Posted by: andwego | January 2, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!                                                                                                                                                                          

Things have changed more than we ever could have imagined from the time TJ wrote our Christmas letter last year and we thank you for keeping up with us!  2010 brought a major change in scenery, as we left Vancouver and moved to Florida, as well as a huge shift in the way we live.  We went from on-campus townhouse life to living on a 4-acre piece of land and starting a small farm.  What an unexpected surprise!   There is much to cover, so here we go…

Thaddaeus (TJ) turned 2 in November and is definitely all boy!  He is a running climbing machine, constantly getting into things he shouldn’t.  Unfortunately it’s very hard to discipline him, as his smile and ‘charmer’ attitude keep us laughing constantly.  He is our little hambone.  TJ attends Mother’s Day Out at church twice a week while Charlotte is at school, which is a great social time for him and a wonderful break for me.  We are working with him on his language development, as he is a bit behind from where he should be, speaking-wise.  But the words are starting to come a little faster now, and we are thankful for that!  We know he understands EVERYTHING and is a smart little bugger – he just points at objects and says ‘this!’ when he wants something.  Boy, has he got us trained!

Charlotte, our little princess, is now 4 and growing up so quickly!  She is in preschool at Merritt Island Christian and LOVES every second of it.  She can write the entire alphabet and is learning basic addition, things she practices at home without us even asking!  Her artistic skills are rapidly developing, as she spends at least an hour every day drawing or painting.  One of her favorite activities this fall was her involvement in the ‘Tiny Toes’ dance class offered through Rejoice Dance Ministry at our church.  She is learning basic jazz and ballet movements and is actually getting a bit graceful!  Charlotte is at the age where she is starting to ask questions about God, Jesus, what happens when we die, etc.  It has definitely stretched our minds to begin thinking theologically in more childlike ways, and we are realizing more and more how important a role we play as parents in this day and age.  It truly is a gift!

I have always embraced change well if I throw myself into activities where I am surrounded with people, so that’s what I did this year!  A goal of mine was to attend and complete WEGO’s Discipleship Training Course this year, something I just accomplished 2 weeks ago!  The year-long course was an intro to Biblical Christian counseling and delved into a wide variety of subjects from theory to practice.  I also spent the fall in a women’s’ Bible study on John, using Jean Vanier’s work on the book as a guide.  Lastly, I was given the opportunity to teach the ‘Little Feet’ dance class offered through our church dance ministry.  It has been a busy yet fulfilling year for me!

Jonathan has thrown himself into our life here, embracing his new-found role as ‘farmer’ (as you will read below) as well as working to make the coffee company profitable.  While not learning about and practicing organic farming, he is working on finishing his M.Div through Regent; he has only 1 course left!  When he does have free time, he enjoys hunting with Taxi and fishing with friends.

As you all know, our move to Florida was prompted by our decision to work with WEGO Ministries here, starting a coffee company to help support an orphanage in Nicaragua.  Through selling coffee in farmers’ markets we began to develop relationships with local farmers here in Florida and open our minds to the idea of growing our own food.  The desire to help the Nicaraguan coffee farmers in their agricultural practices quickly spilled over into our personal lives – why should we not learn to farm on our own as a way to better connect with the farmers abroad, as well as educating our local community in sustainable agriculture?  Well, this small idea has grown into a larger vision that is now leading our family in a new direction. 

After our initial plantings this summer we realized we needed more help.  An ad posted on craigslist for farm help needed resulted in over 100 phone calls in a week and the quick formation of an intern program for our farm!  There is a huge desire locally to learn about organic sustainable agriculture and we are taking advantage of it.  We have rotated through 6 interns since August who work several hours a week for us and also have one full-time farmhand.  Two things we feel are vital to this idea of local farming are hospitality and community.  Inviting different people in this community to work and eat with us has been life-giving and we have had friends, school groups, homeless people, neighbors, homeschool groups, church families, recovery groups, etc., come through our gates to learn and work alongside us.  Food connects people in so many ways – growing it, as well as eating it, together forms unique bonds and offers new perspectives in relationships. 

