In southwest China there lies two coffee shops, the only foreign-owned businesses in a city of 500,000 people.
They are operated by Shawn and Megan*, a family burdened by the lostness of the country. In their city alone, there are 190 unreached people groups. They are taking on the charge of making the Gospel known throughout their vast community by drawing people to the only coffee establishments in town.
“You believe in God?” 17-year-old Xiong once asked them. He walked into the shop hoping to learn more about the outsiders who had moved to his city. He asked Shawn and Megan why they came. They made small talk, and deeper pieces of their faith seeped into the conversation.
Xiong was captivated by what he heard. “I’ve never met anyone who believes in God before, not my parents or my friends, but in my heart, I always knew there was a God.”
Three years later, Xiong is now a bold and faithful follower of the Lord. He attends one of China’s most prestigious universities and can find more direct ways of reaching a generation of China’s lost.
Owning this cafe also allows Shawn and Megan to bring three other missionary families into the country under their business visa, as well as provide jobs for locals. In their city, a church needs to be planted and the team desperately wants to see it built. Their goals and ambitions were on the horizon of possibility one year ago, but it almost came crashing down.
Their student loan servicer would no longer allow them to make the lowest-monthly payment toward their debt. Their earnings from the coffee shops displayed a larger income than what they truly make. Shawn and Megan live on the financial support of a team of people in the United States while every penny from their business goes back into the sustainability of their shops. To close the gap in their suddenly costly, monthly payments, they returned to the U.S. to raise extra support.
Nearly one year after returning to the States, without an answer for how they were going to cover their debts, the Chinese government gave another threat— to revoke their business visa.
In the year they were trying to raise extra funds, the Chinese government grew suspicious of their time in America. It was assumed they took the profits from their business to spend their income in another country, a common problem China tries to monitor.
Losing their business visa would mean the loss of their shops. It would mean the return of the other families in China who depend on the visa to stay. Then, they saw the Lord intervene in a miraculous way. Through casual conversation with friends, they were introduced to The GO Fund.
Shawn excitedly applied to The GO Fund's student debt repayment program and they were called for an interview shortly after.
They had been so faithful to trust the Lord and his provision. They knew he had a plan. They had prayed so often for answers. Just when they allowed themselves to imagine a break in their circumstance’s storm, they were notified by the Chinese government that they had one week to return to China or they would lose their eligibility as business owners. Would the storm overtake them?
Matt Sonke, program director at The GO Fund, was astounded by their ministry’s vision and the results they see from what is already established. Aware of their looming deadline, he rallied together a committee of the organization’s board members to either approve or deny Shawn and Megan as partners.
Two days before Shawn, Megan and their two children boarded their flight back to China, their future in the country still undetermined, they were called and told, “You have been approved! Your debt has been taken.”
The storm was broken! They could breathe again and lift their eyes to the warm and radiant sun. Shawn and Megan are now back in the city where their businesses have opened a multitude of opportunities for relationships to form – in their shop and beyond.
They source their coffee beans from surrounding, remote villages. These areas are completely unengaged with the Gospel and nearly impossible to access because of the government’s tight travel restrictions. However, their business provides a legitimate purpose for visiting these villages many times per year. This is one of many examples in which the Lord has divinely appointed a channel for the team to share the Gospel with the unreached.
Thanks to The GO Fund Champions, Shawn and Megan’s family and team are unhindered and ready to continue their ministry for many years to come. They excitedly anticipate meeting many more like Xiong; ready to love them, share truth with them, and all over the course of several, delicious cups of coffee.
*names have been changed for security