IVEP participant, Angel, working at Ten Thousand Villages store
Photo/Emma Eitzen

IVEPer Miguel Angel Neri Carbot from Mexico, working at Ten Thousand Villages in Goshen, Ind.

I would like to begin by sharing a little about how I came to participate in the IVEP program. In Mexico, I was studying international business because my calling is to help financially support missionaries. To accomplish this, my dream is to have a company where I can send handicrafts from Mexico to all parts of the world, thus fulfilling my calling and helping the artisans of my country.

For some years, God had put in my heart to leave my country to learn and develop more tools focused on what I want to achieve. It’s been years of prayer and searching for the best way to achieve this. A friend told me one day about the call to participate in IVEP this year 2021–2022, which was the answer to what I was looking for. I started my application and in this whole process I could see the hand of God with me step by step. After a series of events that only He could have achieved, I finally got here.

My work placement is at Ten Thousand Villages and at an MCC Thrift shop, both located in Goshen, Ind.

Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade craft store, where they seek to recognize the work of artisans. They pay fair prices to artisans by cutting out the middleman and giving artists what their work really costs. These artisan groups are from different parts of the world. This is something incredible for me, because working here I have the opportunity to learn and put into practice my knowledge of imports and exports. I also get to see how the logistics and values represent a company that is self-sustaining and supports artisans with a fair deal. All this shows the love of God. In this short time, I've been working with the store manager, and I have been able to begin to explore more specific issues and how I can apply these values to my calling when I return to Mexico.

In addition to my work with Ten Thousand Villages, I am working in a thrift shop, where their business model is completely different from what I have learned in the past. This has allowed me to broaden my outlook. I am able to observe the entire organizational process and participate in an established store, learning each of the functions and positions in it. I also am supporting the opening of a new store. I am happy to participate in this process from scratch because it is another valuable learning experience.

All this is simply a great gift from God in my life — to see how He has control of each of the plans that He has put in my heart, training me and taking me to the right places to continue growing, where I can also share what He has already given me and shown me.

Participating in a program like IVEP is something that I could never have imagined, but I am extremely grateful for all that this program is offering me. I am grateful not only in the area of work and business development but also for the people I am interacting with in this community. I’m impressed by their passion for God and how they serve Him in their daily lives. I have to admit that this whole process of cultural adaptation has not been easy either, and there are moments of sadness and loneliness where it is hard to see what God is doing or working in my life. However, I can be sure that this is where I should be right now, and I know that everything I do will be worth it if I do it hand in hand with God.

I want to end with this: I arrived here with a very clear phrase in my mind "This is going to be amazing!" and I can say that it has been, so thanks be to God.