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Week 3: He is Encouraging

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works

Hebrews 10:24

Our words are powerful.  Our words can literally make or break another.  It is our responsibility, with this great power, to follow these words of scripture to “stir up love and good works.”  You have the power, what will you do with it.

This week we had an awesome opportunity to meet up with some awesome Coffee related ministries in the Portland area.  A quick recap of our adventures:

Mark (www.intentroasting.com)- Providing 30% of profits for non-profits providing water filtration systems to those without access to clean water.

Jason and Susan (www.coffeetimepdx.com)- Urban Missionaries, coffee enthusiasts, lovers of Jesus.  Jeremiah 29:5-7

Good and Well Coffee House- (https://www.facebook.com/wellandgoodcoffee) – Community and Christ.   Partnering with non-profits and community focused initiatives for the benefit of others.

Lionheart Coffee Company – (www.lionheartcoffee.com) A faith based initiative that is designed to develop community and make a difference.

Samuel (www.leftroasters.com) –  A division of Humble Beast, Left Roasters seeks to support the pursuit of community, creativity, and conversation.  All within a faith based, Gospel context.

Beaverton Nazarene (www.beavertonnazarene.org) – A church with a long history of raising a youth committed to Christ.

East Hill Church (www.easthill.org) – Thank you for opening up your missions team to hear our story!

Our thoughts, actions, words, movements; they all have an impact on our testimony.  Let us be transformed!  Invite the Holy Spirit into our lives, welcoming the transformation.  Use this new life to be a positive influence in our world.

Please continue to pray for our family

…in our last week here in Portland with family and friends.

…in our upcoming travels to California and Arizona.

…in our conversations and meetings as we share our testimony.

…for financial peace.

…for our preparation for our return to Poland.

…for the Sweet Life (Bakery and Coffee Shop), as we prepare to open this year.

May God bless you and yours!  Please feel free to send prayer requests to us!

The Graves Family

Week 2: He is Transforming

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 NKJV
As we were taught today at church, the Holy Spirit brings radical transformation in our lives with complete surrender of control to God.  This radical transformation is such an awesome testimony of who God is!  Awesome!
Since we last left you we have traveled over 1000miles…and are still in Portland!  We had the awesome privilege of traveling out to Boise, Idaho to connect with our past c0-volunteer/co-manager Erica and family.  The time we had was priceless and completely worth the journey.  It was an amazing time of sharing encouragement and testifying to God’s faithfulness and goodness.  The icing on this cake was the breathtaking route through the Cascades along the Columbia River; the promised land (best 9 hours in a car yet!)!
During this 3 day adventure, we had another meeting(via skype) with potential investors in Kraków.  Although I am not a fan of Skype conference calls, I believe it went well.  We will find out this week if our potential investors become partners in business and ministry!  Prayers are appreciated!
Speaking of investors, thank you to everyone who has “invested” in our families journey!  Your prayer, time, homes, love, and financial support has been such a blessing to our family!  We give God the glory for surrounding our family with friends like you!  Our journey is enriched with your participation.
Allow me to be honest with you, one of my biggest fears was finances.  In December we transitioned from volunteers with the Church of the Nazarene to being independent missionaries with Centerpoint Church out of Pagosa Springs, Colorado.    God continues to calm this fear through provision and encouraging words.  We have  supporters who are providing our kids school next year, we have housing for all but 2 weeks of our entire stay stateside, transportation across the US is completely covered(except gas, but Honduras inlcuded), we have 28% of our monthly budget ($1,000/$3,500), and our landlord found renters for our flat (contract ended 2 months early!).  Our God is a BIG God! He thrives in our weakness and shows His strength.
If you would like to partner with us financially we have good news!  We now have online giving options:
  1. Go to https://app.easytithe.com/g3/
  2. Select First Time to create an account (recurring options) or quick give (one time)
  3. Change “my donation” to “MISSIONS”
  4. In the “Other Comments” you can say “Graves Family” or “Poland Missions” or “Mission to Poland”
  5. Give as the Lord leads.

– OR –

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

It amazes me how God empowers His people.  We have been connecting with people as we begin our journey stateside, sharing prayer requests.  It is so calming to know that our needs are being lifted in prayer by those we fellowship with(both ours and theirs!).
Please pray for our family…
  • As we move forward with Sweet Life (Bakery/Coffee Shop)
  • Travels to Honduras and our future ventures with coffee farming communities
  • As we travel across the U.S. this summer
  • Our finances
  • Our future home in Kraków: we are looking for a place near the kids school that we can minister to the families at our kids schools and others through hospitality (short and long term visitors)
  • Our connections with Coffee Shop ministries, friends, family, and others that we meet during our stateside trip

If we can be praying for you, please let us know.  We would love to pray for you more specifically!

