Q: Give us a little background about your testimony/story and how that led you to look for an organization like Cafe 1040.
A: I became a believer when I was young and didn’t understand a lot about who God was and when I got older I had an amazing community around me and missions was a part of it. At our youth group, we had some overseas workers who we would pray for. We would learn about unreached people groups in youth group and we would go to a camp called Snowbird every year. The camp chose an unreached people group in Northern South Asia. They have a map on the wall that says, “Why wait for a call when you have a command?” It opened my eyes and showed me the reality of the world and how not everyone has the same access to Jesus that I had. At Snowbird, my eyes were being open to the world and where I found Cafe 1040.
Q: Why did you choose Cafe 1040 over other programs or organizations?
A: My senior year of high school I wanted to have a gap year and I looked into the World Race. I was accepted and started planning to go, but then it was very clear it wasn’t the right next step for me. That was a possibility, but God shut the door which allowed me to work that summer at Snowbird and that is the summer when I met a Cafe 1040 mobilizer. I loved the fact that at Cafe 1040, we weren’t doing it alone. There was mentorship throughout each stage - stateside, overseas and when we got back. I was able to take the place of a learner and go and soak in everything. The location was inside the 10/40 window and I wanted to know faces and names of the unreached. It became more tangible. Three months were the perfect amount of time for me to be able to get to a point where I felt equipped and I felt like it was home.
Q: What overseas experience, if any, did you have before going through Cafe 1040's program?
A: None. I had spent a week in England, but not for missions.
Q: What did you enjoy most about your time in South Asia and with our program?
A: I experienced God there in the program. Before the program I had spent a year at Liberty University and I needed direction, clarity, and next steps. The second day we got there our team leader told us to let go of your expectations and just let go and surrender to what God has for you this semester.
The focus shifted off of the things God gives me and instead, to learn how to delight in God for who He is and not what He can do for me. It felt so freeing. I experienced what God has for me and who He is. My view of God got so much bigger and I looked around at these people in this hard place. Throughout the entire semester, I thought, “You are way bigger than I thought”. I focused on His character and His heart. He started changing my heart to more align with his. He gave me desires and dreams. I experienced so much clarity, so much freedom, and very clear next steps.
Q: What was most encouraging things for you during our 3-month program?
A: The people. My team and the staff. Our team was able to learn how to fight for one another and work through conflict and how to have fun together and make the most of situations we were in. The mentoring and the way the staff would speak life into us everyday kept me going. I was so encouraged by the teachings and the new discoveries that God revealed to me each day. Your heart is changing, your mind is changing throughout the whole program. And I can see the difference in the way I now think. It was so encouraging to come to the point of, “Wait, I think I can do this. Yes, this is hard, but this place feels like home.”
That realization was super encouraging.
Q: Describe an experience you had that impacted the way you thought about missions.
A: It’s definitely about our best friend that we met there, C*. We met her near the beginning of the semester and we were able to develop a relationship with the entire family. Toward the end of the semester, she was getting married. We got to be a part of the wedding; we were fully involved in the wedding. We got to know cousins and extended family members. I thought to myself one night, “I have a deep love for these people”. This is why long-term is so important. We had to leave in 5 days and just now feel like I am connecting with this family. We were known by them, and we knew them. Sadness set in thinking I had to leave, but it made me realize how important long-term was. I mentally knew long-term was the goal, but actually having that experience made me see it in reality.
Q: What did you appreciate the most about the culture you were living in?
A: I love how South Asians made things work. Anything felt possible. It was fun and enjoyable. I loved the style of traffic and how they would all cram into cars. I love the ingenuity. It felt very free. You never know what to expect there, but in the chaos their lives are still slow-paced. I loved seeing a bunch of men playing cards in the park for hours, talking, and drinking chai. They are so highly relationally. They just want to sit and talk and value relationships over what they can get done. They are very present and would just be. Relationships matter the most.
Q: What are your next steps?
A: I am still not sure what long-term will look like and it is something I am still walking toward. This summer I am going to Jordan with my church. I am part of a disciple-making team in my hometown. We want to prepare now for what long-term work would look like. We asked ourselves, “what if we lived in a community now and uproot it and then placed it overseas?” Our team will be in Jordan for 6 weeks and we will be partnering with a local church, working with refugees and with a team of local believers in the area.
Q: Would you recommend Cafe 1040’s program to others/friends? Why?
A: Yes, and I have. You are supported on all sides and you are not in it alone. You really do get a taste of what sustainable life looks like overseas. This program is very thorough and really does equip you. The people and the heart behind all of it is so good. You can truly experience God’s fullness for your life. You feel the purpose is worship and delight of God - to love God and be loved by him.
Q: If you could summarize Cafe 1040 into one sentence, how would you summarize our program?
A: Cafe 1040 is an incredibly helpful and supportive next step that is done with excellence and is uprooting sons and daughters of God to plant their lives in the darkest places on Earth.
Q: What would you tell someone who is considering Cafe 1040?
A: Just keep walking forward and take steps if you are considering it. God will stop you when He wants you or will lead you and guide you where you were meant to go. When we get fearful of making the wrong choice, we never move. Keep moving forward.