A barista walked into a cafe

“If more people come to know Jesus through our deaths than though our lives, then we are prepared to die, Father.”

I read this prayer in a biography when I was nine. I was struck by how radical and countercultural life in Jesus is to the world around us. Our lives are gifts not to ourselves, but to be given sacrificially for His story and His glory.
God began to water the seed of overseas mission in my heart. Through reading missionary stories, I imagined being a teacher in the depths of the African savannah, choosing education as my university degree.

But throughout my teens, biographies, novels and world events like September 11 increased my curiosity about the Middle East and Islam. Growing up in rural WA, I don’t remember meeting any Muslims or even knowing anyone who had ever stepped foot in the Middle East. Yet God began to grow this curiosity. While I was at university, I read about Brother Andrew’s ministry to Muslims and in that moment decided that I would start working towards going to the Middle East as a teacher.

But it didn’t take long into this journey to realise I did not enjoy teaching. This led to a lot of anxiety as I studied at Bible college. If I didn’t teach in the Middle East, what could I do?
But just as God had begun watering the seed of love for Muslims, He also had planted a love of coffee! I returned to my home city and started working in specialty cafes, learning the coffee business and mastering the barista’s art. I didn’t know how I could use this in the Middle East but I prayed that I would!

God heard these prayers. I found myself boarding a plane as an On Tracker to the Middle East to work for a coffee business for two years! In His strength and grace, the project aims to accomplish many things alongside providing delicious cups of coffee.

As I helped develop the barista program and its curriculum, train staff and build the team I was amazed at how God used simple things like coffee and baristas to bring people together: rich and poor, educated and uneducated, Muslim and Christian to create networks and communities that provided endless opportunities for people to see His power, glory and reconciling love. I saw Him refining and using local Christians as they showed their Muslim colleagues what it means to be a Middle Eastern Christian. I saw Muslims taking note of God working in the lives of His children. I saw them begin to have their misconceptions about Christianity dispelled and be curious about what it truly is all about. All in the everyday workings of a small business!

God has used my education and my coffee experience. If I were to go back in time to decide on a future career, I would tell myself that God doesn’t just use the ‘traditional’ missionary careers like teaching and medicine. He can use any career or trade! He gives to each of us skills, talents and passions to be used for His glory and in His story.

Ella is preparing to return to the Middle East as a long-term Partner.

Entrepreneur (Business or NGO)

Central Asia / Business / 2+ years / Job ID: 307

There are opportunities to develop and run a business or an NGO.

This would involve setting up and running a business or NGO.

The applicant should be a confident entrepreneur and able to deal with uncertainty the cultural context and language challenges.

Entrepreneurs

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

There is scope in this country for creative and experienced entrepreneurs. While its 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.

Public Relations

West Asia / Business / 1-11 months / Job ID: 1559

A Christian media company with radio Web YouTube and social media (Facebook Twitter Instagram etc.) outreach in this large unreached country. Currently impacting approximately 5 million people inviting them to an encounter with Jesus and growth in faith through integration into His church. Increasing its presence on the radio and on the Web establishing an online support community for skeptics seekers and new believers creating video media with Christian content creating music with local worship artists and translating select books articles and materials into the local language.

This short-term position is for a public relations person who will design and layout paper promotion materials (flyers postcards posters) for distribution to foreign partners and potential partners help develop and optimize Google Analytics reports and do search engine optimization (SEO) of the ministrys web pages and do graphic redesign of the ministrys web site.

A person with a heart for integrating their skills at communications and public relations with a calling to spread the Good News. A willingness to work cross-culturally with the Director and others on staff who are local citizens and believers. Creativity passion and flexibility are all good characteristics.

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.

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 developmentcopywriting 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.

Feeling frustrated and fruitless

It is a strange relief to find that I am not the only one working cross culturally who feels it is often fruitless and profoundly frustrating.

Things never work as planned: ‘amazing potential’ always feels within reach but, because of our own intercultural incompetence and local resistance to ‘outside things’, the impact of our work never seems to reach anywhere near its potential. Culturally conditioned as I am to take at least some of my identity and worth from my success at work, it has at times been a crushing journey that has frequently tempted me to pack it in. At my worst, the crushed expectations have driven me further into workaholism, with a subtle but inherently selfish Babel-like agenda to “make a name for myself” (Gen 11:4). That at least would validate why so many people continue to so generously support us!

I have fought discouragement from fruitlessness for over 10 years and perfection-driven workaholism for over 20 years, so I wish I had read Tim Keller’s book Every Good Endeavour earlier and taken his advice that “the key is to accept fruitlessness”! This book helped me discover what hope there is for work and how I can look past the deep problems and realise God’s purpose and plan. As Keller says, it all starts with being clear on one sure fact: nothing will be put perfectly right “until the day of Christ” at the end of history (Phil 1:6; 3:12). Until then, all creation “groans” (Rom 8:22) and is subject to decay and weakness.

et all is not lost. The disappointments of cross-cultural work have given me ample opportunities to get my identity from what God has done for us and in us and to constantly check that I am not making any good thing that work might offer into an idol. There is no shortage of toil, often more than I seek or expect, but my challenge now is to be one who “find(s) satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God” (Ecc 3:13).

