| EXCHANGE OF IDEAS
What happened when a reader encountered an old book?
Memories mark the pages of the red guestbook we started when we arrived for service in East Africa in 1966. In succeeding years many travelers bound for far places gathered around our modest “banquet table.” Visitors from Australia, Burundi, Japan, Oregon, Germany, Hawaii, New Guinea, and Denmark signed the book—mission workers traveling to and from furlough, General Conference employees coming to educate and perhaps be educated, and folks with musical names (Sissel and Gillian, Dulcie, Pastor Chafic, Meshach, Sabena) passed through our home.
Sharing a slice of our visitors’ lives and plans was exciting, mixing cultures with new foods and spices was challenging, and exchanging recipes filled the house with exotic aromas. Blessings asked by visitors in their native languages became a ritual. They were wonderful years!
Our first Christmas was spent in Nairobi, Kenya, with Ernie and Bernice Gackenheimer, eating her delectable roast frosted with mashed potatoes. Our hospitable neighbor, Lilian Buckley, was quick to organize potlucks. When dentist Earl Richards and his family arrived in Nairobi and started the hospitality meal circuit, their youngest son, Andre, weary of travel and change, fell asleep into his bean soup at our table.
D. W. Holbrook amazed us with his story of the bowl of soup fed to him in a far-off land with a sheep eyeball bobbing in it as one of the ingredients. Carol Whiting at Ishaka Hospital introduced us to her special recipe using pumpkin blossoms. Perpetua insisted that we make real Jell-O to impress visiting members of parliament; our children squatted by the hens to catch and bring in newly laid warm brown eggs. Elsa Lonergan, from Heri Health School in Tanzania, carefully carved carrots into the world “Welcome” for our salad platter.
There were humorous times—such as when I hoodwinked a departmental brother into enjoying apple pie (made with green tomatoes instead); or when the kerosene leaked into the cooling pumpkin pie in the pantry!
African friends introduced us to roasted maize, ugali, clabbered milk. And when we ate their eggs, hard-boiled especially for us, they laughingly pointed out that they ate only the meat, but we ate “everything—the beak, the eyes, the feathers!”
A multitude of memories come to mind by simply leafing through the old guestbook and seeing the signatures there! What a reunion it will be when we fellowship together around the great banquet table blessed in the language of heaven for God’s “feast of the finest foods … seven courses … lavish with gourmet desserts” (Isa. 25:6, Message).*
— Beverly Campbell Pottle, Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States
*Texts credited to Message are from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.