I’m proud of my friends, Chris and Rachael!

Rachael is another friend I met while working at IWU.  I knew Chris in college, but not well, and I had no idea “her Chris” was “that Chris” until after Rachael and I had been working together for several months.  I am so grateful for my time working in Admissions.  I met some of my very best friends while working there, and Chris and Rachael are very much a part of that.

Chris and Rachael are bi-vocational pastors.  They both work full-time jobs while also serving on staff at a church in Marion, IN.  I really respect them, because that’s tough to do.  But it’s one of the qualities I value so much in Chris and Rachael: they have a “BIG” view of this world and their roles in it.  They see their life stories wrapped up in a bigger one that is unfolding throughout the world.  Jesus likened this unfolding story to yeast that works its way through bread and to a mustard seed that grows and spreads throughout the world.  God’s Kingdom is healing the world, oftentimes quietly and in ways not easily seen, but Chris and Rachael see it.  And, more than that, they are joining God in healing a broken world filled with broken lives.  I haven’t asked them, but I imagine that is, at least in part, one of the reasons why they have chosen to serve God bi-vocationally.

Chris and Rachael’s “BIG” view of the world has had a profound affect on their ‘other’ jobs when, in 2012, Chris helped establish Abbey Coffee.  Chris, one of the top Barista Competitors in the nation, has had a passion for food, drink, and coffee for as long as I’ve known him.  Thanks to him, I now also have a passion (addiction) for ‘highbrow’ coffee.  But it isn’t just that the coffee is fresh, crisp, and loaded with phenomenal flavors, it’s how it is cultivated that has a lasting impact on the world.  According to their website, Abbey Coffee searches “for the highest quality coffee available and then [Abbey Coffee seeks] to develop relationships with the producers of that coffee.  We hope that, in this process, we can better understand the needs of each producer and seek to develop a mutually beneficial relationship that flourishes.”  Isn’t that great?!  In a time when the ethics of our food are rightly being called into question (for example, many Guatemalan coffee pickers work in near sweatshop equivalents to produce coffee beans for some of the major coffee suppliers in the United States http://www.globalexchange.org/fairtrade/coffee/faq), coffee shops like Chris’s are combating how farming practices are done and are providing fair wages to those growing the coffee beans.  I am very proud of Chris and Rachael.  Companies like Abbey Coffee teach me to question how faithful I am to God’s call for humanity to be stewards of the creation entrusted to our care.  If you are a coffee connoisseur, or at least pretend to be one like I do, check out www.abbeycoffee.com and place an order!

Chris and Rachael’s “global” view of the world infiltrated its way not only through their professions, but into their home as well.  A couple years ago, they adopted their son from Ethiopia.  My dad was also adopted, and so I have always had a special place in my heart for families who adopt – internationally or from the States.  I’ve seen the ways adoptions into loving homes affect not only the life of the adopted child, but future decedents as well.  I am excited to see how their loving family will continue to grow!

I am so proud of my friends, Chris and Rachael.  They are making a tremendous difference in this world.  They are the Church, at work, at home, and in Sunday morning worship.  They remind me that the Christian life isn’t compartmentalized to Sundays, but is a journey that unfolds into every arena of our lives.

Way to go, Chris and Rachael!  Keep up the great work.  I am proud of you!

Your friend,

Jared

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