The Science of Gratitude

faith group VT (1)Gratitude has become a recent topic of several scientific and psychological studies. A few years ago the NY Times published an article explaining how “…an attitude of gratitude has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others…” 1

Another study released by Harvard in 2011 found that “…gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” 2

As Christians, we are called to an attitude of gratitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 implores us: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Psalm 136:6 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.”

I10676284_393726534114172_8367416588774949045_n want to take a moment to live out the science of gratitude now and express my thankfulness to a host of people who have shown their love and support to both me personally and for the ministries of UPH and UrbanTrekkers Honduras.

On a recent trip back to the States, I had the joy and privilege of sharing how God has moved this past year in Copan. I am so thankful for those who voiced their support of UPH and UrbanTrekkers- over 70 people showed up for the Honduras Potluck dinner! I’m especially grateful to the five ladies who went above and beyond in helping me cook Honduran and other Latin American dishes, to help make our dinner more authentic!

10470606_680440745481_7227416492129196237_nI’m thankful to my friends and family who housed me, helped me with rides, fed me, and helped me feel at home while in Vermont and New Jersey! It was such a joy getting to see and talk with you again!

Every time I shared about UPH, it made me realize how grateful I am for the youth I get to work with. To know their stories and the adversities that they face, yet see their attitude in the face of what some may consider hopelessness- that is what keeps me going. I am so grateful that I have the privilege of knowing each and every one of them.

IMG_5436I am grateful for my Copan family; for those at UPH who make my work-days feel more like standing alongside friends. For the community of foreigners and nationals living in Copan- Honduras is really such a beautiful place, with beautiful people.

Next week I will get to show my appreciation at our Thank You Dinner for 12 volunteers who have invested countless hours throughout the year into making our Trekkers program a success. From planning trips to fixing bikes, driving buses to leading devotionals, designing brochures to planting trees- their time, efforts and energy have gone into touching the lives of 170 youth this past year!

IMG_3180All that we have done this year- the expeditions, biking, gardening, community service, and most of all, lives transformed into Christ-like leaders- none of it would have been possible were it not for supporters, donors, and sponsors like you. Your words, your gifts, and your generosity are what keep us going. For that I say thank you. I hope you realize just how far your impact has reached, and the depth of our gratitude.

Gracias!

1 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/science/a-serving-of-gratitude-brings-healthy-dividends.html?_r=0

2 http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/harvard_mental_health_letter/2011/november/in-praise-of-gratitude

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