Mary’s Kitchen

Mary's Kitchen

We have moved from El Segundo, CA to Yorba Linda, CA, another outlying city of Los Angeles.  Through a friend’s brother, we were connected with and now parked at Yorba Linda Friends Church, the church Richard Nixon and much of his family attended/planted back in the day.  It has changed  A LOT since Nixon attended here, with a new enormous building, many church attenders, all the latest gadgets with concert-like services.  We were impressed with the stimulating sights, sounds, and safety precautions but I would have to say, Jesus stood out in more definition and authenticity at Mary’s Kitchen- a homeless ministry that Yorba Linda Friends participates in on Saturdays from 9-2:00 pm.

Inside the kitchen

We woke up early on Saturday and left the sweet little RV Park nestled right on the beach to arrive at Yorba Linda Friends at 8:30am where we parked and plugged Big Buster in.  9:30 we rolled out of YLF with Steve, one of the associate pastors, to join a group of them at a little place called Mary’s Kitchen where there were already 40-50 homeless people enjoying a good hang out session.  It was already obvious to us that many of the homeless found this to be a place of safety and refuge.  From the looks of it, Mary’s Kitchen wasn’t anything special.  It is a simple mobile home placed in a gravel-covered industrial part of town with giant storage units surrounding one side of the lot.  A large tent cover was put next to the mobile home which provides shade for everyone to sit, hang out and eat.  Volunteers mingled as they prepared food for the lunchtime meal and sack lunches as an extra meal to take with them when it was time to go.  Yorba Linda Friends did NOT mess around when it came to the menu: Tri-tip barbecued steak, salad, twice-baked potatoes, pasta salad, boiled eggs, and juice.  The sack lunches were lavishly packed with yummies also.  It is fun to see groups really pour out good quality food and then join those they serve to eat with.  Communing together always brings a sense of warmth, equality, and desire for relationship.  There’s really nothing better than a good meal with good conversation.

Now THIS is barbeque!

We had a lot of opportunities to sit, talk and pray with people while we mingled and helped out at Mary’s Kitchen.  It was encouraging to talk with some of the volunteers who hear and recognize Jesus’ heart for the poor.  It was a place that provided time to rest, time to fellowship, food for the belly, a place to shower, do laundry, and believers who were willing and ready to talk, pray, and listen to those who wanted help.  Our kids were able to jump right in and run around safely, jumping in and out of conversations, chess games, and the bbq area; again, I saw faces light up and soften to see our happy children join in the festivities of this event.

By 2:00pm, close to 125 people were served at Mary’s Kitchen and given a sack lunch for later.  Another 75-100 sack lunches were taken to Santa Ana and handed out to more homeless folks who hang out around the courthouse downtown.  The food was very good but the simple fellowship, and Spirit that is ushered into this place is why these people want to come back and spend time.  We were thankful to have a chance to meet and work with Yorba Linda Friends Church at Mary’s Kitchen.

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