Recently, I took a trip to see friends in another country. On entering the country, the entry checkpoint questions were a bit more stringent than ever before. As a governmental agent myself, I realize they are just doing what they’re told, but it did seem they were looking for something or questioning my motives. My answers were very true; I had returned to visit friends, tour the surrounding cities, and observe the cultures… All this with intentional motives to encourage others.
A long time friend had invited me on the trip and had planned our activities; we ate well, we always do. My host knows me well. It seems taking nourishment and drinking tea or coffee are the vehicles by which we get things accomplished. I met some new friends and saw some of the familiar ones, and we ate with each one of them. I am often asked what I do when I travel, and the answer is quite similar to what I do while I am home… intentionally meet people for conversation, listen to their stories, and encourage their heart as they accomplish their dreams. Good meals seem to inspire good conversation. And yes, walking around the block or up the stairs helps extend the time as we burn off the extra calories.
As we visited our local friends, this trip was revealing a new idea, at least new to me… business led charities. It seems many people are creating a business concept that propagates a humanitarian mission. In many countries, the rules to run a charity are quite different, with many regulations and government oversight. But businesses can operate fairly freely as long as the taxes are paid and regulations are followed. The business supports the administrative costs needed for the charity. It seems to be a two-sided coin similar to that of a bi-vocational pastor.
One business I met, is a commercial kitchen, employing a team of underprivileged young people, another business is a subsidiary of a global company, employing local residents to accomplish the work of the larger entity, and a third group utilizes a small local team and recent technology to develop web-sites. In these cases, and others, there is a traditional avenue to receive funds from world-wide donors for the intentional, yet more sensitive side of the operation, while creating a sustainable business opportunity in the local market place.
I am quite encouraged to learn new techniques and to see the heart of our Father being revealed to many. I was reminded of Paul’s tent-making techniques and his words to Archippus… Do your best to fulfill your ministry… Clearly, this idea has been around awhile.
What is your style?