Coffee as Ministry
When I first arrived in the United Kingdom as a NEXT intern, I didn’t know anyone’s name at the main church we were working in. However, I learned quickly that the way to people’s hearts here, is oftentimes through a cup of coffee or tea. Having some years of experience as a barista, I eagerly fired up the espresso machine in the church’s kitchen one day and started making coffee for everyone in the room.
The summer after my freshman year of college, I started a barista job at Starbucks. I knew this was a job I would only be able to work during my breaks from school, but I found a lot of interest in it. As someone who loves checking things off a to-do list, I often feel the most useful in task-oriented jobs.
I quickly picked up how to make different drinks and found making coffee easy. I worked throughout the summer perfecting the different barista skills but before I knew it, it was time to move back to college.
Those skills stuck somewhere in the back of my brain behind information from all my sophomore year classes and a year’s worth of memories. Another summer passed working at Starbucks again and while I hated waking up before sunrise to head into work, I loved making as many coffees as I could in a day.
My site leader told me the coffee machines had sat for quite some time, collecting dust since no one knew how to use them before I showed everyone. In about two weeks, I hope to leave behind a half-full bottle of espresso and a whole group of people who know how to make their own fancy coffee before volunteering at the food bank.
I’m learning that the Lord uses the random talents and gifts He’s given us to bless others in the most unexpected ways. I still may not know all of the volunteers’ names, but I do know how they like their coffee – most of them lattes with only one spoonful of sugar, others a plain americano.
When looking for a summer job during my freshman year, I was drawn to a company I knew I loved. Little did I know the Lord was preparing yet another part of my heart for missions in the UK, where I would have the chance to serve other volunteers. I am consistently reminded of how kind He is to us in using a silly little skill from a random summer job to bless other volunteers.