We hope the start of fall is treating you well. There is truly no place like fall in Michigan. Many of you have probably made it to a cider mill and/or a football game, sipped a pumpkin-spiced latte, or just went for a drive to take in the colors by now. Queue Tim Allen’s voice :D. As for us, we’ve had an eventful past couple of months and are very excited to share this update with you all. There is a lot to be grateful for.
Many of you who have been following our journey here know how close to our hearts the coffee house project has been. You know how challenging and faith building this process has been. Though it is certainly not the only reason we moved here, bringing a coffee house to life in the center of this village has always been our number one project here. When we moved here, we had the sense that things were beginning to recover economically after two years of COVID. But then, six months in, the war started in Ukraine, weakening the Hungarian currency and extending the worker shortages from COVID. The first months of 2022 were mostly spent rotating through architects, negotiating with potential builders, and fundraising to offset the effects of inflation. By springtime, God had provided the personnel and the funds to begin this project. With funds from a past grant awarded by Trinity Church in Lansing, Michigan, in addition to new funding from Géza and Ildikó’s non-profit, and ours (Blooming Abroad), we were able to begin. Did you catch that? Because of you, we were able to begin construction in May!
We began construction in the spring and never looked back. Every month brought new expenses and new project challenges, but we never lost faith. Miki basically took on a part-time job managing communications with the architects and builders, in addition to pastoring and family life.
We saw our account draining, but we never lost faith. We made changes in our personal lives, we moved funds, we prayed... Over and over, we returned to the table with Géza, Ildikó, and Miki, talking through numbers and finding a way to to get the job done.
This project has taught us how to trust God. Without His help, there is no way this coffee house would come to life. How else do you explain that in the very region of the world where war carries on, displacing lives and crushing economies, a coffee house and a meeting place for one of its poorest communities has come to life?
And come to life it has… next week, we will celebrate the completion of the construction project.
But wait, there is more!
Just as the building has come to completion, taking with it the last remaining project funds, last week we learned that a new grant is on its way that will cover all the equipment, appliances, furniture, and decorations needed to outfit and transform this beautiful empty space into a vibrant, fully-operational coffee house!
But wait, there is more!
As we sit here writing this update to you, we are three days away from a trip to Gyergyószentmiklós, Romania, where a group of eleven of us, alongside Géza, Ildikó, will visit Pastor Zsolt Novak and Contact coffeehouse. Over the years, we have shared many connections with Pastor Zsolt. Nearly a decade ago, he visited Cullen at Bloom Coffee Roasters, a café in Old Town, Lansing. At the time he was researching and gathering information for Contact, the coffeehouse he would later launch in Gyergyó. Then, in 2019, Cullen again met with Zsolt. This time in his area of the world by serving at an English camp in Gyergyó. Zsolt’s coffeehouse ministry has accounted for eighty percent of the new Christians at the church in Gyergyó. Through this ministry, they are able to meet with people, help them, and invite them into community. It seems that everything has come full circle, as our team will now visit Zsolt’s coffee house to research and gain information for the launch of our own coffeehouse in Tatárszentgyörgy.
So with a building near completion, new funding to outfit and furnish this new building, and a business trip on the books… we move forward in faith, continuing to trust that God has a special plan for the coffeehouse of Tatárszentgyörgy.
When Jesus is the project manager and prioritizing the poor is the mission, there is never a shortage of work. But it’s important for us all to take a moment to celebrate. This facility and the initiatives that are launched from within its walls will have a lasting effect on this village and region. Thank you God for trusting us with this valuable asset. Now we must steward it well and demonstrate our worthiness to those around us, as we use it to continue serving the children and families of this region.
We hope this update has filled you with hope and excitement! Thank you all for the prayers and finances you have and continue to invest into our work here in Hungary. We will continue to do our very best to steward these resources well and demonstrate our worthiness to you.