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     I do not often associate my identity with food. And I certainly don’t try to spend so much time with any one food that it becomes synonymous with my name. A food becoming your nickname… Think about it. But this summer entailed that and so much more.

    I spent a month at K-Kountry, one of Kanakuk Kamp‘s kick-bumper kampuses, with hundreds of 7-11 year old kampers coming through the barn doors each week. (And yes, the more k’s you can use in a sentence, the more hype you acquire.) K-Kountry is known as The Happiest Place on Earth, and after my time there, I couldn’t agree more. Forget Disney!

    While I was at kamp, I had the joy of serving K-Kountry’s kitchen staff as a kitchikomo. This word “kitchikomo” actually means “glamorous kitchen girl with beautiful hair” in some lost Native American dialect. And boy, I milked that title for all it was worth, considering that my hair was usually thrown up in a rather haphazard ponytail and then crowned with a baseball cap. (See above photo, featuring some of my favorite people in the whole world, the blonde kiddos of fellow blogger, Kelli Stuart.)

     As a part of my daily job, I was assigned the role of trip kitchie. This meant cranking out multiple loaves of PB&Js at a time for kids going canoeing or tubing all day. It was a blast! Once I tied my tie-dye apron on, I could make sandwiches like there was no tomorrow. Humble brag: I can make a loaf of PB&Js (i.e. 12 sandwiches ) in less than three minutes. I’m sorry, but if that doesn’t earn me a ridiculous amount of woman points, I don’t know what will!

     Aside from making around 4-8 loaves of sandwiches every morning, I took over the PB&J station at lunch and dinner. I would whip up whole sandwiches and half sandwiches, with everything from peanut butter and honey, to just jelly, to PB&M. That’s right, peanut butter and mayo… It was a dark day.

     Somebody asked me at one point whether I wanted a break from my sticky station after I had been plugging away at it for about a week and a half. I did take a break from sandwiches for the day, only to have a kuk (a.k.a. a boy kamper) rush up to me after lunch and practically yell at me for not being there to make him his customary plain PB. I know it may sound like I was being admonished for not “makin’ him a sammich,” but it hit me then that I could actually use my platform as a sandwich-making machine to connect with the little hearts that were walking into the dining hall every day. All of the sudden, sandwiches became a ministry. Don’t worry, I laughed, too!

     I made a point to learn the names of all of the kids that came to visit me during meals. And by the end of their time at kamp, I had their favorite sandwich combos memorized. One little boy with the biggest blue eyes in the world deemed a PB&J with honey, ‘The Belle Special’ “Because it’s sweet, like you,” he’d said. And I think my heart grew three sizes that day.

     This blog isn’t really about sandwiches, or how fast I can make them, or that I got a t-shirt reading “PB&J for Life” from my fellow kitchies at the end of our session for being “dedicated to the art.” This blog is about serving where you are placed. If I had been given the option to choose where I would work at kamp, I don’t know that the kitchen would have been my first choice. It wasn’t glamorous. I lied about the Native American dialect bit. But from my vantage point behind the counter, I got to watch the Lord work through conversations and jelly-smothered crusts. I built relationships with the tiny 7 year-old komo, who only wanted jelly on half of her slice, all the way up to the 11 year-old kuk who came back for a sandwich three or four times every meal! (To his mother: I do apologize!) And it was awesome! I got to serve kids by enabling them to have open hearts instead of hungry tummies. And that was humbling and exciting all at the same time.

     There are so many more stories that came out of my month at kamp that have nothing to do with bread slices or butter knives. But they all pointed to the same conclusion. God works in mysterious ways. He takes normal, maybe even mundane things, and turns them into implements of glory. He takes 20 year-old college girls and gives them opportunities to love on His kids in really practical ways. And in doing so, He blesses them with one heck of a summer.

Eastside! Westside! Get yo’self to the Kountryside!

Eastside! Westside! Get yo’self to the Kountryside!

It don’t matter if you walk or ride,

just get yo’self to the Kountryside!

That mean ole Devil better run and hide,

‘cuz Christ is King at the Kountryside!


About Elizabel

An American-born actress from St. Louis, MO.

One response »

  1. wow! every time i hear or read the words peanut butter and jelly i get the cravings for one.so happy you got the chance to go and make a difference. gg


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