“Wow, I cannot believe that Café COEN can remain open during this COVID-19 period. You must have a large number of loyal customers!” said a friend, after hearing how much we pay for rent
Indeed, our loyal customers support us in many ways. They’ve said:
“I love coming to this café most days of the week because I feel at peace and at home here.”
“I feel closer to God at COEN.”
“Karen is always smiling, even when she is busy.”
We don’t try and make Café COEN a happy place—we can’t! The Holy Spirit, working in and through us, is changing us each day to be like Jesus, the Word. We seek to treat each person as uniquely created in God’s image, with respect and dignity. Our team seeks to listen well and understand their point of view. We desire to be Jesus to each customer.
At COEN we talk about any number of topics. We learn a lot from our customers. God is in all of his creation, and we marvel at his splendour in the minuteness of nanoparticles and the vastness of nature. Rich Villodas shared this—“The gospel is not just the message that when you die you go to heaven. It’s not even primarily that. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus is Lord, creation is being renewed, and in his name, a new, forgiven and forgiving family is created” (on Instagram, @richvillodas, Feb. 9, 2021).
What continues to amaze us is how Jesus gives us many opportunities to naturally speak of him, to testify to his daily work in our lives. The Apostle Peter writes, “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience” 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NLT).
Occasionally, a Christian comes into the café wanting to convert people. Afterwards we have to “pick up the pieces”—try to restore a trust relationship with a bewildered and “battered” customer.
God does the work of salvation. Yes, he works through us, but we don’t have the right to use the gospel as a weapon. We witness and defend the faith with gentleness, in the likeness and manner of Jesus.
By Dale, an OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray for all who enter Cafe Coen, that they will sense the manner of Jesus in those who work there.
- Pray for Christians in Japan, that they would seek to live and work in the manner of Jesus.
- For that God would do the work of salvation wherever Japanese people encounter Christians.