BROOKSVILLE — The story of the ministry begun and perpetuated by John and Lisa Callea, owners of the Rising Sun Cafe, is being told to the world, thanks to a Denver businessman and author.
Last week, Mike Wolff released a video on YouTube titled The Fellowship of the Marketplace: The Fulfillment of a Prophecy.
"It shows what God can do with two regular people who dedicate their lives and business to a passionate pursuit of Jesus in their community," said, Wolff, 58.
Wolff first heard about the ministry based at the Rising Sun in an email written by John Callea in 2009. The real estate executive had met Callea several years before, when Wolff was teaching a men's Bible study in Colorado, which Callea, as a recent convert to Christianity, had attended.
Wolff went on to launch and direct two ministries: Reconnections Ministries and the Carpenter's Helpers. In the meantime, Callea moved to Florida, served as a missionary with the Christian Contractors Association and married Lisa.
Disillusioned by his experiences as a lay minister within the traditional church, Wolff had been praying to find the kind of ministry Callea described, where Christians lived out their faith in their day-to-day activities, not just within church walls.
Wolff knew Callea to be a humble man, so when Callea wrote that God's blessings were being poured out on them daily, Wolff decided to fly to Brooksville to see for himself.
Wolff was excited to see people at the cafe living out what he believed the "church" was meant to be — people imitating Christ in their daily activities and working as one in discipling others to do the same.
He watched as the owners and staff ministered to their patrons, seeking to meet their physical and spiritual needs. The experience drew Wolff back to the cafe the following year, and the next.
Over the three years, Wolff learned that thousands of people had been fed and clothed by the Love Your Neighbor and Donation Station ministries, begun by the Calleas in 2007. Their Downtown Brooksville Farmers Market, begun in 2008, provided the means for people to sell their wares and for folks without a lot of money to buy them in a family-friendly environment. Volunteers built wheelchair ramps for people and fixed their cars. As needs were discovered, volunteers were found to meet them. Ministries from other counties joined in to help.
Wolff felt God was leading him to share what he had found by documenting it.
The Fellowship of the Marketplace: The Fulfillment of a Prophecy is about 45 minutes long. A six-minute trailer, In Search of God's Remnant: The Journey Begins, explains why Wolff made the full-length video.
Those appearing in the film include the Calleas; Rising Sun staff members Joyce Holloway and Joey Chapasko and assistant manager Cheyene Sellers; former staff member Hope Miranda; Debbie Hicks, ministry volunteer, and Joe Cantone, prayer minister; Gerald Debellefeville, manager of the Donation Station; John Stramiello, founder of Behind the Stone Ministries in Spring Hill; Harry Tornetta, John 3:16 roadside ministry; Eric Kessel, owner of Kesseltech Computer Services in Brooksville; Pastor Mark Sheldon of the Point in Brooksville; Dan Kolb, founder of ACTS Resource Center in Hudson, and Lucy Avila, founder of Love One Another Ministry in Dade City.
The prophecy mentioned in the title was made by John Callea in 2001. It reads: "Children stop bickering. The church is broken. It has become a business and forgotten me. I will build my church in the marketplace."
Callea believes the prophecy was given to him by God and that he is seeing its fulfillment in his own establishment.
"I used to sit in the front of the cafe (with my daughter) and watch the people walk in and watch their jaw drop," Callea says in the video. "They'd go, 'I don't know what led me here, but wow, there's something different here,' because they're feeling the presence of God."
A passer-by might stop by cafe for a bite of lunch, he said, and find patrons being prayed over for healing. Another time they might find a group gathered in the center of the cafe for a Bible study.
Former Rising Sun employee Hope Miranda commented about working at the cafe.
"The environment, I can't even explain it unless you're in it," she told Wolff. "I don't call it a job. I call it a joy."
Last November, about 50 supporters and participants gathered at the cafe to view a screening of the nearly completed video project. Tears were shed, and at the end there was generous applause.
Cantone was pleased with the video and said he found it to be professionally done.
"What went through my mind (as I watched it) is that it is a shame all the stories can't be told," Cantone lamented. "The bodies healed, the lives changed, the Gospel preached. This is just the tip of the iceberg."
Wolff said the video is just the beginning. He hopes people will watch it and then contact him about their own group.
"These videos were done to show people there is reason to hope that Jesus is still alive and well in his church," Wolff said. "My hope is that people, and especially pastors, will take a dual-purpose vacation to Brooksville to experience for themselves this modern-day miracle, to experience the same hope I found."