Famous words from my Nanny Ruth Smith… She always could turn a phrase, like “Ain’t that the pot callin’ the kettle black” (meaning -hypocrite). And “Now don’t cut off you’re nose to spite your face (don’t take vengeance on someone at your own expense) or “She done robbed Peter to pay Paul! (never was quite sure on that one…). But my all-time favorite, which I have used on my family for 16 years is “Hunger is the best spice” (self-explanatory). I like to pull this one out whenever someone is whining about dinner being late.
But it takes on a new meaning here in Africa. Many years ago, I remember feeling horrified to learn that a man working for us in Zambia was sifting through our compost heap for food. I became aware that one man’s leftovers is another man’s dinner, and thereafter I never threw away leftover food but always found someone to give it to if we could not eat it all.
Now that we are in Kenya, I am once again painfully aware of the huge gap between those who have enough (us) and the many who don’t.
At the grocery store here, convenience foods are expensive. Imported mixes and specialty items even more so. For example, I can get a “real” jar (small) of Ragu spaghetti sauce – for a price equivalent to about $5-$6US. I can get a large jar of “Skippy” peanut butter for $10US. With a family of seven, that means I need to be willing to cook most everything from scratch and it means I need to be willing to shop in the local markets for fruits, veggies, and fresh ground peanut butter (which I can get for about $1.50US from Caroline in the market -take THAT Skippy!). The nice thing about this is that it is giving my family a new appreciation for simple foods. We can be perfectly happy snacking on fresh butter or cheese and homemade crackers or granola. Our choices are limited. Sometimes we get hungry waiting because it takes a lot more time to prepare the food. But we seem to appreciate it more when it comes.
Recently, we had some new friends over from our team. They live in South Sudan where they can get only a few fresh veggies and almost no fresh fruit. So when they come into Nairobi for rest and supplies, they load up on fruit. Bethany laughed and told me “When we make a big fruit salad and put it on the table here, its like the best dessert in the world because we are so hungry for fruit!” My grandmother’s words came back to me again, and I realized that when our body is really hungry for something, we can’t get enough. No matter what it is, it tastes so good that we just want more.
I want to be hungry like that for God’s Word – always. And when someone else is hungry for the Bread of Life, I want to be ready to offer it to them.
There are spiritually hungry people all around us, wherever we may live. And we have a feast to offer..may God help us do it.
“My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods, with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” Psalm 63:5
Would you please pray for my new friend “K” -she is from China. Pray that she will be hungry for this Bread of Life.
Pray for Mark that he will have opportunities to disciple young men studying for ministry in Kibera and for his upcoming trip to S Sudan.
And always please pray for our children that they will hunger for God’s Word and share it with others.
And finally,for our teammates that they will have the wisdom and opportunity to share Christ with the spiritually hungry in SSudan and in Nairobi.