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Chapter 30: Serve

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God.

-Micah 6:8

Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.  Simple yet complex. Do you always act justly?  Have you ever tried to love mercy for all?  How do we behave in this world, with humility or self importance?  I know that I need to keep myself in check; life is not fair, I’m not always compassionate to those who seek harm (ISIS comes to mind…or =) some facebook users), and selfishness is to quick to show itself.  How great the Father’s love for us!

This past weekend a fellow Missionary and I traveled to Belgium where we participated in Serve the City’s International Forum.  My friend Travis introduced us to Serve the City (StC) four months ago.

Serve the City began in Brussels as a single week of serving in 2005, initiated by a Christian faith community called The Well. An annual event turned into monthly volunteering events and weekly neighbourhoood-based serving opportunities throughout the city. Friends from other cities visited Brussels or heard about Serve the City and took the idea to their cities. Now Serve the City is active or starting in [over] 100 cities around the world.

What I love about StC is how organic it is.  Much like ministry, service varies by culture and city.  Needs, opportunities, methods adapt to the city that StC is established in.  For example, Pagosa Springs (CO), Detroit (MI), New York City (NY), and Houston (TX) are all very different cities.  However different the city, the importance of service is there.

What I also realized was how unified and diversified the groups were.  Not only were the groups inter-denominational, they were inter-faith!  Though our motives may have been different, our actions were connecting us.  Complementary to coffee shop ministry, StC naturally adds another dimension of community.  Instead of coffee, service to the city is the passion.  Not just a beverage to enjoy, but an idea to rally behind.  Community.

We believe that Serve the City will help to unify Kraków.  We believe that it will pass beyond the unification of the Church, but to the city.  The opportunities to share why we are doing this is beyond the beneficiaries of the service, but to the volunteers as well!  Our prayer is that we will become established as a community in love with service to our city and its people.  That we would be known to have a core group that is fully in-love with Jesus, and He is our source for everything we do in life.  That God would be glorified as we seek to be a light in our city.

We are also very excited moving into our next step in life.  We are continuing to see a bigger picture that we ever imagined.  God is good!  Continue to keep us in your prayers as we seek God in our Mission to Poland:

  • For Serve the City as we establish ourselves in Kraków.  For establishing a core team, creating projects, and our pursuit of partners(sponsors and volunteers)
  • For our Coffee pursuits.  Connecting with farms in Honduras, establishing a foundation here in Krakow for events, workshops, and community.
  • For our friendships.  As we connect with the parents at Loralie and Jack’s school, our coffee connections, and others that God brings into our lives.
  • For our family.  As we make this major transition, make new connections and as we pursue the above requests.
  • For our finances.  As we consider how much we need to raise for a ministry budget in addition to our family’s budget.  As we seek people to partner with us financially, raising 100% in monthly support.

If you are interested in partnering financially with our family as we pursue Missions in Poland, let us know and we would be happy to provide more information.  Our current budget is $3,500 and we are roughly 1/3 to our goal!

just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many

Matthew 20:28

 

So you can get an idea of what we you are giving towards, here are some pictures!

The Honduran Connection

Exciting news!  Last Friday I met with Sindy.  Sindy and her husband, Bojan, work closely with coffee farmers in Honduras.  Their objective is to connect smaller, lower yielding farms with roasters in Europe.  Sindy’s family owns a farm in Honduras and has many close relationships with her neighbors and fellow farmers in her community.  By connecting the farmers in Honduras and the roasters in Europe, these farmers will see more money and gain a wider audience.

Some of you may know my passion for helping people and for coffee.  When I talked with Sindy and Bojan, they picked up on this right away.  We are in the works of creating a partnership from which we can go above and beyond just purchasing coffee from these families in Honduras.

This is how it would work:

Sindy and Bojan  select 3-4 farmers in Honduras.  Each farmer would have an estimated farm yield and their current needs.

These needs could range from home needs(clean water, food allowances, clothing for children, transportation, education, medical needs, etc.) to work needs (clean water to farm, processing needs, broken down equipment repair/replacement, etc.).

