I started to learn Falun Dafa in Germany in 1996 and moved to Sweden in 2013. I’m currently working as the coordinator of the German catering team for Shen Yun. Our team has been working for Shen Yun for 15 years since its first European tour in 2007. During the process, we have experienced ups and downs, and gradually became mature and professional.
In May this year, the German professional caterers magazine "Chefsheads der Magazin" particularly reported how our western chefs cooperated with our catering team to provide services for Shen Yun's European tour. Here, I would like to thank Master and fellow practitioners for giving me this opportunity to share our cultivation experience on behalf of all fellow practitioners in the German catering team.
This year, three Shen Yun groups toured Europe for six months, making it the longest tour of Shen Yun in Europe. Starting from the first show in Germany at the beginning of the year, our team followed Shen Yun to France, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Spain. We managed to provide services in a total of 20 different cities in five months. During the time when two Shen Yun groups were performing simultaneously in different places, some chefs in our team also needed to provide services to the other group. Such a level of high work intensity, from physical strength to cultivation state, is a challenge for every practitioner participating in the team. When facing some emergent situations and interference, it is only through righteous thoughts, righteous actions and the cooperation between us that can make us come through. Next, I would like to share our experience from the following aspects:
1. Saving people with righteous thoughts during the pandemic
The first stop of Shen Yun’s European tour this year was Cologne, Germany. In early January, when Europe was experiencing a COVID outbreak, many countries implemented very strict prevention measures, which made it difficult for Shen Yun to save people. For example, people were asked to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight or other public transportation or entering a theatre. In order to avoid the inconvenience caused by these measures in various countries during Shen Yun’s tour, our team members started to discuss this based on the Fa two months before the launch of Shen Yun’s tour. I realized that our primary mission is to cooperate with Shen Yun to save people. As a result, most of the practitioners in our team had already completed their vaccinations one after another before Shen Yun’s arrival. This was a cultivation process of letting go of oneself, cooperating with Shen Yun, and helping Master to save people.
In order to allow the practitioners in charge of the catering in each region to have enough preparation time, I usually start communicating with them and make plans in the first half of the year before Shen Yun’s arrival in Europe, and confirm the details related to kitchen facilities, staffing, transportation, shopping and accommodation, etc. Due to the impact of the pandemic and the (Russia-Ukraine) war, there have been problems in the supply chain in many countries, which has made our work more difficult. Especially during Shen Yun’s performance in Germany, some of the main cooking ingredients such as cooking oil and flour were suddenly out of stock. To ensure the normal operation of the catering team, we really tried our best.
There are two Vietnamese practitioners in our team. They did not understand Chinese but worked very hard. After finding our difficult situation, they silently brought many items that were in shortage in Germany from other countries, thus ensuring the normal operation of the entire catering team.
In addition, I would also like to thank fellow practitioners from other places for their selfless dedication and active cooperation. They spent a lot of time and energy preparing goods for us in advance, providing warehouses, and ensuring the logistical supply of Shen Yun.
2. Pushing ourselves to complete the mission
This year, Shen Yun toured in Europe for as long as half a year, and most of the practitioners in our team followed the whole tour. This means giving up the comforts of home and staying away from loved ones, which is not easy! This is a test for every practitioner involved, especially those with jobs and families. Take the two chefs from our team as an example, they are the souls of the kitchen team. After more than ten years of job training, it is easy for them to find a stable and well-paid job with their skills and work experience. However, they knew that Shen Yun needed them, and that this was also their responsibility and mission in life, so they resolutely gave up their personal gains. To make a living, they can only rely on doing part-time jobs for half a year and are devoted to serving Shen Yun for the other half of the year. Other practitioners also made breakthroughs from the pressure of family, economy and work, and spent as much time as possible contributing to our team. All of these are difficult to achieve without a solid foundation of cultivation and strong righteous thoughts.
3: Working together, nothing is truly impossible!
This year is the first time we have used the restaurants and kitchens of some theaters, and it is inevitable that we will encounter some unexpected situations. I remember when we were in a theatre in Prague, the Czech Republic, we found that the kitchen had not been in use for a long time. There was insufficient electricity supply and firepower, which made it very difficult to use, but the local practitioners have already tried their best. Facing an underprepared kitchen and outdated facilities, we didn’t complain given the tight schedule and heavy workload, but worked together to clean the kitchen. A fellow practitioner who with knowledge of electricity installations, helped set up the high-voltage power supply in the kitchen overnight to ensure the normal operation of the kitchen. This is how everyone got the work done in a very difficult situation.
This is the first time to cooperate with many local practitioners, but we all share the same goal, that is, to fully cooperate with Shen Yun and help Master rectify the Fa and save people. During the whole process, I truly felt the overall improvement of our team and elevation as a whole. For this reason, the difficulties in front of us were easily resolved. In fact, many things cannot be achieved by humankind, it is Master and other divine beings who are helping, but the process (of doing these things) reflects our cultivation state and our willingness to save people.
