Wok-N-Roll Cafe: Chinese cuisine and global missions mix at youth all-nighter

April 22, 2009

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


Nothing says "feed me" like 75 hungry teens bent on staying awake all night. And when it came to satisfying those robust appetites, the mood was decidedly Oriental as youth pastors Pat Davidson, Aaron Lane and Tim Bentley joined forces recently for a Wok In with their respective youth groups from Evangel Church and First Assembly of God, in Columbus, and First Assembly of God in Amory. 


Building on a theme of global missions and outreach, volunteers prepared Chinese-inspired cuisine in woks. The exotic fare was a hit with the youth, as well as about 20 "brave adult leaders" who "wok-ed around the clock" at Evangel for 13 hours, from 6 p.m. on a Friday night until 7 a.m. the next morning. 




Oriental flair 


"The menu for the evening featured choices of chicken or beef stir fry and sweet and sour chicken," said Lanita Davidson, who helped organize the event alongside her husband, Pat, and other volunteers. "We had egg rolls and, of course, lots of steamed rice! 


"In keeping with the Chinese theme, fortune cookies were offered, but with a twist. Rather than traditional fortune cookies, we had ''future cookies'' -- cookies topped with Scripture to encourage students to become all God says they are and can be." 


Any soft cookie will do, homemade or purchased. (Chips Ahoy were used for the Wok In.) Print any encouraging Scriptures or sayings and cut them into strips, fold and secure to the top of each cookie with a toothpick for a variation on a traditional favorite. 


"It''s guaranteed to inspire," the Davidson''s agree. 


"The students at the Wok In really enjoyed the Chinese flair, as well as more traditional favorites to top off the incredible evening," said Lanita. "Around 2 a.m., our Wok-N-Roll Cafe changed to an ice cream sundae bar stocked full of delicious ice cream and all the toppings." 


High spirits were channeled into fun activities like pseudo-sumo wrestling in comically-huge, padded outfits and jousting on inflatables. A praise and worship concert with music by the band Good Bye Sky helped focus on missions.  


"Students were challenged to make their lives count for God and others," said Pat Davidson. "All areas of missions, from local ones like Palmer Home for Children and short-term mission trips to places like New York City, were talked about, as well as global outreach to China, Japan, Macedonia, Mexico and Chile. 


"We thought it went great; we''re already talking about different themes we might do next time. Lots of fun, fellowship and food helped make the night memorable for all who ''wok-n-wolled!" 






2 pounds chicken breast strips 


2 pounds beef strips 


1 cup soy sauce 


1/4 cup olive oil 


1 cup chicken broth 


Mixed variety of frozen or fresh vegetables (broccoli, carrots, snow peas, water chestnuts; such as oriental stir fry package from Bird''s Eye) 


One red onion, sliced 


Garlic, to taste  


Head of cabbage, chopped 








Chicken fingers or nuggets for baking; purchase prepared, or make your own 


For the sauce: 


1/3 cup white vinegar 


4 tablespoons brown sugar 


1 tablespoon ketchup 


1 tablespoon soy sauce 


2 teaspoons corn starch (mixed separately with 4 teaspoons water) 




Wok 101 


The wonders of the wok were discovered long ago by the western culinary world. The secret to the efficiency of the traditional Chinese cooking vessel is heat. The round-bottomed shape and sloping sides are configured to heat foods to high temperatures quickly and with little fuel. While most commonly associated with stir-frying, woks can also be used to deep-fry, braise, roast, steam and simmer. 


There are a few basic guidelines for all types of wok cooking that should be kept in mind, according to www.howstuffworks.com:  


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.