These stories are about people just like you -- professionals faithfully serving in the local community and witnessing in the workplace, with a heart for the unreached and God’s glory among the nations. Then they began to prepare themselves and took steps to explore. The rest was history.

These are our alumni or current associates on the field. We have changed the names and, in some cases, the gender. But they are real life stories.

visit daily december 1-12 for the story of how a bam company changed a community for christ in an unreached nation

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by december 15th

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Business as Mission Companies (BAMcos) are gifts to unreached communities and God's Kingdom. These stories celebrate the breadth of BAM businesses, their humble origins and their impact in regions unreached by the good news Christ brought with Christmas.


day 12 | gift 12: support + solutions

day 12 | gift 12: support + solutions

The final gift we celebrate from our 12 Days of BAM Christmas is a technology firm based in South Asia. It operates subsidiary companies in Southeast Asia and the United States.  We will call the firm FIC to protect its identity as we’ve done the past 11 days with BAM companies operating in sensitive areas. FIC provides tech services like mobile apps, web development, hosting and enterprise solutions. It also develops tech solutions for the corporate, start-up, academic and non-profit sectors.

FIC was founded by an MBA who left a lucrative CEO role at a computer consulting firm, to create a company that would specialize in Java, a promising but new programming language at the time.  God networked FIC’s founder with a Hindu manager of electronic data processing for a large government-owned company in this country. FIC launched with this manager and two Java programmers. Their first project was a language Bible program for use in the underground church. The nature of this project enabled FIC to be the first Southeast Asian-based company to receive Java certification from Sun Microsystems and to become an independent software vendor.

By year three, FIC employed 20 people and generated $300,000 in annual revenue.  The following year they launched U.S. operations with $225,000 from three investors. By year 15, they were staffed at 85 across three countries, with $3 million in annual revenue.  During that time, FIC supported ministries based in its home country with free web site hosting and secure email services. It created a pre-evangelistic online community for youth to anonymously share life concerns and questions and receive biblical responses. FIC also created a community group that became a seeker-friendly path to faith in India - diversifying membership of local Christian churches with the upper class.  

We celebrate FIC’s commitment to serving the church of Christ with tech solutions and services that support and extend their evangelistic capacity.


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day 11 | gift 11: multiplication + investment

day 11 | gift 11: multiplication + investment

Today’s BAM company multiplies Kingdom impact by investing in several small and mid-sized BAM companies simultaneously.  Many of these companies are in early stage development. InvestCo – our name for this BAMco, is an investor-capitalized fund. It provides mezzanine financing, mentoring and coaching to investee companies and a variety of technical advisory services including: pre-investment consulting to start-up companies.  InvestCo also conducts strategic talent searches for key professional roles within BAM companies.

InvestCo is the fruit of almost three years of market research and business plan development. A global team steeped in business, finance, entrepreneurship and cross-cultural experience staffs the fund.  The first two loans of $25,000 and $50,000 USD were made In South Asia and North Africa. By the end of year three, InvestCo’s loans ranged from $25,000 to $400,000. Cumulatively their loans exceeded $5.3 million, financing 42 companies in 23 countries in 18 industry sectors. Year four concluded with more than 200 investors from 16 countries around the world, with most reinvesting in the fund.  InvestCo has made only one equity investment, maintaining its mandate. However, 10-2% of investors volunteer as mentors and coaches to fund portfolio companies. At last count, only one loan ($25,000) has been written off.

InvestCo continuously raises, returns, invests and repays capital from its investors.  Its dynamic model allows for many unreached communities in the Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist world to experience the Kingdom through a variety of Business As Mission companies.  We celebrate their gift of multiplication of Kingdom impact this Christmas!


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day 10 | gift 10 salvation + consulting

day 10 | gift 10: salvation + consulting

We carefully relate stories of Business as Mission (BAM) companies operating in Asia to protect their true identities.  Today’s BAM company (S+C) is no exception, although it has achieved significant impact professionally - including industry accolades and awards as a trailblazer in its field.

