I.M. has lived in Mongolia for years with her husband, where they run a popular hand-crafts store as a way to use business for mission. Below she shares the story of one of her staff members and contemplates the tangible difference business as mission can make.
Business as Mission in some ways tries to model the integration of faith and deeds. Sometimes the stories reflect one side more than the other. One of my heart stories is about a member of our staff in the store we run in Mongolia. This store focuses on selling items crafted by people around Mongolia. For security reasons, we’ll call this staff member Sarnai.
My husband and I visited Sarnai’s home for the annual Mongolian celebration of the Lunar New Year. Sarnai and her family lived in a yurt, a traditional felted tent. Her whole family made us very welcome and we had a lovely time. Looking at their lifestyle, it was clear that the family wasn’t very affluent. However, they were very generous in their hospitality.
The following year we went back to celebrate with them again.
What a change we saw! The family was as warm and welcoming as the year before, but this time their yurt was greatly improved. They had new vinyl flooring, a fridge, a television and this year the table was creaking under the weight of food.
As we walked back to the bus stop, I remarked on how well the family seemed to be doing. “Yes,” said Sarnai, “My Mum has been so much easier to live with, she is much happier now. She used to be really distressed and difficult when we didn’t have any food. Since I’ve been working at your shop, we’ve had food every day.”
This really spoke to my heart. Sometimes I wonder about the value of what we are doing. Are we making a difference to anyone’s life spiritually or physically?
When times are tough, I now look back on this and remember I know one family where we made a difference.