May God bless you and yours.

 

Brad and Michelle

www.TheSweetLife.pl

https://www.facebook.com/SweetlifeKrk

Week 1: He is Faithful

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
Brethren, pray for us.
1 Thessalonians 5:24-25
As I read this scripture again this week, I was reminded to keep trusting our ever faithful God.  Paul’s letters are full of this reminder, ringing true to Michelle and I as we embark on creative ministry in a missions environment.  In short, we entrust God with everything.  Our safety, our security, our finances, our direction in life, our business and ministry outreach….everything.  Because in October of 2011, we made a choice to fully surrender our lives to God.  Everything, in God’s hands.
We all made it safe to Portland and have enjoyed catching up with family.  Wednesday we trekked up to Hansville to spend a few days visiting friends in the Seattle and Bremerton area.  We had the opportunity to visit a few shops in the Pikes Place Market, visit the Ballard Locks, and catch up with our friends the Troutmans (thanks for hosting us in your city!).  One coffee shop particularly caught my attention, Storyville.  I love their mentality on coffee shops.  In short:
Lives are stories, and the coffee shop is where people com to share and create them. -unknown barista
This same idea we recognize with Sweet Life!  Our shop will be a place of community, life, and experiences.  We want to enrich the lives of others so we can all enjoy the “Sweet Life.”  Which takes us to our new friends at the Coffee Oasis in Bremerton.  “The Coffee Oasis exists to see the healing of individuals and communities through compassionate youth programs supported by excellent coffee businesses.”
 Our new friend Rocky has been working with Coffee Oasis for over 11 years!  The first time he walked through the doors, Rocky’s was much different.  Having grown up on the streets, Rocky’s life was full drugs, alcohol, and despair.  But God(!) used a barista to bring total transformation and healing.  It’s amazing what an open ear, a connected heart, a positive environment, can do to a persons life.  Rocky now serves the very place that God used to impact his life.  Roasting Coffee, Trainer, Director, Program Developer, Street Team, Pastor, Leader….Many hats a volunteer and servant of God wears!

You see, it is so much more than coffee and food.  Coffee Oasis also runs the 4th largest Youth Shelter in Washington State.  They found the communities need, and met it.  They created an atmosphere where broken people can come and receive light, hope, acceptance.  They can come and receive Jesus.

Because when you treat someone as a human being, lives are transformed.  So much more than coffee and cakes.  It is about community.  It is about people.  It is about leading and inspiring change.  For us, that message of hope comes through the message of Jesus!
Please pray for our family…
…as we travel in these upcoming months!  Great times ahead for sure!
…as we seek to encourage and uplift those we meet with.
…for financial blessing.
…for fulfilling God’s will here and as we return to Poland.
…as we open Sweet Life this fall!

Stateside

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:3-5, 9-14

Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, encouraging words, and love!  We are so blessed to have such an amazing group of friends and family that want to invest in our lives through prayer.  For me, time and prayer are some of the most valuable commodities in this life!

Last Saturday we (mostly) complete our KickStarter video project (which may turn into a different crowd-funding video, but anywho).  We invited 80 people on a late Thursday night, and two days later 40 people showed up!  What an awesome turn out!  Also, my friends at Coffee Proficiency(Coffee Cargo) opened up their shop so we could shoot some film….for free!  Wow!  What a blessing.  We now have some great footage, support and buzz for the shop!  Julie really knocked it out of the park with her baked goods….can’t even describe the awesomeness of it all!

Then on Monday, we came to an agreement with the landlord.  After we get Saniped(health department) approval, we will (98% sure) sign the lease!  Woohoo!  Crazy times!

On Wednesday we met with some amazing, God-fearing, like minded friends who want to invest in Sweet Life.  The evening went well, and we look forward to hearing their decision.

On top of that we have arrived in the States safe, full of joy, and with a determination.  Praise God!

Just wanted to give a quick update on our life.  When we trust of Father in Heaven, peace will be found.  Please let us know how we can better pray for you!

Much love!

Brad and Michelle

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SweetlifeKrk?fref=ts

Website(future): http://www.thesweetlife.pl/

Kickstarter Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1430392393930654.1073741828.1429022360734324&type=1

More to come!

 

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