S+C’s owner Paul,  acquired the two-year old firm in the late 1980s as an American MBA fluent in the regional language.  Soon after his acquisition, Paul realized his principal business partner was a missionary organization using S+C as a front for placement, rather than as a viable business. However, the organization had significant contacts with national business owners and government leaders seeking Western technology partners.  Within five years S+C grew sales from $100,000 USD to $10 million brokering technology deals and aggressively growing S+C as a viable business. Additionally, Paul refocused the business to headhunting for factory management and direct investment for foreign companies navigating factory construction or management in its country. Remaining true to S+C’s Kingdom mandate, Paul staffed his client’s factory management teams with as many qualified Kingdom professionals as possible.

Within two years S+C grew to 500 employees. One of its client factories, under Kingdom management experienced 10 conversions to Christ monthly and four new house churches within 5 months!  Salvation and other Kingdom impact continued to grow with S+C’s success - which included global industry awards in factory design and operations. At last count, S+C operates four regional offices, has equity investments in six national companies and stakes in several offshore companies that are holding or sales companies.  By investing directly in these companies S+C influences and directs management selection, guiding principles and operations reflecting Kingdom values. Since John’s acquisition, S+C has established 25 companies with this paradigm, employing thousands of nationals.


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day 9 | gift 9 transformation + home funrnishings

day 9 | gift 9: transformation + home furnishings

As more BAM companies locate in Central Asia, its villages experience social change reflecting spiritual transformation.  Today’s handicraft and home furnishing company (H&H) pioneered the early efforts. Established in the late 1980s, it was one of the first BAM companies to receive approval to operate as a wholly foreign-owned business, in its Central Asian home country.  Today it boasts high-quality hand-crafted furnishings available en masse on QVC and Home Depot, or selectively with retailers like the Metropolitan Museum of Art shops.

A seminary-trained philosopher launched H&H with a 700 foot rental space, four workers and a local to manage production.  It suffered many growing pains like importing and transporting materials and equipment among others. However as H&H persevered through each, H&H gained core competencies: building and maintaining their own production equipment and reliably sourcing raw materials locally.  As they grew to 550 workers shared between two factories, they discipled their workers in Kingdom principles like sowing and reaping and compassion, with some coming to faith in Christ. As H&H grew so did their community impact: improved health and hygiene, local business growth, inclusion of the disabled and marginalized and church plants in formerly unreached villages.  However, most striking changes are the community testimonies of how H&H employees led reconciliation and compassion in their neighborhoods at critical moments.

H&H not only led economic transformation in a Central Asian community but spiritual and social as well.


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day 8 | gift 8 PRAYER + FASHION

day 8 | gift 8: PRAYER + FASHION

Today’s Business as Mission Company (BAMco) redefines “fashion forward”. In fact, we will refer to this BAMco by that name.  Fashion Forward operates a garment factory in Central Asia.  Their very existence in the garment manufacturing business is significant salt and light. Their industry suffers increasing criticism for inhumane working conditions and compensation, especially in this region of the world.  Fashion Forward provides meaningful, ethical work for human trafficking survivors and those at high risk of exploitation. By choosing garment production as their missional business, Fashion Forward offers quality jobs, with a low threshold for training and education for these survivors.  

Fashion Forward’s founders entered the garment business with no fashion or manufacturing experience.  Two married couples, both passionate about social enterprise met each other at a YWAM training course.   They connected immediately and joked about working together in the future. Two years later they launched their garment factory with $50,000 USD, a Hindu Christian master tailor and a recent fashion school grad excited to use her design training to advance the Kingdom.

Within their first 18 months, Fashion Forward was financially sustainable, employing 24 people with goals to double staff size annually. In an community with 40% unemployment this was tremendous.  From the outset, Fashion Forward’s management modeled biblical servant leadership, countering a local cultural stereotype of “lazy bosses”. It prompted their workers to want to know the Jesus their managers reflected.  One garment worker, barren for eight years requested prayer that she might conceive and carry a baby to term. When she delivered her baby girl, she thanked the God of her employers for answering her prayer and desired relationship with Him.

