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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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Meet Marcus!

By | Employee Bio, Homeless Youth, Job Training, Ministry, Non-profit, Street Life | No Comments

Today we wanted to highlight one of our new employees, and we hope to do this as we move forward!

Meet Marcus! Marcus started working for us a little over 2 weeks ago!

afterlight

When is your birthday?
 April 3rd

What were your favorite cartoons as a kid?
Pinky and The Brain, Rocket Power, Sonic

Where in the world would you most like to visit?
Tokyo, I love the sights. It looks amazing to visit.

What’s your favorite food?
Pizza and Chinese

What is something you’re good at?
Art, Music, and learning new things quickly.

What are some dreams you have for your life?
Become a better man.
Have my own clothing line, bring the old school hip-hop flavor back.
Provide something better for my daughter, and show her the best things in life.

Why did you decide to work at Purple Door?
It’s a good opportunity, and to better my life as a man.

What’s been the most fun about working at Purple Door?
Employees and people I meet and interact with.
Learning how to make coffee and learning where it comes from.

What’s your favorite coffee drink?
Mocha with vanilla. Mmm mmm mmm.

Other thoughts:
Purple door is wonderful and gave me a shot to work in a place I never thought I would ever see myself in. Warming and calm, a place I call relaxation and peace. It is a place for improvement and visions. A place that makes me feel home and family.

 

We love having Marcus on the team! Come meet him at the shop, and be looking for a post about Jenna as well!

Week 3!

By | Job Training, Ministry, Non-profit | No Comments

We’re in the middle of week 3. Wow! It’s been amazing. Our sales have been great! We’ve developed regular customers! We’ve been welcomed into the neighborhood! We held our grand opening party and were overwhelmed by the turnout! Things are going great!
Most importantly, our employees are awesome! Both of our employees are hard workers who are eager to learn, willing to jump in, and they take instruction very well! We’ve all been learning together.

Right now we are continuing to roll and develop all our routines. We’re intentionally getting our story out to our neighbors. And dreaming and thinking about the future of Purple Door. Soon we will hire another employee. As our two current employs become more and more proficient behind the bar we will have room to train another employee. This will also free Madison and I up to do more of the running of the business and non-profit components, as well as lean even more heavily into the job and life skills training.

Our model so far has been that one of our employees and one of the management team is always on the bar. This has worked well, but with our overall mission of employing our friends off the streets in mind, we are looking for ways to employ more individuals. With that in mind, it makes the most business sense to have Madison and I always working the bar, so that we aren’t paying another employee, but we are more than just a business. We ask for your continued support as we move forward.

 

Needs of Purple Door:
1) Prayer
-Pray for the success of the business. That sales are great and that we develop great relationships with our customers.
-Pray that our employees continue to move forward.
-Pray that the fundraising that needs to be done happens naturally.
-Pray that Madison and I are given an extra measure of wisdom.
2) Customers
-Come see us. Come be a part of this community. We’d love to get to know you.
-Tell your friends about us so that they will come join the community as well.
3) Financial support
-While the business is reducing the need for fundraising we still need support. We don’t project self sustainability for a few years due to many factors involving the ministry.
-You can donate here. Please ask us if you have questions about our financial strategy and how the funds are spent.

 

Thank you everyone that has supported Purple Door so far. We thank you in advance for your continued support. We are blessed to have such amazing support. Prayerfully, your support will mean so much for our friends exiting street life for many years to come.

A Week in the Life

By | Homeless Youth, incubation, Non-profit | No Comments

One of the questions we get most frequently is, ‘What do you do everyday?’ We aren’t open yet, so this is a good question. Each week looks different right now with a few consistent activities. We wish that all of you could come see the cool things that God is up to in Denver, but we know that isn’t possible for everyone. So, we wanted to convey as much as we can about what we do.

Flickr image by russelljsmith

Right now we are perpetually looking for ways to share our story. We are making connections with people to spread our network by meeting with different churches, businesses and individuals in Denver so that we can share what is going on with Purple Door Coffee. We’ve been comparing this a lot to Mark 4. We’re spreading as much seed as possible and only some of it will grow, but God will grow it!

Mondays and Tuesdays are filled with miscellaneous things–meetings with people that are interested in Purple Door–churches, businessmen, other urban ministries and anyone else you can think of– efforts to share our story on the internet (like this blog), sending out thank you letters, sending tax receipts, updating databases, helping out with Belay’s other faith ventures, making calls, sending out updates, organizing smaller fundraisers, and so much more. These are the days that look different each week. Mondays and Tuesday are also days that we intentionally learn from Jim Reiner and the Belay team about job training ministries and running a non-profit. Learning happens throughout the week, but on Monday and Tuesdays we typically get to spend more time with Jim and share vision and goals for Purple Door.

