Believing, in Buisness? – Part Two


Part Two

Who is the CEO of your business?

15. Did you need capital to start your business, and if you did, do you mind telling me how much?

“As mentioned, by Gods grace I didn’t need a capital amount up front to start the business. I had no money of my own and I didn’t want to apply for a bank loan. We bought the business for about R240,000 and I made an arrangement to pay this off on a monthly basis as the cash flow came in.

At home, I had an amount of about R1,500.00 which I kept in my clothes cupboard. It was money that I used to pick up if I found it lying around the house or small change from other purchases. We used that money to buy some product for the first order we got and it grew from there! ”

16. How long did it take you to cover all your costs and become profitable?

“The way I planned the forecast was that we should be profitable from the start. It was only monthly running expenses that had to be paid at the end of the month. The business has shown a profit each year of trading to date. It has taken us about 6 years to get to a place where I can comfortably say the company makes an annual profit.”

17. Did you experience pressures in the beginning?

“Yes, it was mostly the doubt of the business succeeding. There were personal pressures and family pressures. There were also business deal pressures and added stress wondering if suppliers would produce what we needed on time and in full.”

18. Did you have a mentor, or someone who was able to guide and direct you?

“No, no particular person. There were quite a few people who gave me advice through the experience of working with them. I was able to witness first hand when situations went wrong and learn how not to do things! But, really at the end of the day, it’s my relationship with the Lord that is my guiding hand. There are answers for everything in God’s word and it is the best “How to…” manual ever!”

19. Were you able to develop successful networks and how did you achieve that?

“Yes, I’ve been able to achieve some very successful networks because of communication and mutual respect for others. I have learned that one of the most important things in life are relationships. Good solid, productive networks are formed by open, honest and respectful communications with those around us. This is not restricted to businessNetworking but applies to marriage, family and friendships as well. As I spend time with people, I get to know and trust them and the reverse applies.

Once again, I take my example from the Lord. Relationship bridges are formed out of serving others, putting their needs before mine. When we have this attitude towards our relationships they will be meaningful and long lasting.”

20. Was your family negatively affected in the beginning?

“I think they were affected but I wouldn’t say negatively. Like myself, they were concerned about the future of the business. They could see that, at times, I was very worried. It was amazing to see how they encouraged me with words that I had spoken to them years before. Things the Lord had taught me to share with my wife and children, were coming back to help me. So, they were concerned, but also very supportive.”

21. What do you perceive your strengths to be?

“I think probably my best strength would be communicating with others. Based on my relationship with the Lord, I strive to deal with people in an open, transparent and honest way. This has helped our business to form long term, healthy relationships with our clients.”

22. What was your most exciting moment in the business?

“There have been a few exciting moments because of the growth the business has shown over the last 6 years. Now is one of those moments because we have just exceeded our best sales month since we started. The turnover is tenSales Bar times bigger this month than it was in our first month of trading!”

23. What was your most challenging moment in the business?

“There have also been a few of those…mostly relating to concerns over cash flow. When the bank balance is low and I have commitments to make, that is always a challenging time for me. Our staff are No.1 in our business, followed by our suppliers and then our customers, so it is very important that our employees’ salaries are paid on time. It has only been in the last eight months or so that I’ve learned to have peace during these tough cash flow times.”

23. How difficult was it to find good staff?

“It was very difficult, and still is, to find good staff that are willing to work hard, to be loyal and honest. Finding the right person for the job takes time and skill. Great attention needs to be paid to the interviewing of prospective employees. It helps to have a guideline for interviewing candidates so that not too much emotion interferes with the selection process. When finding new staff, I pray hard to ask the Lord to put the right people across my path.”

24. Do you feel now that you take a more managerial role versus an entrepreneurial role?

“Yes. However, the entrepreneurial side is always there, it’s not something that I can just turn off. I find myself constantly coming up with ideas – the majority of which are absolutely disastrous! I have to be more managerial at this current time to lead the business. I believe it’s important to understand the difference between managing and entrepreneurship. Management is taking care of the seed born out of an inspired idea.”

25. Where did you set up your business?

“We operate from a business park in Johannesburg. We have a warehouse and a showroom with administration offices. Customers are able to visit us, browse the various bottles and products and then purchase what they need. We cater for the small entrepreneurial business and large companies who require us to deliver to their warehouses.

26. How did you choose this location?

“It was a branch of the previous company that I worked for. I was involved in the set-up of the branch originally. We selected that area because of its location to Johannesburg’s CBD and also the town of Soweto in the South West of Business ParkJohannesburg.”

