(The following is an email sent to me last month by a young man who was working in an OPEN business in Asia the past two years.  With his permission I am sharing what he experienced in seeking help from various mission agencies.)

I recently returned to America.  I was serving God two years in Asia via a B4T business. I came home hoping to get married to my fiancé, upgrade some skills, and then in His time return to South Asia.  While home, I’ve called up several of the larger mission organizations (YWAM, Frontiers, Pioneers, etc.) with the desire to learn how I can partner with them on the field.  Because I already have been working in South Asia, I wanted to know if it’s a possibility to be seconded or become a “member” of a mission organization without going through the complete candidate process from start to finish i.e.; paperwork, screenings, and training schools.  After speaking to several different people and getting referred to others down the line, I eventually learned that I was unable to go to their conferences, use their resources, etc. unless I went through their whole candidate process or channeled all my finances through them, paying the 9 to 15% administrative each of them charges.  In other words I have to buy in to their total program, including those things that do not fit His calling on my life or I don’t need. To get the use of those services which could be of benefit to the work God has called me to do I need to do what they believe is best for me.  Some mission agencies didn’t give me any room whatsoever to negotiate; the only option was to go to their candidate school before any more discussion could take place.  For others, I was able to talk through various issues of what services would be available, but any service that would cost them money was off limits, even though I offered to pay for those services on a pay per use basis.  A few mission organizations could provide some level of oversight and allow me to be loosely connected with one of their teams, but I did not feel welcomed to take advantage of any other services of their strictly in-house services such as member care or on-field training.  What they were willing to discuss was clearly for their benefit and not a help to what God has assigned for me.  I didn’t see any advantage to working with them because when it came to really needing the important services, I would still be on my own.  Control and money are the issues that keep the mission organizations from extending their services to help others.  I really wanted to know how to partner with different mission agencies while overseas on the field because I know my home fellowship isn’t able to give that expertise to me at this time. Unfortunately I kept hearing from different agencies that the only partnership I could have with them was a loose oversight type of relationship with one of their team leaders in my area.  They more or less wanted to recruit me into their mission.  They did not grasp I did not wish to be identified with a mission organization, nor was I interested in going through the whole application process and paying for services I do not need. I came away with the feeling that mission agencies are set in their ways of operating and not open to what God may be doing through me, as an individual.

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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