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International Business as Mission Training Members Return from a Week in Thailand

Personal reflection from Dr. Kashale from W. Africa--participant in the International Business as Mission (IBAM) Course who visited businesses in N. Thailand established to provide dignity and opportunities for people from underprivileged background.

It is amazing to realize that within three short weeks we managed to build a sort of family within this course. I am feeling a kind of pain to see the family scattered throughout Asia for the field trips. Really I was not expecting such a feeling at this point.

The first company we visited PC is a technology company providing service sand software in the following areas: data entry, processing, publishing and training. The owner grew up in Asia as an MK and returned home to start his own company in software design for 20+ years. God called him back to Thailand--his first love. One of the most important things we learned from our visit to PC was how key relationship, language and understanding the culture is when you are trying to do BAM. After only 1.5 years, PC is doing surprisingly well and competitive. PC employs a handful of college-educated Thais (minority background rescued from unemployment because of racial discrimination). His employees with a little encouragement have been an amazing fit for his business. PC also provides strategic services to churches and NGO’s that are partnering with them in this initiative . The lesson I personally learned from PC: relationship and sovereign gift (a kind of predestination) is unavoidable if one is to succeed in any kingdom enterprise.
The rhythm this morning is quite slow, quite African. I am used to it, I feel comfortable. Running on western style time is not a challenge either.We Africans from big cities we are no longer totally in our tradition, we are somewhere in the middle, that gives us a flexibility which has been very helpful during this course. We are here at the Chamber of Commerce doing some research to learn more about the regions we are visiting. One of our speakers, Glenn White, delivered a week’s teaching and walked us through how to use the Kingdom Assessment Tool (KAT). The KAT provides a framework for helping us strategically research about the social, spiritual and economic environment. This exercise is helpful and real. You really get to know better a country by using this tool. Tonight we are visiting a restaurant that provides quality western style food. If one is fed up with Thai food this is the place to go. Financially the business is healthy: providing jobs for Thai, an opportunity for the employee where they are empowered in many ways‹education, leadership, management of money etc.
Now we are off to the mountains in Fg to see a fish farm business and other projects run by New Sunrises Ltd. This is going to be our home for three days. The vision of New Sunrises is to create a kingdom context where people can realize that God has drawn near to men. Man shall not look for God(classical approach) because God is here looking for us. This is the foundation upon which New Sunrises philosophy is based. The life on this fish farm is different from our hotel. One of the big differences is the cold bucket shower. The test is tough for everyone but more for the westerners than for us non-westerners. Very brave these people.Today we visited the girls hostel and the boy’s home they operate. These facilities accommodate vulnerable children exposed to prostitution and human trafficking. I like meeting the real people. The countryside makes you encounter them. Poverty is still an issue in Thailand but the situation is much better than in Africa. Here wealth is distributed better--paved roads everywhere, decent housing and good transport system.Back in Fg at the guesthouse, we have a big meal. Potatoes are specially cooked for brother Vincent who has so longed for this occasion.Tomorrow we return to the hotel, we are home. Strange how people can get used to things they did not know before. You learn to appreciate happiness only when you lose it! The other teams are now arriving this next day. I bet I will be sad when we finish the course in March. I shall learn to grab more efficiently happiness. Carpe diem!

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posted by Justin Forman | 3.10.2008 - 9:10 PM

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