Ba-dump, cheee! (or) "Another Miracle in the Works?"
We closed on the house on 2/29 and promptly started moving in. It took all of Saturday and Sunday (3/1&2) to transport our temporal goods from the storage facility to our house (about 12 miles apart). We had friends and family help us on both days. A huge thanks to Jeff Hines who logged several hours of moving and truck-packing only to reap the reward of Dominos Pizza (we did buy meat special and extra cheese).
Over the past 3+ weeks we've been emptying boxes and putting things in place. Between working at Newton-Conover Self Storage and Jeff beginning umpiring High School baseball out here (quite different than in CA) the creation of "home" is progressing slower than we hoped.
Last week we posted on Freecycle.com (Hickory) the fact that we had free moving boxes available. One person merely came and took about a third. A day later, another woman was sent by God to come and take more. Why such a distinction? - I heard Teena in the garage (as I worked inside on stuff) engaged in conversation. About 5 minutes later she came dashing in with this caffeinated look of joy and immediate mission on her face: "I can't believe this; I can't believe this" she kept saying, as she grabbed a pen, paper and business cards and left a jet-trail going back out to the garage. Jaw-dropped, I sensed the need for patience to learn about what was developing. I'll let her tell the rest.
First, let me explain what came before. I had kicked into high gear last week checking on several vacant retail stores for a potential location. Though several looked feasible, I walked away feeling overwhelmed by the cost." I had also spent time on the phone with the small business development center and the IRS trying to figure out the ins and outs of setting up a church (non-profit) that charges for coffee. How would all of this work with the existing church status for Living Hope Covenant Church, the church we are working with? At times it felt like a dog chasing its tail trying to get firm answers.
When it came to the retail space, here is some of what we experienced. One ideal looking former bank building with second story was $4,000 a month. (Gag.) Other strip mall store fronts were in the $2,400 range. " We need more than just coffee shop space. We need extra space for meetings and worship. How could we be sure we could afford these places? The estimate needs to be based on how much coffee we think we will sell. We really needed expert advice.
Between the figuring out the non-profit ins and outs and the cost of what we could afford for rent, I felt that the only way it was going to happen was if God sent another miracle. So I started praying. "God we need a mentor, someone who can guide us regarding setting up the non-profit so we do it correctly. And I just can't see how we will afford this retail space."I began praying one of those Abba Father kinds of prayers and I kept at it. "Lord, we need a miracle, work something out. Give us a place. Send us the people we need." Jeff joined in the prayers. He says his were more like "God. We're clueless. We need some insight and direction soon!"
At the end of the week is when God decided He couldn't take any more and sent an answer in a big way.
I had posted the info on Ecycle.com and had gotten several email responses. After giving some boxes away to one lady, I still had a bunch more boxes left and the email responses kept coming. I skipped over several people who emailed about boxes, for some reason feeling led to respond to Brenda Barnes. We set up a time for her to come and get boxes. When Brenda arrived, she and I chit chatted and she asked me where I had moved from. I said "California." Brenda got this incredulous look on her face and said, "Are you the people who are with Java Journey?"
It was my turn to have my jaw drop. Brenda went on to explain that just that morning she'd been searching on-line and ran accross our javajourney.org website. (I never did find out why she was searching on-line.) She was intrigued by our story and wondered how she and her partners could help out. She went on to explain that they are connected with a local multi-level ministry in Hickory owned by a trio of Christian business partners whose mission in a nutshell is to provide Christian outreach through acts of compassion to a hurting world. This includes having their own business center with storefronts which sends contributions to poor children in Africa and other local missions. One of these store fronts is cafe called Hungry Planet...more on that later in another post.
Brenda filled me in and my mind raced to process it all. "We have our own coffee roasting company and a coffee bar in our office complex, which I think we might be able to let you use. We also have additional space at the complex. It's warehouses we haven't developed yet and, oh yeah, we offer financial funding. I really think my boss is going to want to meet with you. Let me see what I can arrange."
The long and the short of it is that this Friday, at 2 pm we have a God-ordained meeting with Rusty Shields, the boss of this 3S operation and we can hardly wait to see where this leads.
In addition, God also set up a meeting with pastor David Henson of Crossfire Church, a connection we made while living in Lewisville with Teena's mom. This small group of out of about 50 attendees found an immediate connection with us. And they want to talk more about how they can help us. We meet with him next week.
So... I am sure there will be plenty more to post after these meetings. Stay tuned for, "As the Coffee Roaster Turns..."