- Leah Van Someren
What's Next? Kingdom Through Cups of Coffee
The more you look, the more you see: Clarity
With the start of my intensive discipleship training at G42 rapidly approaching (September 10th!), I have a number of updates as God has given more and more clarity in the last month. As I’ve said before, in October 2016 the Lord gave me the desire to open a coffee shop - a place where people are fully seen and known - and as this vision continues to unfold and take shape, it’s grown exponentially in magnitude and quality. In March, I was in Thailand as a part of my World Race.
There, I met two women from a business-as-missions craft coffee shop and roaster called Bella Goose and I quickly fell in love. They introduced me to the co-owner of the shop and in the course of a one-hour conversation, my heart longed for more. The owner suggested I visit the shop headquarters located in Wisconsin Dells to meet the team and get more exposure. DONE. I booked my ticket for July 2018, not really knowing what was in store.
Building Kingdom through cups of coffee: Bella Goose
On July 28th, I opened the door of Bella Goose for the first time. In that moment, I stepped out of my own dream and into God’s dream, out of my own vision and into God’s vision, out of my own purpose and into God’s purpose. As a business-as-mission, Bella Goose has three shops thus far, located in Wisconsin Dells, Chiang Mai, Thailand and Angeles City, Philippines. Through each location, they seek to create a place of belonging by selecting, preparing, and sharing coffee to transform communities and by the grace of God, they are succeeding. For six days, I observed,
learned, ministered and prayed over customers and team members, received encouragement, washed a lot of dishes, was intentionally discipled, talked business strategy, laughed a ton and joined a community that felt more like family. There is nothing overtly Christian about the shop but rather, Jesus overtly lives in each and every person involved and through them, radically loves each and every person who walks in. Coffee is more than coffee. It's an invitation to intertwine souls, sort through seasons, ask tough questions, intentionally listen, pray expectantly, laugh with pure joy and cry real tears.
An Exciting announcement: G42 Practicum Location
As a part of our training, G42 is devoted to hands-on experience by sending students to locations around the world to complete a three-month practicum specific to your vision. I’ve been accepted to spend this time working and training at Bella Goose in Wisconsin! Praise the Lord!
Additionally, God continues to open doors that will, Lord willing, lead me to eventually join Bella Goose full-time. SO exciting! That said, I am and will continue to be committed to obedience, following His voice and staying open to any left turn He may direct.
Got a lot on your mind?: A Testimony
A couple days into my time at the shop I noticed a particular gal who came into the shop. She ordered a lavender mint latte and then sat on a nearby couch, staring pensively out the window. “Go talk to her” nudged the Holy Spirit. I got up and walked over, “Got a lot on your mind?” Dazed, she stared up at me, “Huh? Wha? No, no.” She tried to laugh it off but I pressed on. “Okay, you’re just staring a hole through that window so I thought I’d ask.” Pause. “Oh yeah, well…I’m going through a divorce so I guess I was thinking about that.”
Wow. I immediately dropped into the seat in front of her and talked for a half hour about all kinds of things. Her divorce, her struggle for making time for grieving, the fact that she is moving her entire life across the country in a mere number of weeks - she poured it all out until we got to a critical point. I asked if I could pray for her as we sat in the middle of the shop. And you know what? She accepted. We prayed for peace, time and courage to grieve, hope for the future and ultimately for her eyes to be opened to He who loves her without fail. I prayed that Holy Spirit would comfort her and that she’d encounter Jesus. After, we hugged and I suggested a church just next door she could check out. She said she thought she might. I am confident this is why God’s chosen to place me in a coffee shop setting: to love boldly, ask questions, hear hearts, introduce people to Jesus and give Him glory.
Much more than a cup of coffee: Wipe Every Tear
While in the Dells, I was introduced to Wipe Every Tear, a non-profit organization Bella Goose is partnered with in Philippines. Wipe Every Tear happens to be headquartered in Boise, ID where I just happened to be going to directly from Wisconsin (thanks God!) and I ended up getting to meet with the founder and director, Kenny Secht. What an INCREDIBLE organization! Seeking to restore women trapped in the Philippines sex trafficking industry, they provide a way out, safe houses, education and discipleship for women desiring a transformed future.
Through close partnership, Bella Goose actively hires women who make the courageous decision to leave their work at the bars. In 2016, God gave me the conviction to counter the devastation in the sex trafficking industry and now He’s plugged me into an organization doing just that. Before the Race, God spoke to me about the Philippines; during my Race, He broke me down for His sake in the Philippines and now He is involving me in the hope, restoration and freedom being brought to the women of the Philippines. I don’t know yet where He will lead regarding this but I do know that every cup of coffee sold, every pastry made and every dish washed has a greater purpose - an restorative and eternal purpose!
An extravagant foundation: G42
In all of this, you may be asking…so why G42? In fact, even I asked the Lord, “Couldn’t I just go straight to Bella Goose and skip this middle part?” In short, He said, “You wouldn’t conduct surgery before completing medical school, right?” I believe God has something in store for the next nine months that I won’t be able to get anywhere else. I believe He desires to create in me an extravagant foundation rooted deep in His Word and Truth. To accomplish this, I must be intentionally and intensely discipled, learning from those who have gone before me - men and women with a God-given passion to teach the upcoming generation before they go out and affect the world. For me, G42 is a training ground, preparing me for all that God has in store.
Will you join me?: Prayer and Financial Partnership
Life spent in full-time ministry is not possible without partnership! I need you! First and foremost, would you be vigilant in prayer? I’ll include specific prayer requests in each blog posted. Secondly, will you please consider partnering with me financially by giving a one-time or monthly contribution of $50, $100, $200+? Kingdom cannot be built by one - it takes all of us to be the Church - and I’m in if you are!
Partner here: https://www.paypal.me/LVanSomeren
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