I Think I Ate Too Much

“I think I ate too much. This was rude of me. Next time I will be more careful.”

I was walking towards my bus along the other evening with a friend when he (I will call him Ricky) said this to me. I would have laughed if he was not so sincere. Instead I explained a little bit more about Thanksgiving and assured him that for this celebration eating too much was the best thing he could do. It is part of the Thanksgiving tradition and it is a way to tell our hosts they have done an excellent job preparing our meal.

A few hours earlier I had entered the apartment of some American friends along with Ricky. He is an adult student that I first met when teaching an English conversation class. Soon others joined in so that the people who would celebrate Thanksgiving together represented China, Germany, and America along with the cities of Konya and Gaziantep. Our conflicting schedules meant we were a few days late but we still had the traditional American spread. There was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes (with American gravy), corn casserole, homemade dinner rolls and a cheese and broccoli dish. For dessert we had pumpkin pie, apple pie, carrot cake, and ice cream. We had to bend a little to local culture and we had Turkish coffee and tea along with various other drinks but no apple cider.

“Ricky” was the only Muslim but he was not the only one there for whom this was the first ever Thanksgiving celebration. We ate and talked and then played some games. As dessert was being finished off and the night was winding down, we all went around the circle sharing something we were grateful for. We then all bowed our heads and went around the circle again in prayer.

“I want to thank you for having me over. I have never in my life prayed like this. It is so different. It is so good.” There is no way I can adequately express what it is like to hear a grown Turkish man say this in public while fighting back tears. Most Muslims who don’t speak Arabic have no idea what it is they are saying when they pray. The words are just sounds and it is the motions and the ritual that for them are the truly important matter.

This was Ricky’s first truly intimate moment of connection with God and we desperately pray that it will not be his last. He has promised to eventually come to our church but he wanted us to understand that he will come to the English service not the Turkish one. He says he wants to come so he can practise his English not because he wants to learn about God. Hey, whatever gets him through those doors, we will take it.

This holiday season I just want to send out a huge thank you to all of you who continue to give and pray for me here in Turkey and for those like Ricky I am coming in contact with every day. The transition over this past month from Istanbul to Gaziantep has been both incredibly difficult and amazingly rewarding. I know without a doubt that I cannot do it without your continued prayers. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, çok teşekkür ederim.

His Servant,
BJ Richardson

To get into the holiday spirit The River Walk will be doing things a little differently in December. From the first right up to Christmas we will be doing a series called “The 25 songs of Christmas”. Thanks to all who have continued to faithfully read and use these devotionals. If you would like a say in what songs are going to be used, feel free to send me an email requesting your favorite. I will do my best to honor everyone’s requests but the longer you wait the harder it might be to fit it in.

There is a secret group on facebook that receives updates and prayer requests about once a week on what is happening here in Southeast Turkey. If you are not a part of this group and would like to be, please let me know and we can make that heppen.
Copyright © 2016 The River Walk, All rights reserved.

8 thoughts on “Thankful

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  1. BJ, what a lovely Thanksgiving, indeed.
    I would consider it an honor to be part of your FB prayer group though I’m not on FB very often. Is there a way I can receive updates via email? I would very much like to pray for your group.


    1. I do send out monthly emails but they are usually much more heavily edited and not as timely for urgent needs. Send me an email to bj@tworiversassembly and I will add you to the mailing list. The next one will come out probably between Christmas and New Year.


  2. I would love to be in that facebook group, BJ. I have found great encouragement in your many posts on The River Walk and also following your journeys in Turkey. I came home recently from a 6 month overseas mission experience, and your posts and updates keep the greater mission field of the world close to my heart.

    Thank you, Shannon

    On Sun, Nov 27, 2016 at 8:59 AM, Between Two Seas wrote:

    > BJ posted: ” I Think I Ate Too Much “I think I ate too much. This was rude > of me. Next time I will be more careful.” I was walking towards my bus > along the other evening with a friend when he (I will ca” >


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