27. Have you faced many challenges since setting up the business, and how have you dealt with them?

“There have been a number of challenges relating to finding new customers and suppliers. We concentrated on our service to the small customers, making sure we served each one equally. This resulted in repeat business and once we were taking good care of the smaller clients, the bigger ones came.

In the beginning, starting the business with no capital was difficult. This has slowly been resolved by careful cash flow management and using profits to fund our growth.

Staff difficulties were and are resolved by applying Godly principles. Often we try to resolve situations with too much emotion, when, if we apply Godly principles, situations are resolved fairly. Applying God’s principles in our business means we have to trust God for the outcome – not something that comes easily!”

28. What is the most important piece of advice you can give any person thinking of becoming an entrepreneur?

“As human beings, we all enjoy attention. So being able to sell yourself is a first step. We all do this when we socialise so why not in business? As people grow to like you, they trust you more and then selling your product or service is the next natural step. If you can’t sell yourself, selling your product or service will always be an uphill battle. Your testimony is very important. How you treat others, how you present yourself and whether or not you conduct your business in a fair and honest way. Respect for others is critical. Your focus should always be on the needs of your customer and not your own gains. These all come back down to the Godly command of loving your neighbour.”

29. What do you find personally rewarding and satisfying in owning your own business?

“When I look back and see how far the business has come in six years, I feel excited and humbled at the achievement. It has been wonderful to see the Lord’s hand working in every aspect. The most rewarding thing for me is now that my sons are involved in the business, I have more time to do my ‘real’ job, which is sharing the Gospel with others, whether they be connected to the business or outside of it. That is my true passion.

Personally, it has been very rewarding to have been used by the Lord in this process.”

30. Has it all been worth it?

“Yes, very much so. I have learnt a lot about trusting God. You know, there is a difference between having faith in God and trusting in God. I have never had a problem believing that the Lord can do anything He wants to do at any time (faith in God). However, trusting Him in a given circumstance is sometimes very difficult, waiting on Him for His will to be done in that instance.

It has been amazing to see how the Lord has changed lives through the business. Not only those employed here, but others outside the business.”

31. What is the most important lesson you have learnt?

“Probably the most important lesson was to learn to be honest and open with people, whether employees, suppliers or customers. The relationships I have with each of these people are like bridges for communication. Clear communication with others in our lives is critically important. When situations fail, you can be sure somewhere along the line, there is miscommunication – one party’s expectation was different to another. As a manager, I have learned to issue a clear instruction and then ask the other person to repeat back the instruction to me so both our expectations are the same.”

32. How did your Christian faith help you with this experience?

“I found that when you own a business, it is easy to become lazy and take shortcuts. From the start of the business, I placed the Lord as our CEO. Therefore, in my heart, I was meeting with Him every day and reporting on what was happening in the business. I had placed His principles into the business and did everything within those boundaries. At times when I didn’t feel like doing things, my relationship with the Lord would help me push through. When I was humbled in relationships with others, the Lord helped me accept the error of my ways and put myself in the shoes of others.

Without the Lord’s relationship, I can categorically say that there would be no business.”

…time with the Master”

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter Twenty One


15.03.96
Well, this is the day that the Lord has made – we will rejoice and be glad in it!! Just a few minutes to share again before the work of the day begins and thoughts are consumed and lost forever.

I finally had a reply from the elders of one of the large denominational churches who had volunteered four mature believers to assist in the outreach. I was truly blessed by that until this morning when they came and withdrew their support on “denominational” grounds. I told them what a terrible disappointment this is for God and that the Devil has now succeeded in dividing a combined attempt to reach the lost.

By Gods grace we are now alone on this little mission. In our weakness He is strong – our hearts are willing and pure for Gods purpose.

Again, anger and disappointment sear through my heart. Please change me Lord. I have a deep peace about what is happening, a peace which can only come from you.

20.03.96
Hallelujah!! – the outreach went ahead. We showed the ‘Jesus Film’ in Chechewa, set up in the middle of the local market on a cool African evening. We couldn’t count how many people came but we estimate around 250. After the film our team began their long awaited turn to preach. Generally, they were warmly received and counselling commenced.evangelism

During the preaching however, a homeless man approached one of our team and stood right in front of him. He moved very close to his face and became very agitated. As our brother tried to preach, the homeless man began to dance and gyrate so as to block him from seeing and talking to the people. Others in our team saw this and ran over to the scene and immediately began praying…recognizing a demonic presence. “Lord we submit to you…by Your power and might clear this stronghold please in Jesus name”. The man sat down on the ground, perfectly still and quiet!

