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  • Writer's pictureSteve Drake

Missionary Moments: The Coffee Sock



In my experience, YWAMers (at least those who come from western cultures) account for a disproportionate amount of the global coffee market. Many YWAM bases I've visited have pots and mugs available to anyone on base, with gallons of brewed coffee available at any hour of the regular workday. Some bases even have their own coffeeshop on site, with Starbucks-trained YWAMers serving their base community as baristas, ready and able to prepare a wide variety of espresso-based beverages. (Should Youth With A Mocha be a new acronym joke for us?)

This boarderline addiction (or, in some cases, actual addiction) to coffee didn't end on base, either. With international outreach trips a common aspect of the YWAM life, I discovered that some people will make the necessary preparations to have coffee wherever they go, whether it be the most urban megacity or the most remote village. A friend of mine fell into this category.

On our outreach to Europe and Africa, my friend had a special sock he brought to meet that very need. It was the designated 'coffee sock' which was used for coffee brewing anytime we didn't have easy access to a French press or standard drip coffee machine (which was often). It was practical, portable, and easy-to-use (albeit, a strange-looking) solution for everyone's coffee fix, available anywhere we had access to hot water. Coffee went into the [clean/never-worn] sock, which was used as a filter within a cut and inverted water bottle to make it easier to aim the beverage into any size of mug or thermos. My friend had a bag of ground coffee beans that he would haul from location to location, occasionally restocking when supply was low or when we were in a new country (so that we could try the local coffee options).

Apart from the drink itself, I think YWAMers love coffee because of the community it creates. Sharing a cup of coffee together promotes connection, friendship, and genuine conversation. It's an opportunity to be real with others, to offer or solicit support or advice, to laugh and joke, or simply talk about the day's events. When we had free time to explore the city we were in, it was common for three or four of us to strike out in search of a great coffee shop where we could connect as friends and experience the local culture. On normal days, the sock was part of our morning routine as a team, and the coffee it brewed accompanied our group during devotionals or worship times. We would always share a laugh when the brown, stained sock would come out, knowing we were about to drink water that passed through it.

It wasn't by any means the most impactful or meaningful part of our outreach, but the coffee sock was one of those small, memorable, and slightly bizarre experiences that are so common on YWAM outreaches and make them so uniquely fun and exciting.



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