Wednesday, February 29, 2012

From serving hands to tender hearts

Earlier in the month of February, the Paarl Valley was blessed with a visit from a dynamic short term team of 3 young women...Laureen Fung, Genevieve Eng and Christine Song. These women were childhood friends and grew up together in New York. In our earlier correspondence with them, they shared that volunteering has become a very special part of their lives both locally in their own city and in some cases overseas on other short term mission trips. When they heard about Monte Christo Miqlat (MCM) last year, they prayed about coming to South Africa to see what God was doing here, made plans to come, and arrived on February 10th. After spending the weekend sightseeing and getting to know Paarl's beauty, they were eager to dive right into ministry work. They primarily spent time in 3 of our ministry areas...Community Nutrition, Tiffany's Community Care Center and Community Health.
After experiencing a full ministry tour on their first ministry morning, their first serving opportunity was at the Drakenstein Food Center...home of our Community Nutrition ministry. There they were blessed to learn all about rusk baking and participated in packaging dozens of rusks, knowing that they would later be consumed by patients in one of our local hospitals. They also had the opportunity to clean and prepare some of the fresh vegetables that are donated by local farmers. These veggies help to boost the nutritional value in some of the meals that we prepare for distribution throughout our various food distribution sites.
Later that afternoon, they spent time at Tiffany's Community Care Center where they joined right in with serving soup to the local community members through our daily Family Feeding Program. They finished each of their ministry days at Bowy House...home of our Community Health ministry. There they assisted the Caregivers by playing with the kids in the play yard while bath time took place, as well as assisting the children during their dinner time.
On their departing day, they shared that one of the highlights of their ministry time was being able to do home visits with two of our Tiffany's Community Care Center community workers. This opportunity really brought their 'serving efforts' from their hands to their hearts as they listened to stories of community member's life struggles. They were further blessed to be able to pray with them right there in their own homes. Genevieve shared that "what I saw and experienced in Paarl showed us a true vision of the modern day Acts community, and I thank God for showing me a little bit of heaven on earth."

Laureen, Genevieve and Christine...we thank you for sharing your tender, selfless hearts with us. We were all blessed by your visit!

The Fellowship of the Believers (Acts 2) 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The road from intern to chef

Meet Rafeeq Blakenberg and Emile Truter...two young students at Boland College (in Paarl) who spent several days interning with Monte Christo Miqlat in our Drakenstein Food Center towards the end of 2011. These two young men are enrolled in the 3-year Hospitality and Catering program at Boland College where in addition to time in the classroom, they are required to acquire 4,000 hours of practical experience. In their 'classroom' courses, they study topics like Catering Theory, Sanitation and Safety, Knife Skills and Applied Management. In this latter course, they learn how to start a restaurant business, how to manage costing, food purchasing, stock taking (inventory), menu planning and more. The students shared that their knife skills have improved a great deal from interning at the Drakenstein Food Center, mostly because the ministry received a ton of tomatoes and a bin of carrots while they were here. They were the ones that cut all of them up.
Under the watchful eye of our Food Center Manager, Marvin White (picture right with the students), the interns also learned about baking and how to do things like de-boning a chicken, with the end result being chicken fillets. Marvin shared that Boland College does a good job of teaching theory. But he likes to give interns and students the real world background, so that when they get out on their own in the 'cooking world' they can handle whatever comes their way.
When asked what their favorite part of the 'practicals' was, Emile said he just likes to be out practicing away from the school. Rafeeq, on the other hand, said his favorite part is plating the food. He said that the plate is the place where he can be creative, use his imagination and allow the food to explode with color. The students certainly were creative with the plates pictured here.
Although these were the first interns to have spent time in the Drakenstein Food Center, Marvin feels it will be the first of many. Marvin would like to see Boland College continue to take hands with Monte Christo Miqlat by sending more interns because he feels that it is good for students to get the type of experience like they can get here. This is the ground basis for getting experience with banqueting. We are the only institution in town where they can get that experience.
Marvin shared that he sees natural born talent in these 2 students...that they have a natural feel for food and keen instinct to cook. We wish the very best to Rafeeq and Emile and hope to have them spend additional 'practical' hours with us in the next 2 years.