Single life is not necessarily harder, but it is definetly not easier. 

***This post is inspired by some people who have said some
crazy things to me over the last couple months. ***

“You life is so much easier then ours because you don’t have to deal with a family”

“If i was single, I would probably just kill myself because life wouldn’t be worth living”

“You know the longer you stay in Mexico, the longer you be all alone”

“Do you feel that because you are alone and no kids that God has forgot about you?”

“When you love God with your whole heart, thats when He will give you what you need”

“If you are making an impact now, wait until your married!”

“Do you feel as though you have no voice because a man isn’t around to stand up for you?”

Etc.

First of all, I do not think that they really meant it the way it sounded nor did they mean to hurt me.
Secondly, I probably could have reacted better (internally).
Third, of course, I have thought of most of those things before… (except for the suicide thought)… I am human and sinful.

Most of the time, I am content and happy being in the place that God has me. And I do not believe that that being content and happy has nothing to do with single or married. But it has everything to do with my relationship with God.

However, I know how easy it is for singles to feel “less than” in this world. I know that the word “single” is thrown around on the mission field almost like it is a handicap.

So for all my friends (married or single) who need to hear this….

Single life is not necessarily harder, but it is definetly not easier. 

For example:

  • I do not have to worry about cooking three meals a day for my husband or my family. But no one is there to celebrate with me when I nail a new recipe from ingredients that I never had to use in the states.
  • I don’t have to deal with packing and traveling with others…. but I don’t have someone to watch my carry-on when I go to the bathroom in the airport.
  • I don’t have to worry about others depending on me at home (except my doggies), and sometimes I can have more flexibility and time to do things. But I also don’t have someone to come home to and have a link to the familiar when I need it most.
  • I don’t have kids and a husband to clean up after. But, I also have to deal with the house, finances, communicating with supporters and ministry without help.

So it is definetly not easier… but its not harder either. Everyone has the hand that God has given them and every hand has its unique challenges. And keeping that in mind is a step in bearing one another burdens in a way that puts God’s love and grace on display.

Switching topics a little.

A couple weeks ago when I was struggling with feeling “less than” I was reading in Genesis. A chapter I have read probably 100 times… but this time I thought about it in a different way.

Genesis 22:14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On that mountain of The Lord it will be provided”.

What does it mean to walk up the mountain with the knife and the firewood like Abraham did, and put that dream on the altar of sacrifice? I am not sure if God will provide a husband for me. However, He showed Himself to be Jehovah Jirah, God the provider, to Abraham, but also for me. He has provided me with things I have never expected.

Have you ever had to surrender something? It is hard to surrender. But that is where I am, surrendering… this worldly expectation. If I don’t, I fear it will consume me, eat away at my heart, or become a stony idol. Some days I’m there, releasing all that is in me to the safe hands of the Father, and other days I cling hard and refuse to open my hands and let go. No matter what, I want to embrace this life that God has for me. I want to live it, not waiting for something that may never come, but looking expectantly to the God who WILL provide, no matter what it is He is providing.

Everyone has this thing in their life that they have to surrender, it is not just something that singles deal with. Everyone has a dream that they thought would happen or think will happen that they need to put on the alter and leave it in the hands of the Provider.

Well, Where Has Time Gone?

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Apparently I have been MIA from my blog since last October. It wasn’t necessarily on purpose… time just kinda got away from me. It is harder to remember to do a blog when you do not have internet in your house… but that is nothing more than an excuse.

So here is a little update on what is going on here.

  1. Coffee Shop:
    -Slowly but surely business is picking up. We are making ends meet with four employees and all the bills. We still hope to be turning an actual profit by the end of the year.
    -We just put in our first request for green coffee to roast ourselves. It is a small order until we have the funds to buy more. But, this is something sooooo exciting for us! We have been waiting a while to be able to do this! We will also be able to start selling coffee by the pound which should be able to make it easier to turn a profit.
    -We attended a coffee festival last week a couple hours away. It was not as profitable for us this year as it was last year but we made some connections and reconnected with some. We are even talking to others about the possibility of roasting for them as well.
  2. Community Center:
    -Over the last few months we have been creating a six level program that will ensure that we can give the best possible, well rounded English curriculum here. We have the first four done and soon the next two will be ready. Over the last five weeks we offered the first three levels. It is going very well and those students who are wanting to learn are benefiting from the intensive.
    -Our next block of classes begin when school lets out for summer break. It will be a shorter block, but should offer something for people to do when not in school.
    -We are looking into what it takes for us to offer an “official” certificate that employers in Mexico would accept.
  3. Church:
    – We are still in the process of waiting for the floor above the coffee shop and community center to be finished so we can move our church into town. It was suppose to be done last August (hahaha).
    – We named our first local leader in our church a few weeks ago.
    – Brock is still teaching a Bible institute on Friday nights to a lot of the church people. It is exciting to see their hunger to learn God’s Word and put it into practice.
  4. Summer Teams and Interns
    – We decided to take the summer off from interns this year and spend it focusing on getting the ministries up and going. While we still see the benefit of interns; both for the interns exposure to what God is doing around the world and the for the church people and ministries to experience new people… it has been nice to be able to 100% focus on the ministries.
    – We only have one team this summer and we are looking forward to it. We are going to be doing a mixture of church events, outreaches, community center activities and work projects.

