Missionary Chefs

9 Oct

One of the few restaurants we go to as a family is Loving Hut. It’s a chain of vegan restaurants that are spread all over the world. However, they’re not just interested in selling food – they want to convert you to follow the Supreme Master.

I did not make this up – there is a Vietnamese woman who lives in Singapore who is the leader of this religious group calling herself the Supreme Master Ching Hai. Why do I know this? Because they have their own television channel which is played constantly in each of their restaurants, which has 5 minute snippets to attract you to the wit and wisdom of the Supreme Master.

There are books available of her philosophy. There are pamphlets that talk about the joys of veganism and meditation. And that’s the real reason why they use restaurants as their outreach – to show that turning vegan does not mean having to live on kale and bean sprouts. Their menu is excellent, but I have to admit, I’m a little disturbed by the images lauding this middle-aged woman from Asia.

This technique has actually been done before. I’ve been to inner-city Atlanta and found a vegan soul food restaurant run by Black Hebrew Israelites… which is another faith that came out of the turn of the century (1900) where African Americans decided to reject Christianity and turned to new faiths where they felt more at home. This is also where the Nation of Islam and Rastafarianism emerged. This particular group believes in strict veganism and consider themselves true Jews. However, the State of Israel disagrees, and yet allows a couple thousand of them to live illegally in their country.

In Thailand, the local Chabad (missionary Jews who do outreach… to other Jews) ran a restaurant in downtown Bangkok. This is because Thailand has strict anti-missionary laws and the rabbi can’t work as a rabbi in a country that’s 96% Buddhist. So he worked as a “kosher consultant” and had someone run the restaurant that he owned. So missionary chefs are not as uncommon as you might think.

I’ve worked with missionary teachers, missionary doctors, missionary secretaries… and if you think it’s hard for regular missionaries to raise the funds to go overseas, try being a missionary secretary. India makes it difficult to be a missionary, but you can get visa to be a teacher or a doctor. The other thing my friends pretended to be tourists and just leave the country every six months to renew their visa.

What do you think? Is it more palatable to be another profession that is also a missionary? Or is it something that rubs you the wrong way? Or is it a necessary evil? Let me know in the comments below!

2 Responses to “Missionary Chefs”

  1. Silk Cords October 9, 2020 at 12:28 pm #

    Interesting read. Even missionaries benefit from support staff OR a hook to draw others in though. 🙂

  2. Msdedeng October 9, 2020 at 1:49 pm #

    Sounds like a fun place.

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