Over the last few years, our life has been flipped upside down. We knew what everyone was thinking, "What on earth are they doing?". We had been asking ourselves the same question, after all, we had sold everything and moved to a third world country. We knew our friends and family thought we had finally lost it. One moment we were full steam ahead trying to fulfill the "American Dream", and the next moment we were selling nearly everything we had and moving to the other side of the planet. With empty pockets and a dream in our heart, we wanted to change the world. We know not everyone is meant to pick up and leave everything behind, but many want to make a lasting impact on the world we live in. Through our journey, we have made a shocking discovery that we hope will change your life as much as it has changed ours. So here it is, the phrase you've always wanted to hear, how you can change the world by drinking coffee at home.
The Adventure Begins
We had just finished painting the house, a 100-year-old farmhouse that had been abandoned after the previous owner had passed away nearly a decade prior. We overheard the conversation about the house during a family dinner at my in-laws, and since we were currently barely able to make our rent payments, the prospect of an abandoned house quickly sparked our interest. We spent the next three months scraping paint, clearing cobwebs, and trying our best to make that little house a home.
It Was Everything I Never Wanted
It wasn't two weeks after we had put the finishing touches on the house that everything changed. I had already decorated for Christmas, and the house was finally starting to have that cozy feeling of "home". Running a few minutes behind (as usual), I was on my way to work when all of a sudden I realized I was living the life I never wanted. It came out of nowhere and it hit me like a bolt of lightening. You see, my biggest fear growing up was that my life would be "normal". I know it's not exactly the thing that most teens spend time thinking about, but I certainly did. I wanted my life to be meaningful, and I wanted to make a difference. When my life was over I wanted the world to be a better place because I had been there. But here I was, driving to my 9 to 5 job at a local retail store, only to come home with aching feet to make dinner and go to bed exhausted, then wake up and repeat. It was my worst fear. On my to work that day, I prayed. I cried out in desperation to God saying: "Here I am Lord Send me".
Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?" I said, "Here I am. Send me."Isaiah 6:8
One Way Tickets...
I can't begin to explain the changes that began taking place after that day. It seemed like we were living life in fast-forward. Within two months we had agreed to become our churches "Missions Pastors" and we sold everything, literally everything (including our first little car we had just purchased a few months prior). We packed up that little house that we just finished painting, and we left. We bought two one-way tickets to Cambodia, bound and determined to make a difference, a decision that has marked our lives ever since.
Was It All for Nothing?
We spent nine straight months on ground in Cambodia during that first trip, and it was one of the most eye-opening, life-changing seasons of our life thus far. We adopted the lifestyle, the language, the food, the clothes, and even the culture; but most of all we adopted the people. It wasn't long before we realized that this is where our heart belonged, and we wanted to do everything we could to help these beautiful people in need all around us.
Looking around we saw people in great need. We saw so many different ways that we could possibly help, and though we could offer plenty of love and encouragement, we knew that programs and funding needed to be created in order to make a lasting impact. We saw how far just one single U.S. dollar could go in this country, there was just one problem, we didn't have any.
We had sold everything and moved to Cambodia to do ministry, so we weren't working traditional jobs that provided income, for the most part, we were living donation to donation. So we resorted to doing one of the things we hated doing the most, asking for money and trying to raise funds through friends, family, and churches. It wasn't long before we realized how difficult that could be when you are literally on the other side of the world (with a twelve-hour time difference to boot). I kept telling people that the average cup of coffee in America is about five dollars, and if they could just give up one cup of coffee a month and send those five dollars to us we could touch so many lives, but this strategy didn't work. After nine months, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. Seeing so much pain and turmoil happening all around us, I wanted to fix it all, but I ended up burning myself out in the process. My husband and I came back to the U.S. to rest and re-strategize.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."Galations 6:9
Don't Stop Drinking Coffee
We spent more than a year racking our brains trying to come up with a solution... the beautiful people of Cambodia had our hearts and we refused to give up on them no matter what it took. But we still had no money. We absolutely knew that we wanted to go back to Cambodia, but we also knew it took money to get there, and then it would to take even more money to make a difference. In order to save money you need a job, but if you have a job you can't go to Cambodia.... We were stuck. But then, we had an idea. A dear friend of ours often says: "the Kingdom of Heaven is not either-or, it's both-and". Meaning you don't have to pick one thing or the other, God is good and you can have both! Thus the idea of Brighter Days Coffee was born. We had made a terrible error, people didn't need to give up drinking coffee, in fact, they needed to drink more!
You Can Change the World
Through our journey we have discovered a lot of things. We have seen and heard stories that would shatter your world into a thousand pieces, we have seen a country and it's people oppressed by genocide, poverty, and hopelessness, but we have also seen the joy that pierces through even the darkest of places. We haven't given up on our mission to change the world, and in doing so we have started a revolutionary coffee business that we believe is going to do just that. Brighter Days Coffee is a company dedicated to giving back, and making a difference in the world we live in. For every Brighter Days Coffee product you purchase, a portion of the proceeds goes to helping someone in need in a developing nation. Whether it's feeding a hungry family, helping to create a micro-business that employs women at risk for human-trafficking, or telling a person about Jesus for the very first time, your purchase will be changing the life of someone in need.
So how can you help? Drink more coffee! Our vision is to be able to transform and bring restoration to the nations by selling our impeccably good, artesian roasted coffee. So while you enjoy your amazing cup of coffee each morning, you can do so with a smile, knowing that you are bringing a brighter day to someone in need.