By Robert McArthur
The Year: 1758
The Month: April
The Situation: Sending thirty cash-strapped Moravian Missionaries to Suriname
Additional Requirements: a shipment of stripped linen; and one Moravian, Jonas Paul Weiss, to do some hard thinking on economic activities in missions, to articulate and pioneer this way of doing missions.
Long Term Results: Over two centuries of successful missionary commerce.
The Story: For the experienced businessman, Weiss, business offered as many opportunities for Christian witness as for profit.  His business brain and passionate missionary heart thus laid the foundation for what is now two centuries of missionary commerce.
It was however Sarasin, from another likeminded mission, The Basel Evangelical Mission Society who, in a letter to India in 1854, articulated best the principles of this ‘missionary commerce’ when he wrote:
“The Business arm of the Mission is not just an aid to missions but it is the mission itself
- a mission not through preaching but through the power of example
- a mission of revealing Christianity in practical life situations
- a mission doing everything possible to make godliness visible
- a mission that shows Christianity to have promise not only for the life to come but also for this life.”