Friday 17 March 2017

A little progress!

This last week we had a wonderful team from Judson University here to help us get a head start on getting everything with the community center and coffee shop going.

We were able to get the foundation poured for the coffee barn. We had to get a little creative because we ran out of water about half way through, but we ended up pulling water from about every source we could think of in order to get the job done.---- The joys of putting up a building in the middle of dry season!

After we were done pouring all the concrete it decided to RAIN... and HAIL. (haha) So we have a non slick surface instead of something completely slick.

It was slightly emotional to see the first big project complete for the community center and coffee shop complete. So many months of dreaming, planning and organizing and things are finally coming together!

We were also able to get the paint on the walls in the actual community center and coffee shop! Now, we are beginning to paint the logos on the wall. In about a month we hope to be able to start getting the furniture and get things set up!

Also, started painting the round building behind my house. We are going to be using that (hopefully soon) as the church building. This will allow us to be in town and be more convenient for people to get to church!

The team also was able to help us continue the relationships with the schools. At each school we did an english rally!

Lots of exciting things happening here. Please be praying for all the details and money to come together. =)

Tuesday 28 February 2017

A little update....

To catch you up... Brock, Heather and I went to receive training on the field to cup experience of a coffee shop. We learned so much that is almost hard to put into words. Now we are busy with plans to get everything ready. We hope to launch on Saturday June 10th. Prayers are much appreciated as we are very aware of how much needs to happen, along with all the other ministry stuff we have going.

11 hours of being home from Guatemala, I left to go recruit at Grace University for Camino Global

After about three weeks away, I was so thankful to come home and see these wonderful faces...

Currently, I am working like crazy to make sure we can get the proper equipment and stuff for the coffee shop/community center. And trying to figure out how to get green coffee beans up to us pronto!

We are also trying to create a list of coffee farmers in Oaxaca and Chiapas at the right elevation and price for what we want.... nope, thats not overwhelming at all ;)

Right now, lots of english classes are going on... kind of as a kick off to La Cima ministries (the community center). Two different rural public schools, in my house twice a week and at the church building once a week. It is amazing to start getting to know people of the community and look forward to the day when I know everyone!

On Saturday a group is coming from Judson University. They are going to help with teaching english, painting the community center and coffee shop, painting the roofs, doing rallys at the two schools, and laying the foundation for the coffee roasting barn. I am excited to have them, and excited to see what God does through them! 

Then there is a bunch of random ministry stuff coming up... its a super busy time of year here. We (the Amealco team) appreciate your prayers for everything... including rest and relaxation in the midst of crazy! 

Thank you all for your prayers and support. =)

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Coffee Bootcamp: Last day!

Well, today we wrapped up our last day of coffee bootcamp! We finished up learning how to maintain the machines. Well, ok... Brock mostly learned that. I just helped at the coffee bar and learning some new drinks.

We finished our time with a great lunch by Mike and Adele and then they even gave us the coffee certification... we are certifiable folks!

Anyways, we are very thankful for the new knowledge we acquired and the experience we received here in Panajachel, Guatemala. We are very grateful for Mike and Adele Roberts at Crossroads Cafe for being great hosts and sharing all their trade secrets with us.

We are absolutely exhausted. But excited for the future.

Tomorrow we fly back to Mexico and get in very late! Then less than a 12 hours later i turn around and head on to another trip. Prayers for rest and safety and great travel days!

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Coffee bootcamp: over 1000lbs roasted.

Oh man, after several days of roasting we have (successfully) roasted over 1000 lbs of coffee. Thats crazy!

We can successfully...
- go to farm and pick out the best quality beans based on the plant, the smell and then cupping the coffee beans
- create relationships with the farmers and know how to get them shipped to us (by the 150lb bag).
- Set up a successful roasting room
- We can roast different coffees based on the bean.
- We learned how badly you can be burned by a coffee roaster and how you can really easily break limbs when you are not paying attention.
- We can pick out flavor profiles in the beans and know which to buy, which to mix and which to leave.
- We know fair prices for beans
- We can make espresso blends from several different beans to create a great taste and complexity
- We can cool, grind and serve the beans in several different way
- What we want and what we do not want in a coffee shop experience.

