“Friends fight for you, respect you, include you, encourage you, need you, deserve you and stand by you.” Anon
It had never before happened during the time we lived in a small village in the interior of the State of São Paulo. An ordinary weekend became special when the Executive Secretary of our new mission board came to visit us. He wanted to see firsthand what we missionaries were doing out among the coffee ranches in that corner of Brazil. Since my wife Doris wished to be a good hostess doing what she could to impress , she took the unusual step of making a pie for the dinner following the Sunday morning service.
Yes, pies were unusual in our home for she was so involved in our missionary work that fresh fruit was generally the easy option for desert. But on this occasion she wanted to present our visitor with a pie. But there was little available for a pie filling in our village except the fresh Brazilian fruit– those came mostly in season. But she had to try something and that is where the secret came in.
A Papaya tree grew in our yard close to our home and it was usually loaded with fruit weighing at least four kilos. Here North Americans might know it as Pawpaw but no matter the name, we enjoyed it. We ate Papaya as we might a slice of watermelon, sometimes with a spoon or in a smoothie. The papaya became the ingredient for Doris’ pie though as far as she was concerned it was no secret. At the same time it did not seem so very special that she should spread the news. You see, we simply ate Papaya fruit whenever it ripened enough to pick.
We gathered in our home after the worship service for a simple meal made up of what we could buy locally. Our visitor raised not a question about any of the food till he had finished his piece of pie. Then our visitor, Dr. Myron Lamson asked, “Where could you find peaches for this pie? You’ve probably never ever seen peaches in a fruit market in this end of the land?”
Doris answered, “That is not a peach pie. It’s Papaya. This fruit is from the tree you’ve seen in our yard.”
Our visitor was incredulous, “But it tastes just like a peach pie.” So once again Doris stated that it was a Papaya pie and there was no hidden recipe that made it taste as if it were peaches.
Doris never made it a secret about the pie and our visitor never complained about it. But this I know–he returned to his home having learned the secret of what he thought was peach pie.
It may take time to get used to foods in other countries and at other times unusual fruits and vegetables have a wonderful taste. It took some time for me to get used to the taste of mangoes for the taste resembled axle grease—whatever that might be. I recall later on that folks from our church planting project brought a half sack of mangoes. What a treat. No doubt about it, the fruit we ate were at times different, but wonderful.
There is another taste we are encouraged to try. The Psalmist says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Yes, try out the way of Jesus for it includes the forgiveness of sins and hope of eternal life. You will never know the good “taste” of being a follower of Jesus till you try him as your Saviour and Lord. “Taste and see…”