Chapter 42: Give Life

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV
Everyone of us has a choice:  Will we give life or take it?  Our actions and words have powerful ripples in the world around us.  What kind of impact do we want to make?  I fully believe that when Jesus talked about loving others, especially our enemies, because we were meant to give life through love.
In the last two months, God has really challenged me on this question.  It is easy to get overwhelmed when life gets busy or hectic and lose our focus.  Trust me, these last two months have been crazy!  Sweet Life is TWO months old tomorrow and we welcomed a little bundle of joy into this world.  Through all the craziness of life I have been challenged to love, speak life, and keep my focus on God.
February 11th, at 3:40pm CET, Dorothy Kinga Graves joined our family!  Both Mom and baby are healthy and beautiful!  There is an incredible  joy in welcoming new life to this world.  It was by far the best birthing experience that Michelle has had of our three kids.  Although the five day mandatory hospital stay was not a happy thought, we were thankful that Michelle was given the two person recovery room (not the five person room, that’s five moms and five newborns!).  To top it off, because of my work with Sweet Life, we qualify for the Polish National Health Care.  Which means that we only had to pay for 2000 PLN of the 7150PLN…that is a total of $500 for all birthing expenses!
We are adjusting to a family of five.  No longer do we have “man to man” defense but have, instead, shifted to more of a zone coverage.  Life is sweet.  I am sure this adventure in life is only just beginning…after all Dottie is stationary.
Sweet Life is growing as well! It is wonderful to see joy in our customers eyes as they enjoy our coffee and cakes.  We keep hearing about how great our place is through many reviews, blogs, conversations, and notes.  God is moving in big ways and our customers feel it.  Though they may say that “there is just something different” or “the environment is incredible,”  we know that this is because of whom we serve, not what we serve.
We have some exciting news in development!  Since this past summer when I visited the coffee cooperative in Honduras, I have been working towards purchasing coffee directly with these farms.  I have dreamed of serving coffee from a farm/farmers that I have met to customers in our shop.  This dream is soon to become a reality….not just with one farm, but two!  Through our partnership with Java and Coffee Proficiency, two great Polish coffee roasting companies, we will be able to directly source coffee to brew in our shop.  Furthermore, we will be able to offer additional money to return to the cooperative to help the farming community.  My hope is that we will be able to contribute to the school I visited in Corquin.  Not really sure of all the details, but God is good!  Amen!
Getting to where we are today has not been easy.  Life has been filled with many challenges and difficulties.  We enjoy hindsight that presents a beautiful reality that our God is awesome.  Sometimes the facts or realities of life get trumped by God’s truth.  He is our provider.  He is our protector.  He is our comforter.  Without Him, we wouldn’t be here today.
Michelle and I are praying that as you read about our life’s adventure, that our testimony to God’s truths would be received.  We are incredibly thankful for each of you and your part in our story.
Please continue to be apart of our story by praying for us:
…for wisdom, peace, and joy in our new family dynamic.
…for our three children to continue to adjust to the constant changes that being a missionary kid presents
…for Michelle and I to continue to grow and strengthen our relationship. (and our roots in Christ!)
…for Sweet Life.  That we would be constantly in pursuit of God’s will for our business and ministry
…for the relationships and people God has placed in our lives.  That we would be a witness to them in all things and that God would bless our time with others.
…for our coffee partnerships and our quest to connect with our Honduras friends through our Polish friends
We love you. We are grateful for your prayers. We thank you for thinking of us. We could not have lived these three plus years abroad with our little people without the incredible love you have shown us! Please be encouraged by God’s story in our lives. He has and continues to do impossible things with us. His gifts and love are not for the Graves family alone. This is for you to have too. It is unfailing love that is free for you. Miracles, victory, joy, love and new life is for you too. Do you have dreams or desire to do something that is bigger than you or the world around you? Believe that God dreams with you. He wants to work alongside you. Do not settle for small things. Push toward your calling! Push forward!