I can honestly say that I never thought I would be here. God is funny how he writes and weaves our stories together to create something more beautiful than we ever could’ve thought of. So here I am starting a business with one of my best friends. Why? That’s the big question, huh?
In 2014 I visited El Salvador with a local nonprofit ministry in Bryan/College Station called Shelter the Homeless International Projects (SHIP). This organization started out in 2004 making houses for people and has expanded to also sponsoring kids in the community so that they can attend school. They pour into these kids. They lead numerous bible studies, throw quince parties, and are in the process of starting a school of their own. (Check them out at shipinternational.org to see more of what they do.) What I thought would only be a week long trip turned into a bunch of trips and a summer living there in 2016. This past week I came back from my 10th visit. El Salvador has been so much more than just going to a country and serving. In fact, the Lord has done more in my own heart than I could’ve ever done for the people there. Ultimately, these trips gave me a family...just a much tanner and Spanish speaking family.
El Salvador is really the reason I feel like the Lord has placed Treetop into my lap. God broke my heart there for kids who just didn’t have people to love on them. I became really close to two girls who lived in the orphanage next door. Most of the kids that lived here knew their families and many still visited them. The first time I met these girls they were so stinking quiet and closed off. They had so many walls up to protect themselves and their emotions and kept everybody at arm's length. And these walls were justified. They had experienced more hurt in their lives than any teen should--and mostly from family members or people close to them. But the more I kept going back I developed a deeper and deeper relationship with these two. They became more like younger sisters (and sometimes like daughters) to me than just friends. Not to mention, they teased me like they were my younger sisters too. And the more our friendships grew the more I saw those walls break down. They really just needed someone to believe in them and remind them that they’re loved. I have seen them grow up so much over the past couple of years. I’ve seen them make mistakes, have successes, cry, laugh until they couldn’t breathe, have teenage angsty moments, graduate high school, and last week I even got to see one of them get married.
God taught me so much and continues to teach me through these two girls and the kids that live in SHIP’s neighborhood. I think one of the biggest things he has showed me is his heart for his kids and how much he loves us and how much his heart breaks when we can’t see that. And I think for kids who don’t have parents that reinforce the idea that they are loved makes it so hard for them to believe that a God in heaven could really love them too. But oh man have I seen God make incredible victories in the midst of chaos and seen His spirit move immensely despite our circumstances.
So, yes. Rach and I are going into the coffee business. But more than that, we are going into the business of helping kids come to know a God that cares so much about them. A God that knows them, that sees them, and that wants more for their lives than they could dream of. Let’s do this thing.