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Posts Tagged ‘Rwanda’

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I’ve been a huge supporter of Blood:Water Mission for some time now. I love their passion for clean water in communities in need and their projects to build water wells. On occasions I will partake in their water challenge fundraiser around lent season. When I traveled to India, I had the opportunity to dedicate a water well. To see the joy in people’s faces who have never had clean drinking water is something I’ll never forget. It cost $1200 to build a water well in India and I am raising 10% of that from giving up some my personal pleasures of life during lent. Watch some of these videos for the Save a Life campaign for Rwanda and be inspired by the work Blood:Water is doing. You can give to my campaign here. Thanks! God Bless!

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Our awesome volunteer team!

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Not even two months after serving with Land of a Thousand Hills at the Justice conference in Philadelphia, I found myself once again volunteering with this amazing ministry. This time they set up camp at Catalyst West Coast at Mariners church in Irvine, California. Catalyst is a leadership conference that gathers influencers who are seeking to see change in this generation by passionately pursuing God. Land of a Thousand Hills has always had a presence at this conference by giving out coffee to the attendees as they walk in and out of the worship center. I met up with Bryan Farrar, the community relationship coordinator for Thousand Hills and he got our team ready for a fun day of serving and connecting with people about the story of community trade coffee.

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A few of us having a blast! (Photo from Catalyst photo stream)

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Serving coffee to the Catalyst crowd

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Bryan making sure everything is running smoothly

Bryan making sure everything is running smoothly

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What a great team of volunteers we had!! It was a fun few days of getting to know each other and working together as a team. It was amazing to see how easily we bonded together. Bryan did a great job of making sure we had everything we needed so our days went smoothly. The people of Catalyst loved having their morning coffee as well as hearing the story of Land of a Thousand Hills and what they are all about. I feel so blessed every time to play a small role in the getting the word out about Thousand Hills and how they are making a difference in the Rwandan and Haitian communities. I had a blast and I look forward to serving with Thousand Hills again someday. DRINK COFFEE, DO GOOD!

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Another solid time volunteering with the Thousand Hills team

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Reblogged from Land of a Thousand Hills blog:

This week we bring you a great article on our friends at 8th Day: Coffee and Culture. We love what Shane is doing there! If you’re in Phoenix, check them out HERE!

Drink Coffee, Do Good

Coffee Shop Aspires to Bring Community to Downtown Phoenix

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By Alicia Canales

Perhaps the building’s former life as Just Breathe Wellness, a yoga studio, gives it the relaxing atmosphere. Maybe it’s what the building, now 8th Day Coffee & Culture, stands for that provides a sense of peace and calmness when entering through the black outlined doors.

Eighth day stands for “eternity,” or the “eternal day” in ancient terms, co-owner Shane Copeland says. The definition creates the purpose of the coffee shop’s 4,000 square foot space, which is to convey light, creativity and relationship.

“There’s enough darkness in our world,” Copeland says. “Creativity is a beautiful thing. As a place, we want music and arts and culture to be present and relationship is at the heart of it.”

The eighth day meaning carries on when 8th Day closes on Sunday. The building hosts St. George’s Anglican Community, of which Copeland is the pastor. The coffee shop and church are separate entities with some relational connection. The same calming ambiance is present when people in the building gather to worship God or gather over a cup of coffee.

A sense of community drives Copeland as a co-owner and pastor. St. George’s met at Roosevelt Community Church for four years before leasing the 8th Day building. Copeland says reconstruction began in April 2012 and took four months. The main room used to be a yoga workout room. Copeland says workers removed mirrors, knocked down some walls and installed fire sprinklers. Now, his congregation has a place of its own.

“We kind of felt nomadic and not settled,” Copeland says. “Having been able to move in here on Sundays has given us a sense of home.”

For 8th Day, it’s a place for good coffee and to connect with friends. Amber Hunter, a barista with curled strawberry-blonde hair, said she enjoys having a front row seat to watch relationships form or grow as people drink their coffee.

“I think this is a space you really have to come in and experience for yourself because I do think there’s something special here,” Hunter says. “We’re just at the very beginning of what this space is going to be, so I’m excited.”

Eighth Day, located on the corner of Second and Garfield streets, is welcoming from its exterior. Its warm red paint exudes an air of cordiality that draws a person closer. Trees, ordained with strings of lights and white paper lanterns, are planted in the middle of the patio.

Opening the door, a rich aroma of coffee beans invites the customer in. To the left, people talk amongst each other or type on their laptops. To the right, a barista behind the coffee bar greets regulars as old friends.

The baristas interact in a familial way, talking and joking amongst each other during a lull in the day. It’s rare to look over at the bar and not see the employees smiling. Hunter, also a St. George member, says the employees avoid gossip so no bitterness is between them.

“We’re very quick to work through that stuff with each other so that we can continue to support each other and that makes a huge difference,” she says.

Their love and connection with each other extends over the coffee bar. Alexandra Korsick, an Arizona State University justice studies major, comes to 8th Day twice a week with friends. She says the customer service is the friendliest she’s ever seen, and she appreciates that Copeland works behind the bar every so often.