As a result of the importance we have found in farming, education, discipleship, and feeding, we have started our own not-for-profit organization, Keipos, Inc.  The paperwork should be completed by the middle of January.  With that said, we will no longer be raising support through WEGO, but will now be taking donations through Keipos, Inc.  However, we still intend to work with WEGO to help keep the orphanage operating.  As we have found the coffee market to be rather hard to break into (without any large amount of startup finances available) our focus is now shifting towards helping the orphanage’s 180 acres be put to good use, using the land to grow food that can feed not only the children but also their local community.  Jonathan will be heading down in January to see what can be done to get things moving in that direction. 

We look forward to 2011 with the hope that we, through Keipos, Inc., will be able to educate and minister to our local community while also helping those abroad.  Thank you to those who have given so generously to us this year; we appreciate all gifts that have come in and express our early ‘thanks’ to those of you who will choose to support our ministry in this coming year.  Any year-end gifts can still be made to WEGO; after the 1st of the year we will switch to Keipos, Inc.  

One more unexpected surprise…we are expecting another baby!  He/She will join our family next summer!

We pray that you would experience God’s love and peace in powerful ways this coming year and that your lives would reflect His love for each of you.  He is good and He is faithful, even when we can’t see it at the moment J

Grace and peace,

Jonathan, Catherine, Charlotte, and Thaddaeus (and baby #3!) /

321.544.2851 / 321.544.2821

Posted by: andwego | August 16, 2010

Care for the orphans, widows, and hungry

It seems as though our life is unfolding towards this purpose.

We work with WEGO to support children in an orphanage.  It’s why we moved here.

We ‘happened’ to move into a house that is situated next to a widowed woman and across the street from yet another.

The land our house is on is 4 acres.  We have started growing things…chickens, vegetables, fish, legumes.  LOTS of them.  We want to feed people and minister not only with our faith in Christ but IN His example of how He lived for others. 

People are asking ‘why are you building a farm?  Did you plan to do this when you moved to Florida?’  Well, because we want to feed people.  We want to invite people in to work alongside us, fellowshipping and breaking bread together.  We want to care for those around us.  And, no, we had no idea this would be a part of our life when we moved here.  But it has become almost THE reason for us staying  here.  It is beautiful and it is holistic.  It is life-giving and it is a gift to us.

Posted by: andwego | July 27, 2010

June/July Update

Dear Family and Friends,

What a crazy month-and-a-half it has been for us!  We apologize for not being in touch on schedule but, as you’ll read, we have been rather busy.  June started with Jonathan giving the homily in our friends’ wedding, officiating alongside their reverend.  It was his first time doing this and it was a very rewarding experience.  He even got to wear the Anglican robes!  The following day, June 5th, I went to Nicaragua for one week with a group from WEGO, taking on the role of ‘pharmacist’ on the medical team.  Our team was able to see over 650 patients in 4 days as well as feed lunches to local communities.  I could write a whole letter just about the trip but there just isn’t enough space.  Please see our blog for more info and pictures.  I am so grateful that I was finally able to travel to Nicaragua and see the orphanage/meet the children we are working to support.  While I was on my trip Jonathan stayed home as ‘Mr. Mom’ for the week and, despite the constant demands of 2 children, he was able to complete his third-to-last class.  He now has only 2 more classes to complete before he will graduate with his Master of Divinity degree from Regent College!

As soon as I returned from the trip we had several of Jonathan’s family members come stay with us and we had many fun times together, including a day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  It is great to live so close to all of the theme parks in Orlando – any of you are welcome to visit!  After those family members left we flew to Omaha for a week, where Jonathan preached at Westside Church (where his dad is pastor) and was ordained!  Going through the ordination ceremony was such a special experience.  We were both prayed over by all ordained members of the church body and heard so many beautiful blessings poured out on us, our marriage, our family, and our Christian walk of faith.  Thanks to all of you who were a part of that special day. 

Since then we celebrated both Charlotte’s and my birthdays at Disney World and have been working on building our ‘farm’.  We got 21 chicks and they are living in brooders in our garage until they are big enough to move into the stable, which Jonathan is preparing.  We also stocked our pond with a lot of fish which, in a few months, will be able to feed us and others!  A friend who is a landscape architect helped us zone out the best areas of our land for planting crops, so we are in the process of preparing the soil for planting.  It is busy, but the work is so rewarding and has strengthened relationships – ours and those with several of our friends who have spent countless hours working with us, pursuing this endeavor of living off the land.

