Every quarter, our implementing partners send us reports of the work that has gone on relating to Discipling Marketplace Leaders in their specific region or country. Some of those numbers tell us that in the first half of 2019, more than 1100 pastors in eight countries were taken through the DML workshop and more than 500 businesses were trained to do their work as an act of worship, as well as other basic business skills.
Included in the report that we receive quarterly is a testimony or two from either a church pastor or a businessperson about how this ministry is impacting their life.
I would like to share two stories with you this week: one from Uganda and one from Ethiopia.
From Uganda, this story comes from Pastor Henry Obondo:
After the Business as Mission class taught at the Africa Theological Seminary in Tororo, Pastor
Henry organized a training in his church (Divine Destiny Church). According to Pastor Henry, learning that Jesus was a businessman and that work was a holy calling had a great impact on the church. The congregation had a change of perspective and are now challenging themselves to invite God in their daily routines, as well as carrying out their work in a godly way.
Pastor Henry recounts the story of a widow in his church who used to beg for money to take care of her children. After learning that work is a good and holy thing, she became more committed and zealous in her business, selling traditional pots, because she saw it as partnering with God. Today she can buy school supplies for her children and is in a better position to even financially support the work of God in her church.
Another testimony from this church relates to two women, whose husbands were drunks. These women had quit their jobs because of criticisms that the work they were doing was “carnal” rather than serving God. After attending the DML training, these women took back their jobs selling “silverfish.” Today they are sharing the gospel at their jobs, supporting their families without stress and they are even able to contribute to the church.
Pastor Henry also expressed his excitement at the way DML is empowering his members. He testified of how he had always given money to his church members for business investment, but they just kept experiencing losses. Now, with the training DML is providing, these members are being empowered to do business profitably, for the glory of God.
Taju Lila is a businessman who lives in a town called Mizan Tepi, which is about 700 km from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. He is one of the DML trainers in that town. He has given this testimony:
“Before this DML training, I had been providing services to many people daily. And because my business was in the capital city of that administrative zone, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people. At first, I had more customers than any other businessperson in that area. But the way I handled fellow Christians and people with good behavior versus the way I dealt with others, was completely different. I did favors for the people I loved and ignored those I did not love.
“My competitor was a Muslim merchant whose shop was close to mine. He did not have as much capital as me, and when he started he had very few customers. But he treated all of his customers with great courtesy and always had a smile for them. After five years, his business had grown five times bigger than my own. Today he is a wealthy and well-respected businessman in the city. In the meantime, my business was declining.
“When I began taking the DML training, I began to compare myself to that Muslim man. All of a sudden, I realized that my problem was in customer handling. My weak customer service approach made me unsuccessful in business. People even told me that I used to discriminate between Christian and non-Christian customers. Of course, I didn’t consider myself a servant of all customers. But after attending this training, my attitude on customer relations was absolutely challenged and changed. I started to see every customer with a different perspective – as equal and deserving of the same excellent service. This has made me competent, successful, and created an opportunity to meet many customers and share Christ with them. Also, this training helped me to teach, challenge, and help other Christian businesspeople to have better business practices. I am grateful to God for DML and I want to thank God for providing me with this golden chance.”
Our goal is that we do our work as unto the Lord, with the purpose of helping people flourish – all people, not just the ones we like. I love that this businessperson caught on to that and is realizing the fruit of “loving his neighbor” in terms of being able to build relationships and share his faith. May we all do our work as an act of worship this week and help people to flourish wherever we serve!
In all I do this day,
In all I think and say
Father, be with me all the way.
In all my work and all my deeds,
In all I learn,
In all my needs,
Christ, go before me,
The One who leads.
In all my work as I do my best,
In all that puts me to the test,
Spirit, help, and grant me rest.
(David Adam, “Power Lines”)