The coffee sitting in front of me has gone through several stages in order to arrive in my cup.
It first grew in the country of Burundi. For years, the government controlled the coffee production industry. Prices were set and regulated, often times falling below the costs the farmers invested to grow the coffee in the first place. Imagine investing $150 throughout the year only to receive $100 in payment, but still you needed income so the cycle continued. Families would find themselves in desperate situations, leading to desperate decisions and a culture of human and child trafficking. Today, Long Miles Coffee works with hundreds of coffee farmers for them to receive livable wages for their produce, as well as efforts to strengthen family units and community.
Step one: coffee produced to create hope and value in communities in Burundi
From there, it was shipped to Cyprus. iHeart cafe, located in the center of Nicosia, is the roasting stop for the coffee. The owners of this business invest in their staff team. Coaching them with quality job skills, providing livable income and using mentorship in their personal connections. As business owners, they also have relationships with others in the community. Employees, suppliers, customers, neighbors, members of the community… the list goes on, are all people they build relationships with where discipleship can be used to share about who God is.
Step two: coffee is roasted to build relationships and discipleship in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Now the coffee has been brewed and fills my cup. But even that step is not so simple. Around me is a group of our Equip Bible School students. 16 of them came to my home after school to hang out for a few hours. This isn’t the first time I have served them coffee, in fact multiple times a week they come in big groups or individually. In these moments, I invest in their lives. We talk through questions they are wrestling with: who is God, what is my purpose, how do I understand the conflicts in this world and many more. I function as a counselor and mentor to students coming from different backgrounds. The warmth of the coffee in hand is often a comforting accessory to these conversations.
Step three: coffee is shared over conversations of counseling and mentorship with students.
This journey describes my passion for coffee as a ministry tool and the basis for Tesifa Coffee’s mission for training. It draws attention to how our choices can be made for intentional impact. We use stories like this to train our coffee students to have a bigger perspective on the way they structure their coffee based ministries.
But you don’t have to be a coffee professional to make impactful decisions.
How often do we pick a bag of coffee beans at the store without thinking about the journey? While I enjoy quality coffee, I enjoy most the quality of how that coffee came to my cup. And it goes beyond coffee, do we as Christians live a life where our decisions honor all humanity as precious children of God?
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Our days are filled with choices. Take a look at one of them, ask yourself this question, did my decision bring hope and value to another? It is in some of the simplest things we do everyday, like drinking a cup of coffee, that we can change one little detail, like choosing a source that invests in the quality of life of farming families, to make an impact to bring justice and kindness to this world.