Last December we were visiting with Luis Alberto Balladarez and doing a marriage conference at his church. Afterwards he came up to me and began speaking about his desire to partner with us in the work we are doing. He expressed how he wanted to contribute to the work we were doing, and then said: "I want to give you ten 60 kilo bags of my best coffee every year for free, and you can take the profits and put them into whatever project is on your heart."
At first I was thinking... OK, 10 bags. Is that 10 BIG burlap bags full of coffee? Or is something getting lost in translation here. I was a sudden mixture of excited, dumbfounded and a little stunned. I mean, who does that? What Third World coffee farmer gives a roaster in the USA 10 bags of his best coffee... for free? To me it was one HUGE confirmation as to what God is orchestrating for us.
So, once the dust settled on that declaration, we set out to figure out how we would navigate the logistics of getting the coffee from Nicaragua to Florence, KY. That is where Atlas Coffee, a broker in Seattle, comes in. Atlas has had a relationship with Luis for several years and has been bringing in container loads of his coffee (that's 20,000+ pounds at a time). Luis and I thought they might be willing to allow us to tack on our 10 bags to one of their container load shipments.
In preparing to write them I thought, "Do I really want to tell these guys that Luis is giving me this coffee for free? I mean, after all, I had been buying his coffee from them up until then." What would their response be? In the end, I decided that honesty is always the best policy, and so I laid it all out on the line. I explained how we wanted to work together and that this is what Luis wanted to do, and that we are going to take our joint profits from this and put it into something down in Nicaragua. After hitting "send" I figured it was out of my hands and I determined I would trust God.
A few days later I got a nice email back from Chris at Atlas Coffee explaining that they would be glad to help us and that they loved the idea! Now all we had to do was wait for the coffee to be harvest, processed and shipped. Well, that was January. Today the coffee finally arrives!
It has been a long, but worthwhile wait. When I see those bags at Velocity Bike & Bean being loaded off of the truck I will be smiling from ear to ear, knowing that this is one of those unprecedented moments in the life of our company. The vision continues to unfold, and you continue to be a part of the story being written here!