When I was getting ready to move to Indonesia, I was willing to give up pizza, my mom’s dirt cake and one-stop trips to Wal-Mart. But I had one hope in return—a fruit tree.
Any type of fruit would do—bananas, pineapple, coconut, or something else I didn’t yet know existed.
Thankfully, I ate pizza the first week I got to Indonesia. I figured out how to make dirt cake with local ingredients. And I’ve adjusted to the several-stop shopping that’s common here.
But my first house was crowded in by other slapped-together shacks. My second house was surrounded by cement ground. And my third house—finally one with a yard—didn’t have a single fruit tree in it.
The first chance I had, I planted both a grape vine and a mango tree from a door-to-door salesman. The grape vine shriveled. The mango tree was tiny—a couple feet high, and is still on the small side. And then my friend gave me an off-shoot of her banana tree that produces these gorgeous red bananas with the sweetest flavor. On her tree anyway.
For the past couple of years, I’ve turned my face up to the sky to watch this towering tree with the huge palm leaves grow tall without bearing any fruit. And I wondered what I was doing wrong. Not enough water? Better fertilized soil needed? More pruning?
I’m almost done with my second term—a long four-year one filled with two pregnancies, two newborns, my husband’s pursuit of a master’s degree, lots of comings and goings of fellow team members, hard things like power outages and sicknesses and deaths.
Some days—many days, actually—I see little to no fruit. One of my kids just hit the other. The power is out again. My Indonesian friend has begun wearing a head covering … despite the talks we’ve had.
But then last week, I wiped the sweat out of my eyes and finally saw it. A bunch of ripening bananas hanging from my very own fruit tree.
Then I started noticing the other fruit. My Indonesian friend who became a believer four years ago is leading a Bible study with other believers. Relationships with teammates deepen as we learn to serve together. And my faith grows as I learn to believe the promises that start with seeds.