About three weeks ago, Brad got a phone call during the day at the
restaurant. The caller on the other end asked Brad, “Do you guys do
any public speaking?” Brad told her about some of the small events
that we have done in and around Denver and asked what she had in mind.
That is when Brad heard about Social Justice Week at Benedictine
College and how they wanted us to be speakers. When Brad shared the
news, we decided that we just had to go and share the story of the cafe.
We just arrived back from our trip to Benedictine
College in Atchison, KS. It was an awesome (quick) weekend that we
will both remember for a long time. The students and faculty of
Benedictine are amazing people. They are dedicated to bringing about
change in the world. The spirituality and hospitality that we
witnessed this weekend was touching and inspiring.
Our trip started on Sunday, February 17.
The plan was to fly out of DIA at 6:55 a.m. When we left our house
around 5 a.m. we knew that Kansas was experiencing some rough weather
but Southwest Airlines said we were on time. Instead of being on time
our 6:55 flight was canceled due to ice and snow in KS. We later found
out the KCI airport was closed. We decided to put ourselves on the
standby list for the 11:30 flight – which was also canceled. We
finally made it out at 3:00 and arrived at KCI at 6. Tatum McWhirter,
president of Hunger Coalition at BC and the person responsible for
getting us to BC, picked us up and we drove the 45 min. to Atchison.
Our trip started on Sunday, February 17.
We found ourselves in good hands. Tatum had a
great plan for the weekend even though our plans had changed many times
through out the 9 hours we sat and carried 100 cookies around the DIA
airport. Everyone tried to con us out of a few cookies. We even tried
to use the cookies as a bribe to get on an earlier flight but it was
futile. The good thing about this delay was that we had time together
and time to work on our presentation. Being so busy with both of our
full time jobs didn’t leave us with much time to prep this week. God
works in mysterious ways.
Tatum had arranged for us to have dinner with an
intimate group of students from BC. They treated us to the most
amazing food I have had in a long time and I didn’t have to do the
dishes! A lot of the pizza items on our menu this week were inspired
by the meal we shared Sunday night.
15 volunteers showed up to help “storm the
dorms.” Students took samples of our cookies around to all the dorms
on campus and tried to spread the word about Social Justice Week and
invite students to our talk. These students went out all around campus
encouraging others to come and listen to what we had to share. Lauren
Steinkoenig was one of those people who helped storm the dorms. It was
great to see and visit briefly with her.
We retired to the Abbey Guest House where Tatum
had arranged for us to sleep. It was a simple, quiet space for Brad
and I to rest after a hectic day of travel. We truly enjoyed the quiet
time to rest and prepare for the next, exciting day.
On Monday morning we had breakfast in the Holy
Grounds Coffee House where we met Chris, Autumn and Dr. Bunch for a
chat and great coffee. This little coffee shop is such a great space
for the BC community. It is fairly new (within the last couple of
years) and has a motto of “student run from the grounds up.” We really enjoyed hanging out there and talking business with Dr. Bunch.
Emily Brenner then toured us around the beautiful
campus. We saw the Abbey Church and met President Minnis. We also
enjoyed the challenge of traversing the campus through the ice and snow
left by the previous storm that kept us in Denver for those few extra
hours just the day before. The tour of the town of Atchison followed
where we saw Amelia Earhart’s birthplace and much of the town. We ate
lunch in the CAF and made an announcement about our talk and went to
Dr. Bunch’s Entrepreneur class. Brad and I shared the time line of the
restaurant and fielded a few questions. It was a great warm up for
We got to hang out with Dr. Bunch for a bit
afterward where we got to make lots of connections to other ideas and
organizations. We met Lauren and her friend Meredith for coffee in a
cute little space downtown. After a quick visit, Dr. Bunch left us to
visit more. Lauren gave us a tour of her dorm room and we showed off
the Abbey Guest house. We had a few minutes to rest and relax prior to
having a fabulous dinner prepared for us by Dr. Coronado.
We began to prepare for our talk by rehearsing together in our guest
room. Brad and I were furiously writing notes. Neither one of us have
had an audience so large. We tried to calm our fears by reminding each
other that it is easy to talk about something that you love. We knew
that Tatum was picking us up at 5 so we changed our clothes and
gathered our stuff. I had the computer, Brad had the notes (or so we
thought.) It wasn’t until dinner was almost over and Brad realized
that he had grabbed the wrong piece of paper. He and Dr. Coronado went
to retrieve the correct notes while Tatum and I went to set up the
slide show. As the time got closer and it was taking longer and longer
to get the projector up and running, my nerves began to take hold.
Once Brad returned from his note taking adventure, we were able to come
up with a backup plan. We probably should have had one before. The
good thing was we had never done the presentation WITH the PowerPoint
so it didn’t really shake us that much that we couldn’t get the
technology piece figured out. We minutes to spare, Dr. Coronado came
to the rescue and the technology guys got it figured out. We had a
PowerPoint after all!
Brad and I talked for about an hour about the cafe. We told the story
of how it came to be and why we wanted to create the cafe. It was
great to share about the miracles of the cafe and how God makes things
happen here for us. We talked about treating each person who walks
through the door with dignity and respect. We were both nervous in
spots and were overcome by emotion at one point that we both teared up
(when we were telling the story of Hazel Drapper – if you don’t know
that story you should ask us about it – you’ll cry too.) Once we got
it back together, we shared with pride what SAME Cafe has become. It
was a moving experience for us.
The meet and greet that followed in the Holy Grounds coffee shop
inspired us. We talked to students, faculty, and friends of the school
until almost 10 p.m. They seemed fired up and ready to make change
happen in Atchison. Hopefully, we were able to share the story of the
cafe in a way that challenged them to follow their hearts. It was the
words of someone experienced that allowed us to take the leap in
After another great night’s sleep in the Abbey Guest House, Tatum and
Emily picked us up bright and early at 4:45 a.m. This time the trip
was much smoother with no delays. We drove straight from the airport
to the restaurant where we opened the cafe for another day of service.