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  • Writer's picturetimothy martiny

Empowering women through Business as Mission




Our journey in orphan care over 14 years has been fun and exciting. We started out as a ministry initially focused on evangelism to orphaned and vulnerable children. Like all missionaries, the heart of all we did was related to our desire to share the “Good News” with those we were called to serve. Over time, as we worked and learned, we saw that to properly serve them, we had to meet their physical needs and prepare them for life. Our programs expanded to include educational and vocational programs in computer, woodworking, engineering, and culinary arts classes.


The students were hungry to learn, enjoyed the classes, and did well in them. Yet, one thing we saw time and time again was that students struggled to find decent jobs.


Guatemala, like most less developed countries, has high unemployment, and we found our students continually competing for work from people who were better connected, trained, and had more flexibility in their work hours and transportation. That, coupled with the learning curve for children who have spent most of their lives somewhat isolated growing up in an orphanage and lack the family and social support structure that most others have, has led us to consider creating employment options for the long-term residents of the children’s home we work with.


Our objective was to create a business tied to our existing vocational training programs and provide a safe workplace in a healthy work environment with patient bosses to help them develop their job skills.


Looking to leverage the skills and gifts God gave us, we decided to open a coffee shop kiosk with unique, quality products and flavors for sale that were not readily available on the market. We called it Café Du Monde, based on the café in New Orleans of the same name. We sell beignets, French doughnuts, scones, muffins, and coffee.


It was a long and complicated process, but we finally opened the kiosk in the second half of 2016. We have two full-time employees, both older women who are single mothers. Three girls from the orphanage have worked at the kiosk for job training, and the results have been positive. One of them was able to transition to another job, and the other two worked for us during their vacation and will continue to do so part-time while they are in school.


Right now, the Business is just barely paying its bills and employee salaries, but we are hopeful that with time, it can become a profitable business that will benefit not just the children from the orphanage but also provide widows and vulnerable women with fair employment where they can make a good living and support their families.


Business can be a God-given vocation and institution in society with the potential to benefit people, communities, and nations. By operating this Business as a mission, we intend to intentionally leverage the intrinsic power of Business to address spiritual, social, economic, and environmental needs.


For us, Business as a mission demonstrates what the Kingdom of God is like in the context of Business. As we do so, we engage some of the world’s pressing social, economic, environmental, and spiritual issues.


Our desire for this Business is that it is profitable and sustainable, a place that furthers the Kingdom of God and His purpose and impact on people and nations, focused on holistic transformation and the multiple bottom lines of economic, social, environmental, and spiritual outcomes; concerned about unreached and un-evangelized peoples; and, that when other business people see the principles we are operating on, how we are treating our employees and customers, that they will do the same.


Business as a mission is a familiar idea. Throughout Church history, it has been combined in different ways at different times. We believe that if the global Church fully integrated its business goals with the call to take the Gospel to the whole world, believers would be Christian businessmen. These not just businessmen happen to be Christian; if followers of Christ were to integrate Christian principles in their work and business life, it could be a catalyst for bringing God’s Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.


Joe Plumber, the editor and chair of the editorial board of BAM, wrote, “Business has the potential to generate wealth through a combination of creativity, risk, and work. A profitable and sustainable business can create new jobs, drive new innovations, and increase resources for society. Businesses can provide goods and services needed in a community and are established on a wide network of relationships. “These activities, products, and relationships are integral to Business and part of the God-given potential of Business to transform society and glorify Him. Through Business, we can intentionally tackle poverty, increase quality of life, bring positive social change, and carry with us the message of eternal life.”


We are still full-time missionaries serving orphaned, vulnerable, and disabled children, yet we see this as an opportunity to use our God-given talents to impact those we serve through this micro-enterprise.


We ask that you keep us in your prayers as we continue this journey.

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