Baking Cakes & Becoming Friends
By Susannah Clarke
When God calls someone to do something for him, he often asks them to use what they already have or a skill they already possess to accomplish his purposes. I think of Moses in the book of Exodus. He felt totally inadequate to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.
Although God had clearly told him what he was to do, Moses did not think he had what he needed to fulfill this calling. In Exodus 4:2-3, God asked him, “What is in your hand?” and Moses answered, “A staff.” With God, even something as simple as a wooden stick can be used for his glory. The God of Moses’ time is the same God we serve today. When we surrender ourselves to him, he can use even the small things in our hands for a greater purpose.
It all began with a simple hand mixer. I work with refugees here in Pittsburgh and often have the opportunity to distribute donated diapers, baby formula, space heaters, blankets, and other various household items to refugees in need. A few weeks ago, as I finished loading my car with donated items, I had some extra space in my car so I asked Adam, the man who was helping me, if there was anything else I could take. He glanced around the garage, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, we have several hand mixers if you want to take a few.” He chuckled and added, “But I doubt if any of the refugees will want a hand mixer since they don’t really bake.” When he said those words, I suddenly had an idea! If the refugees don’t know how to bake, I wonder if they would like to have someone teach them. Most of the refugees here never use their ovens. Before coming to America, they had only cooked with kerosene or coal in the refugee camps where they lived. These hand mixers could be a helpful tool for me to teach them how to bake cakes or cookies and also develop better friendships with them. So I told Adam I would take as many of the hand mixers as I could and eagerly loaded them into my car.
It didn’t take long for several of the refugee ladies to express an interest in learning how to bake. The very first time I taught a baking class, I was surprised to discover the lady I was teaching had also invited a friend over to learn with her. We had a wonderful afternoon together and learned how to make a chocolate cake. In the days following, she sent me several pictures of other cakes she had baked and even invited me over to try one of them. Another woman asked if I could teach her how to make lactation cookies to help improve her milk supply for her small baby. While the cookies were baking in the oven, she asked me about God and the afterlife and we had a good discussion about spiritual matters. The baking classes have provided a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know these refugee women better and spend time with them. As I teach these ladies to bake, I pray that God will also guide our conversations and be glorified.
These hand mixers that were thought to be useless are now being used to build relationships and teach life skills to the refugees. I continue to be amazed at how God can use ordinary things – things that I might not have even considered – as a means to spread his love to the refugees. Who would have thought that something as simple as a common hand mixer would be a tool God could use for his glory!