Keller’s idea that we view all work as cultivation was new to me: as gardeners we work to rearrange the raw material of God’s creation to help the world in general, and people in particular, thrive and flourish. His question, “How, with my existing abilities and opportunities, can I be of greatest service to other people, knowing what I do of God’s will and of human need?” has helped me focus on where to be working/gardening. I run a business here and the heart of my ‘gardening’ is to sow in peace. I’m praying for a “harvest of righteousness” (Jas 3:18)—creating the space for individuals to get right with each other and, ultimately, with God.

As I seek to work as a peacemaker, I must first use my talents as competently as possible. Even if my job is not, by the world’s (or my) standards, exciting, high paying and desirable, reframing it as fundamentally a way to love my neighbour has been a great way to find job satisfaction. My daily work is ultimately an act of worship to the God who called and equipped me, no matter how fruitless and frustrating it can get! The act of worship that God asks for in our work and everything else is to be a “living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1); as Keller says, “to be continually in the rhythm of dying to your own interest and living for God”. Please ask that all Partners serving cross culturally would “never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord” (Rom 12:11).

Paul is a long-term Partner working in business in the Middle East.
Names have been changed.

Doing business doing life

When we left for South East Asia over five years ago, we had no idea what we would be doing after being on a language study visa for one year. We knew for sure, though, that we wanted to support local believers and fellowships and to share Jesus’ good news with the people of the majority faith.

Through the time of language learning, Paul researched and explored ideas of how we could stay here on a long-term basis. Like most countries, you need a visa to live here if you are not a tourist. And it piqued our interest that our city is known for being a ‘business’ city.

Paul left Australia with his computer programming skills, a knowledge of running a small business and a few contacts. During his time of studying language he talked to various people, listening, building friendships and noting the needs around our city. He concluded that setting up a computer programming business would create opportunities for training local workers using the knowledge we are blessed to have from being educated in Australia.

Now we find ourselves, six years on, in an amazing, unique and financially challenging position. The computer company develops custom web-based programs, mobile apps for clients and its own software products. We have also taken on the management of an English language centre. In all this growth, Leah has found a place supporting both businesses through her love of administration and accounting. Together the businesses employ almost 20 full-time and part-time staff. We’ve also taken on apprentices from the local university.

What we love about this lifestyle is that we are privileged to ‘do life’ with our staff and clients—we rejoice when the HR lady’s baby is born, give comfort when the admin lady’s father passes away suddenly, celebrate when a staff member gets married, give sympathy when a dating relationship breaks up, offer support when a business endeavour is struggling, and give encouragement by reading the Bible with our Christian staff.

We’re also intentional about sharing life outside the office. Do you enjoy the beauty of nature? Leah does! She is always wanting to get out of the city and explore the natural world around her (she is really a country bumpkin at heart). To her surprise she learned that many of the staff at our company felt the same way. The dream became a reality recently when we organised an outing to a waterfall for staff and their families. Two of the girls had never left our city and it was wonderful to watch their faces as they saw their first mountains, water buffaloes and monkeys, went on their first bush-walk and even got muddy for the first time. Everyone enjoyed the outing. Swimming in the cool water of the waterfall was definitely a highlight after hiking in the middle of the day in the heat and the humidity of the tropics.

This trip was also unique as it included people from the many demographics that make up our company: people aged from 2 to 44, English teachers, computer programmers, admin staff, family and friends, seven people groups, and four religions. What a blessing to see everyone enjoying community together! Coming from Australia, you may be wondering why the diversity of this group outing was unique. In this country, people are usually divided by people group and religion; their cultures differ significantly from each other. Belonging to a people group usually means that you follow its dominant religion and its uniquely different culture (food restrictions, festivals, religious holidays, family reunions).

To have an environment where people are willing to be friends, respect each other, and do life together is quite extraordinary, and very exciting!

Leah and Paul live and serve in South East Asia. They have four children.

Names have been changed.

Manufacturing Consultant

South Asia / Business / 1-11 months, 12-23 months, 2+ years / Job ID: 1548

The business is based in Asia and supplies a small number of international customers. The business is mission led at its core. It exists to make a difference in the lives of its local community and currently employs 150 people in secure upskilling jobs. The business achieved a turnover of 1m in 2018. Within 10 years we aspire to build a business with revenues of over 7m employing 1000 people and being recognised as world class both in terms of commercial success and creating positive wholistic impact.

You will play a key role in building the capacity of both the local leadership team and building the manufacturing systems and processes too using best practice methods (LEAN Kaizen 6-Sigma etc.). This is a fixed term role and the focus is on strengthening the national leadership team. You will have succeeded in the role if over time the local leadership team are equipped and empowered to run a strong operations function themselves with manufacturing processes in place to an international standard.

Have a minimum of 5 years work experience within a manufacturing environment. Be familiar with best practice tools. Be commercially minded with strong analytical skills. Have a track record of getting things done and of continuous improvement. Thrive working in cross-cultural contexts and ideally have some previous cross-cultural experience. Have a good relevant degree or professional qualification equivalent experience will be considered. Have excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Have leadership qualities and be capable of taking ownership of new projects.