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A few weeks ago I had the privilege of joining other Londoners for a prayer breakfast at the Lamplighter Inn and Conference Centre. A couple I had not met before was sitting at my table. We introduced ourselves and quickly discovered that our stories had several significant intersections without either of us being aware of the impact.

21 years ago I had moved to London to start up a drop-in centre at the YFC building when it was located on Dearness Drive, across from the White Oaks mall. Many of the youth I worked with also attended Saunders Secondary School and I would connect with them at a little café called “The Gourmet Cup” in Westmount Mall. Tracy, the manager and morning staff member of the café, also volunteered at the YFC drop-in centre. At the café, Tracy would interact, mentor and encourage the youth on a daily basis. She used her place of work as a safe place to empower youth with hope. It was at this time that the vision to one day open a youth café was birthed in my mind. A safe place where youth could gather, have conversations about their day, and know that the adults around them genuinely cared about them and were a part of their support community.

And so it turned out that this couple sitting at the table with me at the prayer breakfast, were the past owner/operators of the Gourmet Cup in Westmount Mall from 1988-1998. I was so excited to be able to share with them the impact their little café had on youth. I was even more excited to share with them the vision that originated back then and was about to be realized through Café Connect in the next few weeks.

Then last week, Tom handed me a mouse pad that they sold at The Gourmet Cup. On the backside he and Anna wrote “…above all, obey the inspirations which the Holy Spirit increasingly sends into your heart.” ~St Angela Merici

These words really encouraged me in what I sensed God has already done and is about to do through Café Connect and the collective youth kitchen. I feel so blessed that God, in His infinite wisdom, caused these intersections of life to create the vision being launched here at YFC London. I am equally thankful that He caused an additional crossing of paths for a new friendship to form, to be mutual encouraged and to confirm the vision He has given for Café Connect and the collective youth kitchen.

There are many exciting days ahead as we further develop relationships with community youth and bring hope and encouragement to each one through this new space, in Jesus name.

Post Author: James Coolidge