So we’re currently a little bogged down with getting the coffee business up and running overseas. We’re making some headway, but it is a slow process. I’m sure that no one wants to read about the fun involved in trying to get a business started in a third-world country. Instead I thought it would be good to talk about what God has been doing with local relationships and the importance of them.
Even before coming overseas, we knew the importance of working with locals. In many ways they can just do things better than we probably ever will. They speak the language fluently, have deep relationships already built, understand customs, and they can walk into a village and not stand out like a six-foot-something white guy.
Local partners are pivotal to what we’re trying to do. Over the past few months, we’ve been able to build relationships with a few people that we’re excited about. Our deepest ministry partner is a 29-year old guy that we’ll refer to on here as LT. LT works part time at a church in our town. Churches here are legal, however the government has to sign-off on them, which rarely happens out in villages. These village churches have to meet in secret and move from house to house on a weekly basis for safety.
Every other weekend LT travels up to the villages and helps train pastors in the underground house churches. We’ve been able to go with him a couple of times, but because of security reasons we can only go every 3 or 4 months (being a six-foot-something white guy and all). We’ve been able to help meet some small needs like paying for motorbike gas and lunch on Sundays when he travels. Just providing something as small as $10/week has been a huge deal for him.
We were also able to help the village house church with their Christmas party. It is common practice here for Christians to have a big party to celebrate Christmas. Often the entire village is invited and there is music, a telling of the Christmas story, free food and gifts. When there is are parties in villages where not a lot goes on, EVERYBODY shows up. Because of your generosity, we were able to help with some of the expense of renting chairs and a tent for people to sit under during the party. When we met with LM a few weeks ago he was excited to tell us about the success of the party. Most of the village came out, including all of the local government officials. The officials were so impressed that they said if the Christians in the village wanted to seek starting a church, they would support it.
As we’re continuing to pursue getting the coffee business started, we’ve realized an even bigger need for these local partners. Please continue to pray for us as we get the business going and seek how to set up the structure and what the role of these local partners should be. Also, please pray for continued local partners that we can trust and go into deeper relationships with.