Tag Archives: coffee

Introducing Finland Mennonite Church

Finland Mennonite Church
Our logo is a representation of our desire to be a people that are looking up, (which is symbolized in the cross shaped leaf stem that is bent upwards), moving forward, and reaching out (which is symbolized in the water ripples being sent out from the cross).

Finland Mennonite Church is the body of 200+ believers that meet for worship together on Ziegler Road in Pennsburg, PA.  The church was established in 1931 as a church plant out of the Franconia Conference Home Missions Program in a building just down the road from our current location.  The church sits at the intersection of several regions and our congregation includes people from many different towns and students from more than four school districts.

The church is led spiritually by lead pastor John Ehst, associate pastor Kris Wint, and the elder team; ministry directors supervise many other aspects of the ministries we provide.  Our mission statement is “Looking Up, Moving Forward, Reaching Out:” looking up, we trust God for salvation, are passionate in our worship, and are confident in prayer; moving forward, we are expecting that our life together in Christ will change us into the character of Jesus and equip us for His service; reaching out, we are compelled by Jesus’ love to reach out to our neighbors and friends with the healing and hope of the Gospel of Christ.

We are dedicated to serving our community through ministries which include a free Coffee Drive-Thru, Laundromat Ministry, Prayer Shawl Ministry, and many others.  Finland is also a part of UPPEN (Upper Perk Prayer Evangelical Network), a group of churches across many denominational backgrounds joining together to reach the community for Christ; we participate in several UPPEN ministries including Adopt-a-Street and Freedom Festival.

Our body is made up of diverse people of all ages, many of whom do not come from a Mennonite background. We’re also dedicated to growing together in community and have active groups that meet for Bible study and fellowship including Moms of Preschoolers Group, Senior Citizens, and many in between.  We have been brought together in this community because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to our lives.  It’s the effect of the Gospel that draws us together for energetic worship and authentic fellowship!

Finland invites community to drive-thru

by Rose Longacre, Finland

coffee drive thruIt was a cold morning this week when four members of our church, Finland Mennonite, gathered to set up a table making a free “drive-thru” coffee stand.  As usual, we looked forward to seeing our “regulars” and we prayed for new cars to stop by.  Our normal conversations about sugar or creamer were replaced this particular Wednesday by something much deeper as a woman from the community pulled in, not for coffee or donuts, but asking if we could pray with her.  She had been to our drive-thru in months past but today she was in search of something more.  We prayed for her and cried with her and marveled at how Jesus is able to work through us to bring comfort to others, even through donuts and coffee.

About 3 years ago, when the economy was tough, some of our members at Finland began pondering how our church could reach out to the community and let them know we cared.  On Fachtsnachts Day, while I was on the phone with a friend, she drove by a church where they were handing out doughnuts at the red light. That event sparked a new idea: we could give out free cups of coffee!!!

In April 2010 we began our once-a-month drive thru coffee ministry.  On the Sunday before, we put out a sign saying that there will be a free coffee drive thru from 6:30-8:00 am on the following Wednesday.  Each month since that April, year round, on the third Wednesday of every month, we are outside with free coffee and donuts for all who drive thru during that time.

We have a list of our “regulars” who we know by name and how they take their coffee.  One regular stops by just for a donut, while some bring their own cups to be filled. We have a team of four regular helpers to fill cups, add the cream/sugar, load up the bags and add the donut. Juice boxes are given to families with children.

Helpers are busy behind the scenes as well. The Boys & Girls Club have begun to decorate the bags, which often say, “Have a good day!” or “Smile, God loves you!” Some months we allow our guests to choose from homemade baked items made by congregational members.

In addition, businesses from the community have joined us in our outreach effort. A neighbor who made donuts for Yum Yum’s in Colmar for 40 years began donating two dozen donuts each month—he would come off of his night shift and deliver them to us for our event.  After he became ill and passed away, Yum Yums honored his commitment to serving by continuing to donate 2 dozen donuts each month. One Village Coffee found out about our ministry and has also given us free coffee from time to time.

