Lo’s Kitchen: The Way to My Heart.

April 14, 2013

Cooking Class 023A world of crazy.

“You know, I’m going home in less than four months,” I casually dropped to the kiddos after I asked many of them where they had disappeared to over the summer. An obvious, guilty silence fell over the room, bringing pause to the cookie rolling and evasive alibis they tried to feed me.

Then all at once, they started back up, “Are you serious?” “Forever?!?” “Will you come back?” “Why??”

Over the din of a thousand questions, S laid them all to the wayside with an incredulous and borderline frantic, “WHO IS GOING TO TEACH COOKING CLASSES THEN???” This was S, who in a country where boys tend not do anything in the home and especially not “womanly” tasks such as cooking, and who a year ago, had never cut a tomato in his life, expressing regret that these culinary workshops had a rapidly approaching expiration date. My heart overflowed.

These cooking classes have been my pride and joy, and more than that, a saving grace. To put it crudely, they feel like the only thing I have done here that someone else hasn’t ruined for me, and I cling to the victories they bring. They are a reminder that even when there is not much immediate fruit in the seeds I’ve planted these past years, there is still the chance that these kids will find better things in their future because they were loved in this time in their lives. Love covers over a multitude of terrible things (and perhaps not coincidentally so do cinnamon sugar doughnuts).

But truly, it has been a privilege to couple a passion with a unique opportunity to form meaningful relationships with teenagers we have struggled to reach. Perhaps unorthodox, perhaps not so sustainable as a ministry, but somehow still a channel to speak cupcakes, cuisine, and most importantly, hope into the lives of the young and vulnerable.

This past Monday was the first class after a frustrating hiatus of absence and what seemed like apathy. But then SEVEN kids showed up, including a teenager I have been trying to get into the church since I arrived in Paraguay. Everyone was on their best behavior, and some were even demonstrating to other less frequent attendees, how to level off the flour cup and how to test the concoction in the oven for doneness.

Then T smoothed the icing on the cake of an extra sweet afternoon, “It’s been so long, [Lo]. I’m sorry. Can we make doughnuts next week?”

Cooking Class 017Terrifying.

Cooking Class 009A wonderful sight to behold.

Cooking Class 016I still don’t get who Marcos is?

Cooking Class 001Workin’.

Cooking Class 020Coco balls.

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