A journey around the world
Pastor Joseph Brown of the Marion Avenue Baptist Church has traveled to Africa to visit his sister – a missionary in the country. When he saw the Africa display in the basement of his church Saturday, it immediately made him think of how the continent actually is.
On Saturday evening, members of the church and guests got to travel the world in the form of cuisine. For the second time Marion Avenue was the site of an International Dinner. Brown explained the dinner began when the church began its missions conference as a way of supporting 94 missionaries worldwide. He said once a year missionaries come in and the dinner is held to raise money to send the missionaries around the world.
“It is a way to celebrate the cultures of the world and really to focus on the different people groups of the world,” Brown said. “It helps give us a better insight in the way they live and the way they eat.”
He said for several weeks members of the church had been building booths and doing research about the foods offered in each region. The church had five categories: Europe, Asia, South America, America and Africa. Within each category, five categories were represented. Each had its own dish to share with the 350 visitors.
Brown said that during discussions with attendees, many said that the food from the different countries was “spot on” in its taste.
The mission work includes bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, Brown said. He also said that there are other mission trips, which the church aids in, such as John Hays’ delivering water purifiers to other countries. There are also medical mission trips Marion Avenue assists with.
“The main purpose for our church — and really the heartbeat of our church — is spreading the news of Jesus Christ, not only here in America, but around the world,” Brown said.
During this year’s conference, Brown said, Matt and April Haynes spoke. They are planning a second mission trip to Kurdistan, which is only about two miles from where ISIS is taking control. The Hayneses are allowed to go in and establish churches and train international pastors to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Brown said he and Haynes spoke about how Christians in the region are being killed by the thousands.
The Hayneses said that the food offered at the booths based on Morocco and Egypt tasted identical to the food in Kurdistan, Brown said.
“It really was a special time for our church, as we could — right here in Washington, Iowa — take a journey around the world through food as well as stories of what God is doing in foreign countries,” Brown said.
The event took quite a while to plan, Brown said. It started with a meeting with volunteers to cook and put the booths together. The volunteers began studying the country of choice. Many of the church members are from South America, Brown said. A guest from Chad, Africa, helped with the African cuisine. Members from the church helped build the booths and did plenty of research on different cultures.
“A lot of times we are so blessed here in America and so rich in American it is hard for us to think about some of the poverty levels in places like South America or Africa,” he said. “In preparing for the dinner and participating in it, it really gave us a better heart for people of other countries.”
Brown said that the event will be held again next year. He said that he was pleased with the turnout, but the event will be better advertised.