KISSIMMEE — More than 125 Johnson University Florida faculty, students and staff wrapped up another successful Missions Emphasis week Thursday with their third annual International Food Sampling Festival.
The festival is the culmination of MEW, which featured C.Y. Kim, a field director with Christ Reaching Asia Missions as the guest speaker.
Ruth Reyes, one of the event organizers, and assistant dean of JU’s School of Communication and Creative Arts, said the event began when the JUFL chapel committee and chapel production team asked a few faculty and staff volunteers to serve the Thursday night dinner during MEW.
“When chapel leadership began thinking of activities for MEW — in addition to guest missionary speakers and activities for the students during the week — the idea came to do a small version of the world-famous Disney-Epcot food and wine festival — with a twist,” Reyes said. “Of course, sans the wine and expensive entrance ticket.”
Reyes said the festival featured samples of dishes that represented the different heritages and cultural backgrounds of the JUFL faculty and staff.
“We also included countries where we have gone on missions trips,” she said.
Reyes said the meal was a good way to honor alumni serving in a foreign country.
Organizers collected recipes from alumni serving in the mission fields and cooked the recipes from those alumni in honor of them.
“We also included regional cuisines, such as Southern dishes or Appalachian cuisine,” she said.
Reyes said the event is an important part of the culture at JUFL.
“[It is] one big event when faculty, staff and their families serve the students,” she said, “emphasizing the importance of missions and remembering the missionaries.”
She said the event has become an annual tradition at JUFL, and mission students and faculty are already planning next year’s dinner.
“This year and forward, the missions major students with the help of Dr. Kendi Howells Douglas will sponsor the event,” Reyes said. “
The dinner included cuisine from Scotland, Poland, France, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Laos, Korea, Philippines, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica, Florida and Georgia. Native American cuisine was also featured.