Trekking from Shreveport to Dallas and back to head up a homeless outreach under a bridge is a big undertaking for me. This was my first time driving the kitchen trailer by myself. I wasn’t dragging a three foot popup tent. It’s something around 37 feet of culinary carnage. Really, I anticipated that careening in slow motion off a bridge was in the realm of possibility, but I drove like an AARP racecar driver.
The other concern came from my wife as I have a history of falling asleep at the wheel, and I had my oldest daughter and her best friend in tow. If I was feeding my candy crushing addiction and caused a fourteen car pileup because of my gross negligence, I don’t know how I could live with myself, but I think after community service, I could get back in my wife’s good graces. Catching my beauty rest at 75 mph with live cargo is a line my wife won’t cross. The other option was to go to sleep by 10 pm and guzzle about eight Red Bulls throughout the day. I thought aliens were going to burst out of my chest from this tonic, but it was a reasonable risk.
We served shepherd’s pie and delightful bundt cake to around 200 homeless people under the bridge on Hickory Street. A church comes out regularly to preach the gospel to these people who may never have the opportunity. It’s a gospel of hope, and I hope the simple gift of a hot meal does its small part in sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
Seventeen hours later, I’m on my couch reliving the day’s events. It is so amazing being to volunteer with fellow Mercy Chefs. It’s amazing to be trusted to move the kitchen to the site. It is just amazing serving Jesus Christ.
But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:13-14 ESV)
Mercy Chefs adventures have become a regular facet in my life, and until recently, I have not had exposure to the logistics issues that need to be addressed to have a successful deployment. Three weeks ago, I went to Tuscaloosa, AL to assist in the transport of the command center. We were undertaking massive Thanksgiving feedings in Texas, and with our resources spread over several locations, we needed a central position to effectively manage the operation.
Yesterday, I embarked on an adventure with Chef John Stout to Portsmouth, VA. We were tasked with driving Mercy 3 (our third mobile kitchen) back to its home. He was coming from Dallas and picked me up in Shreveport so that we could deliver our cargo.
We had a late start and didn’t get settled into our hotel in Duluth, GA until about 2 am. I finally dozed off about 3:30 am and I was in the shower three hours later. I felt like time had slowed to a crawl as we journeyed today. We were pulling a massive trailer, plus I’m a slow driver, so it took about five minutes shy of eternity to reach our destination. Fortunately, it turned out to be the ideal time for some great fellowship with two integral members of the Mercy Chefs organization, Donna Testa and Gary LeBlanc. Gary is not only the CEO, but he made a killer turducken gumbo for dinner. That’s what chefs like to do. If we aren’t serving, we like to eat.
I hope to sleep five hours tonight as I’m ready for the trip home. I’m glad to experience what it is like beyond the deployment. It’s a lot of…well, logistics. I’ve only scratched the surface and I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to learn and grow in the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime, I’d really like this Lunesta to kick in. It’s 1:19 am and I’ll be back in the truck in no time.
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