In this member testimonial, Marie* shares her story of running a community development venture in Eurasia. She highlights the benefits of working with MDE.
I served in Eurasia for 10 years through a traditional mission agency before transferring to a community development project under MDE. I experienced an amazing shift in how people related to me when I made this change. I was no longer a missionary, but rather a businesswoman making a difference in the lives of orphans.
To the average person, business was relatable, ministry was not.
In that area of Eurasia, the non-profit business model was a new concept. I often had to explain that our volunteers did not make money. While that made some suspicious, others were humbled by our team members’ dedication. With the open-minded, we shared the heart of the Father God who desires all to find shelter and belonging in Him.
After a few years of positive impact within the orphan care sector, in-country officials began measuring the state’s communist-era orphan care system against those of other countries, and the problems they discovered alarmed them. Lower-level leaders became concerned for their authority, budgets, and job security. Our foreign NGO witnessed this internal process and relationships turned cold.
My last year in Eurasia was tense. We were watched constantly. Our contacts were questioned and encouraged to make accusations against us. The drama culminated in a decision to place all our projects on hold.
In early 2019, I began meeting weekly with my MDE advisor to review current events, my emotional health, and where the Lord was leading. The advisor understood we’d need to make changes in the NGO to establish our relationship with local authorities, build new partnerships, and develop our volunteer team. At one point, he said, “If we don’t have a clear decision at the end of April, that will be our decision.” At the end of April, I realized the team needed a leader who could guide them through this change—and I was not that leader. God brought peace with that insight, and we settled the decision to suspend all NGO operations.
Despite my own mixed experience of marketplace ministry, I am convinced of its potential to give witness in unreached communities. By offering quality products, creating jobs, and bringing good to a community, believers are a light in the darkness. This good creates opportunities to give witness to Jesus and the gospel by which all might be saved.
MDE stands beside its members as they build businesses and make disciples. I have been personally encouraged by MDE’s mentors, business support, and timely advice. MDE volunteers understand what overseas workers experience and help shoulder each new challenge. I recommend MDE without reservation.
*Name changed for privacy.