It turns out that some angels wear aprons, do a lot of cooking, and deliver meals.
Angels in Aprons is a group at Discovery Church that express love by providing meals at critical times in the lives of others – families with a new baby, folks who have had surgery, and people in crisis circumstances.
Of course the leaders of this ministry are not really angels. They are two ordinary women who have listened to God’s call on their lives and responded by putting their skills and experience to work as they serve.
Tiffany Lewandowsky is the energetic mother of five children. One weekend a month, she is on her own at home as husband, Brian, serves in the National Guard. She teaches swimming classes at the YMCA and she takes the lead for Angels in Aprons.
Tiffany grew up in a Mormon family, where she was the second of five children. As a little girl, she saw her parents’ giving and generosity. They were always available to provide rides, or to help with house cleaning and meals for people who needed it.
One of her favorite memories is a time her parents purchased a pretty dress for a little girl, placed the box on the doorstep and left it so that the needy family would not know where it came from.
Her great- grandmother lived next door and Tiffany remembers that her grandma was always creating – in the garden, around the house, and most of all, in the kitchen. There was always something good cooking. Tiffany loved to be in the kitchen, watching what was being prepared and seeing what food does for people.
Tiffany was taught the religion of her parents, but she didn’t really believe in it. As she became a mother Tiffany’s views began to change, especially when her son, Ethan, was born and eventually diagnosed as autistic. One day Ethan, frustrated at other kids teasing him, told her “God made me this way!”
It was at that point that she realized that God has a reason for everything, He has the answers.
The family began to attend Discovery at the invitation of mother-in-law Debra. They began to learn about God and the Bible and felt like they had finally come home.
Tiffany stayed in the shadows for a while, watching to see where she might fit in. Then after the birth of her youngest child, Angels in Aprons brought a meal. She was excited about the ministry and when someone invited her to the group, she jumped right in. She had found a place to serve that used her passion for cooking and feeding people.
A Bible verse that resonates with Tiffany is John 21:17 where Jesus tells Peter “Feed my sheep.” Although Jesus was talking about spiritual nourishment, Tiffany sees what she does as a very practical application of that command.
The other Angels in Apron leader is Doreen VanderVort, a mom with two young daughters. Daughter Damara is a delightful four-year-old who maneuvers her wheel chair like a pro and greets everyone with joy. Delilah is a happy toddler.
Doreen grew up in a strong Roman Catholic family with 4 brothers, all but one older than she. She attended Catholic schools. Her mom taught her to cook and keep house and very early she developed a sense of what it meant to be hospitable… to care for people.
When it came time for college, she attended Eastern Washington University where she earned a degree in social work. It was there that she met husband Darren. They were very involved with Newman House, a Catholic organization on campus that encourages service and social action.
After graduation Doreen and Darren started their careers. Doreen became a case worker for individuals with developmental disabilities. Life was good. They lived in Federal Way and attended a community church there.
Then came the event that changed their lives. Damara was born with spina bifida. Doreen says that in some ways Damara saved her life. Although she had always had the foundation of knowing who God was, Damara showed her how much she needed Him. This was something she couldn’t fix, she had to rely on God.
Doreen has a natural love of food and cooking. God has gifted her with passion for sharing with people who might not otherwise participate, of loving people who may not fit in to the normal church scene. She believes that God has called her to take care of and love people.
So when the VanderVorts came to Discovery, it was natural that Doreen would find a way of using the gifts God has given her. She started by preparing the food for the new attendees’ luncheons, but soon plugged into Angels in Aprons and jumped right in.
The verse that speaks to her heart is James 1:2 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” She sees hope in this verse, and she feels that meeting people’s needs with such things as hot food helps bring hope,
Doreen has now established a nonprofit organization to advocate for people with developmental disabilities. She will continue to prepare meals for Angels in Aprons, but is looking for others to help with meal delivery.
Tiffany and Doreen are using the skills and talents that God has given them to serve Him and others. How is He calling you to serve?