As the aroma of coffee grounds fills the air at thePerk, a student barista dreams of her future.

Photo by Shelby Wannemuehler


A leather jacket-wearing, tattooed barista steams up caffeinated beverages on a typical Monday morning at thePerk.

What most people do not know about this barista is her passion and determination to open a coffee shop of her own one day and the wild story behind her zeal.

Anna Hughes, senior marketing major at Missouri Baptist University, can be found on campus in thePerk, finishing homework, working behind the counter or reading God’s Word while sipping a handmade beverage.

Hughes is more than just a typical college student simply working in a coffee shop because she aspires to change lives for the glory of God through her love of caffeine.

Hughes’ original plan included something else.

That plan consisted of a large public college in Columbia, Missouri.

“Whenever I was in high school, I had all these plans to be a journalist, and I wanted to go to Mizzou and be a hot shot. I wanted to be Andy Anderson from ‘How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days,’ and I had that all planned out,” said Hughes.

“I was a junior, and I had been accepted as a direct entry into their program and I had all these scholarships. I had this big plan, but I just didn’t have any peace about it with the Lord. I was wrestling with it,” said Hughes. “The Lord was like, ‘Anna, you probably shouldn’t do this.’”

The Lord was beginning to prepare Hughes’ heart for a drastic change in the direction of her future.

“I was talking with my discipler at the time, she was a great woman of God. I was talking to her about how I did not have any peace with it, and she said, ‘What do you really really want to do if you could do anything in the world?’ and I said, ‘Well, I would open a coffee shop. That would be really fun.’ And she said, ‘Well, why don’t you do that?’ Then I said, ‘That’s crazy. I can’t do that.’ And she said, ‘Yes you can. Sometimes God calls you to do crazy things. It doesn’t have to be safe. It doesn’t have to be practical. It can be uncomfortable, Anna,’” Hughes recalled.

The Lord began preparing a way for Hughes to follow her dream.

“I started looking around at different business programs and different schools I might be interested in. Missouri Baptist kinda came onto my radar and God provided great opportunities and opened great doors,” Hughes said. “So, now I am here getting a business degree to kinda learn my way around that system to learn how to manage and finance.”

A hope-filled Hughes described the coffee shop she one day aspires to own and operate.

“I have a dream of a coffee shop that will be a place where people feel comfortable. Where people can come sit and talk to me and I can, ultimately, share the Gospel with them and have great relationships with them that lead to souls won for the Kingdom of God,” said Hughes.

Hughes’ passion for coffee shops runs far deeper than mere caffeine.

“The Gospel is what is driving what I want to do. Cool music and cool decorations and things like that are awesome, but the Gospel is what I want to be central and the main focus,” said Hughes.

Though a coffee shop will undoubtedly be in the future for Hughes, the location is something that is left up in the air.

“This is what I want to do, wherever God calls me. Whether it is overseas or whether it is in St. Louis or whether it is in the middle of a podunk town in the middle of nowhere, I want to share the Gospel. Fill that blank in, I don’t care,” said Hughes.

Hughes’ decision ultimately came down to her calling over the practicality of it all.

“I’m just thinking about the long term when I’m 35 and I’m sitting in my coffee shop and I’m sharing the Gospel with somebody and I’m not sitting in New York somewhere in a skyscraper publishing something. I’m thinking about which one I want. I want the Gospel more,” said Hughes.

Now, when observing Hughes preparing a coffee, one can know it is more than just a hobby.

It is her passion.

It is her dream.

It is her future.

By Shelby Wannemuehler

Shelby Wannemuehler is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. A public relations major with a minor in journalism, Wannemuehler enjoys working as an intern for a local advertising agency. Wannemuehler plans to continue pursuing a career in the advertising industry after graduation.