In June 2020, Jan Vogel decided to begin a commercial baking ministry. She soon discovered that she needed the help of God and others to make her dream come true. The ultimate result was Golden Butterfly Bakers, a ministry to the homeless and recovering that operates out of the kitchen at St. John the Divine. We recently met with Jan to hear about her journey and her next steps. (Her testimony has been edited for brevity and clarity.)

God put it on my heart to take several existing baking ministries and consolidate and expand them. I thought "I’ll just go find some commercial kitchen space and get on with it". I figured out pretty quickly that I knew how to bake, but I had no idea what I was doing with any of the other stuff. I had a come-to-Jesus meeting one day and God said, "Stop trying to steer this boat. You don't know where we're going. I will put people in your path at the right time that know what to do and how to help you. You do your part, and I will do my part until I make it your part.”

I started working on a mission statement and core values so I could bring in the recipients, donors, and volunteers that were necessary to make this work. I sent a bunch of stuff to my brother, who is a professional writer, and we got a great mission statement and core values.

I had no idea what was necessary to set up a commercial kitchen, but God put an amazing baker in my path, along with a couple of other people who said, ‘You need to do this, this, and this.’ So I did this, this, and this, and things started to come together. I needed to set up a corporation in order to go nonprofit, so again God put an attorney and an accountant in my path who took care of that side of things.

I was volunteering at LOTS on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and {Will Symmes} told me his church had a great kitchen that no one used. I knew as soon as I walked in the door that this was where God wanted me to be. That was two days before Christmas, so that was an awesome Christmas present! We got approval for our 501(c)(3) from this IRS this summer and we’re in the process of figuring out the whole ‘fundraising thing’.

One of our core values is that we do everything with love. Baking is my way of loving on people, and that’s really what this ministry grew out of. It’s something I can easily do to extend God’s love. We use the absolute best quality ingredients: real chocolate, real vanilla, real butter. People think, ‘Those homeless bums are not going to know the difference’, but they actually will because you really can taste the difference. And more importantly, WE will know the difference. We can’t live with ourselves if we cut corners.

We had our first fundraiser selling pretzels at Oktober on the Boulevard. We have our cookies here at St. John the Divine on Sundays, and we’re currently delivering about 3800 cookies and 200 muffins a week to several homeless and recovery organizations such as Lord of the Streets, The Beacon, The Women’s Home, The Emergency Aid Coalition, 1000 Hills, and The ReCenter.

All along this path, every time I didn’t know what I was doing (which was most of the time), God put someone in my path that knew what to do that could take me to the next step. This is very much a God-driven ministry because I would still be sitting on my couch trying to find commercial kitchen space if I had decided that I knew what I was doing.

Golden Butterfly Bakers will join Higher Ground, The Guild Shop, HTX Sewn Goods, and several other nonprofit organizations at the SJD Holiday Market this Sunday, November 7, from 8 am – 3 pm. They will be taking pre-orders of their delicious cookies for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. All proceeds from the pre-orders will go to the ministry to provide cookies and muffins to organizations that serve the homeless and people in recovery.

Golden Butterfly Bakers also needs volunteers! If you are interested in helping Jan in this ministry, please contact her at janvogel2012@gmail.com.

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