Thank you so much for your prayers regarding WEGO’s future, especially the outlook for the orphanage in Nicaragua.  God has been so faithful in His provisions!  The rest of summer is looking very good, as letters requesting support were sent out in the community which resulted in wonderful miracles of generosity.  Cooking oil has been donated to the orphanage as well as 50% discounted beef from a meat packing plant in the area.  Praise God!  Additionally, people have come forward and increased their giving, which equates to supporting three staff members in Nicaragua.  The vegetable gardens on the orphanage land are doing very well;   avocados, wheat, corn, beans, and plantains…with lots of rain from tropical storm Alex this could be a year of abundance crop-wise for the children.  God is good!

As for the coffee venture, there is a lot going on.  New Earth Goods’ new coffee blend arrived this weekend!  With new packaging (compostable bags), great labels and incredible coffee inside, it is certain to be a success.  Please check the website to order this delicious new roast.  There is so much potential with the coffee – fundraisers for schools, grocery store chains, online sales, etc.  Actually, the coffee (as of today) is now on the shelf at a local health food store!  We are praying that God would continue to open doors for us in many new directions. 

Early September, Jonathan will be going by himself to Nicaragua to plan for the mission trip to the coffee farm in January.  He needs to figure out housing, meals, transportation, and all other logistical things involved in leading a missions trip.  Please pray for his safety and for agreeable weather, as it is rainy season right now and the coffee farm is up in the mountains.  Roads up the mountain are not too good, so safety can be an issue.  Funds need to be raised to cover his trip expenses, as money in the coffee account is limited at this time.  If this is something you feel led to help with, please let us know.  We appreciate every bit.  Thank you!

The exact trip dates to the coffee farm in January are not yet set, but we will let you know as soon as it is figured out.  We hope that some of you would join us as we work alongside the farmers!  WEGO has also announced its mission trip dates for next summer:  June 4th-19th 2011.  You can go for the first week, the second week, or both.  WEGO trips typically consist of a medical team, educational/teacher training team and a VBS team.  The accommodations are very comfortable and the food is delicious.  It’s a great first-timer mission trip for people not accustomed to being in a 3rd-world country.  Please let us know if this kind of trip appeals to you!  Anyone of any age is welcome; we are the body of Christ and there are jobs for everyone.

We cannot express our thanks enough for the support that keeps trickling in at just the right times.  God has been faithful to us in so many ways.  We keep a list of praises and prayer requests on our blog, so please see that for detailed sharing of what is going on in our hearts and lives.  Deciding to work our land and see if we can make something productive out of it has been such a wonderful thing for us.  Our marriage has been thriving and our children love being a part of watering plants, feeding the fish and caring for the chicks.  We feel that we are, truly, in God’s will and seeing sweet community growing along with this ‘project’ is just a testament to what the body of Christ is all about. 

Grace and peace,

Jonathan, Catherine, Charlotte & TJ

PO Box 320838, Cocoa Beach, FL, 32932-0838

Posted by: andwego | July 12, 2010


The beautiful church at Ave Maria University, where we stayed

 From June 5-12 I was finally able to take a trip I’d been dreaming about for 5 years – to Nicaragua with WEGO, the ministry with which we work. Jonathan’s life was transformed there around 7 years ago and he has been several times since. We have supported WEGO in many ways and now work for the organization. It was finally ‘my time’ to travel down and see the place that is so important to my husband and to so many of our friends. I was on the medical team, playing ‘pharmacist’ for the week, which was a lot of fun. Our team was so much fun to work with and we were blessed by the amazing people we met throughout the week – 650 patients, to be exact. Another team on the trip was the teacher education team, leading training sessions for local teachers and supplying them with Christian curriculum. Our third team was the VBS team, which led day-long VBS programs at the schools we visited each day. Our medical team met our patients in a classroom at whichever school we were at on that given day. We were able to watch the VBS games and fun from the windows of our ‘offices’ and it was awesome watching our team and amazing interpreters work with the children! My friend, Allie, also went on the trip with me, and we had a great time getting to know each other more. Her husband, Skyler, is our coffee company graphic designer and was in Nica with Jonathan in March. One of my favorite days was spent at the WEGO orphanage ‘Hogar de Gloria’. Allie and I painted some of the girls’ fingernails and we ate some delicious mangoes picked off the trees by some of the girls. We had so much laughter and fun together! What I didn’t expect was that we were able to feed anyone who was nearby with the food we had for lunch each day. We often had long waiting lines to see our doctors/nurses after lunch, so we would feed those waiting, sometimes close to 100 people, with whatever food we had. We always had enough!! It was amazing to see God provide food for all of those people, whether there were 100 or just 20. I loved my time there and look forward to the next visit, whenever that may be!

