Making Friends While Making Sandwiches

The English ConnectionGeneral1 Comment

When I was in college at Georgia Tech there was this sandwich shop called Kool Korner just off campus where you could get an authentic Cuban Sandwich. It was made by Cuban refugees who escaped Castro’s regime in the 1970s. The sandwich was listed in many magazines about foods you must try in Atlanta, it was that good! Unfortunately the shop closed down when the land was bought to build the developments at Atlantic Station, but the story doesn’t end there. 

A few years back I was told by a good friend and fellow Georgia Tech alum that Kool Korner had reopened. Not only was it back in business but they relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, where I was living. Oh the joy! It continues to be one of the places I go to often when I am home. The owner, Mr. Rodriguez, turned 94 years old in January and he continues to go to work and season the pork for the sandwiches everyday. 

I have spoken to him many times and usually try to say hello every time I eat there and let him know I was one of the customers from the Georgia Tech days. The last time I was speaking to him he said something to me that I’ll never forget. He was telling me about all the people who have come in who were from Atlanta and used to eat at his little corner shop. He said,  ”While other people were concerned about making money, I was making friends.” Wow. What an attitude to have, make friends instead of making money. 

I like to think that making friends is really what we are all about at English Connection. We have friends all over the world. Many missions organizations exist in order to go somewhere and build something and we do that too; we build the local church and we do that by building relationships. And once you really get to know people you can understand them better. 

When you truly understand someone and their situation you learn things. You learn the struggles they endure, you learn the needs they have, and you learn how you can best help them. Many times the way you think you can help and the way you actually can be helpful are two completely different things. And by building the relationships they way we do, we are able to close this gap and provide relief that actually is beneficial. 

We are always looking for people who are willing to go and work with us in building relationships. Some time our trips may seem like there are not a lot of tangible factors that we can use to measure success, but the value of these trips are never lost. Pray about joining us for one of these projects. We always need team members who are relational. You may not think you have many skills to offer but you can offer yourself, and that is what we need, people who are willing to build relationships because that is the place where real ministry happens. Come and join us and make new friends, build new connections, and encourage others in the work they are doing. This. This is what making friends is all about.

One Comment on “Making Friends While Making Sandwiches”

  1. Thanks, Matt! Apologies for not sending a note sooner! This story reminds me of the wonderful 2016 encouragement travels that you took me on and the many friends it was my privilege to meet in Ukraine, Czech Republic and even Germany. In 2017 Phoenix Roasters, friends of English Connection, brought Rafael and Maria of Guatemala to the USA. It was my honor to spend time with them and learn the lessons of coffee processing! John 15:15

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