By Kate Berkey - September 21, 2017
Posted in Partnerships, Global Impact, Stories from NMC, Discipleship
Live brave. Dream bravely. Influence bravery. Be Braverly.
When God began to weave a call to missions on Kristy Mikel’s soul during her early college years, the vision for Braverly didn’t exist. Places like Kenya, not Thailand, kept her up at night. Her calling was fuzzy, unclear, vague. Yet, she was armed with a passion for others, to love and care for them. She had a gift to make people feel valued and respected in the deepest ways. It was the very beat of her heart, the very core of who she was. As she followed Jesus’ calling, she found herself armed only with these passions and an ounce of bravery.
After years of following Jesus step by step, Kristy traded her role in ministry at NMC to join the ministry of former NMCer Kayla Koontz and Outpour Movement in Mae Sot, Thailand. It wasn’t necessarily the country she thought God was going to call her to, but her excitement and joy in following His footsteps was enough to give her the faith to pursue where He was leading.
Now one year later, Kristy loves her home, her country, and her job. Kayla and she have started Braverly, trained Burmese refugees and migrant workers how to run the day-to-day operation of this café, and poured their hearts into relationships with others. They have lived brave, dreamed bravely, influenced bravery. They have been Braverly.
“My days in Mae Sot never look the same. That’s part of the joy and sometimes frustration of the mission field, but every day comes back to Braverly’s slogan. As I ask Braverly’s employees to live brave, dream bravely, influence bravery, be Braverly, I have to lead the way. So while I never quite know what I will do with my day, I try to live each with bravery,” Kristy explained.
This phrase is more than catchy words strung together, more than a memorable memento. It’s a calling, one that the Braverly staff takes seriously. Braverly is more than a café and bike rental shop. It’s a place that provides a safe space for people to come and be, whether these people are customers or employees. It’s a place that exists to empower women with the skills and tools they need to see their own dreams become reality. It’s a place that seeks to equip and disciple others, showing the love and grace of Jesus. Braverly is more than a shop. It’s the embodiment of a calling.
Certainly Kristy didn’t fully understand what she was getting herself into when she moved to Thailand. She walked by faith and courage and became co-director of a business—something she knew very little about. Every day brings a new opportunity to depend fully on the Lord, and it’s through this dependence that she and her team have begun to see transformation.
When she moved to Mae Sot a year ago, the Braverly team was just beginning to form. The shop was still under construction and relationships were beginning to form among Kristy, Kayla, and their Burmese employees. One of Braverly’s managers, Paw Wah, found herself excited yet unsure of her skills.
“Before Bravely began, Paw Wah was shy and timid and lacked self-confidence in business. Over the past year, I have watched her get married and have a baby,” Kristy explained. Tears filling her eyes, she continued, “And now I see a glow in her face, not because she is married and has a baby, but because she recognizes that she is building an incredible life for her family through her work at Braverly.”
Opportunities to build this kind of life aren’t afforded to most women in Thailand and Burma. Through employment and training at Bravely, Paw Wah’s life has been transformed. Through this café, God has called her to live brave, dream bravely, influence bravery, be Braverly, and Kristy finds herself grateful to be part of Paw Wah’s story.
God is doing incredible things in and through the Outpour team. Although this past year has been difficult—full of new everything—Kristy wouldn’t trade it for the world. She has seen God move and lead in miraculous ways and has experienced the transformation of a totally surrendered life lived with bravery.
How can you come alongside Kristy, Braverly, and Outpour Movement?
- Pray: In Kristy’s words, “I have seen the incredible power of prayer to do what we could never do ourselves. So tell people to pray, pray, pray.” Never underestimate the immense value of prayer. Pray for discernment as Outpour seeks to follow God’s will for their organization. Pray that Kristy and her team wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the immense amount of needs in their community. Pray that they would remain focused on who and where God has called them.
- Work Permits: Because Outpour Movement is now recognized as a foundation in Thailand, all of their missionaries and Burmese employees need to obtain work permits. These work permits will allow them to live in Thailand legally and for longer amounts of time before having to renew their visas. However, work permits are not cheap. Between government and legal fees, each work permit costs $2,000. Braverly staff alone is made up of seven people, so the expenses add up quickly. What if you were extravagantly generous to Kristy and her team? To give toward these work permits, please click here and mark your gift as “Kristy Mikel.”
- Braverly on Wheels: Bicycles are a main mode of transportation in Mae Sot. However, it’s very difficult to purchase supplies and transport them to Braverly on bicycle or motor bike. Currently, Braverly is raising $18,000 to cover the cost of a truck. Having a truck will allow Braverly to be more effective and have a greater reach in their community. They will then be able to allocate their time and resources more efficiently. What if you helped get Braverly on wheels? Learn more and get Braverly on wheels here.
- Be Braverly: Braverly’s slogan isn’t just for the Outpour team in Thailand. We each have a calling in our lives to live brave, dream bravely, and influence bravery. What does this look like in your own life? How can you be Braverly?