Of course there are about 100 other things that happen here that aren’t part of those ministries that allow us to get to know people, belong to the community and be a part of what God is doing in Mexico.

I sit in awe of what God is doing in our little town. He is constantly opening the doors for new relationships and conversations because of the community center and coffee shop. He brings new faces to church constantly. He has given us everything we need, when we need it.

Thank you for constantly praying for the ministries here, we appreciate it.

 

Ministry Update!

Lots has been happening here in Amealco, here are some highlights…

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The coffee shop is going well. We now have four very part time employees. Some days we have 1 or 2 people but most days we are holding our own. We are still covering all expenses, not having a huge surplus at the end of the month, but we are ok with that for now! Business will continue to grow!

We began our monthly specials in October. This month is pumpkin pie lattes! Eggnog and mint mochas are coming up in the next couple months!

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Last week we began our first BIG block of classes in the community center. As with every block of classes we had people come the first week, but expect it to grow a lot in the next few weeks!

We are excited to be getting to know new people and begin relationships with them!

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The beautiful roaster is still sitting in the trailer. Because of the crazy amount of rain that we have had lately the building is taking longer that we would like to go up. All the material for the entire building is sitting there.

We hope to be roasting by the first of the year! We will need to raise some money for the first batch of green coffee, more details on that to come soon!

When we start roasting, it will technically be the third business that we will open. This is to sell coffee to the coffee shop, the local churches, teams that come down, or whatever.

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And like we had always planned, we will be using all proceeds (of all the projects mentioned above) to do community projects in Amealco. We are hoping to launch our first significant project at the end of 2018.

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Church update:

-A few weeks ago, 18 people were baptized in our little country church. Praise the Lord!
– 20 or so people are taking part in a 2 year Bible institute.
– We have bible studies, a guitar class, and various other activities.

We are also planning on moving the church into town. Right above the coffee shop and community center, actually! It will be a great location, it will allow more people to be invited to church without being invited to “someones house” and it will allow us to teach more community center classes (because the bible studies will meet upstairs). This also gives us a kitchen in this building! We can use that for church get togethers AND a place to teach baking classes for the community center. (If you are interested in donating baking supplies to stock this kitchen, let me know!)

New members of our team!

We are officially announcing today the
newest members of our team.
It is a thousand pound coffee roaster…
and two industrial coffee grinders!!!!! 

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We would love you to Praise the Lord with us as we thank Him for this wonderful blessing. If you would have asked us a year ago where we would be in these ministries. We would not say where we are today! This was all just a dream, and a roaster wasn’t even on the radar yet!

About a month ago, we when we were praying for the finances to get our roster, we were HOPING to have a dent in what we needed (about 15,000USD) by the end of the year. Well, Monday we were able to pick it up!!!

There were SEVERAL “Thank you, Jesus” moments. A few are…
1. We did NOT have to carry $15,000USD worth of money in Pesos with us! (that would have been like two suitcases full). We were able to do two bank transfers with a  small fee! That made the 6 hour trip there WAAAAY less stressful!
2. We were not pulled over by the cops and questioned as to why we have a trailer… we were all legal, but you know how the authorities are here.
3. We told the company in Veracruz that we were in a hurry and wanted to get back the same day, so they were ready for us. Not only that they treated us SO well, loaded the machine for us and made us feel completely comfortable with our purchase.
4. We had a flat tire on the way back (on the trailer). Well it wasn’t completely flat yet, we caught it in time. Not only did it happen in a “good spot” because we were on a less busy highway and only a few miles from town, we were able to find a really great tire place within miles to get new better tires. It made the cost of the trip go up but we made it home safe!
5. We were able to do the impossible ALL in one day. Got up at 4 am and pulled back into my house around 10pm. We are tired still but we did it!
6. If we would have made the trip on Tuesday instead of Monday we would have been super close to yesterdays earthquake epicenter and probably would have been effected.

