Three weeks ago, Emmanuel Church in partnership with Cool Down Coffee and some faithful servants from Holy Spirit embarked on a courageous journey to love their neighbors. This ministry was born from a desire to be present with our community, and to bless others with the transforming love of Jesus. But how could we do that? Cool Down Coffee is a coffee shop situated right next to a trolley station only 6 miles from the border of Mexico and right next to the 5 freeway. So many different types of people frequent this coffee shop which is owned by a family and ran by a father and son team of Christians who are dedicated to sharing their faith. It is a miracle for them to be operating in this location, and only through a lottery system with the local government, they were granted the ability to operate in this location. Furthermore, the family is in America on a business visa, and their stay depends on the vibrancy and longevity of their business.
As I thought of a way to bless the business and community I thought of the English language training I had seen in rural Delhi India and also in Bangkok Thailand. Both of these ministries filled a need by providing the opportunity for folks to learn the English language. As we know, God uses words to speak life into situations and to continue his ministry of creation on earth. This is reflected in the name “Palabra Viva” which literally means living word. The author of Hebrews writes that “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). With this desire in my heart, I wrote a grant request for $8400 with the Matthew 25 initiative. They approved the grant request and within one week, a generous donor provided the entire amount! The M25i provided this grant on a one-to-one basis. We raise one dollar and they give one dollar up to $8400. We have raised $16,000 for this ministry, praise God!
Our plan with Palabra Viva is to engage in 10 weeks of ESL for non-English speakers in order to build relationships of trust. After the initial 10 weeks of ESL, we hope to invite their families and friends into an Alpha program hosted at the same coffee shop. We are currently 3 weeks into this ministry and we have had 9 different attenders. One lady came all the way from Ensenada Mexico! One of the teachers currently lives in Tijuana and many others are dispersed in cities like Barrio Logan and Spring Valley. We are truly crossing the border with God’s love! Meredith Bernados is heading up the teaching and she provides a wonderful atmosphere with her encouraging spirit and graceful teaching. Rita Crozier has also been a generous helper and wonderful teacher! If you would like to give towards this ministry with your time, we can always use more English speakers to volunteer. Please pray for this ministry to bear fruit among our friends at Cool Down Coffee!