“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:9,10
Coffee. The beloved beverage of millions around the world. That unique liquid gold that livens up your taste buds and tantalizes your senses. The heavenly aroma of fresh ground coffee. A pleasing fragrance whether you imbibe or not. It is unmistakable.
So what does coffee have to do with HIV you may ask? For that, we turn to roast master and Board member Rusty Veary. A retired Southern California Edison lineman, Rusty has been roasting coffee as a fundraising effort for He Intends Victory. Rusty buys green coffee beans and roasts them in his garage. He then bags the roasted coffee beans, grinds some when requested, and makes it available for donation to He Intends Victory, a global ministry reaching out to those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Rusty and his wife Jennifer have served as missionaries around the world with He Intends Victory. Through their personal experiences with HIV, the Veary’s have dedicated their lives to sharing the hope of Jesus Christ. This is one way they have found to support the ministry.
So how did Rusty come up with the idea of roasting coffee? “We were looking at fresh ideas for fundraising for the ministry. I was talking with a friend about coffee roasting and tried it. As I looked at places to buy green beans for roasting I saw that many of the countries where He Intends Victory has workers produce ‘green’ coffee beans. I thought ‘why not buy the green beans sourced from these countries, roast them, and use the donated funds to help people with HIV/AIDS?’ It’s a link, a tie directly to the people.
Rusty continued, “I gave a few samples to friends at church and they really enjoyed the fresh roast flavor. So I started with an old school popcorn popper using “mason jars” so people could fill these with money and donate their coins to He Intends Victory. Like the specialty coffee industry, the ministry has grown from there. “My first ‘roaster’ was a popcorn popper, then I moved into a rotisserie roaster, and on up the line to commercial roasters. I have had lots of support from Mill City Roasters, doing some training with them at their facility in Minnesota on commercial coffee roasting.
After several years, it was clear God was continuing to sustain this adventure. Fondly known as “Rusty’s Beans”, it was apparent we needed a name. How do you choose a name? Rusty says he tied the two most important things together: coffee beans and the love of God for ‘Beans of Love’. “It is not at all about me”, says Rusty, “but it is all about God. He has given me this privilege of supporting people around the world living with HIV through someone's daily cup of coffee. And it is an opportunity to create awareness in the people who provide donations for coffee with the challenges of people in these different countries. Some of the funds raised have been able to provide food during a drought, disaster relief after a cyclone and earthquake, and a motorcycle for transport, all in the name of Jesus.
Beans of Love has recently begun a partnership with the Orange County Rescue Mission (OCRM), another non-profit agency. Rusty has helped to design a program to trains students at the OCRM the art of coffee roasting that may assist them in future opportunities.Asked what verse blesses him as he roasts these “beans of love” and Rusty is quick to respond, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6: 9, 10) “This verse really encourages us to keep doing good and not give up because there is a harvest coming. It reminds me of the coffee roasting process- from green bean to final product. We start out green, not good for much, but with lots of potential! As we are exposed to high heat and fire we begin to change and mature. The bean reaches a turning point, just like when we surrender to God. When it is roasting, the bean expands as it matures, sharing that wonderful pleasing aroma. Chaff falls away and the beans ‘crack’ to reach their full potential. Beans are roasted just the right amount of time to develop character, fragrance, and taste. Then the bean goes out into the world sharing the love of God.