Last week I shared about our church’s saying Yes to participate with Tim Tebow”s Foundation outreach “Night to Shine”. I also shared how I was asked to co-lead the kitchen team, without really understanding the full job description and felt a bit over my head! In spite of my weakness, God showed up in some amazing ways!
Before the event I shared with my co-lead Bonnie, that if our “guests” left fed and happy and our kitchen team left happy then we would be successful. I think both goals were accomplished–not without a few struggles along the way however! What a joy it was to hear one of our guests exclaim that the brownies were the best she had ever eaten–especially when we struggled to get them baked and cut! Two volunteers took some of them home to bake–one pan I took out too early thinking it was finished, only to discover after we had filled the oven with frittatas that it wasn’t quite baked through. He grabbed the pan and took it home and it actually turned out good. The other gal just did the whole other pan at her home!
Our Thursday morning prep team did such a quick job of cutting the fruits and vegetables that the afternoon volunteers were able to help in some other areas! One of those areas was to problem solve and plan for the next day and that brought great peace to my mind and heart. I wish I had taken pictures of our working together. It truly was an example of many hands making light work. At one point we were two hours from serving and the chicken tenders were not even close to being finished. I stood at the stove and prayed. “Lord, we still have two hours to get these all finished. Please help us figure this out, and multiply the food as we are getting more guests.” I maybe should not have added that last part, because we had an abundance of food left over!
Sunday, Pastor Michael said he felt like we had about 450 people on campus through out the night. On the final day we had, I believe 10 more guests sign up–which meant we needed 10 more buddies. Every guest had a special friend assigned to them. Each with a completed background check and training. The administrator of our whole event, Laura, came to each team and asked for volunteers to serve as buddies. She needed five people from our team (because not only did we register more guests, some of the original buddies came down sick). I ended up being the runner between our main facility and the respite building for the caregivers. What a joy to see connections being made with people sharing similar journey’s with their children who have special needs. The smiles on their faces as I asked several in between my journeys–“are you having a good time?” “Was this worth it for you?” “Oh yes, yes!” Was always the reply. My feet and legs got more of a work out than I planned, but it was so worth it.
We were blessed to have several of our “on the night volunteers” veterans from last years event serve. They were troopers, standing for hours smiling and serving. Teleia (our department head), Bonnie and I filled in where we needed. I learned, once again, the blessing of asking for help, wisdom and the power of a team brain! The success of the evening fell on the team effort. There are things we would do differently if there is a next time–we learned a lot. Again, saying yes as the Lord leads is always worth it. We did not let fear, frustration or pride keep us from loving on those around us. Keeping loving attitudes the best we could helped our team stay a team. “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me”, “Do you need any help” were phrases that helped us overcome our weaknesses and helped us finish strong. Love never fails prevailed once again.