Marketing Manager

South East Asia / Business / 12-23 months / Job ID: 1215

Located in a poor area of the city, the organisation endeavours to assist young men to stay in school while they learn life skills. Funds are raised for this by selling fair trade t-shirts printed with social and ecological justice issues. Youths earn a living while working flexible hours so that they can complete school. Shirts are sold locally and in many countries throughout the world.

Staff currently include young men who live in the urban poor communities of the capital. An estimated 40% of boys in these communities end up with drug habits as a response to the violence and destitution of their homes and neighbourhoods. This business offers opportunities for a change of direction and for new life. It needs a person with business acumen to take the company to the next level of profit, so it can increase the number of youths helped.

We are looking for an Expat Marketing Manager to take sales to a new level and implement sustainable sales channels for the future. The successful applicant would have a relevant Sales or Marketing degree, with a minimum 2 years’ work experience plus retail/fashion experience, POS production and photoshop skills, and would be savvy with social media. Sensitivity and compassion are also necessary.

Business Development Manager

South East Asia / Business / 12-23 months / Job ID: 1500

The goals of this organisation include supporting projects and initiatives in this country to enable children’s access to education, supporting basic healthcare needs, empowering communities, and promoting sustainable livelihoods. This is an Australian-registered charity.

The purpose of this volunteer position is, through critical analysis of the business structure and operations, to develop, plan and implement a business strategy that supports the increased growth and expansion of the organisation, with a focus on quality and the ongoing financial support.

Applicants should be qualified in business management or related area, with at least 3 years’ experience. Experience working in cross-cultural contexts and successful financial management experience are also needed.

Entrepreneur

South East Asia / Business / 2+ years / Job ID: 885

The growing economy of this country offers many opportunities for business. Many small businesses have been started in recent years.

There are opportunities for starting your own business or coming alongside local business people who need help. A suitable candidate would support local believers and churches in developing a business mindset and showing them how to be salt and light in the marketplace by being an example in your own business as well as providing business mentoring.

The qualified individual would have an entrepreneurial attitude and some management/finance/sales experience along with a willingness and creativity to develop their own role.

Entrepreneurs

West Asia / Business / 2+ years / Job ID: 557

There is scope in this country for creative and experienced entrepreneurs. While it’s not an easy place to do business, it can be profitable and the spiritual impact can be significant. With patience, investigation and consultation with those available on the ground, the local economy and needs can be understood.

A relatively high capital investment is required. The best approach is to begin with a job working for a local company, for example, as an international marketing manager or specialist. Local companies are eager to improve their exports. BAM requires a serious, long-term commitment.

All the typical characteristics of entrepreneurs are needed, plus grace to operate in a cross-cultural setting.

Cafe Manager

Central Asia / Business / 1-11 months, 12-23 months / Job ID: 750

This organisation provides a range of educational and social services to the community. It has a large ESL school with over 150 students, and the teaching staff is made up of both locals and expats. Beside the school they have recently opened a new cafe for students and staff.

The job involves managing a cafe for students and training staff. A desire to work with young people is important, and a willingness to teach English to students would also be helpful.

The ideal applicant will have qualifications in management studies and relevant work experience. Some overseas experience and ability to work well in a team environment would be ideal.

The spirit in the room

Courage is highly esteemed in the Middle East, but underlying that, and rarely talked about, is extreme fear about the spirit world, particularly within folk Islam. Muslims and Christians alike recognise that unseen spiritual forces of the heavenly realms are constantly at work. Every now and then, however, we see the beautiful fruit of new believers who are freed from fear.

The staff of our community centre organised an art competition for young people. They did not advertise it widely for fear that some extreme groups, who deem any form of creative expression ‘haram’ (forbidden), would take offence. As a family, we attended the official opening, which was held in an unused part of the community centre. In an impressive outpouring of creativity, 50 young people displayed their artistic flair.

It was only when we showed our staff a blurry family photo taken at the exhibition that we learned about ‘Anji’, believed to be the resident evil spirit. One of my employees, Indigo, was particularly attuned to the ‘unseen’ and very fearful of the spirits she believed followed her every move. This led to a most unusual management/ministry issue that I was not prepared for. Soon almost all our local staff believed there was an evil spirit in that area.

Both Indigo and her colleague Harriet claimed to have heard the spirit’s name and seen her face in dreams. Indigo flatly refused to enter the room and when Harriet did she placed her holy book on the table next to her for protection. This fear of Anji became a growing problem but it led to opportunities for us to share openly with staff about the One who has power over evil spirits.

At one of our weekly staff lunches, the topic of Anji was discussed for more than an hour. I didn’t want to trivialise the importance of the issue but reminded staff that our centre provided great ‘light’, hope and transformation in people’s lives so it was to be expected that the devil would oppose it.

