There are many throughout the developing world in need of the most basic necessities of life; safe water, affordable energy and dependable food—things we take for granted every day. Experience has proven over and over that the best help for those in need is to directly involve them in finding solutions to the problems they face (II Thessalonians 3:10-12). As Christians, we also know the importance of involving the strong hand of the Lord in all that we endeavor (Psalms 127:1).
This is essentially where the idea of Business as Mission (BAM) was born. That is, to establish Christ-centered businesses that are sustainably designed to help those in need help themselves while bringing the saving Word of God.
This past summer I started the path to BAM with several of my neighbors who are believers attending Forest Meadow Baptist Church.
They recently established World Light Africa, a BAM that grew out of a relationship with a Kenyan runner who trained in Albuquerque.
In June, I joined the BAM team when I traveled to Kenya and Uganda to conduct a preliminary survey of water issues. The BAM approach targets the very high prices that rural people in Africa pay for energy and water. What the needy lack is the capital to purchase improved technologies that lessen the cost of these basic services. World Light Africa provides new technology to someone in need which is repaid with the savings realized by the new technology.
One example uses simple solar powered lights which can easily be repaid in the matter of a few months, requiring only a portion of the savings from no longer needing to buy kerosene. When the light is paid off they can get a water filter, which they can pay off with their savings on wood which is no longer needed to boil the water.
Similar ideas are being developed to support small cottage industries; in particular, small scale agriculture. Here we combine training on soil management, with construction of small water catchments and drip irrigation to significantly improve farm yields (and reduce incidence of total crop failure). This provides an income to repay the capital improvements, improves the lives of the family and puts money into the local economy.
The goal is to establish World Light Africa as a sustainable business, meeting the needs of the needy while modeling Christian ethics and morals through the day-to-day conduct of the company. This is a very bright light in a region known for pervasive corruption that is deeply engrained in their culture.
World Light Africa has two full time employees in Kenya and Uganda that are managing a handful of projects. Several communities have been targeted for testing our energy and water technology upgrade program in the coming year. We are also planning construction and testing of a small-scale agriculture project.
We believe God has big plans for the needy in West Africa who are hungry for God’s Word. We value your prayers in the coming year as we pursue God’s leading.
Contact Vince Tidwell to learn more about BAM or find out how you can get involved today!