Fashion Forward is a young company, however their economic and spiritual impact in Central Asia have been great gifts that community celebrates this Christmas. 


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day 7 | gift 7: OPPORTUNITY + SOFTWARE

India has emerged as a tech talent power house.  EC Group International, has uniquely contributed to that development. It provides software development talent and services to small and mid-sized U.S. businesses.  Some of EC Group’s early developers were graduates of a computer training school for physically disabled individuals the firm supported financially and technically.  EC Group provided these graduates a tremendous work opportunity in a culture and industry where physical disabilities are not always embraced. Opportunity is just one of the various ways EC Group has impacted the community of Chennai, India for Christ since it inception.

When Tom Sudyk created EC Group he built it with mission in mind.  After working in law-enforcement for 12 years, he became a serial entrepreneur - starting and selling over 20 companies.  While helping a mission agency in India with a financial issue in 1999, he learned of their government’s restrictions on foreign funds for Christian missions.  Within a year Tom started a medical transcription business in Chennai to fund mission agencies. Beginning with a initial capitalization of $150,000 USD, the business became profitable two years later.  By year five, the company expanded into a medical transcription training school, data conversion, CAD design and software development, with its 60+ employees. Many of their Hindu and Muslim staff attended daily prayers and bi-weekly Bible studies.  In this same time frame, the company’s management helped plant two churches and a Christian elementary school.

Today, EC Group continues to create opportunity for Chennai’s physically and mentally challenged residents through Agape Rehabilitation Center and Little Hearts Home.  It also conducts free medical camps annually in remote villages on the outskirts of Chennai. EC Group partners with a top Asian eye hospital: SankaraNethralaya for the camps’ eye treatment services.

EC Group has not only created opportunity for Chennai, but for the small and mid-sized U.S. organizations it sources with Indian software develop talent that have experienced the salt and light of the Kingdom. 


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day 6 | gift 6 restoration + weaving

day 6 | gift 6: RESTORATION + WEAVING

Because of Company Christmas, declining Muslim villages surrounding the second largest city of a Central Asian country, have new life. Medical and other critical services had left these villages due to declining incomes.  Company Christmas (CC) is our name for the village-based weaving business that restored this Muslim village network economically, socially and yes, spiritually As with many BAM enterprises operating in regions hostile to the gospel, sharing its true name could compromise its safety and the significant impact described below.

CC provides looms, raw materials, and training in quality weaving design and workmanship.  It targets the international market for its weavers and uses an alternative trade organization.  Together this strategy enables CC to pay their artisans more than double market wages. As weaving projects take several months, CC also pays producers in installments which provide operating capital and sustains the weaving family during this lengthy production process.  Additionally, CC’s Kingdom principles and business strategy provides for locating the weaving looms in the homes of the villagers, rather than a production space. Locating looms in villager homes allows weavers flexibility to continue field work and manage family obligations.  It also allows women to freely and equally participate in weaving, introducing some of them for the first time to business.

CC’s weaving business has not only impacted individual women and families, it has restored economic and critical service vitality.  CC has established several schools in regional villages. Over half of the students are female, in a one of the largest schools with a  population of 750. Educating women is a significant restorative step in this predominantly Muslim region. With increased, sustainable village incomes, doctors have returned to service them.  Finally, CC has empowered villagers in their enterprise, by helping them build ownership cooperatives comprised of Muslim and Christian weavers working and managing operations, side-by-side - a new and powerful way to relate to one another personally and spiritually.

CC’s weaving enterprise restored to these predominantly Muslim villages: hope, critical services, livelihood and Kingdom intention for women and Christians.


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day 5 | gift 5 INtegrity + Turbines

day 5 | gift 5: integrity + turbines

Since its inception in Madbury, New Hampshire,Turbocam was committed to missional job creation and support. However, after four years its founder, Marian Noronha decided to launch Turbocam India Pvt. Ltd. to finance mission activities of a local Indian church with whom he had a relationship, and impact their community with Kingdom business practice, principles and outcomes.

