Last June an American businessman, Fred, and I traveled to Central Asia to help a church planting organization understand and implement “best practices” in their management procedures. The organization’s leadership is particularly interested in implementing financial procedures that will enable better reporting and transparency. Fred and I were delighted to see their hearts for the Lord and their desire to act with integrity. These people live in an environment that is hostile to their faith and face a constant threat of persecution. For example, one of the people in the training event spent three months in jail on trumped up charges last fall. As a result it is even more difficult to run their organization in a way that meets the standards assumed in the West. Nevertheless, that is what they are attempting because they believe it is right.

I am not an accountant and not able to assist them with the practical steps of setting up their accounting system. However, I was able to connect them with a friend of mine, Karen, who is an accountant and has demonstrated a wonderful capacity to design an appropriate accounting system and patiently train them to implement it. It is a delight to watch, via email conversations, Karen create homework exercises for the bookkeeper she is training and watch the Central Asian bookkeeper take deliberate steps to understand. It has been a slow and somewhat laborious process, but clear progress has been achieved. I hope that soon the organization will be able to transition to the new system.

I am also excited about this story because it wonderfully illustrates how someone from the West with specific training and experience can help an initiative in one of the oppressive parts of the world. Fred and Karen are using their abilities in ways that are advancing Christ’s Kingdom and freedom in a hard place. I am grateful for their abilities and availability.

If you would like to find a place to use your abilities to provide a hand up to those who can use it, let me know. I would like to help connect you to an opportunity to serve.