“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
I originally used what I wrote here for a recent Bible College class (a few months back) that required me to do some sort of outreach for at least 100 hours followed by a written essay about it. In praying about this assignment I had a thought, I wish I could use my work hours for outreach since it is such a true outreach; to which I heard the Lord speak to my heart saying “So why don’t you?”. Before I begin to explain to you how my current job at the Maui Wowi has been an outreach let me give you a bit of background on my life and on my calling. I believe that God by His grace has called me to speak His word forth to all the nations, as He called Jeremiah to do so. In many ways, since I first began to follow Him, God has sent me already to many nations. He sent me to England, Scotland, Ukraine, and Italy. Then He sent me back home to California, in the USA and since I have been here I have taken short mission trips to Ecuador and Mexico. At first being back at home in California was sort of hard for me, since I really desired to serve God in England as a missionary, but I believe the Lord sent me here to learn how to be a better witness and to learn of His mercy. I would have to learn to preach in my Jerusalem before He would again send me out to the ends of the earth. Before God sent me out to England in the first place, He laid on my heart how much He loved the people of Wrightwood. This happened one day as I was sitting on a hill overlooking the small mountain town of 3,000 people. I had thought that it would be nice someday to come back and witness to them of Jesus, especially to the local ski resort where I had spent a lot of time growing up as a kid. The snowboarding culture is full of sex and drugs, and it is a very, very dark place. Then I went off to Bible College in England and forgot all about that desire the Lord laid on my heart, until He brought me back in 2009.
I quickly learned that being a missionary is not limited to living in a foreign country, and in fact it was much harder to be a missionary here than it had been when I was overseas. The old temptations that had been there before I followed Christ fully were there again, but I came back having almost no friends at all, since all my old friends were not walking with God or were not Christians or hard moved away. I felt alone in many ways, and stumbled all the time. I had asked God why He hadn’t just left me in England, where I was strong in following Him and was surrounded by the Word of God daily in Bible College. But God had a plan to use me where light was needed the most and where few would ever want to go. I worked two seasons at the Ski Resort that I grew up with, I and one other guy were the only two walking Christians I knew on the entire Resort which employed over hundreds of people. I learned that you can do anything unto the Lord, and everywhere you go is a mission field. This is all to lead into what I have been doing recently that I will count as my outreach hours. Even though I live in the town of Wrightwood I go to church in the town of Phelan, which is about 15 minutes away. After two years of serving the Lord in Wrightwood and trying to shed the light through my job at Mountain High I saw God leading me closer to Phelan to serve there, which was my Judea. Already I had been serving in the church as the Jr. High teacher but most of my outreach had been done in Wrightwood. When I was in Bible College I learned the trade of being a barista, which I now love immensely. Since I loved it so much, I had been praying and asking God for a job in the field of gourmet espresso drinks; as silly as that sounds.
Finally, a coffee shop opened up in Phelan called the Maui Wowi. I began to frequent this coffee shop to enjoy some good espresso and to spend time studying God’s Word. What I noticed though, was that there was an explosion of interest in God and His word there; it was amazing. I would walk in and people would start to ask what I was reading and I could share. One guy in particular, named Chris, was an especially curious Catholic that worked for the coffee shop. We got to know each other very well talking about the things of God, and to my surprise he knew very well what the Catholic Church teaches and knew the scriptures. I could see the Spirit of God working in His life. Not long after, I got a job at the Maui Wowi which was a complete gift from God. Honestly, I have never had a better job and I thank God all the time for it. Not only did working at this coffee shop allow me to spend more time with Chris but I also began to get to know a lot more of the people from the town of Phelan. There is not much to do in Phelan, it is not much bigger than Wrightwood and the most exciting thing to the town is the Stater Brothers Market. All the kids come into town and hang out after school, skateboarding or just talking and a lot of them began to hang out at the Maui Wowi. I have been getting to know them and I get to see the Jr. High kids and others from my church a lot more now since most of them live in Phelan. I don’t really even have to try to bring up the subject of God with my co-workers, they just always bring it up. This is partly because they are all Catholics (minus one who is a practicing protestant) and I see God teaching me and preparing me for work in South America by learning so much about the Catholic Church and seeing that they can honestly believe in Jesus and love God even though I believe some of their doctrine is misinterpreted.
I also have been using the Maui Wowi as a way to meet with some of the Jr. Higher boys, namely one called Luke, to spend time with them one on one to mentor/counsel them and when I have the opportunity to share the Word. This allows Luke to see part of my life outside of church and it allows my co-workers to see me living out my faith. Luke is still a ways off as to fully surrendering to Jesus, but I see a ton of growth in his life. Another thing that the Lord has been doing through the Maui Wowi is that I have gotten to know a Mormon kid named Ian. He is about 16 years old and has started coming to youth group with me. This was his idea, not mine, to start going to youth group. He doesn’t really seem to have any close friends and spends most of the time just hanging out at the coffee shop which gives me a lot of time to talk to him and get to know him. Also, the thing about being a barista is you are sort of like a bartender, people feel comfortable telling you their problems and for you to suggest advice is not necessarily looked down upon. It is a real gift because it supports my ministry at church financially since I am not paid for teaching the Jr. Highers and the job itself is an outreach.
What I have learned is that no matter where you are you can be a missionary for Jesus, even if that mission field is your job. In fact, I believe it is possibly one of the only ways I would have come into this much contact with Catholics and Mormons, I practically live with these guys now since I see them all the time. But when you go on a short term missions trip you may get to talk to a person for a day if your lucky. I have learned that having a job as a missionary is not a bad thing, it opens up doors that you may have never expected and you are an insider, one of them, and by necessity spending lots of time together where you can share Jesus.
“And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” Colossians 3:23