I decided to be bolder and offered to pray with and for any staff members in Jesus’ name in these rooms. This created an awkward conundrum: if they asked for prayer they were publically admitting that Jesus does have power, but not asking left them crippled with fear. It was awkward for me too, considering this battle was out of my comfort zone and experience; however, Ephesians 6:10–12 gave me more than enough guidance:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers … against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Sadly, our staff never did ask us to pray to expel the evil spirits. Many did, however, recognise the power of our own prayers. Harriet became increasingly open and committed to read the Bible alongside her holy book every day. She would often come to us with concerns and ask us to pray. We still long for them to know the power of Jesus and to experience freedom from fear.

We had seen the fruit of faith remove fear in a very tangible way with another new local believer, Ruth. She had been under much pressure from the unseen, so crippled by a fear of jinn (spirits), in fact, that her sister needed to accompany her even to the bathroom. Amazingly, immediately after she trusted Jesus her fear disappeared.

Please join us in praying that Ruth will continue to stand firm, and that many others will be freed from their fears and superstitions.

Stephen is a long-term Partner working in the Middle East.

Names have been changed.

Designer/marketing consultant

Bangladesh / Business / 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 772

At this social enterprise in Bangladesh, women gain job skills, develop into leaders and entrepreneurs, and experience Biblical values lived out. The business provides full time, dignified employment to these women at high risk for trafficking.

The ideal candidate should be able to identify local and unique design elements, design new products, assist in brand / website development,copywriting and social media activities, and design marketing materials.

Graphic design experience would be an advantage. S/he will practise a mature, sound Christian faith. Because the job entails working with very vulnerable women, a female would be the ideal candidate for this position, though a male candidate would be considered.

Sales Coordinator

South Asia / Business / 1-11 months, 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1325

Through dignified work, this organisation provides a sustainable livelihood for women at risk and survivors of trafficking. Women gain job skills and the opportunity to develop into leaders and entrepreneurs in a healthy, healing environment.

The Sales Coordinator will be involved in many aspects of sales including market analysis, design and implementation of procedures to streamline processes, communication with suppliers and customers, assisting with pricing strategies, working with the accounts department, and creating content for sales newsletters.

Applicants should be committed to business as mission and the pursuit of excellence, be able to work well as part of a team and encourage others, and have good organisational skills. A degree in sales or marketing and previous experience are required, as is a mature Christian faith.

Business Entrepreneur

South Asia / Business / 2+ years / Job ID: 182

There are opportunities to start new businesses in various sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, export, retail, and services.

There is a need for entrepreneurs to set up new businesses, creating jobs and providing hope.

The right person would be entrepreneurial or have management, finance, sales/marketing or other business skills and be willing to start up or help grow new businesses.

More than the sum of our parts

This year I celebrated the tenth anniversary of the rather dubious distinction of being blacklisted (refused entry as a ”risk to national
security”) by the country where my family and I had served as part of the Interserve fellowship for nearly a decade.

One of our core commitments as a fellowship is to work alongside national believers, equipping and empowering them to be light and salt
in their community. Among other things, this ensures that the task can continue long after we have left. I thought it appropriate on this tenth
anniversary to review how well that is happening in the community we were a part of.

Nearly 20 years ago, my wife and I, along with our 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, moved to an impoverished third-world city. Not
unlike many Interserve Partners, I thought I was well equipped with professional expertise (a 4-year agricultural science degree, 3 years of
doctoral studies and 4 years of postdoctoral research). But 10 months later I found myself sitting in the dirt of an inner-city garbage dump (also a primitive industrial area and home to thousands of people), selecting some crude pottery. I had begun to work with a Dutch entrepreneur (let’s call him Pieter) who thought he could build a business and ministry in the midst of such squalor. My part was to be the world’s most highly qualified pot inspector!

So began a most unexpected decade-long adventure. Pottery became a path to friendships with people in communities across that country whose faith and worldview were utterly unlike mine. In the process, we exported hundreds of containers of pottery, brought substantial income into some of the poorest communities, and shared about the wonderful hope we have in Jesus with many of those people. We had the opportunity to demonstrate by our daily life the goodness and mercy of our wonderful Lord and Saviour.

We also often got it wrong, and the people we worked among were often liberal with the truth. Indeed, like any genuine friendship, we all
needed to give and receive forgiveness quite regularly. But, like many friendships that endure hardship (even self-inflicted hardship), those
friendships became all the more precious as those moments of grace, given and received, somehow welded us together.

Perhaps no-one had to do more forgiving than the group of young Christian men who we employed on a daily basis to help us with the
work and who participated with us in the ministry. This was no charity: long days, often travelling for hours on dangerous roads, working out in
the open, hard physical work under a hot sun – but always alongside the people who made the pottery. Over the years, these young Christian
men grew with the business and took over much of the day-to-day operations. They shared fully in our ministry but also took initiatives, establishing their own business and even starting their own ministry.