Afterwards each member of our little team were surrounded by a group of people asking questions.

Two home cell groups have been arranged for those who wanted to hear more (including the homeless man!!). Others were sent to local Churches of their choice to attend Sunday services and to gain further teaching and discipling.

Attempts to find accommodation for Andy and Sue have been fraught with misleading and dishonesty at every turn. Housing officials and private people alike. We can’t afford to pay the new rental in the house that they are staying in and so now we are in the Lords hands.

We have just found out that the scooter which was given to us has no spare parts. Amazing that the agents have been misleading us for two months. This means that now Andy and Sue will not have transport when we go to Zim.

Our funds are also extremely limited now as we have had to take funds out of the business for everybody’s needs. How often Lord, will I find myself in this situation? I don’t want to run away from these works that you are doing in me to help me learn to trust you more. I thank you for the grace which you have already poured out on me.

Other ministry work appears to be coming along well. Theresa-Anne teaches English at a local denominational church and this obviously provides much area for sharing with the children. Andy is leading two house groups a week, which he is very blessed about (particularly when he has to walk and ride through tropical thunderstorms to get there!).Teaching

Two of our young men teach “R.I.” (Religious instruction) at the local government school and it’s a joy to see how the little children are responding to the gospel.

We lead two other house groups per week within the area, which deal mainly with marital and other “domestic” challenges. We have prayed much since we came that the Lord would pour out His Spirit over this area, and we are really seeing answers, which is encouraging for those whom we are discipling.

The group we conduct at Customs and Excise is perhaps the most encouraging for us. The Lord has really touched the hearts of these men and women and changes in their lives are reported each week. No doubt the department is seeing the benefit as well!

Kathy and Sue attend an “inter-denominational” Ladies Bible study group where they have some lovely fellowship with the “missionary community”. Today, the group was praying for peace around the world. Kathy and Sue were led to share with the ladies that sometimes the Lord uses war, destruction and famine to turn lost souls to Him and that we should always for HIS will to be done.

I was asked to assist at one of the Home cell groups of a large denominational church, which is proving a real ‘bumpy ride’, as this is a group of real intellectual Ex-Pats from America and England (Help Lord!!). The gospel is simple and experiential, very different to theology, which can sometimes cause barriers when trying to receive the true gospel.

28.03.96
We have been able to successfully register a church (in order to allow us to stay legally in the country – not for the purpose of starting another denomination!!). This process normally takes three years so we can really see Gods hand on this situation and we therefore believe that the Lord may want us here for a while longer.

Kathy and the children are all well. Theresa-Anne has been registered to write her GCSE Cambridge Mathematics and English exams in May and June. The Lord has miraculously opened doors for this to come about and we are very grateful for all the precious people who are helping us here. Please pray for her.

Kathy has begun Simons reading and writing program and they are both enjoying it very much in their little school room out back. Bethany is a bit left out, but Sue is doing a sterling job of keeping her ‘pre-schooled’ for a few hours each day. Daniel (wow, how many more!!) keeps Nanna (my mother) on the hop during school hours.

Wayne is always a great help to us and has become a very practical/mechanical young man. Who would have thought that he would be such a blessing to us from such a young age – bless him as he grows Father. I am so proud of him as I see how he goes about daily chores – busying himself with something, keen to be involved. God has placed deep insight and great sensitivity into this young man and because of that, God will use him always in quiet but effective ways. He has so much to offer others and will give freely as God directs.

Andy and Sue have recovered from all their ‘tropical’ sicknesses and are now well on the way to becoming fully blown African missionaries, having survived many shattered illusions. They are such a great help to us and a real asset to the mission here.

I can’t help but marvel at the Lords power when I think of Andy and Sue. From the day they arrived here to this day, there have been such wonderful changes in their lives as individuals and in their marriage. Many ‘grey’ areas have been cleared up for them and there is a true freedom in their relationship with each other.

Andy, who was on medication for a form of epilepsy, has now been completely healed and no longer takes medication daily (or at all). He does a full normal days’ work including driving, which he was not able to do before. Thank you Jesus for your healing!

Andy shared with me how, with the help of the Lord, he has been able to truly comprehend that his ‘old self’ (the one which suffered these terrible attacks), did in fact, die with Jesus on the cross around 2000 years ago. As he became aware of past hurts and angers in his life, he was able to deal with them. They began to lessen, and so the healing became more and more evident in his life. The past hurts and unforgiveness were an area in his life where the evil one had dominion. This therefore became a stronghold in his life. As he shed these feelings, the light became stronger and stronger, resulting in a physical strengthening.

