Friday, May 31, 2013

Grace and Hope through Business

In late February, I had the privilege of visiting one of our Honduran local business affiliates in the capital city of Tegucigalpa along with their longtime partner from the US, the Honduras Pella Affiliate.  This was a special opportunity to see the fruits of years of sacrificial leadership from a diverse group of local and international people.

This partnership is by no means a shooting star that quickly fizzles. Rather, this partnership is held up on all sides by people that have firmly committed themselves to walk with God’s children in what I consider to be very challenging circumstances. Together, they’ve been on top of some incredible mountain peaks and at the depth of some deep valleys, yet their commitment to service remains.

In February, we saw firsthand numerous examples of the impact of that commitment and passion for transformation in the small businesses they serve. Enjoy the story below an example of two such businesses.

ERICA AND MADIAN are the owners of two rapidly growing small businesses – a transportation company (think multiple varieties of taxis) and a printing business that provides small scale portable and temporary signage as well as lettering and decals for the transportation industry (buses, taxis, etc.). After a few minutes at their office, it’s clear they are special people with a deep-seated entrepreneurial drive – their businesses are growing (6 employees) and as is the case with most business owners, they admit there aren’t enough hours in the day. This husband and wife team faces all the challenges common to entrepreneurs – meeting payroll, sales, orderly administration, stiff competition, rapidly changing marketplace – and the list goes on. Yet they clearly love what they’re doing.

Beyond their business acumen, what really caught my attention was a story Madian casually told about a few of his employees.

Their businesses are located in Nueva Suyapa, a neighborhood on a hill on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, packed with people and the sounds of life.  Unfortunately, Nueva Suyapa has a few rough edges – one of which is a large gang presence.

In spite of the dense population, it’s a relatively small community, meaning that there aren’t many secrets – most people have a very good idea of who’s associated with the local gangs.  This can be a major obstacle for young people looking for a job – and a brighter future.  Outsiders are skeptical because of where these young people live and locals can’t afford (physically or economically) to employ someone with ties to a local gang.  It’s just too risky.  Thankfully, Madian & Erica are not typical entrepreneurs.

Sometime ago, Madian hired a few young men, knowing that they had a bit of ‘history’ and quite possibly a ‘present’ – no one else gave them the time of day.  As usually happens when someone is shown grace, they turned into excellent employees so much so that others tried to hire them away. However, loyalty thrives in these circumstances and they continue working with Madian and Erica.  Not only that, but the young men often join them at Church. Amazing! God is good and His grace abounds!

While Madian and Erica have taken advantage of business training and loans via Partners Worldwide’s local partner, MCM (Ministerios Cristianos de Mayordomia), their commitment to serve through their business is deeply personal.  This is exactly the type of business person we seek to serve at Partners Worldwide - small business owners that see their calling to business as a calling to ministry.  With that commitment and access to the right mix of business support services, Madian and Erica’s growing business will continue to be one of the best, most relevant and lasting sources of transformation and blessing in their community that anyone could hope for.

I hope you will join me in praying for the right mix of wisdom, people, and resources to continue walking with Madian and Erica, and many more business owners like them.

Madian and Erica are members of MCM, one of PW’s Honduran local business affiliates.  MCM provides small loans, training, and other key business development services to its clients in partnership with PW.  In total, MCM currently supports 141 small and medium businesses and close to 1,000 micro-enterprises.

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