Opening doors through business in North Africa
By Tim Allan | North Africa
John* has been in the country for several years, working alongside others in a language and culture education business. The idea is simple: English speakers come into the country to learn Arabic; while there, they teach English to local people – and the children of local people. There is also another arm to the business, which reaches out to large international businesses based in the host country, whose senior executives often need to improve their English.
“There are three foundations to the business – financial, spiritual and social,” John says, “On the financial side, we want to make a profit and be a successful business- not so that we can all take big salaries, but so that we can show we are a genuine business and be a blessing in the land where we are living , as it says in Jeremiah 29.
“We are just about to take a very small salary because that helps prove to the authorities that our business is genuine. We also pay all the local taxes and go above and beyond to comply with regulations.”
Any profit will be ploughed back into the business and help expand into other towns.
“Equally, if there is a downturn in the economy then we will suffer, just as the local people suffer and that too will be a good witness. On the spiritual side, we make no secret of our Christian faith. While proselytising is illegal in many North African countries, people are very open to matters of faith. We aim to show our staff and our clients our love of Christ by the way we live our lives, by the way we run our business and by the way we treat people.
“On the social side, we hope we are a blessing to a country which has a very high unemployment rate by providing some jobs. At the moment, we employ three local people and they are very open to us and to the gospel.”
John, who is a third-generation mission worker, knows this kind of work could take a long time to produce fruit but that it is absolutely vital. Parts of the country he is working in have not seen any gospel work for more than 1,500 years, so the need is desperate. In total, there are no more than 2,000 Christians in the whole country.
He says they plan to stay for as long as they can, “But we know that if we become too successful, we may attract more attention from the authorities. Ironically, being successful may end up hurting our business pursuits, because we would risk being denied visas. However, that would mean the gospel had spread more widely than it has to date, so that would very definitely be a success.”
John is keen to recruit people into the work, either those with business skills who might be able to replicate his model elsewhere or those with teaching skills who could get involved with his current company.
There are many other options for people who are interested in living, working and sharing the gospel in places where Christ is least known. If you’d like more information about this ground-breaking work, contact us here.
• more business-minded people would be raised up for gospel mission across the world.
• the owners of businesses with a gospel intention would be kept safe.
• these businesses would make a real impact for Jesus in places where he is least known.