For more photos, visit our family blog:

Posted by: andwego | June 15, 2010

May letter…

Dear family and friends,

We have moved!  We are no longer living at the gifted condo in Cocoa Beach but have finally found a house to rent – and it is already our favorite home (but not city) in which we’ve ever lived.  For those of you who don’t know, we have been searching for a home since we arrived in Florida 3 months ago.  We found a house on 4 acres of land posted online for rent and moved in a week later!  It has already proven to be an incredible home.

Since our time at L’Abri and the following summer with a large vegetable garden, we have wanted to grow food on a larger scale.  It has always been our desire to live on a large piece of land and try our hand at farming with some animals as well.  We had no idea that our time in Florida would be the time for that!  Besides our house there is also a pond and a stable on the property.  We are currently turning ½ of the stable into a chicken coop with a large outdoor run in order to raise free range chickens for eggs and meat.  Around ½ acre we are designating for crops, especially many root- and vine-growing vegetables.  There are 2 other families interested in working the land with us so we will all be involved in the different aspects of this process.  As the next harvest is in the fall, we have the next month to prepare the land and plant our seeds.  Once harvest comes and the chickens start laying, we will live off the ‘fruits of our labor’, selling some at local markets, sharing with our local community and donating to local feeding programs. With little to no income we want to try and be as self-sustaining as possible.  We are so thrilled with this opportunity and the gift this place has already been for our family (besides the cockroaches and snakes).  The children love having so much space to explore and enjoy – they don’t even notice that we don’t have cable anymore!  We feel that developing this side of ourselves (working /living off the land) is bringing to life a more holistic sense of living, something that is so exciting to us. 

Self-sustainability is needed all around.  We moved to Florida to create a business that would sustain an orphanage in Nicaragua.  However, the reality is we might have been too late.  New Hope Children’s Home of Nicaragua is dependent on and run by WEGO Ministries in Cocoa Beach, FL, which in turn is dependent on donor support.  While we are struggling to raise support for ourselves, WEGO is also struggling to keep open the home in Nicaragua and its other home in Mongolia.  Selling coffee is a solution, but starting a profitable company takes time.  And WEGO’s time has almost run out.  WEGO is currently walking through the process of liquidation and possible closure with both children’s homes.  Many of the foreign workers helping WEGO have lost jobs and it is only a matter of time before all 18 children in Nicaragua will be sent back to where they came from, that is, abusive homes and a trash dump. 

In all this chaotic mess, the ministry into which we have entered has to rethink and reevaluate how everything is done. We have realized that the money issue is not the problem but a symptom of the problem.  The problem has been both a lack of community involvement and awareness with WEGO and its supporters.  This is a problem both locally and in the countries where WEGO works.  We are trying to figure out how both homes can be sustained within each country through local support and involvement. We are trying to reformulate a local community of people around WEGO in the same way.  And we are trying to create a greater awareness of WEGO in general.

Please join us in prayer for the Children’s Homes, WEGO, the success of NE Goods (the new coffee company name!)  and the well being of our family in general.  If you would like to financially support our family or WEGO we would be so thankful.  You can send donations via mail or by a monthly credit card subscription on WEGO’s website:  There is a designation line in the donation section for where you would like your money to go.  May God bless you for your support.