As the saying goes, "logistics goes before marching the army". We often go from stop to stop and need to get everything ready before Shen Yun arrives. I remember that on the afternoon of May 13, when Shen Yun arrived in Brno, Czech Republic. In order to allow the Shen Yun artists to celebrate this unforgettable day with Dafa practitioners around the world, we had to leave for Brno in the night right after finishing our work for the previous stop (where Shen Yun has performed). At that time, everyone was very tired, and I was really in a sweat. With the cooperation of local practitioners, it only took 3 hours for us to cook a sumptuous hotpot for Shen Yun artists. The western chef even made a giant cake that was enough for 70 people to share! On the 30th anniversary of the spreading of Dafa, it was such a great honor to have the opportunity to celebrate "World Falun Dafa Day" with Shen Yun during the busy journey!
4. Believing in Master and the Fa and eliminating interference
Just a month before Shen Yun arrived, a Chinese chef in our team suddenly became infected with Covid and was hospitalized. Meanwhile, another chef was dispatched to France to help another Shen Yun group. What should I do? Under the great difficulty of time constraints and manpower shortage, the only Chinese chef in our team, who is relatively young, had to be entrusted to take the lead at this critical moment. Under this extreme circumstance, if one more chef was interfered with, the entire team could not function. This incident sounded the alarm to everyone about how mad the evil is and how serious our cultivation is. Therefore, we made the best use of our time to study the Fa, share our experiences, look inwards, and increase our efforts to send righteous thoughts every day. At the same time, we strove to strengthen the cohesion of the team. With the cooperation of all the practitioners in the kitchen, the young chef quickly got started. The amount of food was accurately controlled without any waste. With the blessing from Master, he made a miraculous breakthrough in his cooking skills.
It is worth mentioning that since the practitioners who serve in the kitchen and restaurant have to work continuously for at least 13 hours a day, plus the time on the road, if they cannot keep up with their cultivation, they will suffer from physical exhaustion. In order to maintain a good state, everyone seized the time to study the Fa every day and used the lunch time to do the exercises when Shen Yun artists were having their lunch.
The cooperation between the kitchen and the restaurant group within the team is also very important. Whenever there was a problem, No one complained but made up for it silently. For example, there was a time when someone in the kitchen team forgot to add shredded cucumber to the noodles with fried bean sauce. The fellow practitioners who served in the restaurant noticed it in a timely manner and tried to make up for it. It can be said that although the matter is small, cultivation is no trivial matter, and any detail cannot be ignored.
This year, we were fortunate to provide services to three Shen Yun groups. These Shen Yun performers come from different ethnic groups and countries, and their eating habits are quite different. During the six-month tour, many Western performers could not fully adapt to Chinese food. Therefore, our kitchen team found various ways to meet their needs and formulate appropriate recipes according to the different nationalities in the artist group. Besides traditional Chinese food, we also made classic Korean food, Japanese food and Vietnamese food. In addition, homemade dishes were specially prepared for the Western performers, such as Ukrainian roast chicken, Czech and French roast duck, German pork knuckle, Austrian pork ribs and Russian soup. In addition, coffee and bubble tea made professionally were also very popular among Shen Yun performers.
There are countless miracles that have happened in validating the Fa, and all the wisdom of Dafa disciples comes from Dafa. Master saw our willingness to help Shen Yun to save people, so he arranged everything that helps us to accomplish our mission.
5. Holding righteous thoughts and righteous actions when facing interference
I remember when Shen Yun was performing in Berlin, a technical issue suddenly occurred in the second half of the show, and the audience and theater staff were at a loss. Once I heard about this, my first reaction was: we can't let the audience leave the theater until they've been fully saved.
I went to the theater lobby and saw an elderly couple walking out. I rushed up to greet them and learned that they had to leave because they were worried about being fined for over parking. I asked for their license plate number, found the car and extended their parking time so they could watch the whole show with peace of mind.
After the show, I ran into this couple again at the door, and when they found out that I was a staff member from the organizer, they excitedly said to me, "The performance was so wonderful. We have been waiting for 3 years to watch the Shen Yun performance! Today we drove from Rostock for a special purpose, although the whole round trip needs five hours. We wanted to introduce Shen Yun to our children and friends and asked them to watch this must-see show.” From them, I truly felt the joy of a person being saved after watching Shen Yun, because this is what they have been waiting for life after life!
This incident has made me realize that everything that happens around us is closely related to our own cultivation. Whether we can selflessly consider others? Under any circumstances, the disciple's righteous thoughts and righteous actions will play important roles in the salvation of lives.
Although I am the coordinator of the catering team, I know that everyone just has a different division of the job. No one is superior or inferior, and they are all essential elements in the salvation of people. Each fellow practitioner has their own strengths and weaknesses. As a coordinator, one must make good use of their strengths. As long as they cooperate with each other, learn from each other's strengths and overcome their weaknesses, and remind each other, they will surely be able to do good jobs.
This project cannot be accomplished without the cooperation and selfless dedication of each practitioner in the team. At the same time, our team has provided a good cultivation environment for each practitioner involved, from which they can establish their own mighty virtue. If one cannot do it well and doesn’t take the responsibility that one should take, it will be a regret of life and a loss that will never be made up in the future!
Fellow practitioners, when we feel tired, painful and things are difficult, please remember Master's words: “The eons of hardship were all for this day” (“All for this day” in Hong Yin III）
Thank you Master, thank you fellow practitioners!
(Selected to the European Fa-conference 2022 in Warsaw)
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