Melting the Iceman in Asia

How God used business conversations to soften the heart of one man, then others…

Three rough male characters from one extended family have slowly made their way into my life, and none of us are the same for it. The construction project management company that I own has facilitated contact with many people, both believers and unbelievers. My company is not just a platform for ministry, but responsible for large projects involving millions of USD and demanding deadlines. It provides the opportunity to rub shoulders and disciple many different nationals, from CEOs to laborers. In short, the lines between ministry and true business have become nicely blurred.

I first met Iceman when he was desperate for work, and he became the foreman for a $50,000 project. He moved his young family into a dilapidated house on site with very difficult conditions. I would not have considered this a discipleship relationship at the time, but through many interactions we see now that God had plans much higher than mine. I have seen Iceman–who spent years in jail as a hard young man with obvious character issues and little skills or experience–become a family man with his wife of 20 years and a much softer character, as well as a more consistent provider. At first we drank tea and ate lunches together in a group, and then he began seeking me out for advice, regularly ending with times together where we discussed spiritual topics and other issues. As we were working together, we learned a lot about each other, sharing struggles and victories with each other and praying for each other during the numerous times of hardship for both of us.

Building the Iceman's home

Building the Iceman’s home




Seven years and numerous projects later, Iceman took me out for lunch last week. You see, we have this favorite café that we meet at periodically to eat logmon (national dish of noodles and meat) and drink tea. It is at this café that we have had lots of difficult and good talks about business, life, and spiritual things. Here Iceman told me how grateful he was that my wife and I were in their families’ lives, and we are also grateful for them.

So how can our motto of “Focus on a few and go deep” make any real impact?

As I look back I see that Iceman was the gatekeeper to his brothers and numerous other young men, mostly nephews, and although the time investment into Iceman and his family was big, there were spinoff disciple-making relationships that eclipsed even Iceman. Honestly, I never really thought back then that I would see the Iceman of today. God works miracles in us all!


Firstly, God allowed us to spread the net wide during lunch times with Iceman and about eight workers. We all got to know his relatives and friends as we talked very openly about spiritual matters and one or two came to Christ, and the family grew to trust me. Secondly, this allowed Barry, his brother, and Light, his nephew, to work on a later project with me for 10 months, and through formal time in the Word in the mornings and other daily contact, they got fired up for Jesus Christ. His nephew went back to a neighboring closed country to live out his faith. Thirdly, Barry is influencing his wife, two kids, and the entire extended family like we would not have imagined, especially from the drunk he used to be! He practices spiritual disciplines, and God has transformed his character so that it is unmistakable.

Fourthly, a house church has formed out of this large, extended family, and God is continuing to work in the lives around us. Someone else is involved with this church and the disciple-making process as well as myself.

Lastly, Iceman’s son is heading to Bible school this year.

As we look back, we see God was at work in Iceman’s family, and in turn they were and are a light in their sphere of influence to a nation of Muslims who have never heard the Good News. We are humbled that God chooses to use us in the expansion of His Kingdom as we were changed and learned more than Iceman’s family. I have learned through them to be less judgmental, more patient with my family, as we also walk the path together. I have also learned that keeping a relationship and prayer life with God, is a vital component. We also see that business was a very natural vehicle to build friendships and see God transform lives because of the time we spend together… something that is hard to do spending an hour a week with a person. In my experience in a Muslim, unreached setting, it is hard to only focus on the spiritual life without helping them with other life decisions that they struggle with at times. As we were drinking tea, we talked about the possibility of their family tree being mostly Christians years from now due to what God is doing in and through them. May God receive glory for the things He has done.

By: One of our Businessmen Serving in Asia