Wednesdays are a fun day for us. We get to sit in a conference room with all the  Bud’s Warehouse employees and share about how our weeks are going, what goals we are working towards, and update everyone on our own spiritual journeys. It is a beautiful time of community and encouragement.

Thursdays are also a lot of fun–but challenging as well. The morning and early afternoon are filled with similar things as Monday. We also check in with some of the Bud’s Warehouse employees that we journey with as goal coaches. This happens at other times throughout the week as well. The late afternoon and early evening are times spent with Dry Bones. We attend bowling with Dry Bones.

Each week Dry Bones rents a bus to take our friends bowling. We bowl and have a good time. It is a place of belonging and safety. This time is used to simply build relationships with our friends from the streets and the volunteers that work with Dry Bones, as well as lavish love on everyone present. We then go to the meal that is served after bowling and continue the conversations that took place at the bowling alley as well as start new ones. This is a joy as well as a challenge.

Sometimes the conversations are light hearted and fun, and at other times they are dark and sad. This is valuable relational time that helps us remain connected and in tune with the culture that is present on the streets. This is vital as we dream about and plan the training components of Purple Door. If we were disconnected from the culture of the people we are striving to work with, we would not be able to help them as effectively as possible. Our consistent presence on the streets also communicates our love and concern for our friends, and helps us establish ourselves in the culture on the streets.

Fridays are also a very enjoyable day. Friday morning is started with Bible study with the Bud’s warehouse employees. I (Mark) have been blessed to lead these studies for the last month and a half. “Lead” is maybe a bit misleading. Each week I bring a passage to the group and give a little context. After that the discussion begins. I chime in as a participant in the discussion, and we all journey through scripture as a community.

It is challenging and beautiful. I have been presented with a new angle on a passage I have read a hundred times on more than one occasion already. The diversity of backgrounds and the different lives that have been lived in that room provide a component to the study of scripture that I have not encountered in a traditional church setting. It is a huge blessing to journey through scripture with this group of people.  After the Bible Study we again just work on what is before us–emails, sharing our story, checking in with Bud’s employees, meetings, etc.

In the early afternoon in the summer months we head over to Dry Bones’ picnics. We spend time in the park with our friends from the streets and just continue to grow the relationships there. This is a relaxed atmosphere that allows us to connect and have meaningful conversation. Again, this is a valuable time for us as we seek to stay in tune with the culture on the streets.

As much as we love what we’re doing now, we are ready to open the doors of Purple Door! We are ready to provide employment, job training and life skills training to the street kids in Denver that want to exit street life.  Please consider donating today as we currently have a $30,000 matching donation! Click here to donate and help us open Purple Door Coffee so that we can provide employment to our friends that are working to rebuild their lives from homelessness.

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!

We Are Blessed

By | incubation, Non-profit | No Comments

Lately I have been struck in a more pronounced way than usual by the blessing of being a part of what God is up to in the world. We are doing something that we believe is close to the heart of God, and the fact that He has allowed us to join Him in the journey is a huge blessing.

Flickr image by LeWEB12

But God has done us one better (per usual). He has helped support us along the way and has continued to open doors so that we can open this shop. We believe God will continue to open these doors.

As we have been working to open this shop we have been placed in an environment that allows us to learn about job training ministries, as well as spend time staying connected to the population we will serve. We could not have come up with this on our own. Because of these blessings we are able to start shaping the culture and community that we are trying to create before we open our shop. This is also a huge blessing that we could not have thought up on our own.

The way it is all coming together in a relatively organic way is helpful as we journey deeper and deeper into this project. It’s a fine line of making it about us and our desires, and making it truly God’s ministry. God’s evident work in this project has allowed us to discern that much more readily.

Someone said to me unprompted a couple of weeks ago, “It’s really clear that God is in this project.” That is the highest compliment we could hear. It means that we are not making it about us, and that God is blessing the effort that we putting in, and will continue to put in. Comments like that provide the affirmation needed to keep going.

The fact that we have an audience at all is a huge blessing and incredibly humbling. People actually read this blog! Thank you for that! The fact that people are willing to use their resources for this project is even more incredible. Thank you so much!

