Casey is the daughter of Pastor Mike Silliman, care and connections pastor at Grace Community Church in Goshen, Ind. (Jim Brown, lead pastor). About three years ago, the family started the hobby of roasting their own coffee beans. Now, they’ve turned their hobby into a ministry opportunity.
“[My dad] actually started roasting on our grill,” recalls Casey. Once he got the hang of it, she says, he invested in a roaster and started getting serious.
Casey was raised in Chester County, Pa., where the family helped plant Elk Creek Church, a Grace Brethren congregation that eventually merged with another church and the two campuses are now known as Gateway Church (Scott Feather, lead pastor). Three years ago, the Sillimans made the move to Indiana to join the ministry at Grace Community.
“He’s been a pastor there ever since,” she notes.
But coffee isn’t the only collective passion of the Silliman family: Casey also recalls a childhood filled with a passion for ministering through short-term mission trips. She was able to travel with her family to Guatemala and Haiti several times each, participating in helping build houses for impoverished families and visit love-starved children in orphanages. The experience shaped her childhood.
“The experiences shook me,” she notes. “Not only seeing the brokenness and the poverty, but also seeing the immense joy that those people have, joy that I didn’t even have. I feel such a sense of privilege living in America where I can freely worship God whenever I want, wherever I want.”
Once, she even had the privilege of visiting Guatemala with her extended family – including both sets of grandparents – which was an unforgettable experience for her. Casey says her grandparents were also a big part of helping those trips happen financially.
As impactful as short-term missions trips can be on an individual, they often do present a financial stress. The Sillimans wanted to help others be able to experience the same worldview-shifting experiences as they had – so they came up with an idea: why not start a nonprofit business that helped people passionate about missions raise funds for their trip?
And so, Do Right Coffee was born. The organization partners with people interested in overseas missions trips to sell bags of fresh-roasted coffee. For every pound sold through the partnership, 25 percent of the proceeds support the missions trip. Casey oversees the mission engagement, which helps connect people interested in a mission trip to the fundraising opportunities through Do Right. She juggles this role in between the classes, homework, and other stresses that college life usually brings.
It’s a lot of work, but she is excited to see how God grows the ministry in the coming years, and how it has already impacted the lives of those the ministry serves. With coffee and missions alike, passion still drives her and the rest of the Silliman family to seek out the best and offer it to others.
“I love hearing about their mission trips how they were able to learn about different cultures and grow closer to God through that,” she notes. “I feel like God has been so cool throughout, and I would love to see even more people partner with us. I just want to figure out how we can best glorify God through this.”
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.
*photo by Darcy Holsopple Photography