Our Christian coffee shop ministry, Java Journey (http://www.javajourney.org) is one of the most exciting and challenging things we have ever done, especially. We live and operate out of Hickory, NC which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Our ministry, in a nutshell, is to share Christ’s love to the hurting and broken and teach them to give it back to others. What we had never foreseen was that the bulk of those we minister to are either under employed or unemployed so they can contribute very little financially to our ministry, which cannot be supported through coffee sales alone. We rely on donations as well. Unfortunately, now our donors are being affected. The past few months have been particularly challenging as yet another substantial donor, due to relocation because of job loss, has stopped contributing.
Good stuff is happening in our ministry, but sometimes, because of the finances, it feels as if we are stranded on an island with no means of escape. We see other ships passing by just out of reach, but cannot seem to get out of our predicament (though we have ideas for how we could become self-sustaining). When things break, we have no money for repairs. Our most recent fatality is our deli case. Over the past few months, we’ve paid rent later and later. Thank goodness for a gracious landlord who extended mercy and said he’d really like to keep us because he believes in what we are doing.
Recently, Jeff attended a clergy meeting with local pastors and shared about our present circumstances. He approached it with humor. “We’re like folks on Gilligan’s Island,” he said. “We make cars out of bamboo.”
Indeed, there are parallels to the illustration of the castaways. Those who have survived such hardship have done so because of several things. We can learn a few things from them:
First, cherish the encouragement and accept the help of others. You are more likely to make it if you have others to commiserate with and share with.
Second, hold tight to your faith in God. Though it seems as if you have been stranded forever, you are only going through a temporary hardship. It will not last forever.
Third, have a positive attitude. Give thanks for even the small things. Hold on to hope.
Finally, use whatever resources you have at your disposal (even if it’s just bamboo). Do the most excellent job you can and trust God to bless your endeavors.
If you cling to these truths, you will not only find the strength to carry on, you will inspire others to as well. One day they may say, “they are truly remarkable. I had no idea you could make such an awesome car out of bamboo.”
Here's some fun Gilligan's Island trivia http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057751/trivia