We ask that you join what God is up to. If this is something that grabs your heart, or that you believe in please join us. You can join us by connecting us with your community. We really want to tell our story as much as we can to new people, so please let us know if you have a group or individual that would be interested in hearing about us. We need funding right now, so if you have a desire to contribute to our effort please do so here. We can talk with people outside of Denver about who we are via phone and Skype. Please tell the Purple Door story as much and as often as you can, and we believe God will continue to open the doors to provide for Purple Door.

There’s A Huge Need

By | incubation, Non-profit | No Comments

We’ve stated several times that there is a “huge need” for employment for our friends on the streets. But what does that really mean?

Flickr image by Waponi

Just today I had two conversations at a picnic with Dry Bones. One of our friends on the streets asked what I do, and I told him that I am in the process of opening a coffee shop, and as we talked more he asked about what it was all about. I told him our vision and mission, and he kind of froze and was clearly thinking. He then asked, “Could I work there?” I told him, “It’s tough to say. You could apply and interview like everyone else, but I can’t promise you a job. We’re not open yet, and we’ll have a lot of applicants.” He understood, and said, “That makes sense. Everyone out here is looking for a job.”

Another conversation was with a girl that is off the streets now. She already knew about Purple Door and she asked about it. I gave her an update and she said that she wished she had something like Purple Door when she was trying to get off the streets. She talked about how she needed support when she was first working–and still needs support. She’s also currently unemployed, and looking for work.

Our friends need not only employment, but supportive employment. They need grace, challenge, responsibility, love, accountability, trust, expectations. Those are hard things to mix, but growth and change are not easy–so that’s to be expected.

Madison and I also had a meeting with a state employee. She works for the office of Homeless Youth Services. This is an under-resourced agency and the employee we met with was wonderful. She has to work with Non-profits and NGOs to get her job done. She said to us that we are the first employment project specifically for this demographic that she knows of. We are aware of some others that are also in the process of launching; but her familiarity with the population, the issue, and the vacancy of job training for this population speaks volumes. It’s her job to connect with organizations and efforts like ours, but there aren’t many (any) to connect with.

There is a need that is being recognized by everyone that has connection with this population. So when we say there is a “huge need”, please know that what we are doing is addressing only a portion of the need on the streets. The sooner we are able to launch, the sooner we will begin equipping our friends to permanently exit street life. Hopefully we will grow and grow so we can employ more and more people and enact serious change in the culture on the streets.

Join us in the journey. Our primary need for launching is funding right now. Please head to our website to donate if you are able.

We also need and desire your prayers. Please pray for our friends on the streets that are searching for a way out. Pray for the funding to come in. Pray for decisions Madison and I make for Purple Door Coffee. Pray for decisions of our friends on the streets. Please, cover this entire effort in prayer.

If you are interested in helping, but don’t have the financial means to donate, feel free to contact us. We would love to brainstorm and dream about ways to work together.

Passion For The Kingdom

By | incubation, Non-profit | No Comments

This past week I got to share Purple Door’s story with over 600 people at Soul Quest in York, Nebraska. Soul Quest is a High School and Middle School camp at York College that draws people and churches from all over the country. This was a great opportunity to spread awareness about Purple Door, and we were thankful to be a part.

While at Soul Quest I got to teach a class. I spoke about living into your passions and gifts and turning everything in your life over to God. I encouraged the students to use what they have for the Kingdom–whatever that might be. Some of the passions that the students stated were: music, art, basketball, football, volleyball, reading, relationships, cooking, singing, dancing, learning, teaching, writing, poetry, and many others. I asked if they thought if those were useful to the Kingdom. Most sat in silence, others chimed in with a yes, but couldn’t really back up why they said yes. Some even said no.

At that point I was able to share our vision for Purple Door Coffee. I shared that I am passionate about ministry among Street Kids, and I am passionate about coffee. Showing the students that if a passion for coffee could be used for the Kingdom, then so could their passions– whatever they might be.

I encouraged them to live into those passions with a lens for the Kingdom. I encouraged them to not reduce Christianity to a formula or a strict set of rules and times that are used to approach God, but instead view Christianity as a life with Christ that will take you on a journey that you can’t predict–but it is a beautiful journey.

I also encouraged them to do it now. You don’t have to wait to start living a life intentionally oriented towards the Kingdom.

As we continue on this journey with Purple Door we will continue to live into our passions, and allow God to lead. Where we’ll end up is still to be determined, but we’re excited for the beautiful journey.

We hope that you are able to live into your passions with a lens for the Kingdom.

