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Crevolyn Wiley: Missionaries serve world; I serve them homemade meals
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When I was a little girl, the highlight of my week was going to big church.

That’s when I got to sit with my momma and daddy and sing hymns and then go down to the front to the altar for the children’s sermon. After that, we all held hands and marched downstairs in our little church to the fellowship hall for Kool-Aid and cookies. That sure was a simpler time.

In my family, attending church was a three-times-a-week practice. We went on Sunday morning for Sunday school and worship service. We went back on Sunday nights for training union. Anyone besides me old enough to remember that?

We returned again on Wednesday nights for prayer meeting. Well, the adults went to prayer meeting. The children and teens had different activities.

As a young girl, I got to go to Sunbeams and then GA’s or Girls in Action. In my teenage years, I participated in Acteens. These groups taught us about missions and missionaries all over the world. 

I remember being totally enamored with stories of missionaries in Africa, South America and Asia as well as other foreign lands. We saw pictures and listened to stories on the record player from those serving around the world. On special nights, we tasted foods similar to those served in those foreign countries.

On a rare occasion, a real, live missionary visited the church. Such a visit was usually in conjunction with the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering emphasis. Miss Lottie was a missionary to China during the early 1900s who raised awareness about the importance of supporting foreign missions. I loved hearing stories about her adventures as well as others who were brave enough to leave behind the comforts of America to go to far away lands and tell others about Jesus.

As an adult, I continued to be involved with these missionary organizations with Baptist Young Women and served as Women’s Missionary Union director at our church years ago. I guess you could say I was the poster child for Baptist Missions organizations.

I am so thankful for this heritage. It instilled in me a strong connection to those who devote their lives to serving and ministering far away from their homeland and loved ones. I’ve known doctors and nurses who’ve left comfortable practices and secure jobs to serve in Africa; I’ve seen college students take a year off before beginning their career to travel the globe as missionaries; I’ve witnessed entire families uproot and move halfway around the world; and I’ve watched as young married couples leave their homes to teach in “undisclosed locations.” They are fulfilling an amazing calling.

As I was thinking about a recipe that might tie in with mission work, this one for Italian beef came to mind. Not because it is a dish with a rich foreign heritage, but because it is one of my favorites to serve those who visit our home.

While most of us aren’t called to serve in a foreign mission field, we are all called to serve others in our home mission field. Serve up some love with these Italian beef sandwiches.

Italian beef sandwiches

* 1 (3-pound) sirloin tip roast

* 2 (1-ounce) packages au jus dry mix

* 2 (1-ounce) packages brown gravy with mushrooms dry mix

* 1 (0.7-ounce) package Italian salad dressing dry mix

* 1 package Hoagie rolls, toasted

* Mayonnaise and mustard for garnish

Place roast in a slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray or lined with a slow cooker liner.

Add one cup water. Sprinkle one package au jus mix, two packages brown gravy mix and one package Italian dressing mix on the roast.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Slice meat into thin slices and place on toasted hoagie rolls with mayonnaise and mustard.

Prepare additional au jus mix for dipping. 

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at