Tuesday, November 21, 2006


What you're looking at, and what I desperately wish I had sitting in front of me as I type this, is a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.

The scene was last Saturday morning, the 18th, on the terrace of the Sandhurst Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. Neal & Debbie Blackwelder and Peg & I had gone there to take part in the dedication ceremony of the Red Hills Baptist Church's new Red Hills Community Service and Outreach Centre. They'd been working on building the facility continuously, as God has given them the means, since 1992. We had our first mission trip there that year and laid some block for them. Our last trip (of five total) was about 4 years ago if memory serves me correctly.

The Sandhurst serves breakfast on the terrace, overlooking the pool, and their French Toast is killer-good. I normally have Calaloo, a sort of fried greens dish, or liver; they took 30 minutes to fix, so we had French Toast.

And coffee. Somehow that doesn't look right. One should always refer to their coffee as Coffee. They make it in a kettle and it is very very strong but without a hint of bitterness. It is simply delicious. And I've had coffee in a number of countries and some famous restaurants that were as proud of their coffee as the SBC seems to be of their numbers. Nothing else, anywhere else, even comes close.

Not even in the same league. (Note to Kevin Bussey: Eat your heart out).

After we'd emptied the second pot, I took my napkin and wiped out the cup. All the liquid was gone, and the bottom picture is what came out of the cup and onto my napkin.

Yup ... when the coffee's that good, it leaves marks that'll be there until something takes them away.

Believers are supposed to be like that, you know. When we're living for our Savior, we should be leaving marks. Oh, we're not supposed to try to do that; when you try to "make your mark", that's exactly what it'll look like. And that leaves nothing behind, other than maybe a bad taste. But when the Holy Ghost is working through us, those who come behind us will know Jesus has been there. And if we want Him to work through us, we're going to have to drink our fill, and then ask Him to escort us on in, to where His work is.

Despite the trip to end all trips to get there last Thursday (Have YOU ever missed THREE FLIGHTS in ONE AIRPORT in ONE DAY?), we wouldn't take anything for the experience. And the great thrill of it was seeing the marks that God had left, through us, in that place.

I hope the flavor of our presence for my beloved Jamaicans at Red Hills was as sweet as the taste they've left with me. There aren't enough napkins in all the world to clean that out of my soul.


At 10:51 AM, November 22, 2006, Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

I am jealous.

At 3:41 PM, November 22, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Maybe we can figure a way to get you to Jamaica some day. Until then, I brought a couple small bags of beans back and I'll be letting you know how it is as we drink it.

Cup by cup.

At 6:31 PM, November 22, 2006, Anonymous Lee said...

I've never been to Jamaica, but, considering the climate, I'm not sure I could drink a cup of coffee down there. I'm fortunate that I pass three Starbucks on my way to work each day, but in the summer I have to crank the air down really low and stop at the first one to avoid sweating by the time I get to the office.

Have you ever been to Switzerland? That's the best coffee I've ever had, at the cafe across the street from Globus on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.

At 7:07 PM, November 22, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Never been to Switzerland but I'd bet the place is on the road to the Railroad Station. And I guess the atmosphere goes with the Coffee at the Sandhurst anyway. Zurich sounds too refined and polished, whereas Jamaica is very .. shall we say .. primitive, and everything is approximate.

We've been in the country 11 times so you can guess what we're like, ourselves.

At 7:51 AM, November 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post Bob. Wonderful analogy.I too am jealous. Count me among the "lover of coffee" drinkers. We just got a Starbucks here in Enid and I have yet to go there. :) I am very picky about my coffee. I can't even drink it at someone else's house as usually you can see the bottom of the cup it's so weak. :)

At 8:08 AM, November 23, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Thanks, Debbie. You're my kind of guy.



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