Monday, July 9, 2012

Moringa--"The Tree of Life"

I have never been very botanically inclined. In fact, plants seem to wither when I come near to them, but I have just learned about one of the most interesting plants I have encountered. It goes by many names, including "tree of life," and "mother's best friend," but here it is called moringa. This cite describes some of it's health benefits, going as far as to call it the "super food."

Moringa is a plant in Cambodia that people are starting to disperse and eat with their food. It does not taste very good, but it contains an unbelievable amount of vitamins and nutrients in each small pod. World Relief is starting to have pastors and other groups farm this plant to bring in an income or mercy fund for the churches, and to help with problems of malnutrition in Cambodia. 

On Sunday, a man was describing to me how to prepare and consume moringa. Apparently it is very bitter, but good with honey. It is so powerful, that it will dry out your mouth and make you feel dizzy and nauseas the first time you try it. You may even feel sick the first week or so of daily consumption. But after eating it for a while, it will result in a much more healthy and energetic life. The man concluded: “It may be very small, and tastes bad, and you can't see results for a long time, BUT it can save lives. It helps the pastors to support themselves, but it also helps the people who eat it.”

It's crazy how powerful the little buggers are. As the man described their function to me, I had two strange mental reactions: 1: Isn't God amazing that he would create something so powerful, stored up in a tiny pod that could be released like an explosion of health? I always thought of plants as kind of lame. (Maybe you still think they are lame). But this was like the white tiger of plants. The beastliest beat there ever was. It is so life-giving. Isn't God amazing?

Secondly, I couldn't help but relate this plant to all of my hopes for my HNGR internship, and even my life as a whole. What I am doing in the world seems so small in the face of all that is happening. Sometimes it is bitter, sometimes sweet. Right now, as I establish my footing here, it's making me feel a little dizzy. But I have hope that greater things will come. I hope, like moringa benefiting both pastor and consumer, that my time can be a time of growth in my heart as well as a shower of God's love on others. Even faith as small as a moringa pod can be potent enough to explode in your mouth, give nutrients to the malnourished, create income for the struggling pastors, and maybe even move mountains. It's not a beautiful plant. It's not a tasty plant. At first glance, it's a fairly useless plant, but within it contains a power that it not its own. It comes from God, and it goes to the people in need. 

Maybe this is just a crazy story about a plant. (I think eating eggs with the baby chick still inside and spiders and snails and fruits that taste like diapers is getting to my head!) But at any rate, my prayer for all of you is that the bitterest, ugliest moments you may be encountering right now would be able to eventually stop making you dizzy, but give you the power and peace you need to face tomorrow. 

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