I’ve had the privilege of being in the shop at the mall a fair amount of times over the past few months and suffice it to say that I have been able to meet and converse with many wonderful people in that time. Some are there just to get a cup of tea while others may just be at the shop because their friend wanted a bubble tea; I would say 80% of the time we also make that unsuspecting tag along friend a fan of the shop as well because of our killer selection of teas (shameless plug). Still sometimes we get people looking for a bit of hope – you see tea has some pretty awesome benefits and the internet is replete with information on how great tea is for you. Now we will be the first to tell you that tea is not some miracle drink that will cure you of what ales you, but it can help.
So, this brings us to a few weeks ago when a women came in explaining that her friend had just been diagnosed with cancer and she was looking for some natural alternatives and had heard that tea can help. I said tea has some awesome things with it including antioxidants and can give you focused energy because of the caffeine and l-theanine in it. She asked if there were teas to help with certain ailments like stomach problems and I explained that certain teas at our shop have been known to help with stomach problems and that when I drink, our wonderful caramel macchiato rooibos tea (another shameless plug), it helps calm my upset stomach. I also directed her to a resource we have called “Cancer Hates Tea” by Maria Upenski (still another shameless plug) which has a ton of great information on the benefits of tea. I was then allowed to share how I have had cancer twice and by Gods grace and providence I have beaten it twice. This woman seemed a bit relieved and shared with me that she and her friend were also believers. I told her I would love to pray for her and her friend and that if they needed anything that we were here for them and would help in any way we could.
About a half hour later this lady returned with her friend who had been diagnosed with cancer and we chatted a bit about my story and how I had gotten through cancer and what all God had done to bring me through and a bit more about all the wonders of the world of tea. I was then given the privilege to take a few minutes out of my day and pray for her. I prayed that God would move, as he did, and heal her of the cancer and that He would continue to bring others around her to help her through this struggle. It was a great moment where, through the tea shop, I was able to pray for and love on someone from our community. It had another awesome benefit as well.
As all this was going on there were two student volunteers who were working. One is a believer and the other was not. I have no idea if they heard everything that the women and I discussed but they did both here enough to know that this woman had just been diagnosed with cancer and that I have had cancer twice. They both saw me pray for this woman and after the woman left, I had the opportunity to share a bit of how God had given me hope and the good news of how He used that experience in my life to get me to bible college, and ultimately bring me here to Café Barnabas.
In other words, I was able to share the gospel with two students and pray for a woman who needed to know that God had a plan all because we have a killer tea shop in the Westridge Mall. These are the opportunities that I cherish that I would never have if I was working for a church. I am not saying working for a church is bad, just that I know God has called me to Topeka to be a missionary and through the work we do at Café Barnabas I get to share life, and Christ, with those in our community on a daily basis. This is one of the many reasons I LOVE WHAT I DO!