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An Unexpected Reunion

By | actions, collaborative ministry, Featured, Homeless Youth, Job Training, Ministry, Ministry Update, Non-profit, organization, Street Life | No Comments

When we opened Purple Door Coffee, we knew that it was way bigger than just a couple young twenty somethings opening a coffee shop. We knew in some part of ourselves that PDC was a dream of many coming to life that we got to bear close witness to. This story evidences that and tells of the people who have been doing Work in Denver way before we were ever here.

 

The last few years, Purple Door Coffee has been a part of the Denver Faith & Justice Conference hosted by Denver Community Church. Some years we have served coffee, some years we have spoken, some years we’ve done both. But, each year there was this volunteer named Bonnie who was always SO on top of things. She is that volunteer who literally never sits down and seems to get things done in half the time it takes the average person. Over the last few years, we have had these interactions with Bonnie and it became very clear that she is a servant.

 

A couple of days after the conference this year, she came into Purple Door with her husband and two friends who were in town visiting. When she came was walking toward the shop, I said, “Oh yay! Bonnie is coming in!” I was working this particular afternoon shift with Ricky. Ricky grew up in the neighborhood where Purple Door Coffee is located. He didn’t have much of a father figure growing up, so early in his childhood, his mom placed in the Big Brothers program.

 

When Bonnie and her husband, Paul, and their friends came in, I started introducing myself to everyone. Then, one of the men in the group looked at Ricky and said, ‘What is your name?” Ricky said, “My name is Ricky.” Paul, Bonnie’s husband, looked at Ricky and said, “Ricky Beck?!” Ricky looked back at him and said, “PAUL?!”

Ricky looked over at me and said, “Madison- Paul was my Big Brother for years and years! He taught me everything I know.”

(I would swear that at this point Ricky had tears welling up in his eyes, but he would tell you that he was having bad allergies that day.)

 

Paul, Ricky & Bonnie ended up talking for a large portion of the rest of the day. It was the most beautiful reunion. At one point, Bonnie and I were chatting and she said, “It is so good to see him and know he is here. It is a miracle that he isn’t dead.”

 

The experience impacted Ricky in such a big way. He couldn’t stop talking about it and texting me about it for the next couple days. It was so impacting to him that he wrote a little bit about it:

 

11-9-15

Today while I was working, someone walked through the door that I haven’t seen in 15+ years. It was my Big Brother from the Big Brother program that my mom signed me up for when I was a little kid. His name is Paul and his wife is Bonnie. Since my dad wasn’t around, Paul was there to teach me things that my mom couldn’t. Paul taught me how to read, write, play chess, tie my shoes, throw and catch a baseball and football, how to ride a bike, how to fix a bike, how to eat properly, and how to fish. He took me white-water rafting, skiing (I think), to Rockies games, nuggets games, WWE wrestling matches, monster truck shows, and he taught me how to type on a computer. A lot of feelings were going through me when I was taking their order because when I was fourteen I went to jail and lost contact with them for fifteen years. I was excited but nervous, happy but afraid of how they thought I turned out. But after a couple of hugs and a little bit of catching up, all of those questions and feelings were answered with a lot of love.

The funny thing is that he has a big interest in Purple Door Coffee and that makes me love my job that much more.

He moved to the city and retired and I cannot wait to see him again.

 

 

This whole story is so beautiful to me because it goes to show that we are not alone in the Work. We are all working together for good. There were people working for good before us and there will be people working for good after us. It is our job to show up for the good, slow work of God.

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The Puzzle of Purple Door

By | collaborative ministry | No Comments

We’re no experts. We’re crazy about coffee. We love Street Kids. We’ve learned a lot about job training. But still, we’re no experts.

That’s why we’re incredibly thankful for people that want to help us. We’re thankful for people that know coffee better than we do. We’re thankful for people that have longer standing relationships with our friends on the streets. We’re thankful for people that have been connected to job training longer than we have. Together we’re putting together the puzzle that is Purple Door.

Lately we’ve been asking for folks with expertise in training in regards to life skills and job skills, and you all have responded. Thank you! We’ve been meeting with folks to learn more about their areas of training, and to get ideas on how to best implement relational job training. Like we said, we’re no experts, and we’re thankful for people using their training and experiences to help us more deeply impact the lives of our employees.

We would also continue this request! If you know of assessments, training tools or another other resource that could help us relationally train our employees, please let us know! We would love to hear from you.