What is the plan with the roaster?
With the roaster we are able to do several more things in the ministry. We are able to serve higher quality coffee then we have been (when we haven’t roasted it ourself), we can sell by the pound to people and businesses in the community along with churches around the area. But, the important part is that we will be able to generate more income to use in practical projects in this community.

We are still about a month away from being able to roast our own coffee. We are in the process of trying and picking out which green coffee we want to order. Plus we need to raise a little more money to be able to buy our first batch of green coffee (after that, the coffee shop should be able to pay!).

Plus, our roasting barn is not complete yet. We have purchased MOST of the building materials, mostly just missing electrical, water and gas tank. Right now we are waiting for the people we are hiring to actually finish the building!

All in all, we are probably going to be wanting to raise another $5k to finish this massive project.

However, today we just want to thank the Lord. We are in absolute awe as to how He is working in Amealco.

 

Two Anniversaries!

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Today marks 6 years that I have been in Mexico and one year being in Amealco.

Crazy how time flies!

There have been absolutely amazing times where I have seen God do some incredible things in and through me…. He has done amazing things through other people and in the lives of so many.

There have been times that have been extremely hard and lonely.  Sometimes, I questioned being in Mexico

I have made so many new friends from all over the world.

I have learned more and more about who God is, his heart for the world and what it means to truly lean on Him daily.

I wouldn’t trade the last six years for anything else.

*cheers* to many many more years in Mexico!

ONE MONTH!

 

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Yesterday was one month since we opened our little coffee shop and community center.

There have been some busier days and some slower days… some classes that were well attended and some that had no one. But, that is how it goes with the open of two businesses.

A few cool things have happened…

  1. Nearly every day someone new comes in— usually several new people!
  2. From the first week to last week we have more than doubled daily profit.
  3. The church people have begun using the coffee shop to hang out in with their friends. Specifically, their non churched friends!
  4. Almost everyday, someone tells us that it takes time to start something in this town. Some have even mentioned they lost money for up to two years. Praise God we are not losing money.
    This has been an encouragement to us, not something that we let bring us down! It is a reminder to be faithful to the cause and not to give up too soon!

We have some specific things we have always prayed for with this location. That it would be a hang out place for people, that people would see the Love of God displayed and that we are able to make a difference in the community. Please be praying with us as we continue to work toward making these two places a place that glorifies God and is a light in the community.

Our Story- Coffee Shop/Community Center

We have been writing down our story, mostly because we want to remember what God has done!

I wanted to share with you what God has done so far!

There had always been the idea that there was a community center in Amealco. After Tina moved to Amealco in August 2016, we had been moving forward with the plans to open early 2017. In the middle of September 2016, Tina had the idea of having a small area next door to the community center that would be a place for moms or siblings could hang out while the classes are going on. She was nervous that Brock and Heather would think that was an insane idea and it would be too much going on. To her surprise, they were excited about it! Then she mentioned that she wanted to roast our own coffee for the place. Give it something different than anything around here could provide.

The very next day, we went driving around Amealco talking, praying and looking for a place to house this idea. Where the current space they were renting was now too small. We were looking and asking around Amealco for two rentable spaces, at a price we could afford. We had in mind that we could figure out how to pay for two spaces at 1500 pesos (80 USD) each. After asking about several areas, we were realizing that the spaces we renting between 6,000 ad 10,000 pesos, which was way out of our price range. Then we remembered that we saw two spaces being built by a friend. Brock called and talked to him about it. The guy who is building it got very excited about our idea and felt honored to let us use his space. Brock asked him what the price was and the guy simply responded, “what do you want to pay?”. He knew that his spaces could go for about 7,000 pesos a month. So when Brock shyly said, “we were thinking 1500pesos each”, he expected him to laugh. But, instead, he responded, “thats fine, in fact if you can’t pay that much thats ok too”. Totally shocked and seeing the hand of God, Brock came back to Heather and Tina with the news.