Mission Malawi is a bi-monthly publication from …”time with the Master…”

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.
If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; http://www.adcrucemchristi.com
Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Be still in your busy day…


We are busy in our lives. Whether it is at work, at play, bringing up children, managing work colleagues or simply trying to make ends meet – we are busy and in today’s world, it seems we are getting busier. We are constantly pouring ourselves out into the lives of others. The common factor of all these types of busyness is that they drain us – physically and emotionally.

 Is it possible for us to – ‘take time out’?

 Yes it is! I’m not necessarily talking of going on a vacation for a few weeks, although that would be very nice, no, I’m talking about taking ‘time out’. This time out can be a few minutes or a few hours depending on our circumstances. Ever heard of a ‘power nap’? Well, what about a ‘power time out’?

 A wonderful scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God…”Be Still...2

 The other day I had planned my day as I thought it best. I was secure in my plan, which in turn brought me peace of mind. As I began the day, I received a business call, which would result in me having to make a one hour round trip by car to fulfil an urgent need of one of my customers. My first reaction was to start complaining, grumbling because MY plans had now been changed. My day was already under pressure and now it would seemingly get worse…..

 I climbed into the car and set off on my trip. Very soon, I began to dwell on the thought – ‘the Lord knows everything’. As I ‘abided’ in that thought, I began to calm down and the anxiety started to drift away.  It was then that the scripture came to me…. “Be still and know that I am God….”

 I asked the Lord to help me linger in this scripture while driving. Jesus said that if we abide (to stay a while – not jump in and out) Abide in Mein Him, then He will abide in us. So I kept the scripture on the movie screen of my mind and this is what the Lord showed me….

 “Be still and know that I am God…”

 ‘Be’ – “Just BE”, said the Lord. “Just exist…don’t try to be somebody that you aren’t. I fearfully and wonderfully made you. There is no other like you. Wherever you go – just BE. Split seconds before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, you did not exist, but I formed you – and you were! From the foundation of time I planned for you to BE”, said the Lord.

 ‘Still’ – Where there is stillness, there is depth. Our Father so desires for us to come to a deeper place with Him. We cannot find that depth until we are still, a still place where He will share His heart with us, where we will hear His heartbeat.

 ‘and Know’ – “Don’t try to figure me out”, said the Lord, “don’t take opinions of others and form Me into those opinions – simply ‘KNOW’ that I am God, simply ‘KNOW

 ‘I am’ – “There is nothing outside of Me”, said the Lord, “Walk with boldness wherever you go, for I am with you. Wherever YOU go…I AM” said the Lord…

 Had my plans not changed that day, I would have missed this ‘time out’ with the Lord.

 For those of us who are parents, normal conversation with our children is usually about them constantly ‘asking’ us for things. How lovely it would be for us instead, to sit with our children and hear them expressing their opinions about life or simply saying to us, “I love you…”

 God is the same with us. He would love us to have ‘time out’ with Him and discuss the things on our hearts while telling Him that we love Him.

 Don’t plan your next time out – just do it. Stay focused on Him for a few quiet minutes and let Him share His heart with you. Receive from Him rather than asking from Him. You will be blessed, and your inner strength will be revitalized.

 From: “…time with the Master…”

“…time withe Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter Fourteen


‘Mission Malawi’ is a series, printed from the Journal of Brother Ray, His family and a team of missionaries. Why not start from the beginning of their journey – you will be truly inspired.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Fourteen”

Mission Malawi – Chapter Thirteen


Zimbabwe

July 1995 – August 1995

 Kathy’s parents had asked us to please return to Zimbabwe for the birth of our 5th child. They had kindly offered to pay for all the costs and also knew of a Christian doctor who would oversee the birth. I asked Titus if he would like to accompany us because he had never been out of Malawi before. He was very excited.

19.07.95

It’s wonderful how the Lord has brought us to this lovely place at Lake Kariba, in the Northern part of Zimbabwe. The ‘Cabanas’ belong to Zimbabwe Sun and the unit we are staying in is part of Kathy’s parents time share. The contrast of life is amazing. How good the Lord is to allow us to experience different types of living. We need to learn to trust Him more and really KNOW that He will never forsake us. Kariba

 Kathy is starting to feel uncomfortable now and we expect that something should happen soon, by Gods grace. We are about 500km from the hospital that she has been booked into, but the Lord knows!!