In the end what is most important is that you use what you have–whatever that might be–for the Kingdom. If you have a passion for painting find ways to paint for the Kingdom. If you have a passion for hosting events, host events for the Kingdom. If you have a passion for writing, write for the Kingdom. Whatever your passion is, turn it over to the Kingdom, and God will bless that. Remember that there is no formula for how to do this. If you have a heart that is surrendering to the Way of God moment by moment, you will make an impact when you live into the passions that God has placed inside you.

Some of you may have a passion or gift that could benefit Purple Door, and we would love to talk to you about that possibility. Some of you may have a heart for some other hurt in the world–live into that!

We hope that our time at Soul Quest spurred people on to live passionately for the Kingdom, and to live lives that are about living into the gifts and passions God has placed in each of us.

Thank you for all your support for Purple Door so far in this journey!

We Can’t Do This On Our Own

By | incubation, Non-profit | No Comments

Any time you attempt to change the way things are you will face opposition. Not meaning that people will disagree with what you are trying to attempt (though at times they will), but more that it will be difficult; you will hit road blocks, and sometimes you will even doubt why you are doing what you’re doing.

Flickr image by kk

Days when these thoughts of doubt are prevalent, days when feeling defeated is predominant, days when questioning your motives, directions and decisions is ever present–these are the days that God usually shows up. God delivers when we need it.

God has come along side us several times when we are confused, discouraged, disheartened, and feeling beat. Usually it is in something small–a conversation with a friend on the streets, a success of an employee at Bud’s Warehouse, a donation from an unexpected place. God knows our needs, and tends to show up when he would be the only explanation for the blessing or the change.

He also knows that it is best for us to have a struggle, to work towards this goal, and to realize that we are not doing this on our own. We think that we would want God to just hand over everything that we need to start this coffee shop so we can get moving on the project, but if I had to run a non-profit coffee shop as a job training ministry today, it would definitely be a crash course. As we are raising funds, spending time on the streets, and learning about job training ministries, we are being shaped. We are being changed, We are being challenged.

Somedays we are uncomfortable with a struggle as we move forward in this process, and we have truly been struck by the beauty and growth found in the discomfort. We are wading into waters that on our own we would be completely insufficient to handle. The dependence upon God that is necessary for us to succeed is challenging and beautiful. It is shaping us and growing us. It is moving us to learn, to love, to be loved, to dream and to work hard.

Today I am struck by how beautiful it is to admit my limitations, and lean into the Creator of the Universe. Who better to lean into, learn from, and place our trust in?

Hobbies and Passions

By | incubation, Non-profit | No Comments

There are somethings that people that are close to me know that I love: baseball; music (especially live); hiking; coffee. These are some of the most pronounced of my hobbies and interests. These things are fun and I really enjoy them.

Flickr image by Rafael Amado Deras

Many people that know me well also see my passion for ministry to and among the margins–to people on the edges of our society. During my internship with Dry Bones Denver my passion became more specific to the homeless teens and young adults that are prevalent here in Denver. This is a population that has captured my heart since my first interaction with them.

I have now been in Denver for just shy of 5 months, and each day I think about how blessed I am. I have been moved into a job that allows me to live into a passion for ministry with Street Kids here in Denver. I also get to work in the world of coffee. Non-coffee lovers probably don’t get how awesome this is, but for someone who loves coffee, this is a dream come true.

God is pretty awesome how He takes our interests, hobbies, and joys that are seemingly disconnected from the Kingdom and allows us to combine them with an area of need in our world in a way that becomes a clear demonstration of the Kingdom of God and what He is up to in the world. We at Purple Door Coffee are so blessed to be a part of this journey, and we love how many of you have shown support and are now sharing in our vision. We pray that God continues to be present and more people catch the vision each and every day.

In my process of leaving Dallas to come work with PDC one of my co-workers said to me, “If there is anyone that can use coffee to make a difference in the lives of the homeless, it’s you.” This was affirming. And really it was a calling to live into who God has created me to be. I have always enjoyed coffee, and in the past few years have developed a joy from coffee. I have a passion for street kids, which does not make much sense for a guy coming from North Dakota where the homeless population was minimal when I lived there–but that passion is a part of me. A combination of these two elements of who I am provides for a way to bring the Kingdom to the here and now. It’s who I am, and I can’t really see myself doing much else at this stage of life.

What are your interests and passions?
How can they be used for the Kingdom?
What creative ways can you be active about bringing the Kingdom about by using who you are?