Come To The Table- Story from Simi Valley

A story reposted here from Grace Connect about one of the ladies from our network of churches!

One of the many ways Jesus connected with those around Him was through sharing a meal together. He would often be found eating inside the homes and at the tables of sinners. One of His last acts of ministry before heading to the cross was what we call the Last Supper (Luke 22:7-23). He invited His disciples to come to the table to share a meal together before His final act of love here on earth.

Donna poses for a picture amidst getting ready for an upcoming class.

Come to the table, is Donna Najera’s of Grace Church of Simi Valley’s (Jordan Bakker, lead pastor) slogan for her Instant Pot and meal planning ministry called Cooking with Donna. A Christian of 30 years and part-time staff member at Grace Church, Donna received an Instant Pot as a gift in September 2017. When Donna finally worked up the courage to use her new device, she realized how easy it was to cook delicious and healthy meals in minutes which then allowed her to spend more time with her family – and less money in the process! Little did she know that this household appliance would lead to many opportunities to share the Gospel and the love of Jesus with near to a hundred people over the last year.  

Donna began inviting women from her church into her home with the intention of not only encouraging them how to cook healthy meals for their families but also to simply share a meal with them. She got to know the women and learned about ways she could pray for them. Before she knew it, she had a following on Facebook in November 2018 that would ultimately lead her to launch her small business, Cooking with Donna. Donna was thrilled with the popularity of her newly founded business and welcomed people from all stages of life into her home, from the young mom with small children to a male college graduate wanting to learn how to cook healthy meals for himself. 

A group of students shares a meal together at Donna’s table in her home.

Donna understands the value of women encouraging other women and says the best part of the time shared together is “when we open the pot and go to the table.” During her first class of the year, as the guests were finishing up their meal a woman pulled Donna aside and said, “This isn’t about the Instant Pot, is it?” Donna seemed surprised at the question. The woman continued, “You know Jesus, don’t you?” Donna cheerfully said “Yes!” The woman said she would pray for Donna and encouraged her. The woman left and Donna returned to the table where a young woman was talking about how Jesus saved her. After the group left, Donna was able to pray with the young woman and encouraged her to seek discipleship from an older woman from her home church. 

During a more recent class, she hosted a group of women of mixed faiths. She had known that a few of the women were believers and asked if the group wanted her to pray for the meal before they began to eat. Donna prayed and they shared the meal together. After their time at the table was done and the guests began to depart, one of the women asked Donna some questions about the YouVersion Bible app and revealed to her that she was Jewish but had more questions about Donna’s faith in Jesus. Donna continues to pray for the women she encounters by keeping a detailed spreadsheet with special notes and prayer requests for each individual who attends her classes. 

“The Lord opens doors and He provides,” Donna says as she prepares for her upcoming classes in April and May. She knows God will provide the souls that need to come to her table and that He will use her to share His love so that they might share at the Lord’s table with Him one day in Heaven. 

[Connect] Check out Donna’s website and her Facebook page and send her an encouraging note.