“The tax inspector is coming!” In Albania, as in most countries, these are nobody’s favourite words. But for the many illegally run, unregistered businesses, whose owners work hard to avoid paying taxes and bills, the taxman spells trouble.
When OM launched their kingdom-oriented micro and small business initiative, Business as Mission (BAM), in Albania, they decided to focus on Christians who ran businesses and needed assistance to grow, teaching them that profitable kingdom businesses should be managed in such a way as to positively impact the community spiritually, socially and economically. From the start, BAM Albania committed to operate in a way that first honoured God—whether in bee-keeping, running a tyre business or working with metal. As Enio, BAM’s leader, commented, “One of the key ways we teach is to have a legal business by registering, paying taxes, bills and stuff.”
In 2016, one of the very first businesses that BAM started was a small metal fabrication shop in west-central Albania, run by a Christian man called Turi*. One of BAM Albania’s goals was to create sustainability in churches, communities and Christian families through job creation, and Turi needed his own business in order to manage his time for work, his young family and his involvement in church activities, including being part of the worship team. Turi’s local church also had a project of planting various churches in different villages, and he and his wife were sent to help with a church plant in a traditional Muslim village.
In his BAM-supported business, Turi used his gifting and skills in the hands-on tasks of welding and metal work on windows and gates. His shop was located in an industrial area of the town, where there were many other different businesses, such as carpenters, car mechanics and house builders. However, it was hard to find any other legally-established enterprise, Enio recalled.
On different days of the week, the tax inspectors came to this area to check whether these businesses were paying taxes or not. When all these business operators saw the inspectors coming, they closed up. The only business that remained open was Turi’s shop. It was a great testimony for all the other businessmen to see that Turi, a Christian, was the only one who was not afraid of the taxman.
In fact, when the inspectors stopped by Turi's business, checked his documents and saw that all his paperwork was in order, they actually thanked Turi for his organisation. “It was such an amazing encouragement also for us running BAM about the ways we honour God through our business and how we can be a testimony to the others,” Enio said.
Please pray for the other current BAM-supported businesses that OM Albania follows up with, as well as future BAM-trained kingdom enterprises—that they would all maintain these strong values, shining Christ’s pure light in the workplace and in the communities in Albania.
*Name changed for security