I select the farmer and need to be addressed.  Based on this information the coffee would then be pre-sold, share cropped, or donation-based purchase. 

The idea is simple.  We want to support the farmer beyond the purchase of the coffee.   The farmer already is receiving more than they would if they had sold to a middle man, but we don’t want to just invest in the farmer financially.  We want to SUPPORT the farmer.  We want to stand beside them so they know they are apart of a global community that recognizes all they go through in life.  We want to encourage!

We work with an in country roaster who will help roast and package our coffee for distribution.

Great coffee needs a great roaster who wants to make more of an impact than through profits!

We will need help in all parts of this process.  If you think you would like to be a part of this idea moving forward, please let me know! 

Chapter 29: Next Steps

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

Genesis 12:1

God seems to call people to great adventures out of our comfort zones, safety nets, and the “normal” patterns in this world.  My family is on one of those adventures.  It started in June of 2012.  We said yes to Poland and serving as Volunteer Missionaries.  What an awesome time this has been!  God has made us anew in His presence, love, and leading.  Who we are today is radically different than who we were when we began this journey.

This December marks our final full month as Mission Corps Volunteers with the Church of the Nazarene.  We have been blessed to serve as Managers and Volunteers with the Sweet Surrender Coffee Shop ministry out of Kraków.  What we have learned and experienced has been incredible.  In January we begin our transition to full-time, independent missionaries to Kraków, Poland.  Our official sending church will be Centerpoint Church (www.centerpointpagosa.com) out of Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

What does that mean and look like?  Good question!

Over the next year we will be focusing on establishing direction for our future in Poland.  Our primary focus will be two fold.  We will be pursuing the Polish language and establishing a foundation from which to pursue ministry to the coffee Community.  Both of these will be centered in our goal of helping to unify the church here in Kraków.  This step of faith is extremely exciting for our family, we know that God has big plans for us here in Kraków!

With this new direction, there are many prayer requests and opportunities.

Prayer Requests:

  • Wisdom and direction as we pursue God’s plan for our family in Poland
  • As we establish a foundation from which to build ministry off of
  • For ministry partners- local and abroad (financial, prayer, and personal)
  • For the relationships we have here in Poland to continue to flourish and grow as doors continue to open
  • For God to bless us financially.  We still need to raise our own finances for living and ministry expenses in Poland
  • As we continue to learn the Polish language

Financial Support:

We currently have a budget of $3,500 per month.  We currently have $1,040 per month in support.  This money will be covering our ministry and living expenses for this next year.  If you would like to support specific needs our family has (rent, bus passes, language classes, Jack and Loralie’s school) we would love to give more specifics!  In the future we will be presenting some one time needs our family will have during this time of transition.  If you have more specific questions, please let us know.

We currently have three ways  to receive funding for our missions in Poland.  We are working on another method, which would allow for us to receive additional tax-deductible support other than cash or check.  Until then here are your options:

Make checks (or cash) payable to:   “Centerpoint Church”
In the notes say it is for:  “mission to Poland”
Send to:
Centerpoint Church (Attn: Erica Shamburg)
2750 Cornerstone Dr
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
(This is Tax-Deductible)

or

you can visit our blog at www.gravesabroad.com and donate through PayPal (not tax-deductible)

or

directly through PayPal.com using my email address dbgraves@gmail.com

(not tax-deductible)

 

Over the past two years God has truly refined our calling.  We thought we were coming to Poland to work with coffee.  While working with coffee, we have discovered our passion for the Polish people.  We want to see the Polish people encounter Jesus on a personal level.  We will accomplish this through black coffee nights, English conversations, Direct Trade coffee partnerships, worship nights, prayer meetings, Coffee conferences and competitions, learning to roast coffee at home, consulting work, hosting small groups, kids play dates, school activities and building relationships with the staff and parents and much more!

Thank you for all the prayers and support you have given us over the years and in the years to come.  Without your support we would not be here today. Thank you for partnering with us.

Brad and Michelle

Enjoy these pictures from my last walkabout of Kraków!

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