Noronha’s decision to operate his software applications and turbomachinery manufacturing firm, with Kingdom integrity informed his refusal to pay bribes in a political economic system that thrived on them.  Turbocam’s no-bribe policy delayed its launch and commercial progress. It took four years to acquire the necessary permits to import their first milling machine - a critical competitive advantage in their manufacturing process. Whenever they submitted requisite paperwork, new forms would surface for submission paired with persistent harassment.  When the machine was finally allowed to enter India, it was delayed again at the airport for three months. However Turbobam remained resolute in its conviction knowing, the machine’s delicate components were deteriorating at the airport without climate-controlled storage. Turbocam eventually had to import a replacement machine, this time through a port in another city. The persistent challenge with community corruption consistently slowed Turbocam’s progress for the next six years.   

Breakthrough finally came in Turbocam seventh year with large orders from business partners in high growth sectors.  Since then Turbocam has experienced exponential sales growth. However in their years of struggle, Turbocam consistently supported local mission activities: sharing relevant employee expertise within the community, and supporting mission activities financially.  As it prospered, Turbocam initiated its own community impact including: installing safe water systems in orphanages and schools, financing nurses training, employing freed slaves, and providing micro-loans in slum communities. Recently, Turbocam launched a Kingdom Enterprise Training program, a bi-annual, three month residential training and mentorship program for young entrepreneurs in missional business.  

Soon after, a prominent national newspaper’s series on anti-corruption, profiled Turbocam’s no bribe stance.  The President of the industrial estate where a Turbocam plant was located, made the series required reading and practice of all other estate businesses.  Since then government and business leadership has invited Turbocam to head anti-corruption policy groups and activities. They also awarded Turbocam a prestigious award for citizen action and social justice.  Turbocam’s Kingdom integrity and compassion has given it a power voice.

In standing persistently for Kingdom integrity, Turbocam impacted business practice and resourced critical community development.


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day 4 | gift 4 INFLUENCE + TECH

day 4 | gift 4: INFLUENCE + TECH

Today’s BAM company enjoys significant  influence in Muslim sectors of East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Their sizable financial and high tech investment in these regions has given them significant political influence.  It also makes them more easily recognizable. In sharing their story we will refer to this BAMco as AMI and it’s founder as Bob, rather than their real identities.

Some of AMI’s capacity for large scale and investment may be attributable to the multinational corporate experience of its founder, Bob.  In conceiving AMI, Bob’s BAM strategy was to develop a global business that could facilitate church planting in the 10-40 Window. He bought a controlling interest in AMI, a tech consulting and manufacturing firm. It provides turn-key tech solutions in high automation manufacturing.  The firm manages manufacturing facilities and participates in sector manufacturing ventures. Their partnerships range from 15-100% in ventures with $1-10 million USD market capitalization. AMI started with four employees and within five years, averaged $10 million USD in sales annually.  It has managed new East Asian factories for publicly traded U.S. firms. AMI’s significant export markets help insulate it against local corruption, while spurring local growth from its profits. They also facilitate influential interactions with local and regional government.

AMI’s operational and financial scale empowers them to influence governmental conversations in local East Asian, Muslim and sensitive communities.  It also provides for multiple strategic alliances with non-profits: in education, economic development and church planting in these locales. Each AMI company has a Great Commission (GC) strategist who networks with local churches  - where they exist, and regionally customizes evangelistic and discipleship approaches. Within a few years of its existence, Christ-following Muslims in AMI’s ventures multiplied over 100% annually.

AMI demonstrates how operational scale can be developed and deployed to maximize community impact and influence. 


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day 3 | gift 3 freedom + fabrication

day 3 | gift 3: freedom + fabrication

Many BAM companies cannot share their story by name like yesterday’s Dignity Coconuts.  Where these BAM companies operate and the nature of their mission in business constrains them.  Today’s BAMco is one of them. We will call them: The Freedom Company (TFC). TFC operates in one of South Asia’s largest, most infamous sex districts that employs more than 10,000 women.  

