International Ministries

Mission Mobilization in SE Asia 1: Thailand

April 20, 2012 Journal
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Our trip through SE Asia in March was very successful! We spent a week each in Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam teaching three different intensive courses. Praise God that each one received enthusiastic reviews and we received invitations to return soon. 

Our first course, “Social Entrepreneurship for Church and NGO Leaders” was at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand (http://ic.payap.ac.th/). In a nutshell, a social enterprise is a business that has an explicit social as well as a financial goal. Examples include a handicraft cooperative, a restaurant that gives street kids on the job training, or a pedal power technology company. We talked about how God can use a revenue generating enterprise that is created to address a social problem to make our communities better places to live for everyone. 

Our students came from Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Denmark and the US. About half of them were students enrolled in Payap’s International MBA program, and half were church and NGO leaders. 

During the 30+ class hours we covered the basic concept of social enterprises, how to identify an opportunity, how to build an effective founders’ team, how to mobilize resources for the enterprise, how to do a one page business plan, and how to measure success. 

The highlight of the week was a morning spent at a social enterprise called Lanna Coffee (http://lannacafeusa.org/). Lanna was founded by ABC missionary Mike Mann as an outgrowth of the rural development projects of the Integrated Tribal Development Programme (http://itdp.webs.com/). Lanna is a coffee growers’ cooperative of rural hill tribe farmers who formerly grew opium. Lanna produces such high quality coffee that Starbucks Thailand is one of their customers. The visit to Lanna made all the principles we talked about in the classroom suddenly “real.” 

At the end of the course four student groups presented their business plans for possible social enterprises. We are looking forward to seeing the fruit of their hard work in the form of a new social enterprise or two in the next couple of years!

Thanks for being with us in Thailand through your prayers and financial support. You make it possible for us to faithfully carry out our ministry!  

Ann & Bruce

News flash:  we are praising God for your prayers and your sacrificial giving that have enabled us to reach the financial support goal set by International Ministries (IM).  IM has just given us the go-ahead to return to Brazil in May!