Native American reservations. The jungles of Guyana. Safe houses for victims of human-trafficking.
These are a few of the many sites where Carl and Tina Kadolph, the owners of Palate Coffee Brewery, minister to those in need through their anti-trafficking nonprofit, Love Missions. I listen in envy as they describe their trips to underprivileged communities.
Growing up in the church, I was always familiar with mission trips. Especially the humanitarian ones where you tell people about Jesus AND help the community. But it’s not until recently that my eyes have been (ever-so-slightly) opened to what these trips involve.
Culture shock. Sacrifice. Heartbreak. Maybe heatstroke. The stories I hear from my friends are sobering. And, at the same time, it makes me want to get involved.
I love helping others. God bless that do-good-feel-good phenomenon. I also actively seek experiences that place me out of my comfort zone. Those kind of experiences—the ones that "stretch" you—are the ones that make you grow.
As a Christian, I think of the Bible verse:
Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame. Romans 5:3-5 MEV.
So a challenging, life-altering trip? Sign me up!
Except that, outside of being a barista at Palate Coffee Brewery, I work a nine-to-five job, Monday to Friday. And it’s a strong, career-building job. I get to do what the seemingly-unemployable English major in me felt I wouldn’t get to do. I learn new things every day. I meet different people all the time.
My job is not something I would forfeit for the missionary field. Especially since I’ve never done it before. In fact, missions work might not even be for me. A desk job could very well be my forté.
So I plant my feet at the coffeeshop and help as much as I can. I still admire those who travel to these rugged places and risk their lives to help others. But maybe the best way I can help is to make coffee. Not only can I help facilitate funds for these mission trips, but I can also serve the local community.
It might not sound as daring or as "holy" as helping build a school or a home. But being in the place that I am in life now, I can still help. I can support Palate Coffee Brewery which, in turn, supports Love Missions.
Another Bible verse comes to mind:
Whatever you do, do it heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23.
If you want to help but you’re tied down like me, be a volunteer!