She drew people to her, young and old alike. She just lit up the room. Was it her smile? Her naturally friendly manner? The curly red hair and sparkling giggle certainly caught your attention.
But beyond all that, what illuminated the face of my friend Chris was love — the love of Jesus that she spread all over those in her path.
Before Chris died far too young and with so much more love to give, she “adopted” a passel of street children in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Chris made many trips from LaGrange to Honduras to bring love and hope to boys and girls who had found a home through the efforts of Forgotten Children Ministries. An orphanage established by her home church, LaGrange First Church of God, welcomes missionaries to this dangerous Central American city every year and Chris made the trip often. Her husband and children understood her passion for the ministry and willingly shared her with the street children, traveling to Honduras with her when they could.
The year after brain cancer took her life, Chris’ family joined the mission team’s annual trip to Honduras. In her honor, they shared gifts Chris had collected for them, including a large bag of marbles for the little boys she loved so much.
Joining the missionaries that year was Paul Smith, a cousin to Chris’ husband and co-owner of Great Lakes Chocolate and Coffee. Paul saw the life-giving work of FCM firsthand and understood the passion Chris held for the ministry. Shortly after this trip, Paul and his brother, Jared, found a way to contribute to the work that meant so much to Chris.
My favorite coffee roasted by Great Lakes is Chris’ Blend. It’s a rich mixture of African and Honduran coffee that I brew up at home every day and at our church on Sunday mornings. For every bag of Chris’ Blend that’s purchased from Great Lakes, $1 is sent to Forgotten Children Ministries in honor of Chris.
The next time you stop by Great Lakes and see Chris’ Blend on the menu for the day, order a cup. Better yet, take home a bag. As you sip, appreciate that because of my friend Chris and the guys at Great Lakes, the coffee in your cup helps bring forgotten children “home”.
For more about Forgotten Children Ministries, read my blog series about the ministry here.