02 September, 2011

Coffee Travels: Around the World from Your Recliner

Did you know that you can travel around the world without leaving the comfort of your own home? Thanks to the wonders of imported goods and an amazing invention known as the internet, it gets easier every day! Last week I was reading a blog written by a lady who recently moved from London, England, to a city on the shore of Lake Geneve in Switzerland. She had posted a picture of herself drinking iced tea in a swimming pool because she said she was "melting" in this new city. I thought to myself it's Switzerland! How hot can it be? So Google and I went to work. I discovered that on that day, the high in her city was 77. What? Wait, if she thinks that's hot, then how hot is London? So I searched again. The high in London was 64! Sixty-four!!! In August! I'm beginning to think I may have been born in the wrong country (or at least in the wrong part of THIS one). It was 107 here yesterday. Now THAT'S HOT! 

This little adventure of reading her blog and discovering the temperatures in various cities around the world reminded me of how easy it is today to get information, goods and services from anywhere! So, what if we put that idea to good use? When my husband and I go skiing, I like to pick up bags of coffee from the local coffee shops (instead of those kind that have a store on every corner everywhere in the world..... you know the one) and if the city we're in has a local coffee roaster, all the better! The best cup of coffee I've ever had came in the form of a sample (yes really) from a hotel in Aspen, Colorado. It was from a coffee shop/roaster in Telluride, CO. (which I thought was funny because there's a good local shop in Aspen!) The company was called "The Steaming Bean" and the coffee was French Roast, it was dark and smoky and absolutely delicious! When we were in Telluride a few years ago, I picked up a few bags of their coffee, all delicious! Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you don't have to go to Telluride to get their coffee, you can order it here.

Now, back to that idea about putting the things we buy to good use. What you may not know abut coffee, is that it is only grown in certain regions of the world. Most coffee is grown south of the equator, in countries like Brazil, Columbia, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Madagascar to name a few. Hawaii is the only state in the US to grow coffee. Now, those of you who have listened to your fair share of missionary reports in church probably already know where I'm going with this. Some of these coffee growing countries are among the most unreached with the Gospel of Jesus. Tea has the same issue, as most of it comes from India, China and Sri Lanka (the tea from Sri Lanka is known as Ceylon). What if every time you had a cup of Columbian coffee or an Indian tea (such as Darjeeling), you said a prayer for the people and missionaries in that country? Or when you have a cup of Yerba Mate (pronounced mah-TAY), you said a prayer for the people and missionaries in South America? Maybe you don't know anyone in those countries, it's OK, just pray for them in general, God knows who they are, and He knows their needs and can direct your prayers where they're needed. How much of a difference could we make doing something we do every day! 

Maybe you'd like to be more direct in your helping. Kungaloosh tea company will donate $2 for every single bag and $4 for every double bag of Japanese Sencha green tea to the Red Cross through the end of the year to help with relief in Japan. Check with your local Ten Thousand Villages for coffee from Equal Exchange, the company buys coffee, tea and chocolate (among other things) from small farmers and coops in coffee growing regions, and gives them a fair price for their goods. You can also buy direct from Equal Exchange if you aren't close to a Ten Thousand Villages store. If you want to know exactly where the profits are going, or pick a specific cause, check out Project7. Each blend/roast of coffee (they also have other things like t-shirts, gum and mints) supports a different organization. Among the places they give to are blood:water mission, Samaritan's Purse and World Vision. Be specific in what you buy, and pray for the people of the nations that provide your goods, you might be surprised at the results even in your own life. God uses prayer in powerful ways!

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