“I asked if they wanted to speak English and they said yes.
I skipped church the next morning, went to my office, and got a white board
and showed up as the new english teacher.”
Apart from being a full time Apple evangelist and lover of everything Asia, Daniel is passionate about investing in indigenous leaders globally. He is a passionate communicator that loves seeing the light come on when people finally realize they have a part to play in transforming the world. His adventure of faith has lead him down many roads that have included youth and inner city outreach, starting a business, to living in Asia leading a missions training organization. As a former drug addict and drug dealer Daniel is simply another point of proof that God takes nothing and creates something out of it. Just another walking bag of dirt sustained by the breath of God.
Recently we reached out to Daniel Ross, Pastor at Newsong Church Bangkok, to hear what is going on in his life.
Share about the family that inspired Lit Coffee.
I was hanging out with some Muslim friends I had met from Bangladesh. Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries on the planet. We would normally sit around at night and drink coffee, share stories, and debate our different religious beliefs. (especially when it came to Jesus) One night I asked my Hindu friend Dinesh “Where do you live?” He pointed across the street at a small building I walked by every single day and had never noticed.
I said, “I want to see where you live. Will you take me there?” So he took me to his small 8 foot by 8 foot room that he rents. It only had a small pad for a bed but he had a piano. He sat down at the piano and began to play and in Bangla he sang the saddest song I had ever heard. Afterwards I asked him, “Why do you sing such sad songs?” I do not remember his answer but I do know he began to tell me about a family that lived in the small room next to him.
So we went to visit this family. There was a father and three young children. I asked them to share their story with me. Through two different translators and two languages they told me that they are from the Rohingya people group. They are a stateless people that do not belong to Bangladesh or Burma. They have no rights. No legal status and so they are taken advantage of.
One day the father decided to flee his country because certain groups were trying to kill off the Rohingya people. He boarded a train with his wife and five children and the train ended up crashing. In the confusion and the wreckage, the youngest daughter was lost and it was reported that someone stole her and the mother was killed.
This father continued on the journey and ended up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His oldest son was old enough to take care of himself but he was left with the three younger ones. Two boys and one girl.
They had applied to the UN and they told me they were going to America. In my mind I thought, “Yeah right” because everyone says they are going or want to go to America. But then I thought… “If they are really going there, they are in trouble. They cannot speak english or read and write”
I asked if they wanted to speak English and they said yes. I skipped church the next morning, went to my office, and got a white board and showed up as the new english teacher. I had no idea what I was doing but I taught them their ABC’s and found a Montessori school that would take them in. There they got a proper education and preparation before they were placed in Salt Lake City, Utah.
How has the process of launching of Lit changed you?
Due to lack of sleep during the planning and launch of this company I have changed a lot. I have been dreaming of this for over two years and the dream is finally a reality. I have changed a lot as I realize how much work and investment it takes to create a company that has a double bottom line in that we want to make a profit but we do so because we want to change people’s lives. Recently I got an email that one of our major donors had to pull out of providing the funding for our main safe house that has five families living in it. This was all the confirmation I needed to keep going. We want to create a business that provides a great product but also offers families a chance not to be evicted. That is why we launched with our House Blend as that is our most urgent need. Safe housing for refugee families at risk.
What do you see God doing today?
I see the spiritual landscape changing. The harvest is growing and I see followers of Jesus from various backgrounds, beliefs, and even denominations coming together to join God in the restoration of the world. We may not agree on everything but the one thing we do agree on is that Jesus is alive and wants to restore this broken world. The harvest has grown to such a height that it is difficult to see the fences that once divided us.
When I first moved to Bangkok, I visited the Immigration Detention Center because of an organization that Newsong Bangkok was sponsoring called In Search of Sanuk. I found out there were two fathers inside that had large families on the outside. One father had five girls. The only reason they were locked up was because they were refugees seeking help from the UN. This broke my heart. From that point my involvement escalated and it has been a crazy ride over the past few years. We realized very quickly that just giving money for rent and food every month was not enough. We needed to do something that was sustainable. We have developed an urban aquaponics system that we plan to put into each of the three houses we have started as a food source for the urban poor. We also started Lit Coffee as a way to get people who are already buying coffee to simply make the switch to Lit in order to light up someone else’s life.
He loves to connect with people from all cultures and walks of life and is comfortable in all environments, from boardrooms to refugee camps. He believes we all have something to offer each other and that we only learn certain things about ourselves, others, and God in the context of community.
Daniel is married to the love of his life Shannon and they reside in Bangkok, Thailand..
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