On the Front Lines of Faith and Business
I’ve changed names and references, but the stories that illustrate the challenges of living as faithful Christians in a predominantly Muslim country are genuine and unpolished.
We thank the Lord daily for all our partners around the world that think and pray about us, and are so grateful for you.
The business through which we minister is growing. We now have seven ex-pat families and one single man working here, all engaged in the business as ministry. We also have 250 local people on our staff and another 400 local families supported in retailing by our wholesalers. The numbers mean more and more responsibility to hear the Lord clearly, while carrying out daily duties that have us all working so hard.
We are grateful to be seeing more fruit lately than in recent memory, Praise the Lord. More people are hearing the good news and are responding to find new life – but with that also comes trouble.
One of our wholesalers working in a distant region of the country,, “Terry” has been sharing his faith with his clients. One family came to faith and another has been listening as an extended family group.
Recently he was in an industrial market to buy bulk supplies when a local religious leader confronted him, accusing him of being a traitor and not a true patriot because he is a follower of Christ. When “Terry” told him that was not correct, the mullah and his two friends began to beat him. “Terry” suffered bruises and scrapes, but rejoiced after that at the chance to suffer for His name’s sake.
In April we visited another wholesaler about five hours away, and found his business thriving. He is also the pastor of a local church. “Bill” and the team of local ministers, nine in all, were fasting on the day we arrived, asking together for grace to see house groups started in 40 of the 80 villages around their city. They have received many threats that their church building will be burned down if they don’t leave, but they are brave in the power of Christ! Now they are working at businesses and sharing more boldly than ever and have found a new respect that they are bringing new investment and energy to the local economy. They now have about 50 attending the church in the city, and have started five groups in villages so far.
Just like these, our own family is having more of an impact than ever, and under so much pressure. For months we have been holding certain scriptures as our own, like one very precious to us these days – Jeremiah 17:7,8:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
In order to provide our wholesalers and all of their customers with the product they need, our company bought a substantial plant in 2014. Unfortunately, the economy here has been badly damaged by international developments. We Praise the Lord that our staff is performing wonderfully and all the products are of really good quality. But sales are down and prices of our products have fallen. We need prayer.
Our personal lives are also challenging. Last month our housekeeper was injured while working for us and required surgery. So we are paying for all of her medical and living expenses while she recovers, including 24/7 care for herself and her two-year-old. Nonetheless, her ex-husband called and threatened to come with his bodyguard buddies and beat “John” up.
At the same time, the owner of the house we rent came last night asking us to leave, as her daughters want her to sell the house. So the wonderful house we have enjoyed for 3.5 years, with all its quirks, we will soon leave behind.
Finally, I have pain in my right foot, so while we are praying for healing, if we don’t receive that I will need to see a doctor soon.
We are scheduled to be in the US for a few weeks this summer to visit our older children and the rest of our extended family. We are excited about the visit, but have many things to get in place before we leave.
Thanks again for your support, which is so vital to the work here – including that in your own life, we hope.
Blessings and peace on all the saints praying and supporting us,
“Susan,” “John,” and our family
These are personal friends of mine. I’ve been in the home they are leaving. If you are willing, please add them to your regular prayers. And if you would like to hear more about them in the future, please let me know that as well.