God's Tomatoes

She holds the tomato in one hand and the knife in the other. Juices run through her fingers as she drops slices onto a plate. The tomato is perfectly red – ripened on the vine in the hot Kenya sun and watered from the cold water of a well. I can almost taste it, just looking at the picture.

I think about the tomatoes in my local grocery store, just a mile and a half down the road. Dry, tasteless hot house Roma tomatoes for just $.99 a pound; vine-ripened tomatoes, probably imported from South America, for $1.49; or those fancy heirloom tomatoes shining in their unusual colors for $2.99. I can pick whichever I want without a second thought.

I imagine our House of Hope kids running into the dining hall and scrambling into their seats to await dinner. Shoes scuff across the concrete floors and metal plates rattle as they’re piled on the tables. What will the staff make with these tomatoes? Or with the other fresh vegetables proudly grown in their own greenhouses?

Spring is approaching here in Georgia and I’m thinking about what I’d like to plant in our little backyard garden. My daughter will soon be 3 and I know she’ll enjoy helping to water the plants and pick our harvest. I won’t think twice about turning on the spigot and feeling the spray of the cold water from the garden hose. She will laugh and try to spray me and turn to dance in the cold water. We’ll probably plant some tomatoes. She will especially enjoy going out every day to pick a handful of cherry tomatoes to pop into her mouth. There will be nothing special about it, other than the simple joy of growing something ourselves.

But I know that under the same summer sun, my friends on the other side of the world will be giving thanks for the nourishment and the vitamins provided by these greenhouse crops. They’ll deliver baskets of fresh produce down to the SERV store at the edge of the HOH property and local families will walk across sand and broken pavement to buy and bring home a small portion of that fresh food. And at the dining tables, the HOH kids will bow their heads to say asante to God for this delicious bounty.

Preston Todd