Here at the college, we have many great modules considering the things necessary for Church planting. Language learning, Bible-teaching curriculums, basic translation procedures, and living with limited technology are all things I expected to learn before coming here. What I didn’t expect to find challenging though, is that some of the changes to everyday life can seem be so different. And with our 5-week mission simulation coming up at the start of June, I suddenly find that I need to rethink cooking. Because when there is no supermarket around the corner, cooking becomes quite a different story!
Just to quickly explain this “mission simulation”, since some of you may not have heard of it before. For a period of five weeks we will be living in large tents on the fields at the back of the college campus. During this time, we will not be allowed to go outside the marked area. We will also have to cope with more basic living conditions, such as having internet for just a few hours on Saturday mornings, having to wash with nothing but a bucket of water, and – most disturbing of all – not having access to a proper fridge. We will also practice everything we learned this year during the simulation, but most of our time will go into practising language learning.
Here at the college, we unmarried students are incredibly blessed by having a dining hall that prepares food for us twice a day. The flip-side however is that I have barely done any cooking for myself during my time in England. So I find myself suddenly needing to come up with a bunch of recipes that need to meet an interesting set of criteria:
- The meals need to fit in with a busy schedule.
- Without a proper fridge, I cannot rely on any fresh foods.
- I need to prepare meals daily (instead of preparing a big batch two or three times a week like I used to do when I was living alone).
- Since I am the only unmarried man, I need to figure out single-person recipes. Quite the challenge since opening two cans of different vegetables is already more than a meal!
Thankfully though, I could practice with a few recipes during the Easter break. Also, within the kitchenware that was provided, I found a cast-iron skillet and pot. They needed some restoration, but at least I will also be able to cook some things over the fire. (After all, in my mind the cast-iron pot is just a potjie who had its legs amputated.)
Another great help to my food situation is the fact that we are allowed to have chickens in a coop not far from our tents. We will have thirty egg-laying pets between four families and myself. Our chickens will be retirement chickens, so they come at a cheap price from a local farmer. These chickens are a bit older, so their productivity is starting to go down. However, there should still be plenty of eggs for us. Besides, as we approach the end of mission simulation, some of the chickens might come and join the braai as well.
Thank you for all your prayers. During the following few weeks you can pray for my preparations for the mission simulation. Even though we have had a lot of instruction, I still feel like I have a lot to do for preparation.