“He’s so nice. I think it’s not often you meet an owner,” Korsick says. “You can tell he cares about it, which is a good thing to see.”

Throughout the work week, sofas, cushioned chairs and wooden tables fill half of the main lounge area. The other half is closed off by folding, black-trimmed dividers. Between the cracks, it’s possible to see sound equipment. Eighth Day encourages local artists to contact its art director or sign up for its open mic nights.

On Sundays, the dividers come down. Members rearrange the furniture and bring out chairs. The congregation faces the back of the room, where a table covered in white and purple cloths and a wooden cross stand. Copeland, who wore jeans and a blue-white plaid shirt two days earlier, dawns a white robe with black sleeves and collar. The wardrobe change seems to be the only difference in Copeland. His shoulder-length, curly black hair frames his oval face. His powerful tone draws his congregation members to listen just as the baristas cannot ignore his orders. As he leads the sermon, he uses the same hand gestures and smiles as he does when welcoming customers.

Shirts showing 8th Day’s slogan line a corner in the coffee bar area: Drink coffee, do good. This is the motto of its coffee provider, Land of a Thousand Hills, which allowed 8th Day to also use. Land of a Thousand Hills provides community-trade coffee from Rwanda, Haiti and Thailand. Eighth Day pays twice the fair trade amount. Three dollars go to the third-world farmers instead of half that price, so farmers can make a sustainable living.

“There’s something really powerful about being able to go and buy something you use every day, like coffee, and know that you’re making a difference in the world,” Hunter says.

The building also offers a back room for studying or conferences. St. George’s church creates a nursery from a separate room during Sundays. On the patio out front, customers bask in the sun in wooden chairs. Copeland says more people, regardless of faith, discover ways to inhabit the building.

“We’d want the community to be able to use it across the spectrum of life and, obviously, that would include spiritual as well as other components because we believe in the holistic need of people,” Copeland says.

Copeland says everyone has opinions around religion, and he doesn’t desire to argue with those upset about 8th Day hosting a church. Both entities, while separate, build community, he says. The Christian perspective of loving God and your neighbor as yourself motivates Copeland and workers, some whom are members, in the shop and church.

“We just want to be present at the table, in the community doing good, blessing the community,” Copeland says. “For people who think that religion doesn’t benefit community, all I can say is this is what we’re doing.”

Article Source: http://www.ecollegetimes.com/student-life/drink-coffee-do-good-1.2822302

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A little while back I was able to give to the Forgiveness School project financially. My buddy Dimitri from Land of a Thousand Hills is in Rwanda right now at the school and posted this on his blog (please read and follow his journey). I’m excited for him to be there and happy to see what God is doing at the school through Thousand Hills for these children!

A Journey to Rwanda

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The Forgiveness School. A project in the works for a little while now and at last it is nearing completion! The church next to the school has doubled in numbers from 500 to 1000, the orphans home is in full swing, and the school itself is growing very fast due to the credibility of the infrastructure. I love seeing sustainable, community led progress in communities we have invested in!

This VIDEO was taken by me upon our arrival. The children are always happy to see us arrive and they so joyfully greet us with a dance or two.

We met with Pastor Ildefonse and some of the children in addition to checking on the logistical finalizing steps of the school’s completion. Before we knew it, it was time to head out. We now have a plane to catch. Our trip is unfortunately nearing an end.

Thank you so much for…

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I attended Food for the Hungry’s Hope & Courage conference today with a few friends. Food for the Hungry partners and walks with churches and leaders in overcoming poverty in various countries. I’m a huge fan of what they do and have enjoyed a long relationship with the organization.

The first session was led by Os Guinness – founder of the Trinity Forum and renowned speaker and writer. Os talked about how our faith has become diluted and that we need to get back to the gospel. He identified three big tasks: repairing the global south, winning back the west and contributing to the human future. The church has gotten worldly and has spread out to areas that aren’t influential. We need leaders and we need to let the Spirit lead like in Acts. We live in an upside down Kingdom where the least is not the greatest. We give money to get and we have an American worldview of how to care for people. But despite all that has gone on, the gospel still underlines this world and has shaped it. Accomplishing these tasks would give to rise and caring (humanity, gratitude) and Christ needs to the one to lead the movement.

I was looking forward to the next speaker. Laurent Mbanda is the bishop of the Shyira Diocese for the Anglican church of Rwanda. Laurent shared a little about his story of leaving Rwanda after the genocide and then returning. He noted that as thousands were being killed in the churches, the leaders did nothing. But today there is a lot of aid with poverty as a result of the church’s partnership with the community. He talked a lot about partnerships with existing organizations, training and working together. Today he is noticing many changes in Rwanda and he credits that to many leaders becoming Christians. He stressed areas of importance to the poor, children, education, women and health.

Bob Moffitt of Harvest Foundation spoke on poverty from scripture. Poverty is defined more than a lack of materialism. Jesus was poor and was in bad living conditions, yet he had enough. He became all God wanted Him to be without having an abundance of stuff. (He then gave the example of Japan – very materialistic and wealthy, yet the highest suicide rate). There are two types of poverty – voluntary (ex: Jesus, Mother Theresa) and involuntary (as a result of sin). He stressed scripture more than projects and that we need to respond – Personal lifestyle (humility, worship – 2 Cron 7:14, Is 58:1-6), Corporate (the church-Eph 3:10) and Transformation (our success is based on obedience, not numbers).