TFC founders prayerfully pursued their passion for re-employing female sex workers with no prior business experience.  One was a pastor and pig farmer, the other a physical therapist. They sought, help, advice and BAM training to launch their jute bag fabrication business.  They started with 20 women, desperately seeking freedom from the sex trade and willing to learn how to sew jute bags for export.

It took almost a decade for TFC to reach daily fabrication of 1,000 cotton and jute bags. However within two years TFC expanded into organic cotton t-shirt production at a rate of 400 shirts/day.  Within their first decade TFC grew to employ almost 200 women, exporting bags and t-shirts to around 30 countries.   U.S. Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia and France are their biggest markets. TFC sees themselves as less t-shirt and jute bag manufacturers and exporters,  and more like FREEDOM developers. TFC’s BAM strategy includes employment, education, job skill training and business incubation within their community. They offer women freedom in Christ - as their employees worship and work together and act as freedom agents for other women in their neighborhoods.  Over the past decade, this freedom has become multi-generational as TFC workers earn enough wages and skill to model alternative livelihood to their daughters.

Recently, TFC created Tamar (Genesis 38) to assist their employees with life management concerns e.g., education for children, counseling, healthcare, debt issues and more.  As a result, The Freedom Company fulfills the holistic hope offered in Business as Mission.


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day 2 | gift 2: dignity + coconuts

“We believe transformation starts with questions, not answers.”  Stephen Freed and Don Byker asked Bicol residents “What do you have?”. God asked Moses the same question at the burning bush in Exodus 4:2, and recruited Moses to deliver a nation from slavery.  In a rural seaside region of the Philippines, subsistence farmers: COCONUTS. However, Bicol also had: monopolistic pricing reinforcing poverty, unemployment near 80%, human trafficking, and a local government that didn’t believe alternative outcomes were possible.  With these answers Stephen and Don researched how to create a scalable business around coconuts in this community. Their endeavor would become Dignity Coconuts.

Stephen had significant missions experience.  Don was Harvard professor and a former management consultant.  However they needed help identifying the profit potential of a coconut business.  God miraculously connected them in 2010 with individuals pioneering multiple product options for coconuts far before it became popular.  When other companies only used two elements of coconuts for product development, Dignity found six! They would use ALL of the coconut, eliminating waste and protecting the environment.  Stephen and Don then chose the harder, more resource consuming route of building their coconut processing facility in rural Bicol. As one of the poorest, remote Philippine communities, Bicol lacked the infrastructure to support plant construction, never mind its operation.  However it was the choice that would change this community for the best. Many prayers and a Kickstarter campaign later they completed construction.

Within two years of Dignity’s launch, the Bicol region gained multiple bus lines and a two-lane concrete paved road stretching 68 kilometers, through rural seaside villages. Now a hospital visit is only a two hour drive instead of a several hour one. The restaurant that launched to feed plant construction workers, now feeds locals. Additionally, the region now has construction materials business. The subsistence coconut farmers who answered Stephen and Don’s question now, have organic certification and requisite training.  Their products now command premium pricing - enabling their families to prosper enough to consider college education. Dignity also launched a Community Health Education program owned by the community and acquired a satellite dish for its operations. A telecom company followed Dignity’s lead and put a tower in the area - both gamechangers for communication and mobile-phone based services like banking.

By asking strategic questions first, Dignity coconuts has impacted Bicol far more than is highlighted here. It extends to the environment, social, political and spiritual vitality of the region.They have holistically added Kingdom peace and prosperity to this community.

Click here for more of Dignity’s story and their game-changing impact   


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Day 1 | gift 1


day 1 | Gift 1: love + Ice cream

James started making ice-cream for his daughter who suffered from dietary challenges, but loved ice cream! Their ex-pat family in Central Asia didn’t have many options for her food intolerance, so they paired with another ex-pat family to create their own. Several ice-cream recipe swaps later, the two families decided to open a small ice cream shop in their community. 

