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Christian businessmen hold key to Last Frontier countries

BRUSSELS, Belgium (BP)–Christian businessmen might be God’s answer to sharing the gospel in hard-to-access countries of The Last Frontier.
Businessmen from the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia heard this message as they met with scores of missionaries assigned to The Last Frontier in Brussels, Belgium, in early March. Both missionaries and businessmen were grappling with how to share the gospel in Last Frontier countries — as they networked on projects across a vast area.
The Last Frontier, also known as “World A,” is made up of ethnic people groups that have little or no access to the gospel. Clustered mostly in a swath that cuts across northern Africa, the Middle East and Asia, these people groups represent 2.7 billion Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists.
Hostile and sometimes unstable governments, wars, non-Christian religions and other factors make traditional missionary presence impossible in much of The Last Frontier. But missionaries familiar with the region say there are abundant business opportunities that cry out for Christian businessmen to come bearing the gospel.
Today’s situation is much like the first century when a tentmaking businessman named Paul traveled around the Mediterranean world to sell tents and share the gospel, these missionaries say. Like first-century times, modern-day Pauls often are dealing with people groups who have never heard the gospel.
Christian businessmen can make many unique contributions to overseas missions, speakers affirmed repeatedly, especially as they network with missionaries assigned to Last Frontier countries:
— Presence. Christian businessmen often have opportunities to share their faith with leaders of nations.
— Investment. Some Last Frontier countries are just beginning to develop economies that include fledgling developments of mineral and oil reserves.
— Support of believers. Often new Christians are immediately ejected from their families, and in some poorer countries the family unit is the individual’s main source of financial support. Christian businessmen can help believers set up businesses to make them self-supporting.
— Influence nations. Christian businessmen are needed to teach Christian ethics along with business skills. One British speaker told how in earlier centuries Christian businessmen helped push the United Kingdom toward a more ethical system now taken for granted in the West — and he urged Last Frontier workers to do the same in countries there.
— Because of the deep poverty holding back Last Frontier countries, even small investments can make a great difference. One speaker told how a $12,000 investment helped set up a flour mill that gave church members not only income but also opportunities to share the good news of God’s love.
— Training Christians in business skills can have unexpectedly positive results. One speaker described how evangelical churches grew along a certain highway because the man in charge of installing a new telephone line was a Christian. Each night he stayed with a leading family in the area and each night led Bible studies that eventually resulted in dozens of new churches.
A shopping center developer from the United States said Christian business missions ventures are a wonderful way for retired or semi-retired businessmen to stay active in life and in their faith.
“I started this three years ago and I have more to do now than when I was working. It’s great!” he told the group. Both Last Frontier governments and missions organizations are looking for Christian laymen with practical business experience, for example, in sales, marketing, logistics, shipping and other business skills.
“Unfortunately, most churches see businessmen as dollar signs instead of trying to use their skills for missions causes,” said Os Hillman, an Atlanta advertising executive who has written several books on business and faith. Last Frontier missions challenges present a vast opportunity for Christian businessmen to serve, he declared.
Businessmen who want to explore Last Frontier opportunities may contact the initial contacts coordinator at the International Mission Board in Richmond, Va., toll-free at 1-888-422-6461.