Meet Mae – A grad from SouthEast Asia
Q: How did you find out about Cafe 1040's program?
A: A friend went through the program the summer before me and told me about it. I thought to myself, I think I want to try this.
Q: Why did you choose Cafe 1040 over other programs or organizations?
A: I didn’t look at other organizations. I had done two 1-week trips to Haiti with my church. I hadn’t thought about going long-term yet. I really liked Cafe’s model of 3 months and it worked for my schedule to go over the summer. I researched the heck out of you guys. I looked at the website. Before I go into something, I make lists of pros and cons.
Q: What do you look for?
A: Program offerings. I appreciate the blogs and stories. I want to understand an organization, like what people go, what comes out of it. It was really important to me.
Q: What was your biggest obstacle that you had to overcome before going through Cafe 1040's program?
A: I almost didn’t go because of funding. I received a call two weeks before the deadline to let me know I was $2,000 short and in order for me to be able to go I would need to reach that milestone. I was doing all the work, but it just wasn’t coming in. I raised almost $2,000 in a weekend! God completely answered my prayers and affirmed that I was going. I knew what missions looked like, but I didn’t realize how much I wanted to go, until I almost wasn’t able to go. God really showed off and showed me the desires of my heart.
Q: What was most encouraging for you during our 3-month program?
A: It came from my mentor, she pointed out to me at the end of the time that she was seeing me thrive. I was living in the culture, becoming a part of it, and thriving. That was really encouraging because I didn’t feel that way. Having that person affirm me was so encouraging. Having encouragement from my mentor and someone I respected meant a lot to me.
Q: Describe an experience you had that impacted the way you thought about missions.
A: Missions isn’t you go overseas and all of a sudden people are coming to know the Lord. It’s a process and it’s about relationships. I knew that, but I had never experienced it before. It has to be natural and you can’t force the relationship. People aren’t numbers. It’s about the relationship you build with them.
Q: What did you appreciate the most about the culture you were living in?
A: I didn’t realize how hospitable they were. They were so welcoming. I think we, as Americans, have a lot to learn from other cultures. I loved the honor in that. They like to honor other people.
Q: Tell us about any relationships you created with locals.
A: I had one local friend when we first got there. She spoke English, but not that well, and I was able to build a friendship with her. When we parted, we both had tears in our eyes and I didn’t expect that. I realized how hard it was to go for three months. I was so impacted by this friend and how much of a light she was towards others, including myself. It was really impactful to get to know someone from another culture. I was able to share the gospel with her. There are some others that the staff is still working with and one of them recently came to know the Lord.
Q: Tell us about the relationships you created with our students and staff.
A: Some of my teammates are like family now. They will be my friends for eternity. That was possible because we lived in a room together and spent 24/7 with each other for 3 months. We understand each other and have a love for the world and other people. That bonded us.
Q: Did this experience give you more clarity and confidence on your calling? How?
A: It 100% did. All the challenges that came with living overseas with 9 girls with different personalities, highly stressful situations, learning to travel, it all really prepared me for the future and it affirmed me I can do this. I have the skills to do this. On the spiritual level I got to spend three months with God. No tv. It was us, our classes and time with God. I spent a lot of time journaling, reflecting and praying. God just showed me how it will be apart of my future.
Q: If you could summarize Cafe 1040 into one sentence, how would you summarize our program?
A: A stepping stone program that allows you to live in another country and to explore what God has in store for you. It comes down to being able to see can you live in another country, can you thrive in another country, is that where God is calling you. Not everyone will go overseas long-term. It’s important to know that there are goers, senders and mobilizers.