Mission trips have always been a fancy of mine. I have been extremely blessed by the many opportunities to go...be...see...and build. Go to places I've never been before...be the Christ-Follower that I really want to be...see the multitude and feel the same compassion that Jesus did...and build relationships with people that I never dreamed possible. From the Mississippi Delta to the Puget Sound, the work of the Kingdom never sleeps. But it was on a special mission trip into the heart of Arlington, Texas that my eyes were opened to something so big...so wonderful...yet soooooo small!
There I was, providing 'tactical support' for a portion of our youth group in one of the many apartment complexes in the metro area. Our goal for the week was to conduct basic Back Yard Bible Studies to the children that lived in the area. The children were swarming like mad bees and the heat that was bearing down on us in that concrete jungle was almost unbearable. (Just for the record I don't do kids...er I mean heat, very well.) I was nearing the melting point, trying so hard to stay on task and my caffeine quota was running extreeeeeemely low. While our youth were busy keeping the children occupied, part of my responsibility was to attempt to make contact with the adults/parents of the children that lived in the apartments. Keep in mind these activities that were taking place was during the daytime and the number of adults around were really small, which gave ample opportunity to spend extra time with those that were there.
As I was making my way around the complex, I noticed two ladies that were sitting on one of the apartment patios. As I approached them to make conversation, I noticed they were drinking a beverage from an extremely tiny cup. Hmmmmm......what in the world...could it be? Attempting to begin to make conversation...that alone was a challenge for both ladies were of Cuban decent...the older of the two couldn't speak any English, and the other one could speak broken English at best...the younger of the ladies invited me to join them on the patio as they were watching the children participate in our BYBC. As the three of us sat there, attempting to stay cool in that blistering Texas heat, I couldn't help but notice that with each sip of their drink, it was always followed by a soothing mmmmmmm. OK...that's it...I had to know what was so good, so satisfying, yet so small.
The ladies, sensing my curiosity, invited me to join them in 'whatever' it was they were drinking. The first thought that ran through my mind, was, that it had to be some sort of Cuban tea...extremely HOT...extremely spicy...and extremely strong. As the younger of the two came back out on the patio with my 'cup'...it actually resembled a plastic tea cup from a little girl's tea set...I had almost prepared my taste buds for the onslaught of flavor that was about to be rushing in, when I noticed the older lady was beginning to snicker. OK...what's so funny? The closer I raised the cup to my lips, the louder the snicker became...and by now, the younger one is also trying to cover up her laughter. What had I just got myself into?
It didn't take long for me to realize that I was in the presence of something seriously incredible...
The aroma alone was enough to send the dial on my caffeine meter screaming in the opposite direction. From the very moment that my lips touched the edge of that tiny cup, I knew in an instant the reasoning for all of the MMMMMMMM's. For inside that cup, known as a demitasse cup, was a beast so ferocious that if it had been poured into a normal size coffee cup, a steel cage couldn't have contained it!
Little did those two ladies know that sitting before them was not only an over-heated, caffeine drained, kid chasing lunatic....but a Jesus loving, coffee drinking madman that makes even the strongest caffeine beasts quiver at the sound of my name.
I took that tiny cup and turned it straight up and immediately asked for a refill. You should have seen the look on those two ladies faces...it was priceless. The young lady took my cup & saucer, turned back to go inside...and through broken English all I could make out between them was "man do biggg coppeee!" The beast had been caged...and another door become open...
"Father, thank you for the Texas sun, screaming children and Cuban espresso. Help me to always be willing to face any obstacle in an effort to share Your love. Bless those two ladies...and help me to continue to walk through new open doors...amen"
I'll never forget that day...and neither will those two Cuban ladies. I had accepted their coffee...they accepted my Jesus...