A few years ago, I was involved in early discussions with some friends from various Friends churches who were interested in using their business acumen as ministry to do economic development in areas of serious economic need where we were planting churches. Out of those discussions with the EFCSW Mission Board, these friends started a new ministry initiative called “Marketplace Ministries” and began looking for ways to do business as ministry. I just received [July 8, 2010] an email announcing their first venture, called “Fair Trade Friends, Inc. – Coffee for a Cause”. Here’s a link to their brand new website where you can buy coffee that benefits various ministries.
They sell coffee that is connected to Christian mission in some form. I would particularly direct your attention to the coffee from the Leiva family, whose story is told here.
Note that Ruth Esther Smith, who is mentioned in the story, went to Guatemala after pastoring Long Beach Friends Church. Also, the lady who was traveling with her may have been her partner Cora Wildman, a member of LBFC who went with Ruth Esther Smith to Guatemala in 1906. (One of our members was named after Ruth Esther, I think… Can you guess who?)
Another coffee sold on the website is grown in a village in the Thai highlands where missionaries discovered a way to bring some economic prosperity to a remote village. Read about it here.
I’m about to place my first order. Wait just a minute….
There. I just ordered some Abuela Reina’s Blend Guatemala Regular Roast and Chanita Thai Select – Full City (Medium). I’ll probably be drinking some of it in the office once it arrives; come join me!
The prices are pretty good for this kind of coffee. I’d say the shipping charge – about $10 – was a bit steep compared to what other coffee sites charge. On the other hand, I just bought coffee from a family in Guatemala who first heard the gospel from missionaries sent by our church, and from a village in the Thai highlands that provides employment for local villages who support their church with the income they receive. Cool. From idea to pressing the “Place Order” button on the web. This same group is currently recruiting a national coordinator to develop marketplace ministry in Cambodia. Michelle Murray’s father is one of the leaders getting this ministry going. God is good. Have some coffee!