Cafe Meets Utah!
It’s 2:30 pm Island time. I’m sitting with about eight students.
They range from 18 to 39 years old; the older chap is in the same place I was last year; a father of five kids taking a huge life detour as a student in a YWAM Discipleship Training School.
What are we doing at the table? It’s called the Business Track. “Track” is a clever word for a class/course.
This DTS requires each student to pick a secondary emphasis track - like music, evangelism, humanitarian aid, community service, trades, etc.
These students are learning a Kingdom perspective and heart posture for business, in any form (e.g. start-up, corporate, employee, employer). Learning that the marketplace is equal to any other area of ministry, as long as you walk in faith with the Lord.
All I can say is the Jesus is all over this track. The spirit is moving and the students are getting revelations about Kingdom economics, stewardship, generosity, ‘Jesus is my CEO’, and more!
So here we are, around a table, outside the campus cafe, having a class discussion. Somehow I find myself on a tangent (go figure), sharing a bit of my testimony about business and ministry. Somewhere along the way, I mention Utah and our families call to the Mormons there. It was brief. Not intentional and with no agenda.
Moments later, DTS track ends and I have a few minutes until the second Business track begins.
I pop into the cafe to grab a drink (it’s warm here). There’s a line of young adults all sitting on the ground waiting.
“What’s up with waiting on the ground?” I ask.
“It’s a shift change at the cafe, no one is behind the counter for a few more minutes.” Pops their quick response.
All work on campus is voluntary, even the baristas are students or staff giving their time to serve the campus.
I notice one of the patrons waiting on the floor is a girl from the DTS business track we just finished. I ask, “Wait, aren’t you a barista?”
“Yeah, the cafe is my volunteer work duty, but this isn’t my shift.” She says.
“Got it - but YOU COULD go behind the counter and hook us up?!” I push back jokingly.
“Ah, yeah I could!” She humorously pipes back at me.
She’s a bright girl. Has a Business Degree from a four-year college. Jesus told her to go on missions before starting her career. So here she is.
I shoot back just as quick… “Wait! This means you could come to Utah with us and help open the cafe we feel the Lord is wanting us to start!?”
“YOU DID NOT JUST SAY THAT!?” She immediately exclaims. A very real, very gut-level response has just come out of her. Her eyes got big, her smile exploding in curiosity.
Now I’m curious. What’s she thinking? So I beg, “Why?”
She stares me straight in the face and says,... “During track, when you mentioned Utah. I heard the Lord say to me, ‘You should go with the Friess to Utah someday.'”
“NO WAY! Come on Jesus. Are you kidding me!?” Truthfully, I know she’s not kidding. It was too real, too raw. People don’t make this stuff up.
Plus, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Several people have had the same impression. For some, it doesn’t stop there. Like this incredible, talented, young, fiery-eyed revivalist - Jesus keeps pressing in on her.
A week later, she sends us a message asking if we can get together to talk more about Utah. Stating that the “Lord has just placed a burden in her heart.”
It has been a passion and a calling of hers to establish community through cafes. She comes to life when she talks about it.
Will it happen, this connection in Utah? I don't know. I'm not worried one way or the other. We'd love it if it does. But ultimately, we just love walking with the Lord in friendship and partnership. He has it all figured out.
It’s so good. May of 2017, Danielle hears the call to Utah; she speaks it out and the spirit explodes my soul.
Shortly after, I’m praying and ask the Lord if we are going their alone or with others. I hear Him say,... “Don’t be offended if you go alone. But your team will come from all over the world and a group of YWAM missionaries will go with you.” YWAM was not on my radar at the time.
Fast-forward several months, February of 2018, in Cambodia on our YWAM mission. Wrestling with going to Utah or back to Kona for more training and servicing. “Father, which path do we take?” We’re begging for clarity.
I clearly sense in the Holy Spirit, “You can go straight to Utah. You’ll be alone. It will be a slog. Your family will get an upgrade you couldn’t get in any other experience. Or, you could pause, go back to Kona, continue training and absorbing their DNA, network, grow the team, go later, and experience an acceleration.”
We opted for the second choice. Went home to Battle Ground, WA for six months, prepping to go back to Kona.
Then we get the closed door on housing in Kona. Praying like crazy, “God, now what.” We sense Utah is the clear choice, we begin making preparations.
Several weeks pass, and out of nowhere, housing opens up in Kona. We pray. We commit. A day later, they invite me to lead the Business track which had been canceled due to no leader. We get a witness from the Lord to go with it. And then, boom! A divine appointment with this student. Jesus interrupts her life and gives her a piece of His heart for a place and people she’d never considered before.
Jesus is so good! Such a great leader. Accomplishing His purposes. It’s an honor and blessing to be on His team, in His family.
From a bubble, on an island, blessings,