On a recent visit to Kumasi, in Ghana, we met Beatrice, a Godly business woman who is the wife of a pastor. Her family had been in the baking business and so it was a natural that when she needed to generate money for the family she would start a baking business. At the same time she had a deep concern for the thousands of young women who flock to the city fleeing poverty in the Muslim north and hoping for a better life. Many of these women end up in prostitution or dealing drugs. Beatrice wanted her business to be profitable but also to give hope and opportunity for these women.
We visited her bakery in the slum area downtown. You have to park your car in the street outside the slum, cross a little dirty river, walk about two hundred meters down a dirt road with many little children running around and then finally enter a building that doesn’t look like much from the outside. Once you are inside a completely new world opens. You walk into the building and you can feel the heat from four huge clay ovens and the smell of freshly baked bread is all around you. There is a beehive of activity. Everywhere are people feeding the huge ovens with pans with raw bread dough. Others are packing freshly baked bread into plastic bags and another group of ladies are cleaning pans to be used again for the next batch of bread to be baked.
As we walked in, we were met by the friendly face of Beatrice. She has been running the business for the last four years and she produces about 3000 loafs of bread on a daily basis. Not only is she giving direct employment to 33 ladies but she is also giving work to 30 sales women, mostly Muslims from the North. She sells the bread to these women at wholesale prices and they then go out in the street and sell the bread to the public for a small margin. Through this small profit they can sustain themselves. To many of the those who have just joined the sales team, she even gives accommodation until they are on their feet. Through working with these young ladies, six of them came to know the Lord in the last two years. It is so encouraging to see that this bakery that bakes the most beautiful breads, is also a tool that Jesus is using to share the Bread of Life with many unsaved people.
When a local Christian organization heard what this church is doing, they sent their team to equip all the ladies is Basic Business Training as well as trained the church on evangelism and discipleship to those of other faiths.