We are only a few weeks in to 2019, but it has truly been a blessing here at the Cafe. This month has been the first time that I had the chance to interact with a missions group. Through our short time together, my heart burned for more. My heart longed for more groups of young people to come and see our ministry in action and hear about the amazing stories of God's provision and power in and through our ministry.
It was such a blessing to see a group of young adults and college students come to Aliquippa to serve the community however they can. The group was so open to serving and I watched as they joyfully reorganized rooms in our Cafe basement. They took down every box and item on the shelves and went through all of them and separated the trash and unusable items with items of use.
At first, I felt so bad because I wanted them to have an experience of something substantial, but every time I would apologize to them, they responded with saying they were enjoying it and did not mind being in a dusty basement going through bags and boxes of donated items. I was worried before they arrived that they would be a group of young adults who did not want to do any physical labor and would do the bare minimum, but I was so wrong. They enjoyed every moment and worked so hard. They laughed the whole time and had amazing attitudes. My worries and apologetic feelings ended up dissipating because I knew that their hearts were in it for the Lord and they didn't mind the labor.
The time with the group made me realize that ministry happens best when the ones serving are doing it with a grateful and thankful heart. It made me realize that the capacity to serve others should be measured by how much someone is willing and how much love and joy the person is pouring out. This is meaningful ministry.
We want more groups who have this capacity to come and do some awesome work for the Lord. Why don't you come join us this year?
Written by: Herb Bailey
Our theme this year is CAPACITY.
Blessings to you and yours! It’s a new year and things are already heating up! We are so grateful to be engaged with community development by developing the very members of the community. Part of that development is offering our Philosophy of Ministry training to you and your organizations. Often people will see what we do, be encouraged, but not sure what the next steps are, and some are not sure if they have the CAPACITY to do it. Let me be the first to encourage you to come to our Philosophy Training January 18 th and 19 th , Friday 6-10 and Saturday 9-1. Lunch and refreshments are provided. 20 dollar suggested donation. Those that have gone through the training have been blown away at how powerful and transformational it has been for them. I encourage you to make this a priority….
One of the things we are doing is being a warming center during the cold months. We have the CAPACITY to be a sanctuary for folks when it’s too cold. We are one of 4 places in the county. We are honored to do so. If you or your organization has a desire to volunteer, but need to know where, we will have opportunities for both Church in
the Margins, which is a weekly meal that needs meal prep, and our once a month Veterans Appreciation Breakfast in partnership with Aliquippa Diversity Council. If you would like to participate or your organization would like to make a meal, send me a note and we will add you to the calendar.
Finally, we are looking forward to the park being leveled and seeded. If you would like to volunteer to be part of the maintenance for the property, let me know. It will be basic yard work and great for a youth group or other active group to manage. Here’s looking at 2019 as a year we GET TO walk more fully in loving the community we are blessed to live in and provide tangible experiences for engagement and investment in the lives of our neighbors. We have the CAPACITY with your help. Praying you all experience the presence of the Lord in your day to day lives.
Written by: Herb Bailey
This year has been one of the most defining of any year that we have experienced.
The theme for 2018 was Identity. Who am I? Whose am I? The more we listened to
the Lord, the more we realized that we had multiple hats with multiple labels, but
one Identity rose to the top.
Child of God
As a child of God, first, we can prioritize the other identities and filter our
relationship with the Creator and creation in the proper order. If indeed we have
given our will and emotions over to the Lord, we have come to the end of ourselves
and accepted the free gift of eternal life. Trusting the Lord to lead us, trusting our
future to Him, frees us from having to, and instead we are privileged, or we GET TO.
What we have seen, heard, and experienced is the blessing of the Lord as we
continue to get our priorities straight.
Trust the process.
We have been blessed by others joining us in reassessing priorities, and through
their giving of time, talent, and treasure, we have seen the Awareness of the
Kingdom of God expand. With that expansion comes real Freedom as the message
of God’s grace is spread, hearts opened, and lives changed.
This season is a great opportunity to reflect on the victories as well as the struggles, ongoing, that the Lord has yet to remove. We continue to walk with the marginalized who may be disconnected from family and we ask that not only will you pray for them, but also connect with them as the Lord leads you. We have been blessed with such great opportunities to love the community, and as rewarding as this is, we are painfully aware that needs don’t end as the season of giving often does.
Our prayer for you is the same prayer that we have for ourselves. That your first
identity will be “Child of God” and you will live out of that, give out of that, and love
as a lifestyle, because the least , the last, and the lost are in desperate need year
Blessings this Christmas from our family, Herb, Angel, Kyah, Amara, Andrenna,
Maggie, Nancy, Turk, Jim, Jim, Greg, Helen, Tess, Marla, Scott, Paul, Karen, Tim,
Terrell, Josh, Chris, Lilikae, Steve, Jared, Deamonte, and a whole host of other
volunteers. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you and make His face to shine upon
Luke 2:10 He told them, "The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.
Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.
Written by: Greg Miller
During a recent trip to the Beaver County jail for our weekly bible study one of the participants stated that he had been having a lot of difficulty with his cell mate. There were also tensions on the pod in which he is confined. This man is a believer who wasn't sure what to do. He was sharing his trials with someone else who suggested that he pray about those situations. So, he began to pray. He was amazed at the transformation that took place within one week. The relationship with his cell mate improved dramatically. The tensions in the pod disappeared. Most of all, he was in awe of the fact that God had answered his prayers so rapidly and so obviously. As a result, his faith and his trust in the Lord grew.
Even though he is incarcerated, he is experiencing a growing relationship with Jesus that surpasses what a lot of Christians experience. His body may be locked up, but his spirit is free and growing. He is experiencing God's love in a way that many of us don't get to do. That is a marvelous reality of God's work. It is not hindered by our physical circumstances. He can work anywhere; anyway; with anyone. God is amazing!
When this man is released back into society I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do with his faith that is growing, even while in jail. I can't help but think that the Lord has some big plans for him!
Written by Angel Bailey
I met a new couple at our Community Thanksgiving Dinner. They are new to the area and in recovery from addiction. The wife was 7 months pregnant with her first child. She was nervous and unsure about being a parent. I sat and talked with her for a while and gave her some tips for preparing for baby. 2 days later, her husband came in to the café and told Herb that his wife thinks her water broke. Herb called me and asked me to call and talk to her. She didn’t answer at first and I was a bit nervous but started praying. I finally got ahold of her and strongly encouraged her to go right away to the hospital.
Thank God they did, because her water had broken and the baby was in duress. They did an emergency C-section and had to give the baby a breathing tube. They had a little girl, and named her, but she was life-flighted to a hospital if Pittsburgh so they couple didn’t get to spend any time with her. Tuesday morning, the husband came to the café for bible study and confessed through tears that he was scared for his baby’s life and about being a father. Everyone around the table was so encouraging to him and it was amazing to see God’s love in the flesh. We are waiting to hear back from him about where they will be staying when they get a room at the hospital where Piper is being cared for so we can go visit them. Please join with us in keeping this couple and their newborn in your prayers. God bless!
Written by Helen Yi
There is truly nothing greater than seeing people who have been deeply blessed be a blessing to those around them. It paints an intensely beautiful picture.
As I work, I sit facing the main entrance to interact with customers who come in, greet people who come to meet with Herb, grab packages and mail as the postal workers walk in, and to lend a helping hand to those who seem a little lost. Some of my favorite interactions with the people who walk through the doors is when I see the love of Christ being exemplified. This month I was able to experience that because of the people who partner with the Café in ministry.
We have been collecting winter coats since the beginning of this month because the weather in Pennsylvania is brutally cold. This past week, I was sitting working and it was earlier in the day and I saw a gentleman walk in with a large box. I was unfamiliar with the person and could not see what the box contained. Angel and I were both watching as he approached the back of the Café, and she greeted him, and he told her he had winter coats! She knew his name and thanked him, and he said to let him know if we needed more and walked out. I immediately stood up and looked in the box and was taken aback. The box contained a bunch of puffy, colorful jackets all brand new with their original tags.
I looked back at the rack of existing coat donations and was deeply moved. The coat rack has been well visited by many people, but the rack is never empty. It gets replenished with coats almost instantly. So many people have been blessed by this rack and it is all thanks to people like you. The people who have donated coats will probably never know or see where their donations went or to whom received the coats, but the point is that they gave freely. They gave freely because they were freely given grace from the Father.
We are able to bless others because we know that God has truly blessed us. We were given grace when we deserved death. We were given grace when we chose sin over God’s love. We were given grace and because we were given grace, we can also give grace to the people we serve. We love because He first loved us.
Written by: Nancy O'Leary
A couple of weeks ago, I had an unchurched workman who came to my home to do some much needed repairs and, after a just few days of my listening to his story and some basic conversation, he is now choosing to be baptized and will start his instruction in a couple of weeks. Basically, evangelism, for me, begins with listening. In my home, I was basically God’s ear and I was listening and speaking words of hope and truth.
At the café, we promote listening as the philosophy of evangelism and this is where we usually start at the cafe. People are carrying a lot of pain and loneliness in today’s world and they often don’t feel like they are being heard. Often, people are angry about many things and just to be heard brings a sense that someone understands their struggle and that what they feel and say has importance and valued -not only to you but to God.
