Rob* is an MDE member and BAM venture owner, to whom we provide business and missional support services. He resides in a bustling city in South Asia. Rob spends his day fielding calls from Asian suppliers and Western buyers. As an international sourcing agent, he works to advance the interests of both suppliers and customers. His skills and experience with international contracts, quality control, and logistics save his clients lots of time and money.
An Unlikely Pioneer
More than a decade ago, Rob went to South Asia with a small group of students to conduct outreach activities. One evening, he found himself alone in a big city and chose to take that time for prayer. Rob felt a strong sense that God wanted him to focus on South Asia. He originally intended to stay for a year, but is still serving there today.
Rob joined a missions sending agency, which valued BAM as an outreach platform, providing legitimate standing in the community and helping obtain visas. However, it seemed there was little actual business activity taking place, because the focus was on traditional outreach.
Rob began feeling an internal dissonance that he could not ignore. He felt like one person with his agency peers and a different person with a network of local friends and business associates he was working hard to develop. His agency approved a new work assignment, which allowed him to spend the majority of his time on business, deriving joy from a new sense of life-work integration. Business connections became friends, and friends became people with whom he shared his life and faith. “I felt like this was authentic and how I believed life was to be lived. I was no longer compromising the truth of who I am for the sake of spreading the gospel.”
Rob showed a real aptitude for business and, in time, was asked to lead his agency’s city team and sit on a committee to inform the agency’s BAM efforts. Rob and his BAM colleagues also discovered the natural tensions that can arise between a BAM venture, legally owned by its founder (according to the local authorities) and the agency that has provided donor support.
In 2020, new tariffs on Chinese goods led to American companies seeking alternative suppliers. With his agency’s blessing, Rob seized the opportunity and launched his own sourcing business to meet the emerging demand.
In the same year, the coronavirus pandemic required Rob and all his agency colleagues to return to the US. Six months later, with a deep sense of responsibility for his business, Rob was determined to return to South Asia. He was approved for a visa through his business, enabling him to be true to his call to South Asia.
Vision and Progress
Rob now operates the 1040 Sourcing Network, which is a scalable sourcing business that allows its agents to build their own full-time businesses and provide authentic witness among the unreached. By 2025, he plans to establish offices in five more countries to empower others to follow their call – to business AND mission.
*Names changed to protect privacy.