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Coffee Chronicles

The coffee roaster at Federico's coffee shop where I buy my green coffee beans. Federico is a friend we met last term who's recently become a disciple of Jesus. (Photo is from http://merida40.wordpress.com/) One of the great things about having the opportunity to return to Merida has been the blessing pick up where we had left off–to catch up with old friends. Certainly there have been some sad occurrences: our pastor, Orlando Vazquez, a minister with over 50 years of experience and our good friend, went to be with the Lord in October. Still, there have been joyous ones as well. Take for example what has happened in the life of Federico.

A few years ago, I had posted about one of my favorite things, coffee. In that post, I talked about the significance of coffee in my life. Among other things, coffee is what had led me to strike up an ongoing conversation with Federico. Federico roasts and sells coffee in downtown Merida, and he’s my source for green coffee beans for my own home roasting enterprise. At that time, although interested in religious things, Federico lived on the outside looking in, close enough to comment on the goings on within religious circles, but too far away to experience the transformational power of life with Christ.

We talked about many subjects during those first years here in Merida, political, social, and religious alike. We talked about our personal problems as well. And while there was many a time where I had turned the conversation to present Christ’s solution to our social enigma, to talk about the difference that He had made in my life, and to show how his life could be different as a Christ follower, I never had the chance to welcome him personally into life in the kingdom.

Imagine my joy then, when I returned and saw the change in Federico. Since I last saw him, he’s talking about his relationship with Jesus, he’s been attending an Evangelical Christian Church, and he’s finding ways to invite others to experience the change that the Lord has made in his life. He’ll be the first to admit that he’s not perfect, but he’s certainly tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and he’s committed his recourses, his business, and his life as tools in His hands to make a difference in the world around him.

Was it our conversations that made the difference in his life? At this point, it’s difficult to determine, but it’s wonderful to know that Federico is no longer on the outside looking in, he’s a changed man, and what a blessing it has been to celebrate it with him.

(Photo from http://merida40.wordpress.com/)

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wakeupOne of my favorite Christmas gifts was one I wasn’t even wishing for, a set of world-shaped coffee mugs. My mother-in-law had one of these in a cabinet for several years, and I always tried to get my hands on it when breakfast time rolled around. It just seemed appropriate, me being a world missionary and all. She picked up on the hint and bought me an entire set this year.

Of course, I’m not the only one waking up to world missions in this new year. Several students who attended the World Missions Summit have also woken up to their responsibility to be a part of the great commission. Over 4000 attended the conference with 845 commitments to “give a year and pray about a lifetime” made at the event, a number that is sure to rise over the coming days.

064We were blessed to link up with several of these students as we hosted four “Meal with a Missionary” events throughout the week. We had a chance to share our call, while we affirmed each participant in what the Lord was doing in their lives. We wish them well as they follow God’s direction.

How about you? How are you waking up this year to the Great Commission? Drop me a comment and let’s talk about it.

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Coffee is more than a morning beverage here in Costa Rica. It is the product that transformed this country into what it is today. In the 1800s when coffee was first brought to Costa Rica, this country was a small, remote, unimportant part of the Spanish Empire. But when coffee was introduced, the people found that the product flourished in the rich volcanic soil and high altitudes that were readily available.

The superior product soon created a demand, and the Costa Rican government, wanting to speed production, provided incentives for farmers to begin to cultivate coffee. Not only did this bring about the Costa Rican coffee industry that is know world-wide today, but it also created a strong, independent middle-class that has hosted the 2nd oldest democracy on the continent. (US has the oldest.) For Costa Rica, coffee truly is the “bean of gold.”

The students and faculty of CINCEL recently took a trip to Britt, one of the most recognized producers of coffee here in Costa Rica, in order to gain a bit more appreciation for this wonderful drink that has played a large role in the shaping the Costa Rican culture.

Click on the picture to the left, or here to view the photos of the tour.

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Many of us would be able to finish that verse from the book of Zechariah from memory, and it is a comforting thought that this task of saving mankind has not been left to human devices. Of course, many of us draw strength from a much more earthly source of power as we begin our mornings. That morning motivator, coffee, is in abundance here in Costa Rica, and they don’t just sell it here they grow it here.

We recently had a chance to take a side trip to the Tres Generaciones coffee plantation, and I had a chance to snap some pictures. Click on the picture to take your own tour and sample the latest feature to our website, photo albums! Hopefully, you’ll never take that morning cup for granted again!

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