The second thing I do is to lead with the love of Christ and acts of kindness. The good news of Christ also is to be lived through our words and acts of love which speaks volumes to a world which is longing for meaning and hope. I recently heard an author explain that telling the story of God needs to begin with creation, in the garden, where a beautiful God has made a beautiful world so that we can enjoy it and each other. By leading with the love of Christ and the beauty that God has created for all of us can transform each and every person with whom we come into contact. The two things that people today need the most is to know that they are being heard, that they are loved by God, and that they have a place in this beautiful world which God has created and that they
Written by: Herb Bailey
A lot goes into planning a fundraiser. From caterers to speakers to who to invite and even the design, many hands go into seeing a fundraiser successful. We have plenty of people to thank, from Nancy Cochran and her team of fundraisers, to our own team, headed up by Helen Yi. It was an amazing time and we got to highlight Aliquippa’s own fire chief, Dave Foringer, who works behind the scenes often to bring change about in our community. The Mayor Dwan Walker offered prayer and a quick testimony about the café and its ministry. The guest list was full of dignitaries, friends and partners in ministry and every word that I heard about their experience was humbling to me.
Our team of volunteers and staff gave testimony to their experience of dignity (our theme was Delivering Dignity) and the sounds of glory to God echoed through the basement of Crestmont Alliance Church. We are so grateful for their partnership and for them hosting our banquet. Singing praises, Andrenna, Kyah and Angel, with accompanying on the cajon by yours truly, had voices joining together to worship God.
With a call to not only give one time, but for a continual partnership, we saw over five thousand dollars given that night with many new people coming on to support the delivering of dignity to our community. If you wanted to give and missed the opportunity, or you have friends that are looking to support the work of a ministry that loves well its community, please don’t hesitate to partner with us, both financially as well as physically coming over.
The divide is only as wide as our fear allows it to be. May the Lord perfect His love in us all. May the Lord give you opportunity to deliver dignity within your sphere of influence and may He expand your reach.
Blessings to you!
Written by: Scott Colburn
On a beautiful fall afternoon I got to do something I don't do often enough: walk down the street outside our cafe to do neighborhood evangelism. My priest, Fr. Scott, drove over from Ambridge to go with me. We were handing out bookmarks advertising the healing prayer night at the Cafe the next Saturday.
We walked up to a nearby highrise apartment building where a few people are always sitting outside or going in and out. Lots of our cafe friends live there. I felt I was hosting Fr. Scott on “my turf” and I wanted him to meet some people he could talk to. We talked with an old fellow who was walking by, and then I went to talk with a morose looking lady who had a long list of woes, but she also turned out to have a mutual friend with me, a Salvation Army lady who had just moved out of town to work at a mission in Maryland with some of my other friends. So she went from stranger to pal in a second and I prayed with her. We talked with a few more folks walking in and out, then went back to the main street. We blessed folks at the bus stop, passed by the cafe where I introduced one of our regulars to my priest, and went up the street. We went to another apartment building with lots of people always sitting outside, and Fr. Scott got in a long, hilarious conversation with a man sitting out with his friends. I prayed with some more folks and then joined Fr. Scott and Mr. George to pray with them. By then we'd been out on the street a whole hour, and it was nothing as awkward or hard to talk with people as I had feared.
Church or cafe, when we work in an “inside” ministry it sometimes becomes easier to wait in there for people to come to us. But most of the people are out living their lives and don't know to or don't feel comfortable coming in to hear about the Gospel. I know there are some street corner preachers in our area, some of them with megaphones, and I admire their courage. I also know that it's hard to listen to people when you're speaking into a megaphone to passing traffic. I like our ministry of listening, giving people space, and praying with them. It was sweet to go do ministry with Fr. Scott, in a week that saw the tenth anniversary of my going to his church and the 11th anniversary of my coming to the cafe. After all those years, I'm not a great evangelist, but I use the gifts I have and The Holy Spirit is the one who calls people, anyway.
Written by: Maggie Dannenmueller
As a staff member at Uncommon Grounds and a candidate for the Church Army
USA, I have experienced much love and grace and I have experienced how to give love and grace.
The reason I came to Beaver County was because I was seeking treatment for heroin addiction. I had nothing, I had nobody. I didn’t even know my own identity and I certainly didn’t have any dignity. I had absolutely nothing. I did not have any dignity. None for myself and none to give anyone else.
While I was here seeking treatment, I started volunteering at the Café and eventually got hired as an employee. That was 2 years ago and everything has changed. Because of my time spent at the cafe and with the people in this town, I have found my Identity. I have an identity today as a child of God. I have a home, a family, and a future. I came out to Beaver County with nothing and I was given nothing but grace, love, dignity, and support by my café family. Because of that, I was able to change my story and have a shot at a real life.
Today I am someone who can show others support because I was shown the same support when I was at my lowest.