It’s been five years since I served on my first Back2Back mission trip. I experienced many emotions that week, but mostly I felt blessed.
I remember the plane ride home as, my friend, Connie, asked the million dollar question, “Do you think you’ll go back?”
Little did she know I had never really left! Since that first trip, Connie and I have been committed to being a voice for the fatherless.
We attend Apex Community Church in Dayton, Ohio, where we are part of a fantastic body of believers, who support missions with a passion. Over the past several years, Connie and I have hosted every fundraiser you can think of to raise money for our Back2Back mission trips.
At one point, we decided to host a bake sale at church, thanks to donations from Big Sky Bread. We shared stories and photos of the children in Mexico, who we had passionately fallen in love with. The response was so overwhelming, that we decided to do it the next weekend and the next and the next.
Then it happened. We discovered that the coffee shop area that we had been using for the bake sales was going to be converted into a space for our growing children’s ministry. The coffee machines were always on the fritz and the cost of supporting the coffee shop was becoming too high. Once the machines died, the church decided to eliminate the coffee shop.
We were upset, not knowing how we would continue to raise money toward our trips to Mexico. So, we began to pray. Neither of us could have been prepared for what God was about to ask us to do. Over the course of that weekend, it became clear what God was calling us to do. We asked the church if we could use the fellowship hall to set up tables and brew coffee. They agreed. I made a few more phone calls and before we knew it, the Missions Café was born.
A local coffee company donated industrial coffee machines and gave us coffee at an amazing cost. From there, we went out to the community and asked restaurants for cups and lids. Longhorn Steakhouse partnered with us by donating all of the coffee condiments. Granite Transformation, a local company, donated not only their time but replaced our vintage countertops with beautiful new ones! With the help of volunteers from church, all of the electric and plumbing was replaced and updated. We now receive weekly donations from Big Sky, Panera Bread and the Bagel Café. The church community has engaged by consistently donating supplies, allowing our costs to continue to remain low. This means almost all of the proceeds go directly to missions ministries like Back2Back!
The café has become more than just a means for us to raise money for our trips to Mexico. It also allows us to sponsor five children at El Retiro Juvenil Children’s Home in Mexico through Back2Back’s Shelter Child Sponsorship Program. In addition, we use the proceeds from the café to support two boys in Back2Back’s Hope Education Program.
We have a small army who help run the café. If we have learned anything through this journey, it would be that we serve a God who keeps his promise to be a father to the fatherless.