Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dying of Hunger

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good." ~Psalm 34:8a

"Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."  ~Deuteronomy 8:3

"And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; he that comes to me shall never hunger ...'" ~John 6:35

They've returned.

Each year we have lived here, a precious little Barn Swallow couple has built a nest in the corner of our front porch - out of the wind and rain, if not the comings and goings of their human neighbors, though they've learned to tolerate us pretty well.

Right now we (sorry, that was a maternally-spoken "we") have six little ones in the nest. They provide a good excuse to ignore the laundry, as they sit there with their pitifully-feathered little heads hanging over the side, seemingly limp as wet washcloths. Amazingly, though, whenever they hear Momma or Daddy approaching, their heads pop up, mouths open toward the sky ... er, roof, eager for whatever fly or moth or other envyable treat said parent has brought to satisfy their tummies. Six little heads vying for food. Six little beaks open. Six little tweeters making a ruckus, hoping to be the favored one of the moment.

This is hunger ... pure and simple. OK, maybe with a little instinct thrown in, but still. We're talking about pathetic, helpless little creatures who would die without the nourishment supplied by the caretakers God has provided for them. What if they had no parents? Oh, maybe an insect would occasionally crawl or fly into the nest on its own volition (and death wish), and perhaps a sparrow-ling might even figure out how to ingest it on his own. But, normally at this point, they need someone to provide food so that they can grow healthy and strong and eventually soar on the wings God gave them.

Have you ever been hungry? I mean, really hungry? Chances are, few of us really know what true hunger is.  I felt "hungry" so I ate nine pieces of veggie pizza, or sixteen chocolate chip cookies.  Turns out that was gluttony.  Who knew?

But, what about spiritual hunger? Do we know true hunger for the things of God? For the Word of God? For the presence of God? For God Himself?  

I'm asking myself the questions, too.

And wondering if God-gluttony is even possible.  Can you overindulge on God "to the point of waste?"  Yes, you can overindulge on religion - on religious practice and behavior - to the point where you lose sight of the true taste of Yahweh.  But overindulge on Him?  I doubt it.

All around the world people are hungry for God and for spiritual Truth.  The saddest part is, most of them do not even realize it.  Oh, they might know they're missing something, and they almost certainly try to satisfy it with other things - even good things - but short of filling that void with the Lord himself, they will but remain hungry.  

They need someone to supply the food they need.  These infants and children, yes, even grown men and women who are utterly helpless in and of themselves to capture That which truly satisfies.    We are most certainly broken vessels - far too unworthy to be the ones to take the Word of God to them - but yet, in His wisdom, He has seen fit to assign that task to us.  To all of us.

Oh sure, there are stories of God revealing Himself in miraculous ways - dreams, for instance - to a people group who have never heard the name of Jesus.   Later, when missionaries did enter the area, they would hear excited statements such as, "We've been waiting for you to come and tell us about this man, Jesus!"  Though they may, supernaturally, have known his name, they were still waiting on someone to respond to God's commission to go and tell, to provide Food so that they could grow healthy and strong and eventually soar on the wings God gave them.

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?'  And I said, 'Here am I.  Send me!'"  ~Isaiah 6:8

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Forced Domesticity

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet.”  ~Fran Lebowitz

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”  ~Doug Larson

“Domesticity has to mean nesting.  Otherwise, six months go by and you don’t know where your underwear is.”  ~Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio


Forget Atkins and South Beach.  I'm totally counting on the Papua New Guinea (Ice-cream-closing-in-on-$10-per-half-gallon) diet plan.  

Gone will be the days of purchasing boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Instead, whole (though, thankfully, beheaded and plucked) chickens can be delivered right to your doorstep.

Tortillas, bread, buns, noodles, pitas ... all from scratch.

No more Hamburger Helper, no more taco seasoning packets, no more cake mix. 


No more Sonic.


Though I have talked about it in the past, now I will finally be forced to cook, and even more frightning, plan ahead.

On the suggestion of other Wycliffe members, I have acquired the Mennonite cookbook, More-

With-Less.  At first glance, it's nothing to go wild over; the cover is plain and not particularly appealing.  Grains, legumes, and Swiss cheese create the outline of the Mennonite Central Committee logo ("a cross emptying into action in the form of a dove of peace?") to remind us all that the combination of grains and legumes or dairy and legumes or dairy and grains or ice cream and pizza ... or something like that ... form complete proteins.   

Uh huh.

The inside is filled with tasty morsels of wholesome, organic wisdom in the form of "Puerto Rican Rice and Pigeon Peas," "Soybean Souffle," and "Our-Children-Love-Liver."

Uh huh.


My mouth is watering even as I type.  Oh wait ... that's bile.


But it's all good, right?  'Cause I'm gonna lose weight and we're all going to be healthier.  :)

Three times a week, the national ladies bring their market to the center and for two hours you can feast your eyes on some of the juciest, freshest fruits and vegetables on the planet.  Even things that they themselves would not eat - broccoli, lettuce, etc. - they will grow because they know the missionaries will buy them.  And why wouldn't we, when a can of cut green beans is $2.00 and a huge handful of whole green beans (enough for several cans) costs ten cents?


So we're about to transition into a kind of forced domesticity.  

A few months ago my husband and the kids made tortillas.  And he's been experimenting with

 various kinds of bread

here and there.  Today?  He made granola.  I always thought making granola was pouring it out of the box into a bowl and adding milk and a spoon.   

On second thought, I think I'll let my husband do the cooking.  I’ll be out getting the underwear off the clothes line before I forget where it is.

We are missionaries serving God and the task of Bible translation by serving the missionary community in Papua New Guinea through Personnel Administration and MK Education. We thank you for your prayers!

For the Bibleless Peoples of the World ...

(Updated 13 April 2013)