Pulled and stretched

I hope all is well with everyone and you are seeking God in everything you do. Over the past four months, I have been stretched and pulled into places I never thought I would go. We have seen people receive radical answers to prayers and have had people begin to open up to us and share their deepest needs. We have had ex-prisoners break down in tears in front of us and have given people a meal for the first time in days. People who came in at first to have their own needs met are bringing others in with them.

It can be a little overwhelming when you think about it. The needs around us are so great, and it is hard to understand how we can even be making a difference. Then God shows up and we see Him at work right in front of us, and we know we are right where He wants us to be.

In the month of February, we served 1,387 meals and hosted two night events that brought in 440  people. Fourteen people attended our first cooking class. We also started a community garden with Providence Presbyterian church in the Hillsdale community. It will not only provide the cafe with fresh vegetables, but will also give us a chance to meet the needs of community around us. God has given us lots to do, and He has been blessing it.

We are also in the process of obtaining our 501c3 status. This will open doors for us to purchase food at the food bank, and will allow us to accept monthly support from local churches, businesses, and individuals. We are excited about this and feel this is an important step in the growth of this ministry.

As many of you know, we are going to Uganda in less then three weeks! We are so excited about this and know God is going to do a mighty work, not only through us, but also in us, and we cannot wait to see what that is. We need a couple of things: prayer warriors to lift us up in prayer and to pray for all of us on a daily basis, starting now until we return. We will be leaving April 14 and returning April 24. Please pray for our travel. We leave out of Atlanta and have an eight-hour flight to Amsterdam, then another eight-hour flight to Kampala. Please pray for Mary Paige and Abbey as well as both of us during this time.

We will be going to different villages in and around Kampala doing water purification, cooking, building urban gardens, putting on kids carnivals, and doing medical outreach and education, so they days will be full. Pray for strength for the entire team. Secondly, we still need to raise around $4,000 for this trip, and we only have three weeks to do it. We have African jewelry for sale that was made by the women of Kampala if you are interested, and the proceeds go toward our trip. We will also have a garage sale to raise money. We know God is not broke and He will provide for us to go where He guides. So if He has put it on your heart to give financially to this mission, please do so. You can give online at www.4cornersministries.org or send a check to 4 Yacht Club Dr., Daphne AL 36526. We know this is going to be an awesome step in the ministry of Ransom Cafe, and we cannot wait to see all that He wants to do in and through us.  We will also be blogging while in Uganda, so be on the lookout for that.

Thanks again for all those who support Ransom Cafe and all the many volunteers that make this possible, but most of all, thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory for ever and ever Amen.

Matt And Tara Armbruster

Walking through the doors that open

We have been seeing some great things at Ransom Cafe over the last few weeks. God has brought some really special people into our lives. We want to thank those of you who pray for us daily for God’s direction and protection.

We wanted to share a story of a man who is volunteering with us as well as update you on another.

He came in to the cafe about two months ago and was in need of some food. He wanted to help out, but he was not in any shape to work in a kitchen or help out in any way at all. Matt told him he would help him out with some food, but until he could clean up and not be under the influence, we would not be able to let him work. He got very angry and said we were judging him and left. Well, about two weeks ago, he came in again. Honestly, our first thought was “OK, here we go again,” but we noticed something different in him. He came up to us and he said that he had been clean since we talked to him and he wanted to be around a positive influence. We told him to come back Monday and we would talk. As Matt drove up Monday, he was standing there and ready to work. He goes to court on March 15, and if it all goes well he will be able to go home.

We also have a young mother that comes in almost every day with her 4-year-old daughter. We don’t know the whole story, and it doesn’t really matter, but we enjoy seeing them, and we feel they are getting something out of what we are doing.

Elie, our friend from Africa, continues to teach us about humility and taking pride in the things we do. Elie is a awesome person. He is picking up English and we are learning how to communicate better. He has brought his family in for our night events, and we have never seen more well-behaved children (they have seven young children and two grandchildren). He has been telling us a lot about Africa and how much those over there need help. He has told us almost to the point of tears about his family that is still over there. This has been even more of a confirmation that our trip to Uganda is of God.

We have had some new volunteers come in as well — mothers who just needed and wanted to do something to help others, young men who are doing community service, widows who have finally found a place to serve and many others God brought our way.

We have had two night events and a cooking class since we last wrote. The steak night was awesome. The cafe looked like a fancy restaurant, and we had 195 people come in and enjoy a steak, potato, salad and dessert. We had so many people tell us they would have never been able to afford that at a restaurant.

For our next event, we turned the cafe into a 50s-style soda shop and served burgers, fries, milkshakes, floats and vanilla Cokes. 245 people came, and we had a blast.

We also hosted our first cooking class thanks to a volunteer who just felt led to do it for us. She taught about couponing as well as how to take one protein and make 3-4 meals out of it for a family. We had 12 people and some very positive feedback.

Our next event will be this Saturday night, and we will be bringing back Matt’s Rib Shack for a night — we’ll serve pulled pork sandwiches, fries, slaw and banana pudding — and yes, we will offer stuffed fries.

The community garden is up and running, and we are so thankful for Rev.  Mark from Cottage Hill Presbyterian who is letting us be a part of this awesome experience. We will be growing produce for the cafe so we can offer fresh veggies and herbs. We will also be growing produce for the community for those who might not be able to get fresh food. This was all part of our vision in the beginning and it is so awesome see how God has been raising up others to make this vision a reality. Pray for this project and all that God wants to do through us. Also pray we don’t do anything that is not of God.

We have also had many people here locally and from other states contact us about what we are doing, and they want to do the same in their community. We had a couple from Atlanta come out and follow us around for a couple days to see what we do or don’t do, and they are praying for God to open the doors for them to open one in their community. We are feeling like God is moving us to be able to share this vision and what God wants to do through His people with others. Please pray with us that God will open doors for Matt to share this with churches, schools and anywhere else He wants us to share the passion He has put in our hearts. God has given us a vehicle to help others and we believe that others can and want to do the same.

We are also gearing up for our trip to Uganda. We have our passports filed for and our shots (ouch) done. We went to some training on what we are going to be doing. Some things have changed, and we won’t be focusing so much on the cooking, but instead on water purification, urban gardens, children’s ministry (Abbey and Mary Paige can’t wait to paint faces) and medical. The cooking will still happen, but they must have food and water to cook with or learning to cook won’t do any good. We are still raising funds to get there, but God has been providing. We have received some jewelry made by women in Uganda, and we are selling it to raise funds. These pieces are handmade by the women of Kampala, Uganda and this is their only source of income. Please pray how God wants you to be involved with this adventure. Prayer is the most important thing, but if you can help financially, you can go to www.4cornersministries.org. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully we didn’t ramble too much. Until next time, be open to God’s calling and don’t let fear stop you from doing what you know is right — someone’s life may depend on it.