improve your neighborhood – send me to Peru

I have a dilemma.

I’ve exerted a great deal of effort getting God to coerce me into doing what I know he wants me to do (“know”, that is, at least to the degree that any of us could know such a thing).

Still, he’s relentless in his coercion, just as I need him to be, and wish he weren’t.  God can be so stubborn sometimes.

I need your money, but I’m loath to ask for it.  God wants me to join a group from our local church on a trip to a tiny village in the mountains near Villa Rica, Peru in which a group of 25 of us from Greeley will be seeking to establish a long-term, and beautifully meaningful relationship with a coffee farmer and his neighboring community.  (More on that later.  I’m still whining building suspense, here.)

When it comes to begging, borrowing and stealing,  I’m definitely a fan of the borrowing and stealing ideas.  The begging:  not so much.

But, my wife and friends, along with many towering life experiences, tell me that the economy of God works in ways that are contrary to the typical ideas of men.

Go figure.

God relishes the acknowledgement of need.  Self-sufficiency: not so much.  Apparently, God wants us to ask for help, and he wants us to help.  Somehow, this makes sense to him, giving everyone an opportunity to participate and reap the benefits of possessions and pride held loosely.  (Personally, I think it’s unnecessarily complicated, but God didn’t really ask for my opinion.)

So, this is me begging.  Sorry, I’m not so good at it.

I need $1,300 to make this trip, and of course, the deadline for the deposit is in 3 days because I’ve wasted so much time making God coerce me.

Please support me in this endeavor.  I think it’s a good idea and worth the value of a few of your dollars.  If 1300 people give $1 each, we’re there.  Or, if 1 person gives $1300, we’re there.  Either way, we’re there!


Oh, yeah, and Katie, my beautiful 19-year-old daughter, and long-time, passionate Zoe’s volunteer, is also going on this trip!  I’m excited to experience this with her.  She’s raising her support separately, so I’m not really asking for that here, but if you’re in the mood . . .

Now, if you hate me, and have just committed to never read this blog again, much less speak to me – first of all, “Wow!”, we really need to talk, but second – don’t bother reading any more of this – trust me, it will only make you feel guilty for reacting so poorly.  Really.

On the other hand, if you feel that tiny little pea-picking pull on your heart right now (and your wallet), go ahead and read a few lines of what follows here, just to cinch the deal.


Here’s the deal:  For nine days in March, beginning the 12th, a group of 25 or so of the kind of folks you’d love to call “friend”, and me, will be heading to a small coffee farm, near a small village, in a small corner, of the small country of Peru.

The group will come from Zoe’s Cafe, our church home and one of the many fantastic expressions of community service extended by Christ Community Church here in Greeley.

Zoe’s opened a little over a year ago as a full-service coffee shop and events center, staffed entirely by volunteers (including some of my children), in a worn-out building, that has been lovingly refurbished, in a worn-out part of the downtown area of Greeley, which has been invigorated by the influx of life and light that has grown around Zoe’s.

During the week, Zoe’s is a coffee shop, hosting a cross-section of folks of all ages, cultures, and circumstances, including loads of students from the local university, providing a great-atmosphere and great coffee.  Saturdays at Zoe’s are typically consumed by private events, including weddings, receptions, funerals, exhibits, conferences, and loads of other activities sponsored by all sorts of individuals and organizations.  On Sundays, Zoe’s hosts our worship service experience as the downtown campus of Christ Community Church.

It’s pretty fantastic, if you think about it, and you should do so, as you peruse the website:

But, back to the trip . . .

Zoe’s has committed to serving direct-trade coffee, which is purchased directly from the farm where it is grown.  This practice cuts out the layers of middlemen typically required to get coffee from farm to market, and allows the farmer, who is typically the lowest paid party to the coffee-trade, to earn a living wage for his efforts.  The premium value to the farm is even better than a fair-trade arrangement.

The particular farmers we’ll be visiting in the area of Villa Rica, Peru, struggle consistently to make ends meet.  They’re too small to demand a competitive market-price, and combining their crops into co-ops simply cuts their share of the small pie even smaller.  Zoe’s wants to make a commitment to purchase their full crops directly, at a premium price, providing tangible changes in the circumstances of the farmers.

But the best part is this:  We’ll spend a week engaging in life with the farmers, playing with their children, praying with them, serving their needs, endeavoring to shower the family and community with abundant blessings in a million minor ways, and establishing relationships with them that will reap even greater rewards for everyone involved.

We’ll work along-side them, shoring up their operations the best we can, and encouraging them in ways that can only come from a direct relationship.  In the years ahead, we pray the relationship and influence will grow into something eternally meaningful not just for these specific farms, but also for the surrounding communities.

Back home, here in Greeley, the coffee will become a tangible representation of the Peruvian people whose faces and names will be dear to us, and they will become a beacon in this community.  That’s the prayer.  That’s the promise.

So, bless your little heart for getting through all of that to this point.  You’re good people.  Thanks.

If you can help me make this happen, and you don’t already know my address, send me a private note by clicking that link at the top of this page, and I’ll return your message with my mailing info.

Make checks to Christ Community Church, with only “Peru Missions” in the memo line, enclose a note indicating it’s a contribution for my trip costs, and send them to my home address.

Your donations are tax-deductible, but for people as generous as you are, that probably doesn’t matter.  However, if you are making a donation, please read this info from the church to be sure you get the whole picture about the tax-deductible part:  click here.  Wow, this giving is complicated, huh?



I love you, too.

3 thoughts on “improve your neighborhood – send me to Peru”

  1. Michelle Q – First of all, you’re awesome! Second, yes. Although I’m entirely unaware of the magical system for managing such things within the church office, I’m certain that the fantastic people there will accommodate that. But just to be sure, I’m also sending you my address. Thanks!


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