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Inspired

By | collaborative ministry, Street Life | No Comments

I seriously cannot explain to you the depth of pain and hurt that has been inflicted on some of my friends who live on the streets and who work at Bud’s Warehouse. It truly amazes me that my friends have chosen to continue living life on this earth. What amazes me even more is their positive attitudes and willingness to forgive those who have so hatefully wronged them.

Faith is not just something that they talk about; faith is something that has changed their lives. Faith has not only allowed them to forgive the atrocities done to them, it has allowed them to live beyond the things done to them. Today, I am inspired and encouraged by the faith, goodness, hope and joy of these friends of mine.

-Madison

Step 1: Treat People Like People

By | actions, incubation, organization | No Comments

As we spend time on the streets and get to know more and more people, we see how frequently our friends have been dehumanized by our world. We see how they are treated like a group that causes problems for the city, or makes the city less desirable; we see how they are treated as second class citizens. This breaks my heart. How can this change? How can we create a society and world where all people are valued and seen as important?

Well, start with you. Start by treating all people like people. Realize the humanity and the life that is present in every human you meet–from the homeless teen, to the rich businessman, to the elderly person in the nursing home, to yourself. Christ died for all of them.

Image by B.S. Wise on Flickr

As we live with this mindset, our sphere of influence will be impacted. We must use our existing connections to impact the world now. We can’t wait until we have a large stage, because if we wait until then we won’t know how to use it if we ever do get it.

Gustavo Gutiérrez was a theologian and priest from Peru that worked among the poor there. He says the poor “are found in the statistics, but they do not appear there with their own names…they are insignificant in society, but not before God.” (Preferential Option for the Poor, 1968)
God’s mission is to restore all people–all creation– back to Himself. This must come into play with how we engage the world. If we are to be about the things God is about, we must be about restoring the entire world back to God.

So, what things don’t belong? What things do?

People living in poverty and oppression is not what God desires. So, we must respond. We must journey with those who have been pushed to the side. We must journey on the road of restoration. It’s a long road, but a road that is well worth it.

What does belong? Community. Love. Reconciliation between people groups. All people being viewed as valuable creations of God that show the image of God simply in who they are.

So as we step out on this journey of embracing the mission of God and being active participants in God’s restoration of the world Step 1 is to treat people like people that are dearly loved and reflect the God of the universe. Step 2: repeat step one.

Why Do This?

By | incubation, organization, Street Life | No Comments

Hi guys! Madison Chandler here. I feel like I should clarify that because Mark is the one who usually writes the blog posts. Go ahead and prepare yourself for the fact that this blog post will neither be as insightful nor as wonderful as any of Mark’s posts. Okay? Have you prepared yourself? Good. Let’s do this.

I want to tell you about an experience that I had recently at Bud’s Warehouse. So, if you don’t know what Bud’s Warehouse is, let me enlighten you. Bud’s is a home improvement thrift store that is also a non-profit job-training program that exists to rebuild lives through a life-skill development program. Basically, Bud’s is awesome. Bud’s not only gives people a chance to succeeded in the form of a job, they also build these amazing relationships and help each other towards personal life goals while loving each other unconditionally.

madison chandler

Mark and I are working out of Bud’s right now and will continue to do so until we can raise enough money to open Purple Door Coffee (PDC). Being here at Bud’s has been wonderful. We have learned so much about job training, personal development and love and how those relate to each other. So, I reiterate, Bud’s is awesome.

Every morning before Bud’s Warehouse opens, the employees all meet for one hour with Andy, the manager of Bud’s. Depending on the day, the hour is devoted to education, personal check-ins or bible study. At the personal check-in meeting, everyone has an opportunity to talk about what is going on in his or her personal life. Some people talk about their children; some people talk about housing; some people talk about their relationships; some people talk about their addictions. It really is a beautiful time that is totally devoted to understanding the lives of the people that surround you everyday.

When it was my opportunity to share, I spoke mostly about how my life has been a bit challenging recently because I am totally relying on donations for living. I talked about how I am in a place where I am depending on God to capture people’s hearts with Purple Door Coffee’s mission, then perhaps people will donate, then I will have money to pay rent and buy groceries and continue to work toward opening Purple Door Coffee in the Fall. I told of my tendency to worry about how many donations will come and I told of my efforts to have full faith that God will provide if it is in His will.

After my brief speech, one of the guys in the meeting looked at me and asked, “Why are you doing this? ” Now, I know that sounds like a really simple question, but it is one that I have not been asked before and in that moment, I didn’t know how to answer it. I had to take a couple of minutes to think about the question and then I answered him with, “Well, a lot of those kids on the streets are my friends and most of them have not been given a fair chance at life. In my life, what has changed me the most is the love of others. I want to create a place that gives others that love; a place that gives them a chance.”

Since that meeting, I have thought a lot about that question, “Why?” Am I working on PDC because I feel like I have to as a Christian? Am I working on PDC so that I can have my own business and make a name for myself? Am I working on PDC so that I can be around coffee all day? Am I working on PDC so that I can convince Mark to fall in love with me? (Just kidding!) I can go on and on with these questions all day long…but the point is that I have had to be super honest with myself in examining all of my motives in opening PDC.

