Business as Mission in Mongolia
Mongolia is seen as the “Final Frontier” for many people. It stirs up images of the horse herds that still run free across her open steppes. From the harsh arid climate of the Gobi Desert in the south, to the pristine lakes in the frozen north that border Russia’s Siberia, the climate has forged a hardy, resilient people who work hard, play hard, and practice a survivalist hospitality.
Into this climate, Mongolia in 1990 opened her borders to doing business and trade with the rest of the world. Freedom of religion was written into her new constitution. A free market economy emerged. People were asking for the tools to cope with a new and growing economy. From 2000 to 2012, Mongolia’s resource-rich countryside has fueled what is now reported to be one of the fastest growing economies of Asia.
Into this setting business as mission (BAM) entrepreneurs are finding opportunities to work with Mongolians to help them build their country on the solid foundations of faith and the hope that does not disappoint. BAM workers seek to close the gap between rich and poor; to disciple Mongolia’s young population with values which will encourage them not to buy into the despotism of capitalism, but that will build a sustainable future.
Probably the biggest hurdle most BAM workers (BAMers) will face is the government’s US$100,000 entry requirement to start a foreign-run business in Mongolia. This requirement is to ensure that businesses which apply to be in Mongolia are legitimate businesses and have enough capital to start up and run in the first 2 years of operation. Though many mission workers may find this hurdle unrealistic and difficult, it has been noted by many business people that this probably is a basic minimum to realistically start a business in most countries.
Mongolia faces many similar concerns that other developing countries also face: corruption, frustrating legal red tape, unskilled workers, workers with a different worldview regarding ethics or finances, etc. However, most successful BAM entrepreneurs after sifting through the difficulties, have found themselves working beside hard-working Mongolians who are sincere about learning how to provide for their families, both physically and spiritually.
In this context, Mongolia presents itself as a BAM mission field that holds many opportunities. Mongolia is a country where BAM workers could have a significant influence to disciple Mongolians who are building their nation. They could help those who have caught the vision to share the Good News beyond Mongolia’s borders.