Encouraged by his parents to further his education after high school, Juan’s decision on what to study was influenced by his family’s background in business. Initially, he thought that marketing would help him in the business world, but ended up doing financial accounting after receiving advice from someone close to him. “I always wanted to get into business and make lots of money to become a billionaire,” Juan said about his motives.
Juan finds it easy to hear from the Lord when listening to worship music. At a youth camp, God spoke to him through the music about doing missions work. From that time “I stopped having satisfaction from wanting to become rich,” he said.
After he was baptised in his fourth year of university, God started speaking to Juan about doing missions again. “In Pretoria, we have a lot of Christians—if a person does not know about Jesus, it could be that they are not interested. But what about those who have never heard and will never hear?” This was the question Juan battled with while in university and he constantly thought about Matthew 24:14 where it says: “And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (NIV)
Juan felt compelled to leave his studies and go and do church planting but the Lord made it clear that Juan was to finish his studies because He was going to use them for His purposes. After graduation, Juan worked for a professional services company for three years until an opportunity came for him to use his profession in missions. “I serve visionaries on the front line of missions by helping with good stewardship of funds donated to cover the costs of spreading the good news,” he said. Juan helps workers put good accountability systems in place and to be compliant with local government-required regulations.
“I never knew how God was going to use my skills,” said Juan. With OM for over four years, Juan, and his team of four others help several countries in Africa with accounting. OM in Africa is focused on helping the work God is doing in Africa through the provision of various support services including a finance department.
Juan enjoys doing reports in Excel, implementing good systems and serving great visionaries to see God’s will come to pass. “The main challenge of serving in finance is to find a good work-life balance,” explained Juan. “Working in finance is quite different from other roles because we work with constant deadlines. That can be stressful at times.
“You also have to get used to working with people from different countries who do not have the privileges you have here in Pretoria—like steady internet access for example,” said Juan.
Recently, Juan went to Angola to help their finance team. Before the trip, he had asked God to show him an example of what it looked like to make disciples. “The Angola trip was an answer to my prayer,” said Juan. “The fruits of making disciples were evident to me.”
Juan witnessed everyone in the team intentionally developing others—from the leaders to the new team members. The experience encouraged Juan to focus on making disciples of Jesus followers wherever he is. “I am intentionally focusing on discipling key individuals that God brings into my path,” he shared.
“To leave a high salary is difficult,” said Juan. “I would, however, encourage others to count the cost and considering making the sacrifice. It is a wonderful blessing to work for a greater purpose than merely the bottom line or a paycheck at the end of the month. …Truly, to serve God (and not money) with your skills is a blessing in this life and in the life to come.”
Published: Friday, 04 October 2019
Credit: Deborah Ngobeni