This is the answer that I have come to- God’s unconditional, unfailing love has changed my life forever and I want to create a place where I can pass that gift on. Mark and I are opening PDC because we have experienced that beauty of love in giving chances and we know it’s amazing power. We want nothing more in this world than to further God’s Kingdom. We truly want to create a space that is going to be a little slice of His Kingdom on this earth. We want to create a space where love is so present that even those who don’t believe are changed by it’s power. That’s why we are working to open PDC in the Fall.

God is good and His provision and love are never failing. Praise God for love and chances!

Where do you find your motivation to do all that you have to do every day?

How can you help Purple Door?

By | incubation, organization | No Comments

In February a couple of friends of ours talked to us about wanting to do a 5k to raise money and awareness for Purple Door. We thought this was a great idea, and gave them the green light. So, Purple Door Coffee has a 5k on April 15th in York, Nebraska at 10:00am. If you’re in the area, please come join us!

This is a great example of how you can help. Use something you enjoy to raise funds and awareness for our effort.

Image by Maxim Novikov on Flickr

There is a group of ladies at the Lakewood Church of Christ that is running the coffee bar for us in April and donating the proceeds to Purple Door.
This is a great example of utilizing a resource that is already available to raise funds for Purple Door.

If you connect with our mission, we ask for help raising our funds. Find a project, host an event, do a change drive, whatever you can think of. We appreciate any gift–small or large. You can also head to our website to simply donate. Your donations will set us on the road to being a self-sustaining non-profit that will by God’s grace serve Street Kids and the city of Denver for many, many years.

Please get in touch with us if you have a heart to help out this new ministry!

Why Employment?

By | Non-profit, Street Life | No Comments

As we spend time on the streets the need for employment becomes more and more evident. As conversation takes place about needs to get off the streets, ‘a job’ is one of the answers most given. As I have conversations with people that are not marginalized in society and hear they are having a tough time finding a job, my heart breaks for my friends on the streets. Employment is such a missing component in the lives of our friends on the streets.

Image Credit: o5com on Flickr

Dry Bones Denver talks a lot about not making ‘Just’ statements–just stop using drugs, just stop hanging out downtown, just get a job. “Just get a job” is probably the most heard statement concerning the homeless. But the situation is so much more complex than that. To get a job, one must have an ID. If you don’t have an ID, you have to bring in your birth certificate, and your social security card. If you don’t have either of those, it’s a very long process to get even one of them, so to get both seems like an eternity. As you try to navigate getting a Social Security card, you’re living on the streets, and life is hard, which sometimes prevents you from filling out paperwork or making phone calls that would expedite the process. Then, if you get one item you need, you have to keep it safe until you can get the second. So, if you go through all that work, then your backpack gets stolen you’re back at square one. So, that is the situation of many friends on the streets, or some combination of all those things.

So, say one of our friends has an ID. It still is not “just get a job”. Many friends have 1) a record for a past offense that disqualifies them from many jobs. If it does not immediately remove them from the running, it most certainly does not move them to the top of the list. 2) Many have little to no job history. No grocery store when they were 16, no paper route, no lawn mowing service. Nothing. Which, limits their references, and makes them appear lazy or unable to even get a job. These two factors combined with about 100 others make it difficult for our friends to obtain employment.

So, say one of our friends does get a job. It might be their first real job. Many of our friends don’t know the ins and outs of the work place–how to treat co-workers or customers; how to listen to your boss; the importance of punctuality and hygiene. Because of insufficient soft skills, many of our friends that obtain employment struggle to maintain employment.

Purple Door Coffee wants to address these issues. Dry Bones is already active in helping friends get IDs. We will provide the job for those who are seeking to move away from Street Life but cannot find employment. Belay Enterprise’s experience with career and life skills training will fuel our training of soft and hard skills alike.

We believe we are meeting a real need that has long term affects on the people that we will employ. Please pray for us, and join in the journey with us.

Called Beyond Comfort Zone

By | Homeless Youth, Non-profit, Street Life | No Comments

The following is a prayer written by Walter Brueggemann in Prayers for a Privileged People. We believe this fits so well with us at Purple Door Coffee:

image credit: by dunikowski on Flickr

We are among your called. 
We have heard and answered your summons. 
You have addressed us in the deep places of our lives. 
In responsive obedience we testify,
as we are able, to your truth as it concerns our common life.

We thank you for the call, 
for the burden of that call, 
for the risk that goes with it, 
for the joy of words given us by your growing spirit, and
for the newness that sometimes comes from our word.

We have indeed been in the counsel of your summoning spirit, 
and so we know some truth to speak.

But we are, as well, filled with rich imagination of our own, 
And our imagination is sometimes matched and overmatched
by our cowardice, 
by our readiness to please, 
by our quest for well-being.

We are, on most days, a hard mix
of true prophet and wayward voice, 
a mix of your call to justice
and our hope for shalom.

Here we are, as we are, 
mixed but faithful, 
compromised but committed, 
anxious but devoted to you.

Use us and our gifts for
your newness that pushed beyond all the we can say or imagine.
We are grateful for words given us;
We are more grateful for your word fleshed among us.