WHAT IBAM BRINGS TO CENTRAL ASIA
Jim is a founding member of iBAM and is a trainer and field leader for Central Asia. He’s learned how to give entrepreneurs the tools and resources to bring business as mission to their communities. Here Jim shares what he has witnessed over the years.
Prior to iBAM, I entered Central Asia for evangelism by starting a food processing business. It struggled in the hostile environment, but the strategy proved powerful for outreach. People befriended us and outreach opportunities followed. Then a need for business came — the U.S. Army set up base for operations against the Taliban and wanted to buy everything we made. However, the agency became disenchanted and ended the program.
Frustrated, I returned to the States, but the Lord had a plan. Step by step, He led me into business as mission training. My new employer, a strong believer, received an invitation from the Russian Baptist Union to present business concepts in Moscow. We thought that employment would be of most concern; 20–25 percent of the men leave Central Asia to find work in Russia. The impact on families and church leadership is profound. However, we discovered that they were most excited about the ministry potential. Even to their own culture, traditional mission is suspect, but if one runs a successful business, doors open.
There’s a Russian saying: “The tallest blade of grass gets the sickle.” The culture trains people to do as they’re told and not be proactive. Kingdom business causes a paradigm. One entrepreneur started a construction business. This success inspired him to coordinate a Bible study for his employees. Another started a house remodeling company and then opened a ministry for struggling drug addicts in the community. Two pastors use business to reach remote regions: one is a bakery and the other is a food truck.
Faithfulness to the Lord and His principles brings kingdom entrepreneurs good outcomes through the kingdom businesses they develop with iBAM. As vibrant Christians in the context of business, they provide blessings to family, church, and community. Thanks be to God for this unspeakable gift!