"First Our Souls, Then Our Stomachs."
Written by: Spatulasaurus
Photos by: Ms. Zing Bowl
"Okay guys, before we head into our small groups, everyone give 5 bucks to Christina for dinner!" As the members of 180 Youth reach into their pockets, wallets, purses, and fanny packs, these young students know that they're getting more than just the run-of-the-mill pizza and/or fast food that is typical of most youth get-togethers. No sir, no boring delivery food here. They're in for a family dinner that, after having been carefully thought out, will be cooked and prepared by their own culinary efforts.
The process begins in the middle of the week with Chanmi Kim. After rummaging through recipes online, she chooses a dish that is cost-efficient, easy to make, and delicious to eat. She then hands over the recipe to Christina Kim who shops for the ingredients, making sure to take advantage of any red tag sales. Dishes have included chicken stir-fry, sloppy joe, homemade spam pizza, and tacos. This week, it's Ravioli with Tater Tots. Chanmi was inspired by the hot food lunches of our elementary school days. On top of that, Chef Boyardee was having a 5-for-$1.00 sale!
Coming fresh out of small group, the kids and the teachers are undoubtedly starving. Diving into Pastor Sam's sermon and applying it to your soul will definitely make you hungry! Already heating the pot of about 15 cans of ravioli and warming the oven for 2 trays of tater tots, a new batch of students picked to cook this week prepare the food while the rest relax and fellowship by listening to music, having arm wrestling competitions, and talk about anything from pop culture to school work to what it means to follow Christ.
"Alright, food's ready!" At that announcement, everyone immediately stops whatever they are doing and lines up to be given a plate with a heaping ladleful of ravioli and a handful of tater tots. After receiving their plate, they head on over to the drink station where they pour themselves a cup of soda and grab some chips along the way. For the first few minutes of eating, the room is silent, save for the sound of chewing and plastic forks scraping against styrofoam plates. Once everyone has had their initial bites to satisfy their rumbling stomachs, they proceed to launch back into the joyous cacophony of teenage chatter. Without fail, Puffy Kim is always the first to ask, "Are there seconds?" And of course, there always is. At 5$ per person, two or three platefuls of food is not too shabby.
At the end of the meal, a new cleaning crew chosen that week has the special privilege to wash the dishes, throw away the garbage, and wipe the tables to return the Office to its original clean state before a single can of Chef Boyardee entered the premises. By allowing the students to both cook and clean, they are learning to own this church and add value to the community.
Upon the unplugging of the vacuum cleaner and the turning off of the faucet, the members of 180 Youth end the night with a Christ-centered perspective from small group and a satiated appetite from family dinner, looking forward to what's in store for them next week, both for their stomachs and their souls.