This also goes for other areas of need for Purple Door. Construction, furniture building, coffee experience, fundraising. If you have something that has any sort of potential for helping Purple Door impact lives in a deeper way please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re no experts, and so we need people to help Purple Door make the biggest impact possible.

Lately I’ve been dwelling on the Biblical concept of the people of God being the body of Christ. Frequently we restrict this to the church world, or to “church gifts”. People gifted in woodworking, or in job-training, or coffee frequently don’t make the list in regards to what fits into “Kingdom work”. We’re hoping to help people use their gifts, no matter how  “non-traditional” they might be, for the Kingdom to help others experience the peace and love of Christ. Each of you as you contribute are serving as another piece of the puzzle. Let us know if you would like to help us continue working on this puzzle.

Big News for Purple Door!

By | collaborative ministry, incubation, Non-profit, Street Life | No Comments

Your donations are now worth double!

We are so excited and blessed to announce that our sister ministry, Dry Bones Denver has arranged generous donors who will match funds up to $30,000!

$30,000 matching donation!

Every dollar up to $30,000 will be matched by a donation set up through Dry Bones. With our current amount raised at just under $20,000 this donation, if fully matched, will put us to nearly two-thirds of the way to opening our doors!

Now is the time to give!

We have set a deadline to have all $30,000 matched by August 15th! With this match, your donation carries so much more weight. Please donate to give our friends on the streets a chance at a life away from the streets!

Follow our blogwebsiteFacebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the progress of this matching campaign!

Community: Part 2

By | collaborative ministry, incubation | No Comments

Looking back at all the stages of my life, what is most memorable is not the houses/apartments I lived in, the cars I drove, the job that I worked at. What is most memorable is the community that surrounded me. When I think of my time at College, I don’t think of my class schedule or my work study jobs, I think of my friends, my professors, my church community. When I think of growing up I think of the people I went to school with, the people I worked with, the families that were in my life. Community is what shapes a life experience.

Image by thelesleyshow on Flickr

This is why creating a community in our space is so important. It is very important that Purple Door Coffee is a place of love and belonging for all who enter. If you don’t know where our name comes from, historically the color purple has been associated with royalty. We desire to treat all people like royalty–from customer, to vender, to employee. The Door symbolizes an opportunity to a new life. So, our desire to create authentic, transformative community is right in our name.

While working to open, a big aspect of what we are doing is connecting to the Christian community in the city of Denver in order to share our heart and our vision, and with the hopes that the community of believers will embrace what we are up to and create a living, vibrant community in our space when we open.

Community is very important because many of our friends on the streets have experienced only one accepting community in their lives–that is the community present on the streets. This alone can cause difficulty in trying to distance oneself from street life. Their is love shared between our friends on the streets, but that same community is where many of the decisions are made that keep them on the streets.

With the community we create at Purple Door we hope to draw on the positive aspects of the community experienced on the streets and replace the negative aspects with positive community as our employees seek to begin a new life. Until our friends find and connect to a new community it is nearly impossible to exit street life. It is so important that our friends are surrounded with healthy and loving community as they seek to start fresh.

We cannot create this community alone and ask that you partner with us in our journey to shape a healthy, accepting community that is a true testament to the love of God.

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

Community – Part 1

By | collaborative ministry, Homeless Youth, Street Life | No Comments

Community is kind of a buzzword in Christian circles right now. I hope it’s a buzzword that is here to stay. Community is so vital to life as a follower of Jesus. It is necessary for humanity. God created us to be connected to people.

Image credit: crowd surfer by Photos by Mavis, on Flickr

As our employees exit street life they will be leaving a community that they know. As they exit this community it is so vital for them to find new community away from the streets.

Our prayer is that community groups, faith communities, churches, Purple Door regulars will surround our employees with safe, healthy and loving community.

This ties back to the concept of development. Development helps the whole person. If we simply provide a job and nothing else, we’re missing something. Our employees won’t work at Purple Door Coffee forever, and a community that surrounds that individual can continue to be in relationship beyond their time working with Purple Door. If we don’t provide community it may be much more likely that are employee’s transition away from the streets is only temporary.

Community is also the best context to share and grow in faith. We hope and pray that our employees connect to communities that help them see Jesus clearly.

We hope that you join us in providing this community. When we open, come spend time with us at Purple Door. Get to know our employees. Be a part of what God is up to through this ministry.