Neither James nor his partnering family had formal business training. They spent a year of planning and number crunching. With US$30,000 of their own money they started with a small production facility - which doubled as a retail location, purchased three ice cream making machines and a delivery vehicle. They were profitable their first month! Within a year and months, they rented a production facility to expand capacity for supermarket sales and wholesale sales to restaurants and hotels.

The prosperity of their ice cream business and the business relationships it initiated provided multiple opportunities to share and LIVE the gospel in an undeniable way. Their staff grew 60% year one and almost doubled with the launch of the production facility. This was significant in a community experiencing 30% unemployment. When a worker couldn’t marry within the culture because as an orphan, he lacked a marriage dowry, this BAMco created a dowry matching fund to provide it. Daily employees from various racial backgrounds work together in this BAMco, challenging historic racial tensions. 

In both and so many other cases, Christ’s love and ice cream challenged cultural norms for a richer community. 


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Doing the right thing also takes the right timing. It’s easy to know this as truth, but waiting can be hard. As John’s story shows, even with twists, turns, and years of waiting, when God finally says, ‘Go’, it really is the best.


John & Wendy's Story

By the time we got married, my wife and I had already decided to go into missions.  We felt that tentmaking would be the best option for us. She was a software manager, but gave up a China assignment during our courtship to wait for the right opportunity to come for me. 

During my post-doctoral fellowship, I underwent additional training in a related field to broaden my options. My mentor connected me to a position to consult for an international organization on their China projects. My wife and I began to pray for an overseas assignment with this organization. We were headed in the right direction, but there were many bureaucratic obstacles.

It took about 4 years before a position finally became available in China. During this time, we started our family with two young children.

Altogether it took six years of waiting after we got married before we went overseas.  But I was hired for the position we had been praying for.  It offered me great opportunities to work in the field of my professional expertise. 

When my assignment with the NGO was about to end, I ran into a former colleague who introduced me to another opportunity in China. My new job fully utilized my experience and networks. Most importantly, it allowed my family to serve in China for many more years. 

In our 16 years abroad, I was blessed with a rewarding career that enabled me to make some meaningful contributions in my professional field. I was also blessed to see several of my colleagues come to faith in the last three years of my tenure. At church, my wife and I were responsible for the training of small group leaders.  I also had the privilege of teaching Bible study methods to a network of student leaders. Finally, our children have grown up loving the Lord, comfortable with their identity and bicultural heritage.  

When we align ourselves with His will and move intentionally in obedience, we can testify to God’s faithfulness that leads us every step of the way in career, ministry and family.

In an emerging market like China, engineers are always sought after. The time spent overseas adds diverse experience to one’s career. Returning to the U.S., they discover that they had gained more than they had given up. 


Adrian, Civil Engineer

I wondered for many years if there were opportunities for a civil engineer in China. When God finally opened the door, I gave up my job supervising a large team of highway engineers to join a small team in a Chinese start-up company. 

From the start, survival and success came from relying on God daily. With the support of my prayer team, I completed the factory building project on schedule. In my work and everyday routine, I tried to be a living testimony to my local colleagues. When Christmas came around, they asked to go to church with me and thanked me for coming to China to work with them.

After eight years in China and more experience at another company, I came home to take care of my elderly parents. A construction management firm was impressed by my diverse professional experience and offered me a job. Of all the jobs I’ve ever had in the U.S., this one is the biggest blessing.

No matter how prepared we may be, uncertainties abound in the field. How do we navigate the future and make God-centered decisions? As shown in Max and Annie’s situation, the Lord walks with us through the hills and valleys, allowing us to discover who we are and to experience His providence.


Max & Annie's Story

I’d been blessed with a steady career in the IT industry in the U.S. and a clear calling to China. Eight years ago, our family of five moved to China. Work and marketplace discipleship were going well until my company got acquired.

After trying for a year to adjust to new management, I decided to move on. My confidence in the China marketplace was shaken. I longed to work in a "clean" and more predictable environment, where I could trust my coworkers and bosses, and spend my time productively rather than second guessing or playing political games.

