For 5 years now we have been advocating that mission agencies need to adjust to the times or face going out of business. Solutions have been offered but received with silence. For 2 years now we’ve seen an increasing number of young people shun going overseas with a tired and true mission agency for a relational, flexible, transparent, contemporary model that fits the times. The defections are spreading to experienced B4Ters as well. This past month two emails, both similar in nature have crossed our screens.
Experienced field workers who are doing B4T, are beginning to follow suit. The following is one families’ email sent to their friends in the USA. Brackets [ ] are my replacement of names.
**DO NOT FORWARD OF POST THIS LETTER WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION**
We have some news! We are switching the supporting organization with which we are affiliated. This will not change much of what we do on a daily basis. It will change the focus of services we receive to help us be effective here and will change the name and address for giving.
We have enjoyed the past five years being affiliated with [name of large mission org] and have been especially blessed by the genuine care and leadership of our local leaders. We have also appreciated the helpful support of [their org’s BAM arm]. We plan to continue the friendships and cooperation to see ch planting movements ignited among the peoples here.[name of large mission org] (which has been our primary affiliation) is a very fine org and we leave without any hard feelings.
We are now linking with the OPEN Network which is a network of Expat business owners (BAM/B4T) who have located in strategic, remote parts of the world doing business with the purpose to reach unreached people groups.
WHY this is a more synergistic fit for us:
All members are committed to real for-profit businesses (not “visa platforms”) that are working with integrity in the warp and woof of daily life of locals in their areas.
These are people who face the same unique challenges we do in juggling many priorities and struggles of running businesses in not so business friendly environments.
OPEN offers a smorgasbord of services that we can pick and choose from to help us be effective in our situation.
The tax-deductible channel to receive funds in that smorgasbord (Allegro Solutions – see below) takes a very efficient and much smaller percentage of what friends give as its own admin fee. This means almost all gets directly to the needs that friends had in mind when they gave.
This giving channel is chartered in such a way that we can receive funds for both our family related expenses and the business. This will mean ONE address for both types of giving.
Open has developed a network of mentors and coaches to specifically help business owners be effective in business and min. We have initiated the process and are starting with a mentor!
OPEN has optional gatherings several times a year where members gather for encouragement and equipping and to help newcomers learn from the mistakes and successes of others to shorten their learning curves.
Change is in the wind.
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.