After nearly a decade of living and working intensely with these young men, Pieter and I were suddenly no longer permitted to re-enter that country. Overnight, something that had filled our lives so completely was gone. It’s now 10 years since we were unable to return and I have
been so encouraged by the way those young men have continued to build on our rather shaky foundations. So I wanted to tell you about each of them – let’s call them David, Michael, Stephen and Josh.

When we left, David was already our Operations Manager and Pieter and I decided that hewas the person to take over the business. He
bought the business from us and we continued to provide working capital (on which we charged interest). The business has continued
to function and provide a basis for David’s day-to-day engagement with those majority-faith communities across the country. David continues to employ both Christian and majority-faith people and last year was the best year for sales turnover in 10 years. He has had to contend with the impact of the Arab Spring chaos and the global financial crisis before that. Yet this business has survived and continues to generate significant work for impoverished communities.

David and Stephen together decided to also respond to the situation of women in that community by starting small micro-finance projects. All of this may not seem remarkable to you, but the subtext is that this is a society where there is an invisible but very strong separation between the majority and minority (Christian) faith communities. The Christian
community sees the majority as their persecuting oppressors. So the idea that Christians might consider the vulnerable and needy among the
majority faith worthy of care and concern is a revolutionary mindset.

Michael has also not been still in the 10 years we have been away. He and his wife (who has specialist skills in the care of children with disabilities) started a centre for children with disabilities in the village where our business was based. In this culture, as in many countries,
to have a child with a disability is a matter of significant personal shame; such children are frequently hidden in homes, neglected, living without dignity or opportunity. Michael and his wife currently have over 100
children at the centre and they have trained local women from the village (many of them mothers of the children) to provide the children with high-quality care and education. Last year, a 6-year-old girl, the daughter of a local religious leader, was brought to them because she had never spoken. One day, after six months with them, she began speaking whole sentences. As a father I can only imagine the impact this had on that girl’s family. This is a profound witness of what it means to follow Christ. I don’t know if this was a miracle or simply the result of placing the child in a stimulating environment, but just the fact that a Christian would choose to care for the child of a religious leader speaks volumes to that community about the Jesus we serve.

Stephen was for me always a bit of surprise. He never really seemed to like working with us (it might have been something to do with the fact that every day was a bit like boot camp!). He was often late for work and not very reliable in participating in the ministry we were doing. Yet, after we left, he turned himself to sharing his faith full-time with people from the majority community. Not only did he get involved in this work himself (which in that region is a dangerous thing to do), but he also trained
others and equipped them with skills to run their own businesses (as he did) so that they could support themselves in their ministry. Stephen
also travelled to adjoining countries to share his faith and to encourage and equip Christians there to do the same.

Ironically, perhaps the most gifted businessman of the group was Josh. When Josh started working with us, he had a full-time job with the
government. These jobs paid a pittance but were highly valued for the security and benefits they afforded. I remember asking Josh how, as a Christian, he felt about being paid to work full-time but only doing two hours work a day (the rest of the time was spent reading the paper and
drinking tea). He said, “Well, if I did more, then there wouldn’t be enough work for everyone else!” Despite coming from this socialist utopia (!), Josh quickly grasped the capitalist principles of commerce. He built his own business while we were there, first sourcing then producing key inputs for our business. Even before we left he had established a substantial factory employing many people. Today Josh is a significant trader in that area and the profits from his work go, in part, to support
the ministries which others are involved in.

The six of us met up last year. It was lovely to be together again, to catch up on each other’s news and share the challenges we face. These
men clearly saw their work and ministry not as an end in itself but as a faith response to Jesus’ work in their lives. Pieter and I felt very privileged to have had a part in their stories.

Of the four billion people living in Asia and the Arab world, more than half do not know a single Christian. In the last 20 years, Interserve
Australia has sent just over 200 Partners who together have clocked up
years. If we were to single-handedly befriend, share the gospel with and disciple all those who had never met a Christian, we’d have had 25 seconds for each one! So we came up with a bright idea – or recognised it as such in retrospect, which is how most good mission is done! This is it: we disciple some people and they disciple people and together we seek to make Jesus known. We empower the local church so that they are equipped and motivated to bring the goodness of Christ to every
community.

If there is a message in my story, it is that if we – a relatively small group of Christians in Australia – want to share the gospel with more than 2
billion people in Asia and the Arab world who have never even met a Christian, then doing it in partnership with local believers is the way to go!

Scott* and his family have served in Business as Mission ministries in the Arab world and Asia.

*Names have been changed.