Thailand Outreach, Part 2. Our journey takes us almost 3 hours east of Bangkok to the city of Rayong. There we meet Jeff and his wife and daughter in their little coffee house, which also serves as the hub for the Rayong Vineyard. Over the course of many hours he tells us about his journey from a party-loving seeker to a man that longs to serve God outside the constraints of a conservative and unreal church culture. This journey is littered with rejection and brokenness, until he finds his home in the Vineyard family.
Jeff is the Asian representative of a Swedish company, but longs to spread God’s Kingdom through his true passion: coffee! He serves the poor by helping poor hill-tribe coffee growers to get a fair price for their crops. He manually roasts the coffee in his shop and sells it to other coffee houses. We sample his products and are impressed. Certainly some of the best coffee I ever had.
So where is the church in all of this? Again, there is no sign announcing its presence, but it is tangible the moment you step through the door. Little words of encouragement here and there, regular conversations with ”customers” who may not even realize that they are in a house of God. There is worship, teaching and fellowship on Sundays, but what really touches my heart is a home-made sticker on the side of the coffee maker that only those who serve the coffee can see, ”Can they see the love of Jesus in my face?”
Again, I leave with a deep sense of pride in the way our very own Kingdom values are expressed in a culture so different from ours, and I can’t help but ask myself the question, ”who is teaching who?” So far I have definitely received more than I was able to give.