When I was 19 I went to a missionary training program in Bahamas. Before you think something snarky about suffering for Jesus, it was beautiful, and hot, and poor and we did a lot of outreach to kids and that outreach included many, many hot dogs.
Every week we would go to a different neighborhood on the Island and bring a cooler full of hotdogs, hot dog buns, drink coolers of lemonade and all the fixings. We would set up a grill, tent, music with speakers and go out and invite the neighbors.
The kids would flood in. The parents would hand us their kids. The balloon animals would come out along with the soccer balls and face paint and everyone would eat hot dogs. Lots and lots of hot dogs.
After a couple of hours of music, fun and eating we would gather. We would sing silly songs, do skits, and share about Jesus.
For the last 10 years I have sorely missed hot dog outreaches.
I miss giving away free food. I miss playing soccer with kids. I miss sharing Jesus in authenticity while loving a local community well. I miss being the hands and feet of Jesus in such tangible ways. I miss the ease with which ministry took place.
Here in America, ten years later, there are things I would do differently. But I still dream of community events with laughter and face paint and love and truth. I crave authenticity in community. I remember what it feels like to love people simply with a grill and hot dogs and I want to experience it again and bring that experience to the communities of the Twin Cities. Starting in the Northern Suburbs.
As we have been sharing our vision for the Stories Freedom Food Truck I have been remembering the hot dog outreaches. I really think that those times from so long ago were the first seeds for a food and community centered ministry that engages people to both love locally and reach out globally. My heart knows so surely that we live sweeter lives when we are looking outward and I so fervently want people to experience this full life in their day to day.
Missions is a sweet spot for me. Serving with abandon. Loving people where they are at. I come alive. And quite frankly we don’t do enough of that here in North America. People here need to be shown love, hope, grace, mercy, truth and light just as much as people somewhere else.
So from hot dogs to food truck, it will look a bit different but the heart is very much the same. To love people well. To engage in community action both locally and globally. To wear some face paint, play with balloons and kick around a ball accompanied by some great music.
So will you join our party? A party isn’t a party unless everybody comes, and we are inviting you.