Miracle cookies

Miracle cookies

July 13, 2023
How do you explain chocolate chips to someone?

I love cooking! I’ve learned that it’s my creative expression that allows me to disconnect from my stress and make a gift for others to enjoy. I admit that I also love to hear people say how good it is. I have the ability to follow a recipe well enough to make it taste good. So it made sense to me to volunteer to lead cooking with the kids in Ethiopia.

The challenges that arose in Ethiopia around cooking pushed me outside of my “recipe following box” and gave me the opportunity to really consider why I am here. It’s not about the perfect recipe or the skill of cooking or even the English teaching – it’s about so much more.

From the moment we entered Bring Love In, in the rain, the kids all lined up, smiling, hugging and handing us roses, I felt an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance. It’s so much and even though we prepared as much as possible in our team meetings – feeling it in that moment is hard to put words.

I was partnered with 7 teenagers and a small kitchen with unknown ingredients and tools. I knew it would be different but I was not feeling super confident in my own abilities in a new and different place. I quickly learned it really didn’t matter. This really isn’t about me. The energy of the kids, their laughter, questions and how they shared with me – the sound of how they pronounce Kate, ‘Kuh-Kate’ it’s beautiful. Learning about them, their favorite foods, Shewa is a cook, he’s quiet and more reserved then the other kids. He listens closely and I notice him reading through the cookbook. Ruth loves Will Smith and Fresh Prince of Belair and we talk about our favorite movies. Akele is an outgoing leader. He charms one of the other girls to write his recipe in English for him and tells me with a smile, he’ll do it later because he’s washing dishes now.
All of these kids are beautiful, smart, talented, accepting and loving people with fantastic senses of humor! They tease each other, connect and play just like teenagers at home. Their actions and body language understandable to me beyond any language barriers.

As I spent my first full day in the small kitchen filled with kids, mixing and laughing, I paused and soaked it in. “I’m in Ethiopia right now. I’m making chocolate chip cookies with these kids.” My body filled with tingles and I felt tears of joy welling inside. I don’t ever want to forget this moment.

The cookies turned out beautifully! The smell of Ethiopian crushed chocolate and sugar filled the three floors of Bring Love In and the kids and other members of our group swarmed our window and door asking what smelled SO good and wanting a taste. Ruth, one of the ‘master chefs’ as we call each other, tells me in a sly conspiratorial tone and pointing to the biggest batch, “Kate we will keep all these for us and then eat them all!” We laughed.

One little girl stuck her tiny hand through the kitchen window and almost grabbed the hot pan with cookies on them. She cried out in the most heartfelt Amharic and Ayda, another ‘Master Chef’ spoke to her and translated to me that she “NEEDED the cookie soooo bad she did not care if it burnt her!” It was a beautiful moment, I felt privileged to be in the presence of it all.

At the end of the day I felt God was telling me, again, to let go, remember who is in control and be present. My continual prayer to Him, I am willing to go. Use me.

He is the One who made those cookies taste so good!

Kate aka katie

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