About five years ago, my wife, kids and I went on a family vacation to Puerto Rico. We loved it! Puerto Rico is absolutely beautiful. The island stole our hearts. A few years later Hurricane Maria happened. Puerto Rico was devastated. I remember wanting to catch the first plane to help in any way we could. But, it was impossible. In fact, we were still coming out of the impact of Hurricane Harvey in Houston (where we live). Today, we look back and see that the Lord had been working in our hearts. He was setting the stage for the mission in our lives. We would become missionaries to Puerto Rico!
It's easy to say this journey to Puerto Rico started five years ago. But, that's not necessarily true. Our journey actually starts more than ten years ago!
My wife and I met at a church in Chicago. By that time, our lives had drastically changed from just a few years prior. Before we met, we were addicts. By our sophomore year in high school, we were already addicted to drugs and alcohol. My addiction was a result of my, so-called, "fun times" with my friends in high school. What was supposed to be an exciting time in my life, quickly turned into a dark season. After college, things really spiraled out of control. I began bingeing for days.
My wife's addiction didn't come from her friendships. In fact, her drug usage was always in private. It was a way to deal with the shame and pain that she endured from multiple encounters of sexual abuse from multiple men in her life. Her addiction introduced her to unhealthy relationships which included verbal and physical abuse. She says, "I felt I simply wasn't worth much."
We both found freedom from our addiction! My freedom came after bingeing for 3 days straight. I was exhausted and hated where my life was heading. I remember sitting on my kitchen floor in my studio apartment crying out to God. I didn't go to church. But, I didn't know who else to cry out to. I didn't believe there was anyone that could help. That night, I started my journey to recovery. A few days later, I was invited to a church service. During the service that pastor did an altar call. I didn't understand what he was talking about, but I knew that I wanted what he was offering. It was a relationship with Jesus! I excused myself from the group I went with, ran to the front, fell on my knees (I know. It sounds like a cheesy Hallmark movie), and gave my life to the Lord. I knew at that moment my life would be different. It was.
My wife's recovery came differently. Her testimony starts on a hospital bed during a heart surgery gone wrong. So wrong that she actually was pronounced dead for seven minutes. Obviously, she survived! But, while the heart monitor showed a flat line, Yolanda was experiencing a supernatural encounter with her Maker. The experience would completely change the trajectory of the rest of her life with one word spoken, DAUGHTER. He called her daughter. She felt more love than she ever felt. She felt worth more than she ever felt. And just like that, beep-beep. The monitor showed life, a new life. The following Sunday, Yolanda went to church and committed her life to the Lord.
We met at a church and it was love at first sight! While attending this church, we were exposed to a ministry called the Dream Center. We were always impressed by the impact it had on the inner city parts of Chicago. The ministry's mission was to give hope to families living in addiction, abuse, and homelessness. We would soon find out this would be our mission! Shortly after meeting, we were married (six months later). Because we shared a similar testimony coming out of addiction, the Lord often used us to minister to other men and women struggling with the same addictions and experiences.
We started training to deploy to Puerto Rico and it was during this time that everything came together. We understood exactly why we would be moving to Puerto Rico. As beautiful as they are we are NOT moving for the beaches! We are moving for one word, HOPE. Fast forward, we moved to Houston, TX, and started attending a church. Shortly after, we served as pastoral staff and ministered to the youth and missions. During our short-term missions, the Lord was putting seeds in our hearts. Seeds that would open the door to a desire to serve abroad. Little did we know abroad would be a stone throw away to a little island called Puerto Rico.
Did you know there are over 300 abandoned public schools in Puerto Rico? For different reasons, the Puerto Rican government has decided to close certain schools all across the island. These schools have become an eyesore to local communities. The homeless and addicts have made them their homes.
Our mission is to work with local churches, organizations, and government to convert these abandoned schools into community centers that will offer free resources to families living in addiction, abuse, and poverty.
This is where Melek Coffee was birthed. In an effort to help fund our mission, we started Melek Coffee. It's our coffee with a cause business. We have partnered with a local roaster to deliver fresh coffee that is shipped within 24 hours of roasting. We offer a coffee subscription for our customers to save on every order. Our customers all agree Melek Coffee is delicious!
We have a motto at Melek Coffee. "Support your Habit. Support the Cause." And, that's the absolute truth. When you order your Melek coffee, you support this mission.
Join the cause!