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Hallo again to all.

We awoke one morning this week greatly hoping that something – tomatoes, peppers, anything really – would have started growing from our young, small garden. An early spring harvest could be expected in our part of the northern hemisphere. Regretfully, although not altogether unsurprisingly, nothing but herbs were ready for harvesting. With that we trotted off to a local farmers' market in search of produce for the week's meals.

Rather than the trendy downtown market at which we often exchange pleasantries with acquaintances and learn of upcoming events, we visited the large market on the outskirts of town. This, the larger, more practical of the markets often carries fewer of the 'hipper' vegetables, but is always a good source of large quantities of in-season standards, as well as the much-desired 'seconds'.

Seconds are those pieces of produce that aren't quite perfect enough to sell for full price – they may be an odd shape or bumped and a bit bruised, not quite the most visually appealing, but are sold in bulk at a reduced rate and are often perfect for a sauce or salsa, canning, pie filling, or jellies and jams.

We seasonally look forward to the sweet taste of strawberries and the tangy tomato sauce out of these otherwise 'not good enough' fruit. We came to wonder what other things come in 'seconds'. Improperly made clothing is often sent to lower-end outlets, many electronics retailers sell disfigured items for a lower price, but people, certainly people aren’t categorized as 'seconds'.*

News and social media outlets have recently been filled with coverage of the 300 Nigerian girls who were abducted from their school in the north-eastern state of Borno last month. Facebook walls and Twitter feeds have been filled with impassioned pleas from around the world to 'Bring Back our Girls'. Coverage of the abductions was not immediate in international markets, leaving us to wonder if these young women were viewed as 'seconds.' Some of the over 50 women who escaped have come forward to talk about their experience and understanding of the plans of Boko Haram, the organization that led this and other kidnappings. With the international outcry this has garnered, and possible assistance by western governments in helping reclaim these young women, we pause to wonder, what about the other thousands of boys and girls who go missing from their homes throughout the world.

Children in Sudan, Guatemala, the United States, and even more from Nigeria just last week. Are these children, then, our seconds? Those who just 'aren't desirable enough' to spend our time or energy to find?

We don't for a moment believe that people can be considered seconds, and certainly none are seconds in the eyes of God. While we leave the task of locating those who are missing to governments and leaders, we'll be praying that these girls and those others throughout the world who have been misplaced, will be brought home safely.

See you next week.

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11 May 2014

*With our box of peach seconds under our arm, and an array of other vegetables in our canvas bag, we found our way home, excited for the week’s meals. Perhaps soon, hopefully by Rogation day, we’ll be enjoying the 'fruits' of our own labour from the garden.

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