What if you are in a place that you really don’t want to be? I’ve been in many situations that I did not want to be in, but it’s encouraging to know that sometimes it’s exactly there where God needs you! We don’t always fully understand but often its to form you or to help others, but the truth is nothing is wasted even if you felt like at the time you were on a detour.

The man that I am about to introduce has an amazing testimony woven with this truth, from dropping out of school at the age of 14, to owning his own business by 18, working on film sets and travelling the world as a Chef. Meet Adi.

Who loves good food? I know I do! There’s nothing like sitting down to a delicious wholesome meal. Yet, even though food is something we all need, it is easy for us to take for granted the work that goes into creating good food? Yet how easy it is to find ourselves quickly grumbling when things aren’t as we’d like? Food not only sustains our physical bodies but is often central to building community, and therefore it’s a crucial part of life here at YWAM Harpenden! Adi is the ‘chef’ and the mastermind behind the B.B. Hall (the ‘canteen’); a central hub of our community. Chatting with him left me inspired by his journey, impacted by his personal yet informative approach and in awe of his dedication to work towards excellence in the details.

What is your heart for the B.B. Hall, beyond your expertise as a Chef?

Well, my heart is that I’d like it to be a warm, clean and comfortable place for people to eat and greet. I want it to be a place where people feel expected and welcomed. Also, that details like a visual presentation, for example, extend beyond the food.

When you say beyond the food, what do you mean by that?

Well for example, if the sugar bowl is empty every other day or there are dishes that aren’t clean, it doesn’t make people feel good. On the other hand, if the sugar is always full no one complains – because they have what they need when they need it! I’m aiming to set and keep a standard (not my own standard – Adi reassures!) but a standard of good upkeep, to create a good environment and that also aligns us to UK hygiene law.

Is being a Chef the only skill you need, to do this role within B.B Hall well?

Well, you see people just think ‘Oh he’s a chef so he must be a brilliant cook!’, but that’s sometimes where the problem of expectations starts. Working in this role requires so much more than simple cooking. From getting up really early in the morning, planning, scheduling and organising the week, overseeing work duties, food prep, ordering fresh and frozen produce, managing time and finances. This doesn’t even include the other sides of the kitchen, like the dining area itself, the wash-up station, our office and the toilets – all of which have to be clean and well kept.

Wow – that’s a really big task! I know you have others that work alongside you. How do you manage the constant rotation of help like students or mission builders?

It’s not always easy because some people have never worked at home in a kitchen! (Adi smiles.) However, some come with lots of experience and can clean well and understand the duties within a kitchen diligently. It’s always a blessing for me to work with people who have an eye for detail and cleanliness. That said, my heart really beats for discipleship. I know that not everything is obvious to people who have never done tasks like the ones we do here, and I want to be a good teacher – constantly discipling others – in the process, whether it’s how to cut paprika or in how to prep potatoes to feed a whole hall of people, or how to clean a surface.

Adi, I hear you and your wife Catherine moved here this past April. Where were you before? I heard you lived on various ships and travelled a lot…..

Yes, that’s right. Catherine, my two boys (currently age 6 & 8) and I, lived on the sea for quite a while. After our boys were born here in the UK, we were set to start work on the OM ships. Shortly before leaving, my father who lives in Grenada called and needed us to help with his business, due to his wife’s ill health. So, we moved to Grenada instead and ended up staying a year. We then returned to England for a year to reconnect with our home church. Within that time, we were seeking God about re-entering YWAM, after being away for almost 10 years. (I did my DTS in 1993 and Cathrine in 2002 ). We applied to join staff at The King’s Lodge but then through a winding journey, God led us back to join OM ships. We quickly learnt our plans aren’t always God’s plan! We worked on the OM ships for over 2 years, after which we pushed the door to staff at The King’s Lodge again. Everything was set for us to go, but last minute God redirected us again! Adi smiles and shrugs his shoulders… So what do you do if God re-directs and shows you something totally new, something that will challenge you but where you know He’s showing you, you can grow and help others? I look at Adi with expectancy and answer, ‘you go?!’. Yes! There is no other option but to be obedient. In my mind I thought about the beautiful brand new sparkly kitchen I could have worked in at The King’s Lodge with its high-end equipment and everything freshly renovated. But God showed me the heart of this base and what it stands for and I thought about my kids and could picture them here. Catherine and I both felt this is the place God wants us to be, so we said yes to God and changed our plans.

It always amazes me where obedience gets one! So how did you meet Catherine?

We met on one of YWAM’s ship at the time, called the Anastasis. I staffed five DTS’s on board and she was a student on one of them. We then both work on board together, and after the Anastasis transitioned to be an independent medical ship (not a YWAM ship), we stayed on working in the galley for the first year, and then we helped pioneer the Alpha Course together in Liberia.

Wow, this is amazing! You mean the Alpha Course that gets run in many churches around the world today?

Exactly, it all started with a small team on a ship and I had the honour to be a part of it. Looking back this is another time when I could easily have chosen to do something else but I didn’t because I knew God wanted me there. I could have also chosen along the way to be a successful chef like some of my friends in the industry are (some of whom have supported me in missions for years!), but I know that the most amazing things happen when you choose to let God lead. It’s not always what we’d naturally choose but it always has proved to be the best. We’ve shed tears, walked through difficult times but also had times of great joy within the hardship.

Can you call YWAM Harpenden your “forever home”?

To be honest God said this is our home for now. We’ve made a two-year commitment and beyond that, we are in God’s hands. We have peace, we are grateful and feel like we living in Gods will for our lives and want to always stay in that place.

Thanks, Adi. Walking in God’s will can seem so simple to say but if we are honest it often confronts a tension within us?! As I walked away from meeting Adi, I was struck by how faith, trust and obedience were woven in his stories. I was reminded afresh that no time is ever wasted, that everything has a purpose, and obedience to a loving God is so crucial because He does have the best plan for me, for you and for all of us.

Adrian is 55 years old, born in England with a dual nationality which is English / Grenadian. He is married to Catherine since 2006 and is a father of 2 boys. He studied to become a Chef at the Cordon Bleu School and also became a Truck driver, thereafter he did his DTS in 1993.



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