“Your wife must teach us this. We don’t know how.”
“Please, when can she come to teach us this.”
“Timothy, how is it that your wife can make this? Please, she must teach us.”
So what will I be teaching? Hygiene? Childcare? Biblical principles of motherhood? Home-medicine for moms? Discipleship? Missions? Something noble and worthy... right?
The ladies here are crazy for Western-culture style baked goods.
At first, I resisted - Zambians already struggle to have a healthy diet. Their affordable foods are white corn meal, soy oil, and salt. Sometimes these 3 items make up 80% or more of their diet, leading to problems such as blood pressure or diabetes.
The last thing they need is a cupcake. But they really, really wanted to learn how to bake.
To sweeten the deal, so to speak, they have a big vision. The ladies are police chaplains and they want to host cooking classes at the police station.
They want to bring discipleship and skills training to the wives and widows of the police officers so that they can have a means of supplementing their meager income.
Many of these families can not afford to put all their children in school each year. They struggle to get wholesome meals on the table and keep up with medical costs.
Outreach multiplied. I love it.
I decided that if we are going to have cooking lessons, we are going to do it thoroughly. And we were going to do it for Jesus.
To me, that means more than praying before our lesson or thanking God for good food and supplies.
While that is part of the process, my goal is to help these women learn joy in the kitchen, skill in providing their families with delicious and nutritious foods (even if they are baked goods!), and some guidance and tips to pass these skills on to their children.
We have only just begun, but I have really enjoyed the opportunity to fellowship with these women. I have learned so much about their lives while sharing kitchen and home skills with them.
For African women, housework like cooking, cleaning, and childcare starts young. I am talking about 8-year-olds cooking over an open fire and carrying a sibling around on their back while running errands and tending the field or garden.
There is precious little joy in something that has been hard labor from such a young age.
It is an absolute privilege to help these women have fun in the kitchen. Combining it with a better understanding of nutrition and home health makes the lessons practical.
Doing it with muffins makes it memorable!
Next week we are learning about vitamins and protein... with banana bread! We are also learning about taking time in the kitchen. Taking time with our children. Taking time for our relationship with Jesus.
Please pray for the ladies who come to my table.
Pray that they learn skills that will help them bring delicious and nutritious foods to their homes. That they will find joy and Jesus in their homes and in their fellowship with each other.
Ask the Lord to help them successfully supplement their incomes and give their children better food and more opportunities.
And I would pass on the challenge that God gave me.
If He can use my (rather ordinary) muffins for His kingdom, he can use your skills too! What can you share from your home with someone who wants to learn?
About the Author
ITMI partner, Ashley Keller lives a missionary-life in Kabwe, Zambia with her husband Timothy and their four hyper-active children. She enjoys adventure, playing with her kids (especially when that can double with adventure), pretending she’s a kitchen scientist, and finding natural, simple ways of living. Ashley blogs about her experiences and ministry at Kellers in Africa.