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Lessons from the kitchen
Kids from Air Line Baptist learn cooking is one way to serve others
Megan Puckett, 15, and Kayla Clark, 16, share a laugh while making a Ham and Turkey Pizza Roll Up Sandwich at the Top Chef for Jesus cooking class at the Air Line Baptist Church. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Chopping onions for salsa and cooking roll-up sandwiches usually doesn't bring a religious connection to mind.

But at Air Line Baptist Church, a group of youngsters learned to be chefs for Jesus this past week.

"I have a passion for cooking," said Peggy Miller, the teacher for the cooking class. "I love kids and I love to cook and when my children were growing up I wanted to see my kids eat a full-course meal. And today kids just do not get that, and I really feel that children need that balance of good food.

"So many children do not get to come home and sit down with their parents and eat."

The classes, called Top Chefs for Jesus, began each day with a devotional taught by Nancy Reynolds, the wife of Air Line Baptist pastor, the Rev. Dr. Mike Reynolds.

The devotionals "are all based on preparing meals, actually, different people who have prepared meals, why they did it and what the results were," Nancy Reynolds said.

And while Bible study was important, Reynolds said it wasn't the most valuable lesson.

"The most important part is how she (Miller) is preparing these kids to be servants for who knows what," she said. " I have reiterated that to them every day. Who knows how God is going to use them, and everything he puts in front of us will be used for another task somewhere."

Miller also instilled in the children a special quote that she placed in the classroom: "The Lord's gift to you is life ... what you do with your life is your gift to the Lord."

She also spoke to the students about the importance of treating your body as a temple, which means eating healthy and balanced diets.

The classes were attended by about 12 students ranging in age from 12 to 17. They learned to prepare dishes such as biscuits, salads, mashed potatoes, baked chicken and desserts.

Megan Puckett, 15, and Kayla Clark, 16, who are both members at Air Line, attended the classes to learn more about cooking, but said they have learned some valuable lessons in the process.

"Miss Nancy (Reynolds) came and did a lesson and she taught us how cooking was used throughout the Bible," Puckett said. "God visited Abraham in the form of people and the first thing he did was decide to serve them food and that is how you welcome someone."

Clark added that being a servant is what God wants her to do.

"I feel like God kind of was wanting me to come and it would be a good opportunity to learn some things about God and about cooking," she said.

The verse Reynolds used on the first day of Top Chef for Jesus was Colossians 3:23: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

Reynolds said the children were learning other important lessons throughout the week.

"They are learning to follow instructions and listening to someone older and wiser," she said. "And being respectful. They have done such a good job being respectful when they serve the lunch. It's just a great opportunity for them all the way around to learn so many things."

The kids served lunch each day to church leaders, members, family and friends to test their cooking skills and to be a servant to those who do so much for them.

"We have some gentlemen that spend a lot of time here and cook for us each Wednesday, and I just feel it's right that we take time to cook for them. And they deserve it," Miller said.

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