I went on a missions trip to Oaxaca, Mexico with a team from my church in 2008. During our trip I met this young pastor that lived in that area who had a passion for reaching the rural poor coffee farmers in the mountains of southern Oaxaca. He was involved with the www.GrowersFirst.org group that was also working in those remote, hard to reach areas.
During one of our conversations this pastor said that the next day, he and the Growers First team were going to take a 3 hour trip up the mountain to have a meeting with the coffee farmers to see if Growers First could help them and their communities.
He asked me if I would be interested in joining them on the trip up the mountains so I asked the team I was with if that would be OK and everyone agreed that it would be a great opportunity to learn more about the ministry that Growers First in doing so I went.
That one day trip changed my life!
During the meeting, one of the coffee farmers poured out his heart on how he is losing his family because he is unable to support them through his hard work on his coffee farm. Because he is unable to get a decent price for his coffee, he is at the mercy of the local "Coyotes" as he called them. These are businessmen that travel up the mountains and purchase coffee from farmers that do not have the means to transport their coffee down to sell directly at a higher price.
The young men in the villages have been looking at their dad's struggles and have been leaving to the city and/or other countries to generate income and lively hoods thus leaving the older men to harvest the crops.
I vowed at that moment that I would join Growers First in helping these poor, hard working farmers create a more sustainable income that would help to keep their families intact!
I started out as a volunteer then moved to a part time position and now I am a full time employee of Growers First!
This has turned out to be my dream job! Helping the poor and becoming part of these awesome farmers families!