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An Introduction to Rosedale Business Group

By Larry and Dot Chupp

“Marketplace evangelism happens when we take who we are in Christ to the marketplace.”

Since the inception of Rosedale Business Group (RBG) in 2007, the first and foremost desire of each member has been to seek avenues for building Christ’s Kingdom via business and poverty alleviation opportunities, locally and overseas. Making inroads for the Good News can be very challenging in today’s global market and it is even more complex given the constraints of closed countries. The RBG board and partners have been seeking creative solutions to some of these problems. We would like to introduce you to some of RBG’s current projects.

Rosedale Business Group Utilizing Business Expertise to: EMPOWER the church to engage the local culture in the market place and FACILITATE international entrepreneurship and employment of Christians with a passion for cross-cultural evangelism.

We will begin with a recent project in Southeast Asia. A group of believers the RMM team has been relating to were looking for ways to enhance their way of life financially while showing Christ’s love to their community via business. They requested a loan to build a rain water collection pond for irrigating vegetable plots and to have a fish farm. Their goal is to sell the produce and the fish for profit, and they also hope to foster new relationships as they reproduce the plan in other communities. An RBG project team from the States was formed to walk alongside these Southeast Asian believers as they came up with a business plan and proposal for the pond. At the 2014 CMC Pastors Conference, a pastor and his wife stepped forward to provide the funds for the pond project. This loan has been set up on a two-year payback schedule. The donors requested that once the loan is paid, the funds be used to finance the next pond.

The pond project provides a teaching mechanism for a people group who are traditionally hunter-gatherers and not given to planting and producing for the future. It could change their economic situation and place them in a stronger position for physical survival. The pond has been completed and is currently in use. Please pray for courage and perseverance for the persecuted group of believers who are associated with this project as they follow the call to share Christ in this closed country.

RBG has also been working on several coffee-related projects in Thailand. On a recent trip to Thailand, we met 33-year old Pat, who is a deeply committed Christian from the indigenous Akha hill tribes people group. The Akha are a group of approximately five million people living throughout five countries. Pat is only one of three Akha with a Master of Divinity degree, and he chose to return and live among his people after a very successful church plant in Bangkok. Although he was educated for pastoral ministry, he comes from a family of coffee farmers and felt God calling him back to his tribe and the coffee trade as a missional business. His heart is with his people and he is committed to help them find ways to earn a living while showing them the way to Christ. This requires a lot of resources: a mill to process the coffee cherries, a way to dry the coffee beans, a roaster, and much more. He has a friend who is a Christian banker who is partnering with him.

Larry and Dot on a trip to the coffee growing region in northern Thailand, along with Pat, Natcha, and other members of RBG.

Pat has also committed to help a young lady from Burma named Natcha. Her parents are deceased and her brother rescued her from being at imminent risk for sex trafficking. From such incredible odds she has emerged with a sweet spirit and a zest for life. Her desire to have a bakery led her to obtain culinary training in Thailand. She then spent several months in the States learning to bake Amish and Mennonite pastries—training that will allow her to produce a unique product in Thailand. Her vision is to provide wholesale specialty pastries for Thailand’s emerging coffee shop culture. RBG has performed a business analysis and the projections for a business of this type are financially viable. An RBG project team is working alongside Pat as he coaches Natcha. This project is slated to begin in October, pending financing. A significant Kingdom-building aspect is that the bakery will provide jobs to other young girls also at risk for sex trafficking. The bakery will provide a healthy work environment in which these young girls can be introduced to Christ. Natcha has a long-term goal to see this project reproduced in her home country of Burma. The money for these projects will be loans because RBG is committed to walk alongside in a way that is not harmful to the dignity of the persons receiving the assistance. Resource teams are put in place to mentor and guide these projects. Leadership training is key for the success of these types of endeavors.

In May we also met Joe and Fai in Thailand. They had been receiving support from a U.S. based agency but decided that in order to identify with their neighbors, it would be better if they didn’t receive charity from the U.S. They are using business, both to try to support themselves and to employ young mothers. Joe has a web--based graphic design company with clients worldwide. Fai’s mission is to provide products (mainly handbags) which are hand crafted with special care by Thai-Tribal women living in low income communities. The purchase of the pieces helps women obtain steady incomes through which they are able to help support themselves and their families. At the moment we are simply working with them to find U.S. markets for the products and to guide Fai in her sewing business to efficiently produce her product while maintaining the superb quality she has established.

These are just a few of RBG’s current projects. As we meet people across CMC, we sense excitement for what RBG and RMM are doing, and we’re grateful for the many ideas and suggestions that have been shared with us.It shows us the hearts of people who want to be change agents in the culture.

RBG is also looking for people who sense the call to serve in the marketplace overseas in a Kingdom-building capacity. This could be in a profession as an employee or in an international business endeavor. RBG will provide a resource team to walk alongside these candidates. We invite you to join us. Contact us with any questions or comments at larrydot@rmmoffice.org

Additional reading:

When Helping Hurts
by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

Walking With the Poor
by Bryant L. Meyers

Love Does
by Bob Goff

Larry and Dot Chupp became Rosedale Business Group (RBG) Co-directors in March 2014. As Co-directors of RBG they desire to promote the idea that if God has called you to the marketplace (here or overseas), it is a holy and God-ordained calling. This does not exclude God’s call to places other than the marketplace. He desires that we live out his call in ways for Kingdom building. Marketplace evangelism happens when we take who we are in Christ to the marketplace.

Larry and Dot drove truck in a team operation from 1992 until 1999. During that time they built a custom sleeper truck for their own use, and as a result Larry was asked to join others to produce quality custom sleepers. In February 2001 ARI (American Reliance Industries) was formed with Larry as one of the founders and shareholders. ARI is now the largest manufacturer of custom sleepers. During that time, Dot also owned a sewing business whose primary customer was ARI.

In early 2013, the Chupps had a growing sense that it was time to move toward fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming involved again with community development work similar to what they had been a part of in Nicaragua in the mid 70’s with RMM’s Voluntary Service program. Another goal was to become more actively involved with RBG where Larry had been a board member. Accepting an appointment as co-directors for RBG was not what they expected so when the request came, although it was a surprise to them, it felt like a clear sign to accept the appointment. On January 31, 2014 Larry sold his shares in ARI and in June Dot transitioned out of her sewing business.

The Chupps are members of Siloam Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana where Larry serves on the elder team. They live in Shipshewana, Indiana. One of their hobbies is hosting pizza parties in the sunroom of their home where they built a wood-fired pizza oven (inspired by the Nicaraguan campo [rural area]). In this setting, they have enjoyed many wonderful times with diverse groups of people.