I’d been asked to pursue a position that would take me away from the church I had helped start and decided it was only right to submit the decision to the leadership of our church. We gathered together and spent an extended period of time in prayer seeking God’s will. At the end of the prayer time I asked what people believed they had heard from God. Various leaders shared their thoughts, concerns, and love. It seemed as though there was a consensus building.
Tamaki started to weep and said, “I think you need to apply for the job, but I don’t want you to leave us. I also know that God sometimes moves us far away. That makes me sad. But if God does ask you to leave us, before you go you will have to give me your recipe for fried cauliflower soup. That’s what I clearly heard from God.” It brought smiles to all our faces. Tamaki is a Japanese citizen who met and married Ron while a student in Tucson. She came to faith among us and is known as a passionate woman of prayer. “I’m serious,” she said. “God told me that I need that recipe. It’s so good!” There was more laughter.
I’m known as a fairly decent amateur cook. Cooking is a creative outlet for me. I don’t usually pay much attention to recipes; mostly I throw things together and try to create food my family will enjoy. The church always eats together after our worship services. Each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, The Village Church holds our annual Thanksgiving Soup Supper. It’s our most popular event. People are invited to bring soup, bread, or dessert, and we spend the evening recounting the beauty of what God has done in the past year while enjoying all the deliciousness. At the very first gathering 20 years ago, I looked around in my refrigerator to find something to turn into soup and noticed a couple heads of cauliflower. I chopped them up, fried the pieces in olive oil until browned, made a vegetable broth by blending leftover carrots, bell peppers, yellow squash, and onions, then threw in some cream and cheddar cheese and the beautifully browned cauliflower and called it done. People liked it a lot and asked me to make it again the next year—and every year since.
Tamaki insisted that she needed the recipe. She explained, “The very first time I came to church here was for the Thanksgiving Soup Supper. Ron had invited me and I was nervous and uncomfortable meeting strangers. When I went through the serving line the very first soup I saw was your fried cauliflower soup. I took some of it and was amazed at how delicious it was. In my family and in my culture, you would never serve such good soup to strangers. Soup like that would be reserved for family and close friends. Eating that soup—it was as if God was inviting me to be part of the family.”
We were quiet then. Tamaki said, “So before you leave, I need that recipe so that someone else like me will come to church and know they are part of a family.”
I didn’t get the job. I did share the recipe.