Training Memories: Beets and Kale

Nearly one year ago, I started training as a missionary. I was in the process of passing off, dumping off, and shrugging off 6 years of grad school and entering into something completely new. During training, I entered into relationship and covenant with 28 other amazing young adults who are committed to serving God and all people. We spent 3 weeks together where we bonded over many things. One of them was food. Much of our training took place at Stony Point Center, a retreat center in New York. Stony Point has an organic farm, and a good amount of the food they served for meals came from the farm. As farming goes, certain crops become ripe and ready at particular points in time. For us, two staples were beets and kale. On our first day, we savored all of the ripe food, plucked from the earth hours earlier, cooked, and delivered to our dinner plates. With food that fresh, I swear you could taste the sunshine it bathed in as it grew. Over the next few days, there was plenty more, and also prepared differently for variety. “Beets and kale again? Yes please!” By the end of training, we were pseudo-prophets, predicting what vegetable duo would be served to us that day. We groaned, both because our taste buds longed for something different and because someone told another bad beets and kale joke. We beatboxed, not using the phonetics “boots and cats,” but instead “beets and kale.” These common vegetables became legendary. Near the end of our training, we reflected on the entire experience. As much as we remembered about justice, spiritual health, living in community, and many others, we could not shake “beets and kale” from our minds. It went on the summary list. In an epiphany moment, I tied it back to my own story. I was living a beets and kale kind of life. I plugged away at the same old thing day after day, not really loving it and not really sure where it was taking me. The chance to serve as a missionary changed everything. I got to leave that old life behind and go on an exciting journey that God called me to. This July, my missionary class closes year one and enters year two of service, the MI class of 2011 and US2 class of 2012 finish their term, and a new class of missionaries is currently being trained and commissioned in the Philippines. In this season, how will we choose to leave behind the ordinary, the mundane, and the everyday beets and kale in exchange for the abundant life promised to us by Christ? Can we leave behind everything we want to follow the One who promised everything we need? As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16-18 NRSV

 Dave Johnson10325128_10202329577576577_4655090294365124033_n
General Board of Church and Society Washington, DC
US-2, Class of 2013-2015
Advance #3021860



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