The mission trip group was generally split into two main groups, the medical and construction team. The medical team would have clinic during the day either in El Suyatal, La Ermita, or Agalteca, come back to Buena Vista at about 3:30 PM to shower quickly and get ready to leave for the evangelistic series at 4:30 PM. I was on the construction team, so I stayed in Buena Vista. Each day, someone would be pulled from the construction team to help out in the kitchen.
On day 2, I was assigned to help in the kitchen. I thought that was funny. The kitchen is not exactly my playground; you wouldn’t catch me being in the kitchen all day. It was a great day. I got to hang out with Buena Vista’s chef, Joseph, who was a pretty neat person. We started with prayer, then proceeded to make lunch and sacked supper. We were going to make mashed potatoes, among other things.
There was a lot of people to feed, so that meant a lot of potatoes. I think I spent the first 1.5 hours washing potatoes. The chopped potatoes filled a gigantic pot to the brim (biggest one I’ve seen in my life), then steamed, and mashed manually by Joseph. The process transformed the kitchen into a sauna and steam bath altogether, and Joseph got his workout for the day. I didn’t know how he seasoned those potatoes, but they were amazing!
Joseph Nally used to go to culinary school in South Carolina. He had worked in restaurants and bakeries, fine dining included. I asked him what that was like, working in fine dining kitchen. Intense, he said, and lots of hierarchy. When he became an Adventist and God convicted him about the food that he made, all of those things he learned became not so useful anymore. But no experience is a waste with God, and now he’s a missionary chef.
He and Annie, his wife, were baptized about a month after they got married. They had Bible studies with someone Annie used to work with. They have two daughters, Olivia, a very mature 8-year-old who plays the violin, and Maya, a very cute 3-year-old. They moved to Honduras to be missionary about 2 months ago, and committed to stay for at least 5 years. “We told them, as long as they would keep us,” said Joseph. The Nally family has a fantastic blog. Follow their story here.
During the many tasks to be done that day, our conversation included TED, energy issues, and Boston (he used to live in Jamaica Plains for some time) – some of my favorite things to talk about. I also found out that he went to ARISE the year after I was at CAMPUS, which meant that he met some of the CAMPUS folks. Small world.
Lunch was really good. Joseph really is an amazing chef. For the amount of cooking he does, he must really love food. I think, for the first, I saw in an non-theoretical way how cooking is a ministry. Food in the mission field must taste the best. People really liked the lunch. Some of them were working on the road, so all the more appreciation from them. Joseph’s ministry is to enable people to do God’s work – literally. I was blessed to be a part of it.
I left the kitchen at about 4:20 PM to shower and get ready quickly to leave for the evangelistic series. I was part of the La Ermita team. There would be 3 meetings running in parallel, in El Suyatal, La Ermita, and Agalteca. The El Suyatal team would walk from Buena Vista (20 minute walk), while the La Ermita team got the van and the Agalteca team rode in the back of a truck.
The view on the way to La Ermita was indescribable. Jose Mario Franco, the director of VIDA who has committed his life to this mission, drove the van. At one point, a pick up truck overtook us and there was a guy in the back of the truck, not in uniform, holding a big gun. Not sure what that was all about, Jose pulled back and although we didn’t see them come back, he decided to return to El Suyatal to check with the villagers what that was all about.
Some people had seen the guy earlier in the day. Everything turned out to be fine, they were selling something in the village. The VIDA staffs just wanted to be safe because there had been a case of people asking for money in the past.
For the evangelistic series, I was assigned to help Monica coordinate the programming of the meetings. Jose, translated the sermon for Nina. He’s a remarkable people-person, very dynamic, kind, and friendly. He also has an amazing testimony, which I’m hoping is written somewhere so I can post a link to it… By the way, check out VIDA’s amazing ministry and stories here.