Tom and his host family in a village in northern Thailand
Mike Mann and ITDP staff
The phone rings. The caller on the other end of the line is searching for help for their mother who needs medical care which they cannot afford, and the government insurance will not cover the full costs. While on the phone, they ask if we know of any jobs. They want to work, but finding employment is difficult.
Out on the street. The women are visiting with the girls working in prostitution and the common theme they hear is—“I would not be doing this, but I can’t find a job and I must support my children.”
Jobs, or rather a lack thereof, is a constant theme we hear. For many of those we meet the issues are numerous. Most of them have not completed their high school education; some have barely an 8th grade education and some have only gone to school for a few years. Even for those who have completed high school, discrimination based on their ethnic background is a familiar stumbling block.
The official unemployment rate is currently 12.3 %, but that does not tell the whole story because youth and minority unemployment are significantly higher. Thus, our conversations often turn to the issue of how do we respond? It is a difficult and complex issue, but being difficult and complex does not mean we are allowed to ignore it.
With this in mind, we are constantly searching for ways to respond to this need. One of the ways which has been constant through our discussions is the possibility of starting a business that we can use as a job training site. As we have discussed business possibilities, I have been researching information about Business as Mission, commonly referred to as BAM. BAM has a variety of faces--from businesses used to support women who have been trafficked, to businesses for whom reaching the lost is equally as important as profit. In the hope of gaining a better understanding of how to create a BAM business, I attended a BAM conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand in April. It was a good time of networking and hearing stories of God using businesses in wonderful ways. In addition to the conference, I also stayed for a few days after and was able to see the work of International Ministries missionary Mike Mann. It was an informative time for me as I saw the work Mike is doing through the Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP), and I was able to discuss with Mike the finer points of having a mission business.
Where we go from here is a subject for a later newsletter. At this point in time I am working on refining a couple of possibilities and would appreciate your prayers as we continue to follow God’s leading as we reach out to the marginalized and oft forgotten of society.
Please Pray For……
-For Tom as he works on the development of a couple ideas to help train those looking for employment.
-For the Churches in Bulgaria that they will have the strength and means to reach a lost and hurting people.
Time is Running Out for the Matching Gift Opportunity
Through the generosity of a group of individuals, International Ministries is once again able to match donations given during the months of May and June. In order for the gifts to be matched they must come from individuals, be a new donor or an over-and-above gift of a current donor, and given between May 1—June 30, 2013.
Last year’s Matching Gift Fund was a tremendous blessing to us. Gifts given through the campaign last year made it possible for us to reach our funding goal for the year.
Additional information on the Matching Gift Fund can be found on the International Ministries website at www.internationalministries.org
Our sincere thanks to those of you who have already contributed!