We average right around 20 individuals each month and almost always have a new one who has seen the sign but never stopped before. We look forward to seeing our regulars each month and catching up on their lives, their grandchildren, their vacations.

It has been a fun way to see who drives by our church and an opportunity to share the love of Christ with our community, invite people to events at our church, and help our neighbors to begin their day with a smile and a warm cup of free coffee.

Redefining success at the ‘Top of the World’

Bethsaba & Dale Nafziger

bethsaba-sorting-green-coffee.JPGI grew up in Vincent Mennonite Church, Spring City, Pa. I first went to Nepal, the land of Mt. Everest, under Mennonite Central Committee in 1979. Bethsaba, a native of Darjeeling, and I were married there in 1994 – where we currently continue to serve under Mennonite Mission Network. Until 2003 we happily served in various capacities under the United Mission to Nepal. Around that time, however, UMN had a number of entrepreneurial projects that they were looking to “spin off” into small private enterprises. Bethsaba “latched onto” one of those as an opportunity for providing jobs and employment to women living in our village. The opportunity was that of making frozen french fries. Our new company’s name was, appropriately, “Top of the World.”

Reena was one of our first Top of the World employees. She entered this life with “three strikes” against her: first she was a girl, second she was low caste, and third she had a hearing defect. While she worked Reena simply observed us. Then she began to ask questions…questions not at all of the nature one would expect to hear from an “uneducated” village girl. To make a long story short: Reena is now one of the key members of our local congregation.

In 2007 we added frozen pizzas to our product line. During that same year we added on coffee and re-registered our small company under the name “Top of the World Coffee.” A busy year and a half passed between company restructuring and the time we first began selling coffee. This time was occupied learning the coffee business, acquiring the necessary equipment, sourcing coffee, etc. Nepal is a landlocked country so everything either needs to be imported via airfreight, at considerable cost, or via India, at considerable risk. On November 16, 2008 we finally roasted and sold our first bags of coffee. It was a joyous occasion!

dale-roasting-coffee.JPGFrank A. Clark once said, “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” That statement nicely summarizes our experiences in practicing “business as mission” here over the past seven years. Nepal is a stunningly beautiful country – given that it contains the highest mountains on earth how could it possibly be otherwise? The people are friendly, the culture is exotic…and the church here is growing at an amazing pace. Economically, however, it is also one of the most rigorous business environments possibly found on the face of planet earth. In addition to the issues that arise from Nepal being land locked, we currently struggle making and selling frozen foods with 12 hours “loadshedding” (daily lack-of-electricity), political instability, and perpetual shortages of essential supplies.

If economic problems alone are not sufficient, however, possibly our greatest area of challenge is that of business ethics. Fortunately, we are not alone in confronting these issues. We are part of a supportive network of national and expatriate Christian business women and men who call ourselves “Great Commission Companies – Nepal.” We meet weekly for prayer and also have regular monthly meetings. Luci Swindoll stated, “In God’s economy you will be hard-pressed to find many examples of successful ‘Lone Rangers.’” Based upon our situation here in Nepal, I couldn’t agree more! One of the issues that we regularly deliberate here is, “How do we define ‘business success?’” If one narrowly defines it on the basis of the teaching found in a traditional MBA…one may as well pack up and go home…or never even come to Nepal in the first place. Looking at success from a Kingdom perspective, however, makes the whole effort worthwhile. Just look at Reena!

Friends and well-wishers occasionally ask how they can access our products – as a way of supporting our efforts. Regrettably, they are not available in the USA…nor will they realistically be available there in the foreseeable future. Something that everyone can do, however, is pray. Beyond that people are most welcome to contribute to our continuing lives and service here under Mennonite Mission Network. Giving fills a very real need. Finally, our Top of the World Coffee does have business goals that I be happy to communicate via personal e-mail correspondence.

We are grateful to you, the churches of the Franconia Mennonite Conference, for your faithfulness in helping us to redefine business success here at the top of the world!