Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Kaylee Georgeoff
Megan Zuber’s aspirations are designed to shape the world’s response to problems — by opening coffee-shop ministries.
“I want to do coffee-shop ministry for the rest of my life, if God will let me,” Zuber said. She plans to open the first in the country of Nepal.
Zuber explains that her coffee-shop ministry is about more than being able to share her love of God. Her hope is to give the Nepalese new life opportunities by teaching them to run the business themselves and inspire others through God. Then after getting a coffee shop fully established, she will sell it to a Nepal citizen and move on to another part of the world and start again.
“I just want to show people that they are cared about and they’re loved, and do that through opening coffee shops.” Zuber said.
She also dreams of opening drop-in education centers. Most children in these areas don’t have the time or ability to go to school because they work. Each location would be readily staffed with a teacher to teach on-the-spot, basic education when children are on break or off work.
Along with her aspiration to open a coffee-shop ministry and drop-in education center, Zuber hopes to work with several organizations on the issues of human enslavement and sex trafficking. These organizations help women who are at risk of being or have been trafficked obtain jobs making jewelry, while also teaching them the fundamentals of finances, cooking, education, insurance, child care, and making a living. These organizations help get these women established before throwing them into society.
When Zuber was asked why she works mainly overseas she said, “All sorts of enslavement is going on overseas and I just have a heart for going, but someday maybe God will bring me back here, and I’ll be here too.”
Zuber chose coffee shop ministry because she was introduced to Christianity when talking with co-workers at a coffee shop she worked in. She loves coffee because it brings people together, and sees it as an avenue to get people working together and talking.
Throughout Zuber’s younger years, she was encompassed by drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous situations, until she met her coffee-shop friends.
“Some people really showed me compassion and love that I feel Christ is represented by and I was hooked,” Zuber said. She explained she never felt pushed or pressured into Christianity, which made this decision a more valuable experience.
Zuber’s first aspirations began with a trip to Haiti. This was the first time Zuber had any thoughts of making her mission trips a career. One experience that pushed her to realize this was something she wanted to do was when she was donating used shoes to women in Nepal. They began crying tears of joy. “And I just thought ‘Why is it that I have a whole closet full of shoes and these women are crying at my feet to get these ‘new pairs of shoes’?’ I thought, man, there has to be a new way to do this. I just had a heart from then on.” Zuber said.
Zuber also explained the people there were fantastic and amazing to meet. She says one woman in particular that she met in a Nepalese village was very inspirational. She says, “We were able to speak even without language. There’s a heart connection and that’s what keeps me going back.”
Remaining undercover is a necessity for Zuber, because some of the countries she works in do not appreciate or accept the religion of Christianity. Zuber has, however, had a brief run-in with the law. While speaking to a group of Nepalese, she was approached by cops and asked to end the conversation and leave. She and the mission group did, respectfully, and Zuber has never been arrested. However, Zuber said, “You just do what you can and if you get arrested, you get arrested, but you usually get out.”
Currently, Zuber is working to raise money to open her coffee-shop ministry in Nepal. For one person, financially, this decision was quite ambitious. She has been trying to get people to latch on her vision by promoting it to as many churches as possible. Zuber must find churches and people willing to donate money and prayers to finance the construction and startup of these establishments.
In August, Zuber will be moving to Nepal to begin preparations, and during December and January, she has planned to begin opening the ministry officially.
Zuber notes her final thoughts on the importance of mission programs when she says, “I think that’s the biggest part of mission is not to say that Jesus is the right answer, although that is what I believe; the biggest importance there is to treat them with love and consideration and let them know that they are important.”