My husband Bryan is a risk-taker. It's something he is well-known for, from his love of climbing mountains to his willingness to try any new food set before him. Raw horse, anyone? Squid still squirming? You name it, he's ready to try... He even held a job after college repelling from the roofs of tall buildings to wash windows. Risk – something necessary to business, particularly new startups – is second nature for him.
It is well known that I married my opposite. I love safety. I love things being nailed down and decided. I don't have a risky bone in my body and usually only attempt new things after much research. Needless to say, the new interesting food items on the menu when we moved to Japan weren't calling my name. Our move to Japan itself was a huge leap of faith for me. Though I was completely convinced it was God's desire, my natural inclinations and instincts fought me the whole way, even for years after our move.
And then God led us to start a business.
Though we find ourselves on different ends of the personality spectrum, Bryan and I experienced similar feelings and thought processes about opening up shop in Japan. The question of WHAT we would do was always answered for us: we both had storied histories with coffee culture and had dreamed about how our loves of coffee and people might intersect. Bryan had made easy friends and connections in the coffee industry of our city and greater Japan, so God was already opening doors. But a business? In Japan, of all places? The paperwork, all in a second language – an arduous language. The stress stories from other entrepreneurs, with the added stress of a different culture. We can't own property, get a loan, or sign up for a credit card here – how would we pay for it? And if we are somehow able to begin, how could the two of us possibly sustain it? What if the business fails? What if we can't find other workers and collapse under the pressure? What if it turns out that we are horrible at business?
Without answers to these questions, Bryan and I began taking turns playing the roles of doubter and encourager for one another. We both knew the truth that God never promises success, but always promises His presence. We also knew that obedience is the safest place to be, even if it looks risky or downright crazy from the world's perspective. And God had affirmed us time and again, through the mystery of His peace, through the encouraging word of a colleague, and through the excitement of our Japanese friends and neighbors. Some of those friends breathed sighs of relief, saying, "So you're really going to stay, then?" We were ready to give it a go; in fact, a fire had been lit and we NEEDED to do it, even if it would be crash-and-burn. We trusted that God would lead us, and He would either open doors to success in this venture, or He would close them and teach us in the process.
So far, like so many stories of those following Jesus, it has been one risky leap of faith after another.
Wife, Mother, Founder, GEN Desk Writer
Previous posts from Jamie and SSCR.
It's said 4 of 5 business start-ups fail.
Why risk so much with the potential of failure? You may be asking a similar question.
We are tackling how to launch new business initiatives centered on the Gospel and Kingdom of God. We desire these businesses to be catalysts for the Gospel to transform lives, change communities, bring reconciliation, and glorify God. Ideally this would happen whether or not the business succeeds, but we are working toward sustainability and success.
Businesses help address several major issues in countries around the world, one of which is access. In many places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, or parts of India, people have restricted access to the church or even a single believer. In other places, like Japan or Turkey, hearts are closed to Jesus. A current example of access is a business in an unreached people group of Southeast Asia that employs several hundred and impacts thousands in their family and relational networks. These are people engaging the Gospel and Kingdom of God naturally throughout their work every week.
Business is only one context to help people have access to the Gospel. Ultimately, we know the Gospel will bring transformation, not business.
If you want to be part of launching or joining Gospel and Kingdom centered businesses... there are a couple businesses that have critical needs in Central Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. The best way to start is by participating in an Entrepreneurial Readiness Workshop.
We hope to see the Kingdom multiply around the world. It is worth the risk!
– GEN Desk Director