The Tying Vines Marketplace Project is the focus for this month’s blog. Bill Stewart, our VP Marketplace, who works tirelessly in pursuit of building this initiative, explained the goals and purpose of developing our BAM(Business As Mission) focus. He reminded me of the purpose of the Tying Vines Marketplace Projects, which is to foster the development of sustainable communities through economic development in partnership with local community leaders and organizations. Included in my conversation with Bill was a great success story from a pastor in Central Asia as well as the needs we have for growth going forward.
Turning Heartbreak into Honey in Central Asia
Several years ago, a pastor’s son tragically died. To help him recover from his loss a friend suggested he take up beekeeping. His friend told him that bees are fascinating and can help you heal. Ready to try anything he acquired his first beehive and learned the art of beekeeping. Gradually, he added more beehives and realized that this hobby could be a source of badly needed income for his family and ministry. He expanded the number of beehives and prayed about teaching other pastors about beekeeping. It was at this time that he learned about the Tying Vines Marketplace business development fund, and he acquired a loan from us to expand his business. His vision was to train and equip other pastors in the business. We invested in him and as of August 2022, he had reached 50 beehives. With his honey harvest, he was able to pay back half of the loan and still have needed income. He is preparing to train other pastors and we are now investigating opportunities for selling the honey in the US and other markets.
The success of any business fostered by Tying Vines is measured in four areas:
Profit: it must be profitable and engage in transparent financial management
People: it must provide jobs, training, safe working conditions, fair compensation and treat people with respect and dignity
Purpose: it must give back to the community, support local community organizations, and integrate faith-based values
Planet: must not harm the environment and work to improve the environment in which it operates.
In 2023 TV Marketplace hopes to launch similar programs in Lebanon. Working with partners there, we hope to establish a Lebanon Business Incubator program that provides business training, coaching and a revolving investment fund.
To help make all this happen and much more, please pray for the work being done. Two specific needs were shared by Bill:
1. Bill is looking for business consultant volunteers to help with training, and coaching business leaders in the field. 2. Bill is looking for speaking opportunities to share the success stories of these initiatives and opportunities for future involvement.