My whole life, I’ve never really known what I want to do or what I want to be when I “grow up.” Ok, scratch that—for a large portion of my childhood I wanted to be Michelle Kwan. But due to a certain lack of grace, that dream quickly faded. As I progressed through high school, college, and beyond, I was told I could do almost anything I wanted (except, probably, be Michelle Kwan). For the longest time that was a frustrating, intimidating, and even scary thing to me.
Despite my lack of a specific career path, I have always been quite certain of what I am passionate about and those passions have simply grown and evolved as I get closer and closer to the elusive title of “grown up.” I’ve always loved reading, writing, communicating, and helping others. From those elementary school summers when my aunt made my brothers and I write for at least 10 minutes a day (and I managed to fill pages upon pages with my ramblings) to my first post-graduate job in Motorsports Public Relations in which I wrote countless press releases and tweets, I recognized I care about communication because I care about people.
Through the process of helping my family start and run a local non-profit coffeehouse I discovered what I thought was a new passion, but really turned out to simply be a different manifestation of the same passions I’ve always had; business with a purpose. Actively sharing the love of Christ with others through honest and open communication, and meeting their needs where they are by creating sustainable business practices.
Take a quick peak into my closet and you will see I am a sucker for a company that does more than just sell a quality product, I firmly believe products, the money made from them, and even the way they are made can be leveraged for true good and change. From my backpack made by adults in the United States with disabilities (employed for a fair wage) out of fabric from poorer countries around the world, to my purse made from women in India receiving fair wages, education and healthcare through their work program, to my favorite pair of pants made by a woman in Indonesia also receiving health care, education and Bible classes, all the way to my beanie that helps fund cancer research.
But I realized I’m never going to make enough money to support all of these amazing businesses and ministries on my own (unfortunately my wallet realized this much sooner than my brain) and I felt compelled to do more, I just wasn’t entirely sure what.
That’s why it was like a little puzzle piece gently slid into place when in the Fall of 2016 we hired a barista at my family’s coffeehouse leaving shortly after for Hungary to pursue “Business as Missions.” Through skeptically and hesitantly interrogating this new barista about why he would travel across the world to do the very thing I was feeling called to do, I realized that maybe, just maybe, there was a tangible way for me to be a part of these kinds of businesses and do more than simply buy the products available to me here in Greenwood, Indiana. Perhaps I could be a part of creating more companies with lasting Kingdom impact, maybe that’s even what God had been preparing me for all along.
Proverbs 16:9 says “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” I don’t believe as Christians we are necessarily given a five year plan. I’m also still not entirely convinced we ever truly reach “grown up.” But I believe God leaves what we do with our lives to us; and I know He expects us to use the talents and passions He has given us to serve Him.
So, when I went to Budapest to visit that barista we hired, who now happens to be my husband, and discovered there was a position available for me to use my weirdly specific talents in baking, communicating, language, and business to share God’s love with the people of Hungary, it was quite clear God was nudging me towards more.
Honestly, despite understanding and developing my passions and talents for the past few years, I was skeptical and scared and believed God wasn’t big enough to use me. I limited Him out of fear, knowing I wasn’t good enough on my own. But, as I prayed daily (and still do) for Him to empty me of myself and fill me instead with His love and fruit, I realized how silly and even selfish it was of me to limit Him in that way. How dare I tell the God who created the universe I think He might be mistaken because I’m not talented or good enough? Of course I’m not! That’s the whole point; I can’t and you can’t. But He can. And the thing that gets me every time is that He wants us be a part of it.
Sometimes it’s so easy to forget those verses I memorized so long ago in Sunday School; “I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me.”
But at the end of the day, it isn’t my strength, but His. And I am excited to lean on Him in this and open my eyes to what God can do through those that love and follow Him.
– By Amanda Buck, Future OMS Hungary Team Member