Community Cafe @ Nanango Wesleyan
Mrs Dawn Calvert, Nana Dawn as she is affectionately known in the community, was spending her usual daily quiet time with the Lord over breakfast. On this day she was feeling particularly down. The house was quiet and she was on her own as her husband was away travelling for work.
Dawn and her husband Ron had been attending Nanango Wesleyan Methodist Church since it began in 1978. The congregation first met in homes then moved to the CWA Hall and finally built their own Church building debt free in 1985.
As Dawn was praying on this particular morning she said, “Lord, I am sick of sitting and doing nothing, I feel useless and need something to do. I feel I have reached my use by date, so God either give me something to do or take me home to be with you.” God replied very clearly “Feed the hungry and poor”. Dawn responded to God “How would I do that? Ron is about to retire, we have a caravan in the back yard and we intend to start travelling around Australia. So how can I feed the poor if we are travelling? Please give me something else to do, something that I won’t be tied down with.” God said, “Feed the hungry and the poor” Dawn continued to argue with God over the next few weeks.
At the next congregation meeting, after all the agenda had been discussed, the Chairman asked if there were any other items. Before Dawn knew it she found herself on her feet asking for permission to use the Church kitchen and hall to cook and serve meals for the poor and hungry as God had asked her. The response from the congregation was overwhelmingly positive.
In October 2013 they put up a banner in the town advertising Friday Night Meals at the Wesleyan Church Hall for free. Only 5 people came on the first night and the second and third. Dawn began to wonder what she was doing wrong and asked God to show her. She prayed, “Lord I will prepare meals enough for 30 people, send the people you want me to feed”. The next week people came and kept coming. Margaret who helps Dawn in the kitchen was worried they would run out and told Dawn to stop praying. Dawn responded, “No you start praying over those pots, God will provide.”.
Each week an average of 35 to 40 people come to enjoy a home cooked meal and a kind word from Nana Dawn. Older people looking for company, single mums with children and single dads with children come to enjoy a night out. Each week the cost of the meals is covered with donations and each week God is bringing those that need loving and feeding.
Large donations and grants have been received from the community and from church folk to purchase needed fridge, freezer, bain-marie and stove. There are also plans to build a hall behind the Church with a commercial kitchen, bigger hall and three bedrooms to be used for emergency housing.
Dawn says this has proved to her what faith really is and if it is in God’s will He will provide. “I am ready to put the work in if He is ready to make it possible.” Dawn says when she thinks back to her original conversation with God, how selfish it was of her to ask Him to take her. Now she knows that her life has purpose, she only had to ask God to show her.