My story starts 8 years ago in 2010 when I was a youth pastor in Michigan. Another youth pastor and myself were struggling with the question of how we could better engage the students we were working with, and more importantly how we could engage those in their schools who we were currently not able to reach. This got us thinking about what it would look like to do a ministry minded business centered around coffee. Although we made some headway the timing was not right and God said wait.
Fast forward to 2013, I was newly married to my wonderful wife Kasandra but still had this longing in my heart to open a community driven, ministry-minded coffee shop. I went back to school at MidAmerica Nazarene University to get a BA in Organizational Leadership. While there, I did my thesis as a business feasibility study for the community driven coffee shop. After a year and a half of work, I graduated with my BA the summer of 2014. Again, as much as my heart was longing for something like this, it was not feasible to pursue the shop where I lived in Emporia, KS.
That brings us to this year. God began to move in some pretty amazing ways in the past 6 months to bring us to this point. In January, we had to take Caleb, our son, up to a Topeka Hospital for some medical tests. It was a rough time for our family, but God was firmly in control and we knew he had some amazing things planned for us. The following morning I was talking to our nurse, Debbie, about what I was doing in Emporia and how my wife and I were looking to move closer to her family (they live in Perry, KS). I told her that Topeka would be a pretty good in between as her family lived closer and my family was not too far off in Lenexa, KS. We traded contact information and she mentioned that she would let her husband know about me. She also mentioned that we should get together soon to talk about Cafe Barnabas and what other networking options there were for my wife and I in Topeka. What I did not know at the time was that Debbie only worked once every few months at the hospital.
A few days later I ended up in Topeka for work and had a few hours to kill, so I decided to check out this “Cafe Barnabas” in the mall and see what it was all about. So I showed up at Westridge Mall and in no time found Cafe Barnabas near the food court. I got a tea and a cookie (the cookies are amazing) and then I asked the girl behind the counter if Kevin or Debbie was in. They said Kevin was and after he helped another customer we ended up talking for about an hour about ministry philosophy, about the cafe, and about what his plans were for the cafe moving forward. I left feeling very encouraged and we both agreed that it had been funny how we had come into contact with one another.
Throughout the next several months Kevin and I exchanged emails, phone calls, and met up a few more times as we began to see this God story take shape. So now, years later than I would have liked, and through some incredible God ordained circumstances, I realize that God was bringing me to them and them to me. For me this was an awesome chance to see what I had been dreaming about in action. Not only was Cafe Barnabas doing it but they were, and are, doing it well and lives are being changed.
At the end of May God confirmed to Cafe Barnabas that I was the right candidate to fill the second site missionary position. At the same time my wife had an interview at a local school (she is an Elementary Music Teacher). We felt that the confirmation for us was her getting a job. To our surprise she did not get the first job. She landed a second interview a few days later and we were sure she would get this one. As quickly as the new interview came we got a call that the position was already filled. My wife and I were stunned and I made a call to Kevin that night to explain the situation and that most likely it was a no as we did not know of any other possible positions for my wife. He told me the position was mine for the time being and I told him we would continue to look but we did not know of any other positions in Topeka. The next day my wife got a call from Jardine Elementary in Topeka wanting her to interview for an open position.
I was shocked! Here we did not see a way for us to move forward and yet God was moving, as He had been from the beginning. He was making a way where there seemed to be no way. She did the interview and this time got the job and thus God confirmed to my wife and I that it was time to answer the call God had set on our lives and begin the process of moving us to Topeka to become a part of the Cafe Barnabas team. My wife and I are very excited for this opportunity and I personally cannot wait to see how God is going to continue this amazing story in the coming months.
In His grasp –
Bryson k. Rumple