Hope – hope in His promises when we are obedient and then we will be courageous

Courage – like  in the book of Joshua. Be strong and courageous

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Laurent Mbanda

“The church always goes forward best when it goes backwards first.” – Os Guinness

“If you’re going to change a community, you have to focus on children” – Bishop Laurent Mbanda

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My first stop at the Justice Conference was in the exhibit room where I was volunteering at the Land of a Thousand Hills booth. I have been a long-time advocate for Thousand Hills and was excited to put some faces to names and also have the opportunity to serve their community-trade coffee that I have been promoting at churches for years. I also frequently visit 8th Day Coffee & Culture – a local coffee shop here in Phoenix that serves up Thousand Hills coffee and have enjoyed the friendships and community that I have made there. Before I left for Philly, Jono Moehlig called me to give me all the details of what I would be doing. Jono is a manager of one of the Thousand Hills coffee shops in Georgia. He gave me the quick low-down of how things would run and the whole brewing process. I have a couple of years under my belt as a barista at a church cafe, so a few things came back to me. I also met Dimitri Iliadis, the ministry relationship coordinator for Land of a Thousand Hills. Both Jono and Dimitri were great guys with a passion for this organization. Dimitri was big on me talking with the guests about what Thousand Hills is all about and why I wanted to be here to serve with them. Land of Thousand Hills was giving out free coffee throughout the Justice Conference during the breaks. If fact, I first heard about Thousand Hills when they gave out coffee at a Catalyst conference I attended years back.

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Dimitri talking with one of Justice Conference exhibit volunteers before we open up

I had a blast! I loved meeting the different people at the conference and telling them about Land of a Thousand Hills. I ran into tons of friends from Phoenix and people that I have met at other conferences over the years being in ministry. I also loved working alongside some of the other volunteers and hearing their story of how they got connected with Thousand Hills. This is a great organization and I’m blessed to be a part of it. They are doing some amazing things in Rwanda, Thailand and Haiti and I just love the videos they put out every once in awhile. I enjoyed briefly meeting Jonathan Golden, the founder of Thousand Hills too. I look forward to visiting the coffee fields in Rwanda some day and partnering with these guys again. Drink Coffee, Do Good!

Land of a Thousand Hills posted a story about my experiences on their blog site here. Love these guys!

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Serving up some coffee!

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The amazing volunteers of Land of a Thousand Hills

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Drink Coffee, Do Good!

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Late last year, God led me to this little coffee shop in Phoenix. It has been amazing to see how he has used this little community in downtown Phoenix to change my life. Anywhere from taking pictures to being an advocate for Food for the Hungry and Land of a Thousand Hills or just drinking great coffee with an amazing community of people deep in the heart of the art district all came from hanging out at 8th Day Coffee & Culture. God is working here! He is bridging a community of faith through the local art scene and the story of community-trade coffee in Rwanda. It’s just amazing to see and be a part of! And how awesome that they are located right dead center in the heart of downtown Phoenix – a place city busting with a growing urban and arts community.

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“Eternal Sunshine of Bird City”

Just recently, Joseph Sentrock Perez painted this on the outside wall of 8th Day. It’s an amazing mural called Eternal Sunshine of Bird City. Sentrock moved here from Chicago and has become quite a well-known artist here in the local Phoenix art scene. Here is Sentrock describing his inspiration behind painting this:

I painted this on 8th day cafe, a coffee spot in downtown Phx. The phrase 8th day represented eternity. That’s why I wrote Eternal Sunshine of Bird City, a play off of the movie. I wanted it to signify an eternal blessing on the city Phoenix. Sharing our art and expression will forever bless the city of Phoenix aka Bird City. 

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Art work displayed on the walls of 8th Day

A lot of the amazing art work displayed on the walls of 8th Day is organized by Steve Malakowsky (Hope thru Art). He is an amazing artist and has a huge connection with the local art scene. One of things I love is his project to display art from the homeless population here in Phoenix. The funds made go back into helping them out. He’s a great guy and I love his heart for art and people. Tonight, the Food for the Hungry artists displayed their art for the First Friday art walk and were able to showcase God’s heart for the less fortunate through their pictures and paintings.

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I had to voice my excitement!

So one of the most amazing God stories to come out of this place is the story of Juliana and Daniel. I met Juliana while teaching refugees last summer. God has used her in so many ways in my life that I can’t even write it all. She’s an amazing talented woman and I am so thankful for her friendship. In fact, I found out about 8th Day through her. Daniel is the manager of 8th Day and has become a dear friend and brother. They met at 8th Day and have recently got engaged here. I love this story and was in tears when I heard about this. I am so happy for them! Pastor Shane of St. George’s Anglican Community was on hand to bless them and I pray for a long and happy marriage for them! God is good and He is working everywhere!

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Juliana and Daniel with Pastor Shane

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