IT Guys (and Gals) Have Advantages
Leveraging IT and Missions
Interview with a Pioneer in Asia
Recently we caught up with John, a Pioneers missionary who has an IT business in Asia. We asked him a few questions about IT life in his Asian context.
Tell us about the context of your life and work.
I work in a sensitive corner of a country that isn’t welcoming to Christians. The majority population is Muslim. My goal is to use my family’s presence in our community and the influence of my business to create opportunities to share the gospel.
What does your IT business offer?
It’s a unique blend of media creation and online marketing. We produce all sorts of media—books, videos, audio recordings, articles, etc.—used to promote products, tourism, and services to the outside world. We offer local companies a fun and relatively cheap way to reach a global audience through the use of the internet.
Practically, how do you leverage IT for ministry among the unreached?
We provide a service that isn’t tied down to a specific retail location. So, we can reach beyond the big cities into areas that have a higher density of unreached peoples. Thankfully, they don’t see us as foreigners coming in to exploit the local economy for our own gain. Instead, they have welcomed us into communities that see our business as a way to tap into a market they don’t know how to reach. What I love most about the business is that its success is dependent upon a continued development of relationships with the local community as well as the local government.
Tell us how IT and missions are intertwined. What does it look like to communicate the gospel?
In this part of the world, it’s hard for people to imagine a foreign business set up to support local businesses instead of exploiting the local economy. On more than one occasion, I’ve had the opportunity to sit down over lunch while negotiating a new contract and answer the simple question: why are you doing this? Sharing how God has changed my life and given me a true love for the people in this part of the world is eye-opening for them, especially since they feel like most of the Western world hates them.
How would you encourage other people interested in IT and missions who have professional skills similar to yours?
There’s beauty in how technology is changing the way we work today. Businesses everywhere need people with backgrounds in IT. Sometimes it seems like this work keeps you behind a computer or could be done from your home country. But within the context of missions, IT can provide so many benefits!
As an entrepreneur in the online marketing space, I have flexibility. I schedule my day however it best fits the needs of my family and ministry opportunities that come up. Because my overhead is low, which allows me to hire people more easily. I also have an opportunity to provide exposure and economic benefit to a community that might not have it otherwise.
Get more scope on how to leverage your IT skills for God’s purposes.
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