so in their teen years.

  • The National Youth Commitment Survey says the common denominator for youth who make that decision is their experience at a Christian church camp that is affiliated with their local church.

  • Outdoor Ministry is the premier disciple-making ministry of North Indiana Conference. Through these new facilities, 10,000 youth will be reached for Jesus Christ each year.

  • Once a person is in Christ, according to Barna Research Group, he or she needs the connection of Christian community that is found in retreat and camp settings to enhance his or her life in leadership and the church.

In this season of Thanksgiving, we celebrate that we are people of hope. We are people who have been honored to be included in the plan.

Jean M. Brindel, CFRE, AFP, serves as senior pastor of Saint Matthew United Methodist Church in Frankfort, Ind. Her e-mail address is