Bottom line: We can do this! 

We are not experts but we have the head knowledge and a lot know is relationship with people and putting all of our knowledge into practice.

We have one more day of training, which is mostly wrapping up everything and last minute questions.

We are excited and cautiously optimistic at this point... but we are also very tired. So, talk to you tomorrow.

Monday 13 February 2017

Coffee Bootcamp: Coffee Farms

Today we got to experience coffee farms. This was an incredible experience for all three of us. We learned more than I could possibly post on this small blog. But, we now know and understand what questions to ask, what equipment to bring with us to the farms and what it looks like to see good and bad beans. 

We were able to see a cooperative farm and then a single farmer and his shop. It was fun to see the difference in quality and the difference in the process. 

We knew nothing starting the day and know we feel confident in taking our trips to the farms in the next few months. 

We were talking today about how God has totally changed our lives (ministry wise) and how He has been lining up things for the coffee shop and the connections and this training. It is pretty amazing! 

The first day or two of training we felt we were trying to drink out of a fire hydrant. Ever tried that, im sure its hard! But now we keep thinking... this is crazy but we can do this. Which, in and of itself, is amazing. 

We ask you continue to pray for us. Lots of work has happened... lots of work to do. 

Sunday 12 February 2017

Coffee Bootcamp: Day off!

Today we got to be tourists in this beautiful area of Guatemala! We were able to do a tour of the surrounding villages on Lake Atitlan. Super touristy but fun! 

We also took some time at one of the villages, Santiago, to visit a Mayan/Catholic idol in the town called Moshimo. It was fascinating and gave us an inside view of the religion in that area.

Tomorrows plan is to visit the coffee farms and learn how to pick the coffee we are going to use at the coffee shop. But for now, we go to bed early! 

Saturday 11 February 2017

Coffee Bootcamp: Just keep swimming- I mean roasting!

We are trying our very hardest to retain all the information that is being thrown at us every single day. Sometimes we have to ask a few times to understand the information, but we are at least trying and maybe possibly improving our skills.

Today was less roasting, 144 successful pounds. Actually, I am proud of us. We can, almost every time, know what level to roast to and where we should pull the beans out. We know the process the bean has in order to fully develop and about how long in between cracks and levels. etc. etc. We are well on our way to be confident! 

Heather and I also switched off in learning the barista part of things. Learning how to use a manual espresso machine, serving different lattes, americanos,  etc. It was also good to be able to see what was useful for them and what they would change if they got to start the coffee shop all over. 

After lunch we spent more time testing the beans that we roasted and looking up equipment on the internet, searching for prices, etc. 

The things that have overwhelmed me about this process have been changing this week. I am confident that we can roast beans, I am confident I can run a coffee shop... of course both of those things will still take time in perfecting. 

But, I am more overwhelmed with the amount of time and effort that it is going to take us to set up the coffee shop. I may be the only person that is overwhelmed at the thought, but seriously... so... much... work....

Anyways, with our new information and knowing that we now have to BUILD A BUILDING for the roasting machine, spend a significant amount of time searching Mexico and possibly the US and maybe even Italy for stuff AND going to many coffee farms... we decided to push the 'open' date for the community center and coffee shop to June1. We will still do normal ministry stuff and teach english at the schools, but all the other free time will be consumed with the new project before we can launch correctly. We also decided to hold off on some other projects we wanted to accomplish before summer, in order to focus more time and energy on doing this project well. 

Anyways, I think it was a good day, even though the overwhelming feeling has kicked in. We are ready for tomorrow where we get to kind of "rest" before jumping back in on Monday. By rest--- I mean that we are going to be tourists and go to the different villages around. We are looking forward to it! 

Thank you all for your prayers and we appreciate your continued prayers and support of this crazy plan that God has very clearly laid out in front of us. It will be a lot of work and we know that He will use it for His glory in Amealco and Mexico!