Grace and peace,

 Jonathan, Catherine, Charlotte, and Thaddaeus                                                                                               

PO Box 320838, Cocoa Beach, FL, 32932                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


Posted by: andwego | April 30, 2010

Discipleship Counseling Training

So for those of you who don’t know, I (Catherine) am taking a 1-year course through WEGO called ‘Discipleship Counseling Training’.  It’s a course that looks at different areas of Christian counseling and offers time to put into use what we are learning through small group therapy practicums with each other.  I go to this class at the WEGO office every Tuesday afternoon and it has been such a blessing for me!  Not only am I getting to know some great people in the area but I am trying my hand at an area of specialization into which for a long time I have wanted to delve.  Our first session  (2 weeks) was focused on small group facilitating – how to facilitate therapy done in small groups of people.  We then jumped into a 6-week course on codependency, looking at the different ways it can come across and how to move people towards healthier relationships and caring for themselves.  During the 6 weeks we spent time in small groups, taking turns practicing the facilitating we had learned about in the previous session, and it was so rewarding!  It’s amazing how a small group of people can remain focused and really grow together in just 6 weeks when there is determined facilitating happening and everyone is actively involved in drawing each other out.  Our small group ‘teacher’ (there to oversee) told me after I facilitated that God has obviously gifted me in that area and it’s obviously the type of therapy I’d be really good at practicing.  I don’t know about that, but I do really enjoy it and find satisfaction in keeping a group on task and actively pursuing healing and understanding. 

This coming week we start a 5-week series called Discipleship Counseling, going through the book of the same name by Dr. Neil Anderson.  I can’t wait to see what God wants to teach me through these coming weeks. 

At the end of the year-long course, I will then take an extra 6-month intensive study time (lots of reading/DVDs/tests) supervised by the head of WEGO’s counseling center, Renee.  If I pass all of those tests and meet her approval with my work, I will then be certified by the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) to practice lay counseling.  That means I can provide counseling services free of charge (since I will not have a state license or masters degree) through WEGO or any Christian organization.  I really look forward to this, as it’s a big part of the ministry WEGO offers in our county.

Thanks for your prayers!

Posted by: andwego | April 19, 2010

April newsletter…

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy Easter!  We have just come out of a special Easter weekend spent with friends and our family.  This year was really special for us as Charlotte truly experienced the meaning of the holiday for the first time.  We hope your celebration of Christ’s resurrection was equally as meaningful.

 To update you a bit, PraiseFest was 2 weeks ago and was quite successful!  We made almost $800 which is all going to the orphanage in Nicaragua.  Jonathan was able to speak in front of the crowd for a few minutes about WEGO, the orphanage and the coffee business.  This spot led to many connections being made, one in particular with the director of a local Christian radio station.  He heard about us and our journey to Florida to work with WEGO, and he sought Jonathan out to offer him free airtime to raise awareness not only about WEGO but also about our decision to move our family here.  We have a meeting with him this coming week to lay out the details of what this will entail.  As we have not received much financial support, it is exciting to see God working out these kinds of things as possible ways of helping our family.  His plans are always far greater than our own.

Thank you for participating in our contest “Make your mark; brand our coffee’!  Between you, our online followers and the PraiseFest attendees, we received hundreds of votes.  We have selected a new name and winner…but you will have to wait until the unveiling of our new marketing plan and launch of the new gourmet blend to find out what it is.  We must sell the remainder of our first batch of coffee before moving forward.  If you are interested, our online ordering system is now up and running!  We have also been selling bulk orders to churches, bookstores and businesses, allowing them to make a small profit in turn.  Please contact us if this is something you would be interested in pursuing for your organization.

Another avenue of sales into which we have ventured is farmers’ markets.  There are markets in our county Thursday through Sunday every week, so Jonathan started setting up camp at a different one each day this week.  In order to do this, however, we were required to get a food vending permit through the Department of Agriculture.  A process that could typically take weeks or months, God orchestrated everything to happen all in four days!  And because we had to get a commercial storage unit for storing the coffee, we were able to get a discount on our personal storage unit just for the recommendation.  We don’t take any little thing for granted and love keeping track of the numerous ways God provides for us. However, this permit cost the ministry $355 which had to be taken from the money we made at PraiseFest, depleting the amount we could send to Nicaragua.  If God puts it on your heart to offset this cost for us, we would appreciate it so very much. 

