If You Bake it, They Will Come WWC Student Hears God's Calling
In 2004, while participating in the Walla Walla College (WWC) summer language program in Greece, Steven Binus had a dream. He saw himself in a bakery, pounding dough and telling people about the Bread of Life. A voice said to him, "If you bake it, they will come." He woke up before the sun rose and recorded the vivid dream in his journal.
Upon his return to WWC, Binus began working for the Good Neighbor Adventist Company in Walla Walla and met a man who ran a café called His Garden & Bakery.
The menu at His Garden promotes its health message, providing only vegetarian or vegan menu items, including sandwiches, burritos, soups and salads. It also produces heart-healthy breads, rolls and granolas. Even its desserts are low-to-no-sugar, and usually contain fruit and nuts.
When Binus mentioned to the bakery's owner that he loved the place, the man surprised him by asking if Binus was interested in purchasing it.
At the time, Binus was in the process of moving. While packing, he came across his journal from Greece, and reread his dream. "I started praying, asking God if this was what He wanted," says Binus.
It was. Binus took ownership on July 1, 2005.
While working on His Garden, Binus lived off of practically nothing. Every penny he had went into keeping the café up and running and making small improvements.
"We bought one thing at a time: a fridge, some flooring, a couple of 2x4s. We were making so little money we almost went out of business a couple of times," Binus reflects.
While Binus put in 12- to 16-hour days at His Garden, he also took 23 credits each quarter. He spent his days going to class and baking, and his nights studying.
"I got burnt out," Binus admits. "The fact that I kept going was all God. I didn't know what I was doing, but He did."
And God blessed His Garden. Approximately a year after Binus had taken over the café, he moved into the larger end of the building. The new and improved area boasts more tables, fresh paint, a glass display case for his fresh rolls and more.
Binus' ultimate dream is for His Garden Bakery & Café to become a comfortable place for people to study the Word of God. He envisions vespers programs on Friday nights, Sabbath activities and Bible studies.
Binus will graduate in 2008 with a double major in religion and business and three minors: Biblical languages, history and marketing.
If you visit His Garden Bakery & Café, near the corner of College Avenue and 12th Street, Binus recommends the avocado sandwich, a fresh squeezed glass of carrot apple juice, and a vegan cranberry orange hazelnut cookie.
But God isn't done with His Garden just yet. Binus recently had another dream, as vivid as the first. This time, it wasn't just a bakery, but a complete wellness center. Binus is nervous, but excited. "I love following my dreams," he says with a grin.