I Am Jonah – In The Belly Of A Whale

I Am Jonah – In The Belly Of A Whale

I Am Jonah – In The Belly Of A Whale

1 The Lord spoke his word to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it, because I see the evil things they do.”But Jonah got up to run away from the Lord by going to Tarshish. He went to the city of Joppa, where he found a ship that was going to the city of Tarshish. Jonah paid for the trip and went aboard, planning to go to Tarshish to run away from the Lord. Jonah 1-3 New Century Version

Have you ever heard God calling you to go somewhere you didn’t want to go, and instead of following, you run the other direction? I think I can speak for most of us and say sheepishly… HECK YES I HAVE! This has been my reality for the last couple of months as I have grappled with mixed emotions and a desire to go where comfort is waiting with open arms. The reality is, I am Jonah, and I am currently in the belly of a whale.

Little Prayer Tea Co is growing up

The last few months have been very exciting, we have not only been selling a lot of tea (thank you all for your orders!), but we have been getting some very positive feedback from all of our customers. Little Prayer Tea Co has grown from an infant to a toddler and it has been a joy to watch.

A few months ago, I started working heavily on our Etsy shop so we could market to a well established group of people, and the results have been paying dividends. We have been embraced by our new Etsy community with open arms and their support has turned my entrepreneurial dial to the max. We were also contacted by Sharon Kester (shout out to Sharon for her appreciated support) who wanted to order some tea samples for all the women at our district assembly women’s luncheon. The luncheon was a major success and we are so happy that we were involved. Thank you Sharon!

I am very excited for what’s coming up next, but I hope we don’t run into the terrible twos!

15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea became calm.

You may recall from my post New Beginnings, I gave a sneak peak of what we have planned for this year, we have been on the search for a location to open our very first tea shop. It has been so exciting, and yet so stressful.

We originally started searching for retail locations in Puyallup and Tacoma, but then God decided to take the reigns right out of my hands and drive us up next to a cliff to make me extremely uncomfortable. Very unexpectedly, we were approached by our friend Paul, who is leading something called “The Seattle City Project” which Regina is a part of. He had an idea in mind that would alter my course and add a new layer of stress that I didn’t know was possible (Thanks Paul! :).

Paul had a vision of turning a recently vacant church into a new kind of missional zone and he wanted Little Prayer Tea Co to be a part of it. The idea was, Little Prayer Tea Co would open it’s tea shop in the upstairs of the vacant church to help connect with the community and create a comfortable public space, all while continuing the church’s mission to bring the community together and spread the Word of God. Mon – Sat during an undecided time, Little Prayer Tea Co would open up shop, and on Sundays and off hours, the church could still use the space for their ministry.

When I first heard this idea, I was really excited! I thought that this was a phenomenal idea and I thought Little Prayer Tea Co would be a perfect suitor to team up with the church and it’s ministry. Then I found out where the church was located…frowny face :(. The church in question happened to be located just a few minutes south of DOWNTOWN SEATTLE! For anyone who knows me, I am not very comfortable with the fast paced, traffic saturated and overly populated city lifestyle. To make things worse, I currently work in downtown Seattle and have been for the last 8 years, one of the big reasons for opening a tea shop was to get me further away from downtown Seattle!

As you can imagine, this had major implications on my family, our business and everything I had envisioned for our grand opening. On one hand, we can partner up with the church and have a wonderfully located tea shop with an amazing space and a chance to not only sell tea, but serve the community which is what I have been boasting about since our tea company was created. On the other hand I would be in my comfort zone in a cute and quiet location that would allow us to open our shop, but lose all of the ministry aspects that I truly believe in.

At this moment, I was not only in between a rock and a hard place, I was in between a rock and God’s Will? Is this what God was trying to tell me, is this the direction he was leading, does God actually send us to places where we have to feel uncomfortable? That very moment while I was trying to digest all that was put in front of me, I remembered a conversation I had with God a little while back and it made me want to cry.

I was just beginning to realize that working downtown Seattle and working for the City of Seattle was not going to be in my future, so I prayed, and I prayed some more, and what I told God was… “God, I love you and I am yours. I give myself to you, and I pray that you will use me in whatever way, so I can be useful to Your Kingdom”…. Here’s where it gets interesting… “I will go where ever you want me to go, in order to accomplish your will”. Just punch me in the face already.

I decided to give Paul’s idea a chance and listen to what he had to say. A few months had gone by and we had been discussing the possibilities and the costs. Everything seemed to be coming into place and partnering with the church seemed to be more of a reality, until… just the other day we sat down with Paul and we were getting extremely close to our deadline for a firm decision. At this moment in time, our house had just gone up for sale and we needed to know if we were moving north, or moving south.

During our meeting with Paul I was getting a little anxious with the answers he was giving me. I was not feeling like this was going to be a done deal and that we might actually be getting closer to moving to Tacoma! This was great news… for me. After having our meeting and talking it over with Regina for a bit, we came to a decision. We were going to move to Tacoma unless Paul could come back with more stable answers to the questions we had, and at this point, with my mind set on Tacoma, he would really have to persuade me. We had setup another meeting with him the following day so we could provide him with our answer. Then it happened.

17 The Lord caused a big fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.

As we were waking up the next morning to go to our meeting with Paul, we got a phone call. It was Paul saying that he was not feeling well and asked if we could meet another time. This seemed like the straw that broke the camels back! This secured my decision to move to Tacoma, I felt it was God giving me signs that Tacoma was where we needed to be. I was so secure in my decision that Regina, Thea and I went down to Tacoma that day and looked at places to live. This is not the end of the story.

10 Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and the fish threw up Jonah onto the dry land.

After God decided he had had enough fun with my emotions and chose to stop messing with me, the real answer came in. The next morning Paul was feeling better so we decided to meet up for that meeting we had missed. Over just one day, all the uncertainties that Paul had given us previously had closed a massive gap. As we sat in our meeting and he went over numbers, and talked about the miracle phone calls he had received the day before that gave more conclusive answers to our fears, I could just feel my excitement for the possibilities grow inside me, and sadness of reality come to a final decision. In my head while he was showing me spreadsheets and talking partnership and everything else I had come to my final answer. Little Prayer Tea Company will open it’s very first tea shop in Beacon Hill come this September or October!!!!

All I can say is, God has a sense of humor and he doesn’t mind making us feel uncomfortable while showing it.

Here’s a list of a few food offerings we are planning at our tea shop location:

  1. Hot and Iced Tea (of course)
  2. Tea smoothies
  3. Tea infused ice cream
  4. Baked goods (scones, biscuits, sandwiches, etc)
  5. High Tea!
  6. This is only the beginning!

List of entertainment at our tea shop:

  1. Live music on Fridays
  2. Bible journaling meetups
  3. Pop up shops within the tea shop
  4. Bible studies on Sundays
  5. conversation clubs
  6. Baby gym activities
  7. Kids tea parties
  8. and the list will go on!

We are really excited about all the opportunities coming and we want you to be a part of it. please follow us on Facebook for updates and keep in touch! This is not just a tea shop, this is a community!

Sincerely,
Ryan Conlon
Employee of Jesus Christ

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