WEGO is sending teams of people to Nicaragua during the month of June and I (Catherine) will be going for the first time June 5-12!  I am so excited to be there, meet the children, see the recently opened school, and help with the medical/construction teams.  Having never been, it’s been hard for me to envision what we are really working for with WEGO.  This trip will give me such an understanding of this place that is so special to Jonathan and to those with whom we work.  My flight costs $400 and the trip cost is $925.  I would be ever grateful for any amount that one might be willing to give towards making this trip possible. 

We are always seeking out ways to make money and a new lead has come up for Jonathan.  He is meeting with the leadership of a local Christian high school to discuss introducing Biblical Greek into their curriculum next year.  He has always wanted to try his hand at teaching and his connection with the superintendent is making it more of a reality! 

Thank you for praying for us as we keep walking forward.  This is not always fun or easy and we find ourselves frustrated at times, wondering ‘what are we doing???’  And then God steps in and shows us in amazing ways, lifting our eyes back up towards Him.  We love hearing from you, so please keep in touch and let us know how to pray for you.

Grace and peace,

Jonathan, Catherine, Charlotte, and Thaddaeus

PO Box 320838, Cocoa Beach, FL, 32932-0838

Order coffee! :

Posted by: andwego | March 24, 2010


Melissa (WEGO admin extraordinaire!) and us in our tent/booth

PraiseFest was this past Saturday and it was better than we could have hoped it to be!  God orchestrated all sorts of amazing things throughout the day, from allowing us to have our coffee brewing at drink stations throughout the park to having radio station reps hearing out story and offering us free radio spots.  We made almost $800 which is going straight to the orphanage and to our next batch of coffee.

Skyler (our web/graphic designer/advertisement), Denny (J's buddy and our videographer/major supporter) and Jonathan

All sorts of people attended the event and we met many who expressed interest in WEGO and in helping us market/sell our coffee.  Part of our day involved getting people to enter our contest to ‘win free coffee for a year’ by coming up with a new name for our company.  We got TONS of entries and are filtering through them this week, as well as considering all of the online entries we have received.  Remember, the contest runs through Saturday, so there is still time to enter more of your amazing ideas!

Charlotte and Jonathan workin' the coffee sales (see those big bundles of coffee? 25 bags for only $200 - that's a $50 savings - interested?)

One of the most personally encouraging things that happened was a contact Jonathan made with the manager of a local Christian radio station.  He had overheard Jonathan telling our story (re: moving from Canada and raising support to survive while working for WEGO) to someone else and then entered into conversation.  He wants to get us on their station – not just once, but several times – to tell about what we are doing, why we decided to move here, how God is working in our lives, etc.  Jonathan spoke with him today and it looks like this will start coming together after Easter.

TJ dancing to the band's music

While we are not seeing much financial support come in for our family, we see God’s hand in so many situations, showing us that HE is in control.  HIS plan is far greater than we can see and HIS provisions definitely look different than how we think they should.  So we pray that God would continue to open our eyes to the reality of His goodness while we walk forward.

Sweet Charlotte getting 'butterfly eyes'

Posted by: andwego | March 23, 2010

Enter to win…FREE coffee for a year!

Enter to WIN!

Hello everyone!!!

If you haven’t heard, we are looking for a new name for our company.  We are currently Nueva Esperanza but will be re-launching with our new gourmet blend and brand in a few months.  We need YOUR help!  Please click below to go to our website to submit your idea(s) for our new name.  We are also now accepting online orders!  Check out the current promotion: Buy 2 bags, get 1 free (3 bags for $20).

Buy a bag of coffee.  Give a child a home.

Posted by: andwego | March 15, 2010

The Coffee Co-op

Everything you hear about FairTrade and Organic coffee isn’t a full bag of beans and isn’t quite what you think.  I learned something very important on this recent trip to Nicaragua-if you want to be certified in FairTrade and in Organic coffee you have to be rich.  The truth is that local farmers in countries where coffee is grown are poor.  Only the rich and powerful with their large coffee farms have a hold on the industry…”you have to have money to make money” I think this is how the saying goes.  Most likely, if you are buying Organic and FairTrade coffee you are helping the rich get richer and the poor get poorer!  If you really want to help the struggling farmer get more fair prices, buy Direct coffee, that is, buy from the companies who work directly with small farmers, farmers who struggle just to sell their coffee.  If you really want to make a difference in ethical spending, buy coffee from us…

(This is the true story of the farmers seen above)

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