05.08.95

Praise the Lord! After two weeks overdue date, Kathy and I are blessed with another little boy. We have decided to call him Daniel Stephen. The birth was another wonderful testimony to the Lord. Although Daniel was the heaviest of all the children, his birth has been the easiest. The doctor, a precious brother in the Lord, said Kathy would be his ‘tithe’ patient and so we did not have to pay for his services. We were blessed by Kathy’s parents who kindly met the hospital bill for us. We are truly so grateful for all these faithful people who are so willing to open their hearts to us in obedience to the Lord.

 10.08.95

We have been blessed with more gifts of money to be able to buy some groceries to take back to Malawi with us. There is also enough to have a new tent made for the little caravan/trailer that the Lord blessed us with in South Africa.

 One day while I was standing in the queue at the Mozambique embassy, a man came up to me and began to ask me some questions about Malawi. A Zimbabwean, he owned an art museum in America and was trying to find certain types of wood carvings to take back to America with him. After chatting for some ten minutes, he disappeared to the front of the line where he collected his passport from a man who had been in the line on his behalf.

 About 15 minutes later he came back as though he was looking for someone in particular. As our eyes met, he said, “Ah, I’ve been looking for you”. A bit taken a back, I wondered why he was looking for me. He then asked me what line of business I was in. The Lord opened a door for me to share briefly with him. Right there, in the queue, he took out his wallet and blessed me with two hundred Zimbabwe dollars. It was the exact amount we needed to finish the last of our shopping. The man in front of me couldn’t believe his eyes. He said to me afterwards, “But that guy didn’t even know you!!”

 How great is the Lord. If I had complained and had not stood in that line for as long as I did, I would have certainly missed the blessing the Lord had planned for us….”

With our new addition safely in the arms of Mom and Kathy’s family, we planned our return trip to ‘Area 49’ in Lilongwe.

Area 49
Area 49 Lilongwe Malawi

Kathy and the children would stay with her parents until strong enough to come back to Malawi. Her parents had once again kindly offered to pay for them to fly back when she was ready.

17. 08.95

After much planning, praying and packing, Titus and I are ready to leave for Malawi. We plan to leave at 4:00am. All being well, we can expect to get to Lilongwe at about 4:00pm. A long 12 hour journey. This journey is difficult for me as there are always ‘niggly’ challenges at the border posts. I believe from time gone by, in the days of white supremacy in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, there has been left a certain amount of unforgiveness and anger towards white people by some of the custom and immigration officials of these countries.

 Whilst I can appreciate the very difficult job these people have, their attitudes always appear to show their desire to have their authority respected. I am blessed that the Lord uses them to humble me.

 Arriving back in Lilongwe, the Lord has really granted us favour with men, apart from the Malawi customs gentleman who was very angry at Titus because he spoke in English! We have found Arthur Jacob, Patrick and Joseph all well and mightily blessed.

 The Lord has had His hand on the little businesses and they have all grown. Thank you Lord.

 18. 08. 95

After going to bed filled with the joys of returning to faithful brethren, we are awakened with a terrible shock. The Combi is up on pieces of log and stone – all four tyres and rims stolen!

I can’t find words to describe our disappointment. Somebody in our locality knew that we had arrived and had informed the thieves. All four new tyres given to us in South Africa a few months before, especially for Malawian conditions, had been stolen!Stolen Tyres

My first thought is: “Why Lord?”. As I ponder deeper on those words, the Lord shows me that actually, I have no right to even ask such a question. What right does a selfish sinner have to question the Almighty and powerful, everlasting God who knows all things?

 God, in His infinite wisdom had allowed this thing to happen and all I desired to find out was what lesson was in it for me. At this time the anger within me is too great to see very much.

Mission Malawi is published by “…time with the Master…” on a bi-monthly basis.

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is also published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

 

 

Mission Malawi – Chapter Five


Publisher’s Note:

I was unable to download original pictures from the Malawi collection, for technical reasons and hope to have this sorted by the next issue. Thank you for bearing with us in this challenge.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Five”

Mission Malawi – Chapter Four


25.02.94

David, Frank, Hein and I began early morning prayers this week. They have fellowship meetings Mon, Wed, and Fridays. Tonight is our first meeting and we will attempt to do the first teaching, ‘The Fall’. God has shown us clearlyYoung disciples at the mission that we are to impart the Gospel to faithful men. At this time we see David and Frank as two whom we will work closely with. I am a bit uncertain of Frank at this time, but the Lord will show us. We prayed for one of Frank’s children, a daughter, who has a very bad cough (TB?).

The Lord through David: “Rest in me, this is my battle and I will fight, you must seek me for strength and rest in me”.

Do everything without complaining, otherwise God will keep us in the wilderness.

Continue reading “Mission Malawi – Chapter Four”