But my job search was going nowhere.  I began asking about meaning and my place in the marketplace. My calling to the marketplace hasn't changed. So what did I really want to do after 16 years in the IT sector? It's not a mid-life crisis, but a mid-career crisis.  Should I pursue some entrepreneurial opportunity or change fields and do something different? I needed clear career objectives. God knows how He has made me, what I am good at and what works for me.

My wife and I fasted and prayed. A few brothers prayed for me too and shared how God was faithful to them in the valley.  I experienced the fellowship of brothers in the marketplace. I became eager again for my next assignment with God as my senior partner and legal counsel.

Almost a year later, I found a new job. I went from a big multinational company to a family owned Chinese company. Between wearing multiple hats and having to meet sales quotas, it was all overwhelming and truly stressful. Seven challenging months passed, and my dream job finally came around. Today, I work closely with the CEO of my company to create more jobs for the local workforce and promote corporate social responsibility to help China’s impoverished areas – both of which I’m incredibly passionate about.

In three years, my career has taken me and my family from the Valley of Baca to a place of springs (Ps. 84:6). The valley humbled me, taught me to pray over every opportunity and seek faith for every challenge. During those tough years, God blessed our ministries in parenting, mentoring and prayer, all of them enjoying a wonderful harvest. In the throes of uncertainty, we've learned to hold fast to the One, in whom all things are certain.


Mike chaired the missions committee for many years. Now they are the first home-grown, empty nester tentmakers to go out from their home church.

There are challenges for Mike and Sharon, but there are rewards too. Together, they give new meaning to “The Golden Years”.


The Preparation and Waiting

As an energy and environmental resource management consultant, I had for years dreamed of contributing to the greening of China’s energy infrastructure as an energy and being a part of God's work there.

I took jobs with companies interested in the China market, hoping that they would place me overseas. Over the years, I traveled often to China, but my work was largely stateside. My wife and I kept praying, but it was getting frustrating.

Finally, the Lord showed me that perhaps the best way would be to move to China as an independent consultant. It would require using our retirement savings to support ourselves, but we would have more flexibility for ministry.

The decision was made. My wife took early retirement from the school district so that we could go together. 

The Surprise

Sharon had always envisioned her role in the mission field as a supportive wife. But God had plans for her too. Some Chinese Christians in our neighborhood were starting a center for children with special needs. With lots of heart but no training, they are desperate for help.

Sharon had been in special education for 15 years. She could get involved and access the needed resources from back home. It’s exciting to discover that this move to China is as much a calling for her as it is for me.

The Road Ahead

Our children and their families are all in California and we’ll be expecting our second grandchild soon. It’s hard being so far away, but we’re set on making China our home for the foreseeable future. Now that we’re here, we’re so sure there’s no other place we’re meant to be.

When Matt spent a year in language study before starting his tentmaking career in China, he made some interesting friends among his classmates—the son of a North Korean diplomat, an Egyptian businessman, and several zealous young Muslims from Yemen. 

The North Korean and Matt talked about world politics and the Christian faith. The Egyptian inquired about the Bible, and explained to Matt the difference between Sunni and Sh’ia beliefs. With his Yemeni classmates, Matt regularly debated late into the night as both sides were equally eager to convert the other. The Muslims respected Matt for being a serious Christ follower and defender of his faith.

When Matt went to attend Abu’s wedding, Abu thanked him in front of his bride: “I have learned so much from our friendship about business, management, and religion—both Christianity and Islam. The questions you asked me made me investigate my own faith.” Together with a Syrian doctor, they had long discussions on the trustworthiness of the Bible, the deity of Jesus and whether Christians and Muslims worshiped the same God.  At the end of Matt’s visit in Yemen, his friends encouraged him to return, saying: “We are open to all religions, you can have church here.”  

Matt never dreamed of entering Abu’s world.  But China’s megacities make it possible because they draw people from around the globe. Matt hopes to serve in China for the next 10-15 years.  But he is also seeking God about the Middle East for his next assignment.