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….