Every time I eat a banana, I remember. Every time I taste a banana that is exactly the right blend of tart and sweet, I dream. Every time I see the bleached yellow or speckled brown bananas at the local grocery store, I sigh. What is it about bananas that throws me into this reflective mood? The last time I ate a “real” banana was in January 2010. In Papua New Guinea. Bananas in Papua New Guinea are not the same as bananas here. They are brighter yellow, or even red, depending on the variety. They are sweeter, yet not mushy. They are fresh. Bananas in Indiana just aren’t the same.
Every time I eat a banana I remember Papua New Guinea. I remember the beautiful people, the beautiful mountains, and the beautiful weather. I remember the fresh fruit–pineapples, bananas, mangoes, and more. I remember the silence and stillness. I remember sitting with Bena women attempting to make bilims. I remember struggling to speak Pidgin and Bena and Simbari. I remember laughing with Bena women and children. I remember praising the Lord with believers from around the world in a language I could not understand. I remember the need for the Gospel.
Every time I eat a banana I dream. I dream of returning to Papua New Guinea as a teacher at Hoskins or Lapilau. I dream of making a difference. I dream of enabling missionaries to continue their work on the field: translating the Gospel, learning the language and culture of unreached people groups, and raising up new believers in the Lord. I dream of influencing students to excellence in communication and life. I dream of worshiping the Lord in a circle of believers from various language groups and experiencing the fellowship of the family of God across culture barriers.
Every time I eat a banana I sigh. I sigh because the journey is always harder than the destination. I sigh because I am impatient, finding it hard to wait on the Lord’s perfect timing. I sigh because the harvest is ripe and the harvesters seem few. I sigh because every minute people are dying who do not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel in their own language.
Bananas may be a little thing, but even a banana can stir up reflection in the heart of one on the journey of faith in a lost and broken world. May I always be sensitive to the call of the Spirit, always be patient in the journey, and always accept the training of the Lord, that I might one day be a willing and useful servant in the work of the Master…perhaps even in the “land of bananas.”