We found some fresh celery in the store yesterday and practically started dancing. Then, we found some broccoli that wasn’t limp and yellow. Cue the orchestra.
Our search for fresh produce since we have been here has been largely unrewarded. There are vegetable stands everywhere, but they usually lack refrigeration and appear to only get fresh produce once or twice a week.
Even in air-conditioned supermarkets the selection is limited and the color pallet tends toward starch. Fortunately I like cabbage, because you can usually find it, but mostly purple. Cucumbers, zucchini and squashes of various sorts are also available.
There appears to be little demand for things that are green. If you order a salad in a restaurant there will be a little lettuce with a lot of carrots, green peas and beets. We eat lots of broccoli at home and I confess I was getting a little tired of it; now I find myself longing for it.
But once you start making lists of thing you miss you quickly begin to understand the sacrifices missionaries make are not only the large ones, like holidays with families. There are Ziplock bags and peanut butter and an infinity of daily comforts and conveniences.
I appreciate the example of Hudson Taylor who grew a pony-tail to fit in with the Chinese, much to the dismay of his more refined British contemporaries. I appreciate the effort the Hoyts are making to adapt to the schedule of this culture, with its siestas and dinners late at night. But being a missionary is not only about the choices we make; it is also about the choices we no longer have.
Yes, the sacrifices are small, from an eternal perspective. But they are real nonetheless.
And sometimes they are green.