What should we do? I have been searching for work for months, but have found nothing. This job in Moscow will pay twice as much as the best job I can find here. Yes, but what of our ministry here? Yes, but what of our children’s future…?
The above exemplifies the many hard choices the faithful servants of Christ face in Central Asia. In Central Asia, up to 30% of the male working population needs to leave the country, often for several months at a time, in order to find work. The negative impact on the church and families is immense.
A wonderful story of how small business can empower is that of Khusand. He lives in the Pamirs, the mountain range that begins the no-man’s land in Afghanistan and Pakistan – yes, the place where Bin Laden hid for years. Khusand, a former heroin addict, came to faith at a Christian rehabilitation center. Today, he is the regional pastor of several house churches in the Pamirs. After working diligently through our three-phase program, Khusand graduated and received a loan of $5,900 to expand his baked goods business. Through this business, he and the young ministers under his mentorship are enabled to live and minister to the Pamirs, a region that is very much unreached.
Why small business training? Of course, there is the clear and repeated admonition to care for the poor and to do good works, especially to the household of faith. There is the oft mighty refrain of the prophets calling for social justice. There is the evident power of small business to facilitate ministry in creative access nations. However, the most profound justification arises from II Corinthians 9:12-15 coupled with John 17:21. Paul testifies to the powerful impact of the Corinthians’ gift to the glory of God – “This service not only supplies the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God…Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” Now, consider how similar the church in New Testament Jerusalem is to the church in creative access nations. Both are persecuted and harassed. From inspired scripture, this gift of a “fish”, that simply provided physical sustenance, greatly pleased God. How much more a ministry that teaches not only how to provide physical sustenance, but also how to use their small business to further ministry? Moreover, according to John, through such gifts, not only are the saints blessed, but the most powerful evangelism occurs, for Jesus said, “That the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
In Central Asia, we have an opportunity to…empower many in this same way.
- Pastor Ayube and his food truck business. He brings much need supplies to remote rural communities without stores, thus affording him fantastic opportunities to also bring the Gospel to those who have not heard.
- Horshed, a master mechanic, but even more important, a lay-leader of evangelistic bible studies, will be opening his own auto service shop.
- Danyar, a gifted lay evangelist, will be expanding his current brick production business.
- Pastor Mergan, a true scholar, but often shackled due to the need for basic income, will be starting a windshield repair business, providing income and schedule flexibility.
- D, a 58 year-old woman, a muslim-background believer, visioned a quail farm for producing fresh, daily eggs for market and restaurants. After our training, she is successfully, profitably operating this business.
All of these are strong examples of how small business can be a blessing to believers in harsh circumstances and a catalyst to ministry.