The Missionary Café

Anya Zaitseva

Russia | May 21

Anya’s heart raced as she and her father stepped into the small café. This was it; could she ask a complete stranger to do a huge favor? She was glad her father was with her to support her.

The Dream

Anya remembered the day she and her teenage friends visited an Adventist church in a large city in Siberia. She was amazed to see the teens running a successful café outreach.   

Anya, 17, and her friends returned home with a similar dream and asked God to help them start a similar outreach in their own city.

The youth met regularly to pray and plan for their missionary café. They studied city maps and made a list of possible locations. They planned the programs and shared their dreams with other church members. 

Some church members tried to discourage them. “This will be expensive,” one said. “No one will come,” another added. “You’re wasting your time,” still another protested. But Anya’s father, the pastor, encouraged the youth to let God lead and see what He had in mind. 

The Question 

Anya and her father stepped into the first café on their list as a possible site for their teen café. They greeted the owner, who invited them to sit at an empty table. “We have a proposal,” Anya began. We are Seventh-day Adventist Christians, and our youth group would like to use your café one Sunday morning a month to host a Christian program. We hope to have about 30 people at the program, Anya continued. We will pay for food, but we can’t pay rent.

There, now her dream had a voice. Anya held her breath waiting for the owner to respond.  

“Business isn’t good on Sunday mornings anyway,” the woman said. “I can let you have use of the café for two hours. Just put things back where you found them and don’t make a mess.”

Anya couldn’t hide the smile that spread across her face. She could hardly believe that the owner had agreed to her proposal so easily. Why, she didn’t even have to beg! God surely went before us and softened her heart toward us and the project. 

The Work Begins

Anya and her friends prepared advertising, planned programs, and solicited help for the grand opening of the café. The youth decided on a light breakfast of pancakes and tea. The program would include a drama or a short sermon and some kind of fun competition to get teens to return. 

As opening day grew near, the teens prayed for a good attendance so many youth could encounter God’s love. The doors opened, and people streamed in. Anya hoped that 30 would come, but 55 showed up, 15 of whom were not Adventists. Thank you, Father, Anya breathed.

Anya noticed that the café waiters and other customers were listening to the program too. She realized that their mission field stretched beyond those they had set out to reach. How like God to give us more than we asked for! she thought.

Going Strong 

A few months later Anya learned that a new owner was taking over the café. Anya wondered whether they would have to find  a new place to meet. But the new owner invited the youth to continue meeting there and to meet even more often! 

The youth invited the people who were attending Café Orange to join the youth meetings at Anya’s church, and in time the youth planned evangelistic meetings and invited their new friends from the café. 

Today the church supports the café ministry, though it is still operated by the youth. 

“We’re getting young people involved in outreach,” Anya says. “We want others to know that Christians can have fun. Then we can help non-Adventist youth learn more about Jesus and give them a chance to become children of God.” 

“The Bible says: ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity’ [1 Timothy 4:12, NIV]. That’s our goal,” Anya says. 

The Adventist youth in Krasnoyarsk [KRAS-no-yarsk] are helping the church grow. But several congregations meet in rented halls. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help provide a large worship facility for two or more congregations so that God’s love can shine more brightly in this city of a million people.

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