“This food isn’t great. How do you handle eating it every day?” a new student on the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) campus asked, her face scrunched up. I was sitting at the cafeteria, the plates in front of us heaped with chicken and rice. Instead of her question, I just heard what I have all my life: This is gross—they should do better. Yes, I agreed with her when it came to meatloaf nights. Then I glanced across the cafeteria to the kitchen. How did I handle eating food cooked for hundreds of people, every day? It was simple. I remembered that there were people behind my plate. However, I never imagined I would be one of them.

When I decided to do a School of Writing at YWAM Kona, the campus I grew up on, I knew I’d get “work duty”. There were dozens of jobs, and our school landed on dinner prep. The extravert in me was stoked. Hair nets, maroon aprons, and latex gloves were not as fun, but week by week I chatted to my crew (lots of Koreans!) as we assembled sandwiches and scrubbed drains. No one ever saw me in the back of the kitchen. Six weeks in, a little part of me started to wonder: Does this job really matter?

Then Darlene Cunningham, the co-founder of YWAM, spoke about how she and Loren were in charge of the operations of the entire campus at one point. Even then, they left the campus for two weeks and things still ran smoothly. “Imagine if the cooks took a break for two days! How would the campus be doing after that?” she asked the sea of us YWAM students. “What job matters more? Aren’t they both just as valuable?”

Sitting in my chair, I remembered the cooks that prepared my meals my whole childhood. I thought of our team of chefs and working tirelessly, despite complaints about the food. Also, I pictured the drains two days before, as I fished out bits of lettuce and unidentified blobs. Our leader thinks my job is that valuable? I mean, I hoped it was. However, we all need a little encouragement to keep going. This week, I just got the privilege of the co-founder of our mission giving me that encouragement.

So, wherever you are, please know again that your job matters more than you know, however seen or unseen it is. And if someone cooked your food today—whether it was just for you or for a hundred people—don’t forget to say thank you.

​You could encourage them more than you know.

Photo: Real-life cafeteria food when I was in high school, 2010. YWAM Kona, Hawaii. 🙂

Fri, 18 May 2018 00:58:23 GMT