On Tuesday of last week, I didn’t think I was going to survive. I’d been cooking for a group of 90 students and adults at U.M. ARMY (our high school mission trip) for a little over a day, and I thought I was going to die.
I called my mom and left a voice message that was something to the effect of, “Momma, I just wanted to call and talk. Oh, and I have a new appreciation of you. Cooking at camp sucks.”
Earlier that day, I’d tried to light the stupid gas oven for over 15 minutes, without success. I finally just sat in the floor and almost cried. I’d been to MANY camps, mission trips, etc., but I was way more tired than I’d ever been before. Maybe the fact that we got up around 5:15 a.m. every morning had something to do with it… I now understand what they’re talking about when they say that cooks have the hardest job.
I was honestly wishing that I hadn’t agreed to be the kitchen coordinator. But then I was able to go to the pool with our students…and everything changed.
I walked around and took some pictures of the students in the pool and playing volleyball.
And then I had a chance to just sit and talk with some of “our girls” and some other students on the bleachers. And it was literally the highlight of my week.
For any of you who have been a part of a youth ministry (either as a student or an adult), you know that a LOT of connecting takes place over the summer. So much bonding happens at camp and other events. Quite a few of our students that went haven’t been very active in the youth group up until this past mission trip. So I was hoping for a chance to really bond with them. And since I had to be in the kitchen (or going to Wal-Mart or Sam’s) all day, I felt like I wasn’t getting that.
But on Tuesday night, it was great.
We just sat and talked about school and sports and youth camps and Compassion International and lots more. I feel like God gave me those couple of hours with those girls. In fact, I know that He did. He knew that I needed it–not only so I could get out of the kitchen before I tore the oven out of the wall but also so that I could grow closer to some of these girls.
Because ministry happens when relationships are formed.
Wednesday through Friday, I was able to go out and visit the work sites for a few hours in the afternoon. After we (Michael’s mom and a girl named Becca–who completely saved me in the kitchen!) went on our daily Wal-Mart run (which consisted of 3-4 baskets full of food to get us through the next day), we’d hurry and prepare that night’s dessert and/or snack, and then we’d have some free time.
Since I was craving time with our kids, I was able to drive around and visit the students and see all of the awesome work they were doing.
I was SO proud of them! They did everything from build wheelchair ramps and porches to replace siding on houses to painting to fixing floors and roofs. It was awesome to see God use them to bless the people in the town where we were.
Even though I felt so tired before I headed out to see them, it became one of the best parts of my day. It was as if I was re-energized after I saw what a great job they were doing.
By the end of the week, I was really glad that I was asked to be in the kitchen. All of the recipes turned out great (thanks for all of the desserts and snacks, Mom!), and I was able to go and visit with everyone instead of just having my work group of students. God knew what He was doing–as always.
In fact, I’d like to do kitchen again sometime. Granted, I’ll do a few things differently–like take my own pans, mixers, etc.; buy thin bacon instead of super thick bacon (I guess we should have looked at the package!); etc.–but I would like to do it again. Well…maybe without the gas ovens.
It turned out to be an incredible week. And I’m thankful that God allowed me to be a part of the ministry that took place.