Gifts We Bring Home: Cooking like a Pro.

“When you tell people you’re getting ready to go on a trip, you inevitably hear someone (or many someones!) say, “Oh, make sure you bring something back for me!” People love to have reminders of their time in a place away from home, and it can be fun to bring a piece of that back for friends and family who can’t come with us. Whether you love or hate souvenir shopping, you can’t help but bring things back from your trip, both tangible and intangible items. In this blog series by Praying Pelican Missions staff, you’ll get a glimpse into the things they bring home from their adventures, both lighthearted and deep.”


Over the six years that I have had the privilege to return to the country of Belize, I have brought back many different kinds of souvenirs. I’ve brought back the usual assortment of T-shirts and purses, Postcards and Photo Albums, Hot Sauce, Coffee Mugs, Coconut Jewelry, Spices, and Yes, even a Machete and Knives (How I got that back is a different story entirely!) The one thing, however, that I love the most and still continue to use on a regular basis are cooking skills.

Everyone knows that the first thing you do no matter where you go is you get in “good with the cooks.” You go up. introduce yourself, and see what they are up to. The thing I love about the cooks that we have for our mission trips is they never simply TELL you what they are making. They SHOW you. They don’t just want you to know what you are going to eat but they want to impart their wisdom to you. They want to you how to make.  Talk about a tangible example of that age old Proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Cooking is one of my all-time favorite things to do. I love cooking solo and I love cooking surround by friends and family. In my experience some of the best relationships formed are those that revolve around food and the pleasure it brings. Whether you bond with someone in the preparation of said food or in the enjoyment that comes when you get to sit down and share a meal together. I love getting to know the wonderful ladies (and sometimes Men!) who work day in and day out to prepare such delicious food for me when I am in Belize. They are beautiful people with beautiful souls. They never waiver in their response when I ask if I can help them and they take the time to show me how everything is done. Never once getting frustrated if I mess up; instead they say “Try it again!” Over the years, I’ve learned how to make almost every staple food of the Belizean culture I claim. From Jerk Chicken to Rice & Beans to Fried Plaintain & Cold Cake. The knowledge is welcomed and the product is delicious.

So, Keep in mind next time you travel: Get in “good with the cooks.” You never know what new found skills you’ll travel home with. AND if you happen to be horrible at cooking, at least you’ll eat well while you’re there 🙂

*Stay Tuned Tomorrow For A Blog Post Dedicated Solely To The Recipes Of Belize.*

Snapshots from the Jungle: Loaves & Fish

One of my all time favorite ministries in Belize is the grocery ministry and the breaking bread ministry.

For the grocery ministry, I love being able to go up and down the aisles in a store picking out all sorts of food items and other necessities for families in the communities we serve. It’s exciting to watch the teams as they are running around with carts in the stores and then going pack and having a blast as we divide up all the rice, flour and beans that we have bought and then dividing everything up into piles for each family. It is a beautiful blessing to have the means to give.  It is also an amazing thing to see the generosity of those we connect with in the stores. There have been multiple occasions as I am checking out that a store manager or someone will come up and ask us what we are doing and after telling them they will throw in something for free or offer us a discount we weren’t expecting. Praise God for his provision!

During this ministry I have been reminded several times of the miracle that Jesus showed during the feeding of the five thousand. As we are packing and praying over the food, no matter how many times I have counted and recounted, for some reason there is always left over. There is always more. If we planned for 20 families we’ll have enough for 22. Or we will end up with enough for our cooks or to give to the pastor and his family.  God gives us the opportunity to bless even more. I love these times where I get to see God move and to see Him work. I love watching how He works through the teams and how he shows them how mighty He is. I love the opportunities that come to pray with the families and to love on them and show them Christ’s love.

The breaking bread ministry is also one of my favorites mostly because of the fellowship and camaradie that comes out of those nights. It’s so much fun to spend all afternoon preparing and packing up food whether its fried rice or lasagnas and then heading out into the communities. For this ministry, the pastor will pick out families in his community and for that evening we will divide up and take food into their homes and share a meal with them. Being able to sit around with these families playing games, sharing a delicious meal and just enjoying each others company is a beautiful thing. Getting to share your life with someone in that way is an experience that everyone should have.  I encourage you to gather a group of friends and perhaps begin a meal ministry like this in your own church or community. Make a habit of sharing a meal with others every once in awhile. You will be glad that you did.

God is so good. He is so mighty. He is so beautiful.