This fall, I worked as short-term staff for Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Bridges of Life, a small mission base in Southern France. I arrived at their chateau with a willing spirit but little idea what God wanted me to do during my stay. There were plenty of base ministries I was interested in, but when the chef asked for extra hands, I tied on an apron and set to chopping vegetables.

I rarely left the kitchen for the rest of my stay.

It was the heart of the base, knitting the staff and ministries together with daily meals that felt more like community check-ups than quick bites. I loved watching friends pass baguettes around the table, quipping with one another just as often as they counseled and encouraged. When culture-shocked mission teams came to stay at the base, I loved comforting them with bowls of mushroom soup. When Discipleship Training School students lurked in the kitchen doorways, I loved processing through their questions and revelations as cake smells wafted from the oven.

Jesus always felt incredibly present in that little French kitchen.

I think it’s no coincidence that some of his finest teaching moments happened around the dinner table—whether it encompassed twelve disciples or five thousand followers. Though often overshadowed by more glamorous ministries, the kitchen is where community gets built. When we come to the table, we disengage from our work long enough to see one another and how we fit together.

As I often witnessed at Bridges of Life, one meal has the power to reunify, reinvigorate, and refresh the vision of a community. What I loved most about this YWAM base is that they fully embraced Jesus’ invitation to come to the table and be transformed—together.

Ministry Mentioned: YWAM Bridges of Life – JEM Ponts de Vie (http://www.ywambridges.com/)

Elizabeth Steere
is a writer and missionary, most recently working in Kosovo and Southern France. She loves cooking, traveling, empowering women, and seeing the upside-down Kingdom of God come to earth.