BLOG AT YWAM HARPENDEN
When you look at it from the outside, it appears to be another brick building with green double doors. It could even pass for a school building. But even from a distance, looking on, you smell a mouthwatering aroma coming from the inside. So you follow the groups of people walking in, talking and laughing, to discover what waits behind those double doors.
The interior is nothing fancy; Traditional white with avocado green accenting the lower half. But the round tables with brown and cream stripped table clothes, and flowers in the center, give the effect of walking into a café. To the left you see the large lounge area and a tea and coffee station. The cups sitting on their trays speak to you, inviting you to have a cuppa and relax on one of the sofas. And in between the café area and lounge stands a long table decked with a full course meal including a fresh salad bar.
All of this offers a warm and relaxing atmosphere to all who enter. And the Hall comes to life when it is full of people. It is the joy of each of our volunteer cooks when they see their plates being wiped clean and the contented smiles on everyone’s faces. Then there is the relaxing atmosphere as everyone continues to sit after their meal is finished; simply enjoying fellowship with others.
I understand this has been the vision for BB Hall for some time, and I am honored that I have had the opportunity to work in it during this time of awakening. It has been an incredible learning experience creating rotating menu options, using previous recipes, adding new ones, getting feedback, and discovering various methods and ways to set up.
The greatest delight is when people come up to me letting me know how much they enjoy the food we serve.
(And when you are feeding people from various cultures that can be a challenge!) So, I am very glad when the people I’m most concerned about take time to compliment the food.
I admit that I never wanted to manage BB Hall. Even though I had previous restaurant experience, I wanted something different. I only stepped in to help out for a season. But God did something in my heart during these past few months. I rediscovered the joy of cooking and setting up meals in a creative way! (Something I hadn’t done since my mother passed away four years ago.) Now that I have to step down (because I’m staffing a school for a few months) I find it hard to let go.
BB Hall is so much more than just the food we cook and serve. Each person who prepares the meals brings something different, even when cooking the same recipes over and over. And we each have our own creative ways to serve. The highlight of the week for me is the Community Tea Break on Wed mornings. I find so much joy using my artistic talents setting up fresh baked cookies, veggies and humus, cheese and crackers, cakes, etc. that others help me prepare. And the positive response from the community is overwhelming!
I love that the number of people eating in the Hall has increased –especially the Wed Tea break crowd. We’ll often play music in the background and/or put a crackling fireplace on the TV for effect during cold raining days. But even when there is no food on the table, the lounge area is still a common place for people to watch a movie as a group or simply sit and share a cuppa during a visit or prayer time.
This place was set up as a practical location to offer meals to trainees and staff. The weekly tea break was developed to help encourage unity time for those who don’t normally see each other. Now, it has also become a relaxing haven that offers warmth and sanctuary for visitation, love, and a lot of laughter and good memories. It is the integrated blend of culture, artistry, fellowship, and hospitality.
This is what the Hall means to me. This is what the Lord has developed the Hall to be. Truly, His Name is glorified in this place!
6 Highfield Oval, Harpenden, AL5 4BX, UK
ywamharpenden.org is the official website of Youth With A Mission Harpenden, a ministry of YWAM International and YWAM England.
Registered charity number 1156783. Company registration number 8807913 in England and Wales.
© 2017, YWAM Harpenden, a ministry of YWAM International