United States

When Nicole and Victor Broushet opened an urban center of influence, The Vegan Nest Café, in Worcester, Massachusetts, United States, it was just the two of them bringing Christ to the community by serving tasty, healthy food; providing health education; and meeting people’s needs. Four years later, they opened a second location in Clinton, Massachusetts, multiplying their services by training their staff to carry out the ministry.

Managing two cafés and responding to all the ministry opportunities they generate keep Nicole and Victor busy. But their capacity to serve continues to grow because they have collaborated with area Seventh-day Adventist churches, a local public school, and other community stakeholders. The waves of Christ’s influence are rippling out beyond the walls of the cafés, touching communities outside their reach.

After opening their second location in Clinton, Nicole started scanning local news and publications for ways that The Vegan Nest could serve the community. She read an article about Clinton that appealed for businesses and organizations to support efforts to help the community. She thought Glō Mom be might the answer. Glō Mom is The Vegan Nest’s ministry that invites local businesses to donate items for babies and then distributes them at baby shower gatherings for new moms in underserved communities. Nicole called the phone number in the article, and the family outreach coordinator for the Clinton public schools who had written the article was pleased with Nicole’s proposition and offered to work with her. 

Because of the pandemic restrictions, Nicole planned an outdoor, drive-by Glō Mom baby shower at a school. The local Seventh-day Adventist church helped prepare baskets of baby items, healthy snacks, and birthing support information in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. All the translations were provided by the family outreach coordinator. Marisol Gracia, a bilingual church member who offers free doula* services as a ministry, shared her contact information. 

But The Vegan Nest didn’t stop there. They decided to use their café in Worcester as another location for a drive-by baby shower. Two other Adventist churches in Massachusetts also agreed to host a baby shower on the same day. 

Nicole Broushet (fourth from left), Marisol Gracia (far left), and volunteers from the Redemption Community Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, at the Worcester location drive-by community baby shower 
Baby shower baskets waiting for pickup by needy community members in Worcester
The Attleboro, Massachusetts, Seventh-day Adventist Church invites the community to the Glō Mom drive-by baby shower

Because The Vegan Nest had established a friendship with the radio station adjacent to the café’s location in Worcester, the waves of Christ’s influence spread even farther. The radio station advertised the free event and promoted all the baby shower locations, even providing live streaming updates throughout the day. If someone couldn’t drive by to pick up a basket, they could call in or send a message to request a delivery.

The director of a pregnancy resource center heard about the baby shower and shared the information with a 17-year-old girl who had recently emigrated from Ecuador and spoke no English. She was pregnant, living in a homeless shelter, and about to give birth any day. Marisol, the doula, connected with her and supported her through the birth. When the newborn baby suddenly went limp, she lifted her hands and prayed over the baby and the attending nurses. By the grace of God, the baby revived. Both Nicole and Marisol visited the young mother afterward, bringing nourishing food, postpartum support, and the love of Jesus.

A young couple in Worcester also heard about the free doula services during the baby shower and wanted Marisol to assist them as a midwife delivered their baby at home. Marisol developed a relationship with the mother before the birth. When she arrived at the home to assist the mother, she found that the family had erected a shrine to a fertility god. She could sense a spiritual battle erupting and started to pray. It was a difficult birth. The midwife became agitated, and tragically, the baby died. Marisol accompanied the mother to the hospital and convinced her to receive care. Through all the trauma, the couple appreciated Marisol’s prayers and support and recognized that she was connected to a source of comfort and hope.

Since the woman came home from the hospital, she has contacted The Vegan Nest Café at least once a week. She and her husband visit the café regularly and want to volunteer so they can learn more from Nicole and Victor. “I don’t think this is the end of the story,” Nicole said. She senses that God has a plan for this young couple.

“What we’re seeing from these partnerships between the church, the center of influence, and these community stakeholders [is the opportunity] to build authentic relationships with people,” Nicole said. “We’re becoming so deeply ingrained in their lives that we’re able to share Jesus in a really practical way.”

Urban Centers of Influence 

Global Mission supports a wholistic mission to the cities through the ministry of dozens of urban centers of influence (UCIs). UCIs follow Christ’s method of ministry to meet people’s needs and start new groups of believers. To learn more, visit missiontothecities.org/urban-centers-of-influence.

Please support urban centers of influence
(Fund # 9730) by scanning this QR code or visiting Global-Mission.org/giving.

Sandra Dombrowski Sandra Dombrowski is a freelance writer living in Connecticut, United States. She helps prepare church members to participate in sustainable health evangelism to cities of the northeastern part of the country.