At this time we were thinking one of the spaces was going to be for classes and the other would be just a space with a few tables and coffee available. We began to talk to people about the plans for ministry in Amealco. Our mission organization encouraged us to think bigger and not settle for mediocrity. So we began reforming our plans to something a little bigger.

In October, we settled on names and slogans for both the community center and the coffee shop. We also asked a friend to create logos for us. She did an above and beyond job, surpassing all of our expectations. Even more, she decided to do it for free!

About this time (End of October 2016) Brock, Heather and Tina went to three day meeting with leaders in the mission.  While this meeting had nothing to do with our ministries, several people came up to us at different times to talk to us about what we had planned. We received some amazing encouragement. Also, a few different people randomly heard about our plans and told us about this training program in Guatemala.

Days after we heard about this coffee training program, we signed up! We signed up knowing that we did not have the $7,000 USD to pay for it. But, we knew that God had ordained the different conversations and events leading up to this time and we stepped out in faith. We began making plans and talking with Mike, the guy in Guatemala, about details to go in February.

December 2016 we began working on our business plan. This was a huge document with hundreds of questions on it that our mission gave us to fill out. When we first received the document we were overwhelmed and afraid that we wouldn’t have all the answers we needed. But, while it took many hours and several days to complete all the questions, we had all the answers. In the preparations for this God had brought to mind nearly everything we needed to think through. We talked to the people that we needed to talk to, did the research that we needed to do and knew what we wanted to accomplish with these two businesses. When we were finished with the questions for the business plan, we sat back and thanked God for the opportunities that we have and that we work together so well.

At the beginning of February 2017 we were quickly approaching the date to leave for Guatemala. At the end of December we were able to raise the exact amount to buy our three plane tickets. But, we did not have the $3000 dollars to pay for the training, the money for housing of for food. But, three days before we left, we had the exact amount of money we needed to be able to go. We were thankful for other missionaries in our organization for picking us up from the airport and making sure we were comfortable and had the information we needed. The housing that was lined up allowed us the perfect space to rest after a long day, to hang out and enjoy our time and have meetings when we needed to.

The training was a whirlwind event. In the short week we were there so many things were thrown at us. We learned everything we needed to know about going to the coffee farms and picking out the green coffee. That includes the process of drying, of talking and creating relationship with farmers, and the best way to transport green coffee. We became experts at roasting all different types of beans to all different roasts, even how to fix our roasting mistakes. We learned the ups and downs of owning and running a coffee shop and how to perfectly make all the delicious drinks. We left with certificates in roasting and barista. God gave us the strength, patience, and energy to understand and comprehend everything in less than a week. That is something that some people take a year to learn.

In March, we had our first group since starting this endeavor. They spend the week helping us start building the barn for the roaster and they painted the coffee shop and the community center. They were a great encouragement and help to advance our efforts.

Throughout the entire spring as we were planning, praying and setting everything up we could see a need, pray about it and watch God provide. Time and time again He would send us exactly what we needed from the most expected places. Sometimes what God provided was different then what we had asked for, but it was exactly what we needed before we knew we needed it.

At the beginning of May, a national church leader friend from a couple hours away mentioned that there was a small coffee expo in his city that weekend. He said that he didn’t think we could make it but wanted to mention it. We were so busy and so tired from the last few weeks of ministry and the upcoming events, but we went. It was super small, but God used that time to create essential contacts that we had been praying about. This expo was essential in launching us forward to a successful opening. It made us sit down at the end of the day and go back to square one on several things. For example, because we would not have the coffee roaster when the coffee shop opened in June, we needed to pick the best possible quality coffee we could fine. After trying 20-30 different coffees you could buy in the store we had picked a mixture of a few of them. But, this expo allowed us to meet two specific coffee farmers, we tasted their coffee and loved them. They allowed us to buy roasted coffee for opening and when we get our roaster, they will allow us to buy their coffee green. Even better, they were excited to partner with us for the long haul and invited us to see their farms.

After the expo everything just continued falling into place. While we were extremely busy from then to the opening day on June 10, 2017 we were never overwhelmed by the details of opening two businesses at the same time. God orchestrated every singe step.

We have had several discouraging times along this journey but those times have been made a little easier to navigate because of the overwhelming evidence of God;s perfect plan and providence throughout this process.  God has been sweet to remind us of the incredible open doors he has allowed even when things seemed a bit dire.

Thankful at what the Lord has done in getting these ministries/businesses set up and grateful at the team He has placed here in Amealco, the story about how God uses everything is a story that is to be continued….