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Pickled Beets and Egg Salad: The Answer of a Small Prayer

pickled beets; hilary hamblin author; answer of a small prayer

Hang on tight, friends. You’re about to take a trip through my train of thought. Imagine for a moment that you are on board the Magic School Bus and you just zoomed right up my nose into my brain. It may be as gross and bumpy a ride as you imagine.

As I was cutting cucumbers for pickles a couple of weeks ago, I thought about how much I like pickled vegetables. Cucumbers, okra, banana peppers. I even enjoyed pickled beets once during my summer as a missionary in Arizona.


I tried pickled beets again a couple of years later and they were terrible. At the time I thought I maybe I didn’t remember the flavor right or this place where I ate pickled beets the second time just didn’t make them right.


I also ate egg salad sandwiches while I was in Arizona. (That’s the gross part.) I don’t like eggs unless my husband cooks them with a lot of cheese. Those sandwiches in Arizona were pretty tasty though. I tried to make an egg salad sandwich after I got home from Arizona. Once, that’s all it took.

During that summer in Arizona, a couple of really sweet ladies took my summer missions partner and me to Dairy Queen for a treat one afternoon. They insisted we have ice cream. For my entire life, I’ve been allergic to dairy products. My mom made ice cream for my sister and me from soy milk. That day at Dairy Queen I ordered a strawberry shortcake and tried not to eat much of the ice cream. I was too far away from home to die from an allergic reaction, but I was also too young to realize how dangerous it was. Turns out, my allergy had lessened over the years.


The summer missionary’s blessing, as it was told to me and I have repeated it to others, was, “Lord, I’ll get it down if You can keep it down.”

Families of the churches we served sacrificed to provide food for us. They bought our meals in restaurants and shared their home cooking with us. Many of those who fed us were on fixed incomes. We were instructed early on in our training to show our gratitude for their sacrifice and to eat what they provided for us.

The third or fourth week we were there we stayed in a home where the parents had left their teenage daughter in charge. We had no transportation and the only food in the house was a couple of hot pockets. Luckily we talked the daughter into taking us to Wendy’s one night for supper. Our gratefulness for whatever food was provided increased a tremendous amount after that stay.

This summer marked 20 years since I spent the summer in Arizona. God spoke many things into my heart that trip, including that He was not calling me into the ministry. Despite that lack of calling, He used that summer to speak to me throughout my life.


A few weeks ago as I thought about those odd food combinations God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I heard your prayer and I answered it.” 


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