In 2013, Russ Elrod returned to college at 39. The business side of his mind drove him to earn an MBA.
In 2019, the Arab man and his family made a mission trip to Costa Rica. The compassionate side of his heart drove him do that.
Be assured: some amount of coffee was involved in both decisions.
Last year, Russ’ former pastor at Arab First United Methodist Church, Steve West, put him in touch with Wil Bailey, head of Costa Rica Mission Projects.
Russ, his wife, Andrea, and their girls joined Wil and others to help build a school for at-risk children in San Isidro.
While there, the business and compassion sides of Russ combined to puzzle him: “There had to be some way to generate sustainable funding, for not only that project in Costa Rica but also other
mission projects in Latin America.”
The answer was, literally, at hand.
“Coincidently, the two acres Wil bought for the school was part of a former coffee plantation,” Russ says. “It was surrounded by coffee plants. That led to the idea to sell coffee to fund missions.
“The world’s largest coffee-producing region – Latin America – was next to the largest coffee-drinking nation – the U.S.” So they recently formed Manos De Dios (The Hands of God), a volunteer-run non-profit with no overhead. This allows 100 percent of the profits from coffee sales to go towards international mission projects.
The company’s 50-50 profit-sharing program allows churches to sign up for free as affiliates for online sales. Manos De Dios will likewise split profits from church sponsored coffee-sale fundraisers
at Christmas and Easter.
Arab First Baptist and Liberty Church, along with Arab FUMC, are already signed up, and about 15 others are interested, including two in Maryland and North Carolina.
“Our goal,” Russ says, “is to spread God’s message of salvation throughout the world ... one bag of coffee at a time.”
For more information – or to order
coffee – visit: ManosDeDios.com
email Russ at info@ManosDeDios.com
or call him at: 256-572-0352