Meet THE Business Game-Changer in Haiti

Savings Group—Meemos

Meemoos is a remarkable young woman, full of joy and creativity. She lives in Haiti, approximately two and a half hours southwest of Port-Au-Prince, and owns a Coca-Cola business. (Think classic, tall glass bottles in short wooden crates. ‘Thirsty yet?) Coke sales are common at roadside provision stands in Haiti, but Meemoos’ business is extra-unique. Hers is actually a small warehouse that serves as a wholesale distributorship, resourcing many of those roadside businesses.

Our team encountered Meemoos in a schoolyard in Cadiac. Each morning, she teaches a room full of grade school students. (Perhaps you are sensing—she is extremely energetic and hardworking.) As we interacted, we learned the game-changing key to the start of her Coca-Cola business. Yes, she gained funds through her teaching job, but normally, those resources would be ravenously gobbled up by the hungry Haitian economy. (78% of the population lives on less than $2 per day; there’s a 41% unemployment rate.) Meemoos told us that several years ago, she joined a savings group at her local church. That experience has been revolutionary.

Savings groups are a brilliant missional method of gathering people, both already-church-attenders and people from the community who do not yet know Christ. Groups are composed of 20-25 people who come together for Christ-centered teaching, with a focus on the gracious good news of discipleship, including biblical principles of finance. Each group meeting includes worship, teaching from God’s Word, and the actual WORK of the group as they save together. Such saving helps resource members with eventual loans that might be used for their children’s schooling, a motorcycle to ride to work, or supplies to build a house. For many individuals, the savings group can be THE game-changer in their ability to start their own business.

H3 hopehelphaiti pic

Along the way, such savings groups and business creation serve as a remarkable component in God’s mission. This is what Michael R. Baer dubs kingdom business. Baer clarifies: “In other words, it is directly involved in making disciples of all nations—beginning at home but with international involvement too. . . . To be a kingdom business there must be intentional connection to God’s eternal purposes in the world, a connection that will ultimately lead in some way to involvement in world missions.”[1]

Our church, Manor Church in Lancaster, PA, has the immense privilege of launching a brand new partnership with HOPE International in Haiti. Across 2015 through 2017, it is our prayerful aim that we might learn, grow, give, and ultimately partner in greater ways with God’s work in Haiti. For more info on the H3 adventure, a link to Sunday’s H3 message, and details on how you can engage, check out www.manorchurch.org.

One more amazing thing about Meemoos. Not only does she teach school and lead her Coca-Cola business. She is now the president of her local savings group, which meets weekly at her school. She is living out the core of her discipleship (Mark 1:14-20), focused on Jesus’ “fishing business,” and blessing more people. Meemoos personally experienced Christ’s hope, and now she’s expressing that hope to others.

Will you go buy a Coke today, pray deeply for Meemoos’ work, and also pray: “Lord, stretch me and use me, for your glory!”?

Coke bottle

[1]Michael R. Baer. Business as Mission: The Power of Business in the Kingdom of God. (Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 2006), 14.

Workplace Sex Trysts: A Strategy for Standing Strong

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Diet Coke, circa mid-90’s, flaunted one very steamy TV ad. An office full of women suddenly begin whispering to each other, “It’s 11:30.” As the commercial commences, they scurry to the office windows to ogle. A male construction worker on ground level removes his sweat-soaked shirt and begins lusciously drinking a Diet Coke. Apparently, this has become a daily workplace ritual for these women. Though lusting should never be a laughing matter, the commercial’s format draws a chuckle twenty years later. The gawking women wear big-framed 80’s eye-wear and oh-so-poofy hair; the bare-chested eye candy is sporting a far-from-chiseled four-pack. And in retrospect, what real man sips Diet Coke anyway?

Workplace temptation runs rampant. Place people together for extended blocks of time, working close on endeavors of big consequence, and the affection temperature is bound to rise. Glances are exchanged and soon feelings are shared; flirtation seems innocent, but sparks begin to fly. Then all too quickly, something hotter kindles. So how can we develop a strategy for sexual integrity in our workplaces, a wholesomeness that matches Christ’s heart for business leaders and workers in every profession?

The young biblical hunk, Joseph, stands as a stunning example in overcoming workplace temptation. Genesis 39 records the racy scene. Promoted to second in command over a large estate in Egypt, Joseph soon caught the wandering eye of the owner’s wife. Mrs. Potiphar repeatedly made her temptress moves, “day after day,” the story records. Joseph repeatedly resisted, finally stating emphatically that such indulgence would be a serious violation of his relationship with God (Gen. 39:9). This young man’s conviction and stance, so far away from his father Jacob’s oversight, was astounding. Finally, Joseph employed the best strategy ever. In a moment of brilliant insight, he did the most courageous thing. He ran away! (explore more on such a strategy in 1 Corinthians 6:17-20) His reward? He was quickly framed by the scorned, pouting, plotting temptress. (I know, shocker!) And he was promptly tossed in the deep, dank confines of prison. (See the rest of the story in Genesis 40 through 50.) Tom Nelson elaborates: “When it comes to sexual temptation in the workplace, we don’t have to go out of our way to look for it; it often finds us. Joseph’s wise response to sexual temptation in the workplace is a model for us to emulate. Joseph didn’t cozy up to sexual temptation, he fled from it.”[1]

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What’s the big deal? Our core struggle with lust is that we imagine how people can be used for our self-serving interests instead of genuinely loved. God’s style of selfless love aims at practically caring for others’ best interests, not using or abusing them. How do we develop a strategy, to stand strong against workplace temptation, or as in Joseph’s case, to decisively run away? In Taking Your Soul to Work, R. Paul Stevens and Alvin Ung urge these five strategy steps:

(1) Know that your heart’s desires are for God. Hunger and passion for God put all lesser desires into perspective. (2) Reduce exposure to erotic stimulation in your choice of movies, novels, and Internet sites. Put a plan in place that will help you avoid temptation on business trips. (3) Pray for a colleague, a customer, or a supervisor whom you find attractive. Choose God’s perspective on the person instead of treating her/him as “just a body” to be visually consumed. (4) Seek accountability partners. (5) Identify the early beginnings of lustful thoughts. Heightened vigilance in advance allows you to be more responsive to the Spirit’s guidance.[2]

Instead of being trapped in daily rituals of workplace lust and other sexual sins, we can stand strong. We can run away, stay pure, and truly honor Christ. We can honor others with more wholesome love at work.

[1]Tom Nelson. Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011), 173.

[2]R. Paul Stevens and Alvin Ung. Taking Your Soul to Work: Overcoming the Nine Deadly Sins of the Workplace. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2010), 26-31.