Ministry Today commends a different group of kingdom-minded people or organizations each year in our MT21 issue. In 2014, when we launched MT21, we honored churches and ministries that were influencing the 21st-century church.
In 2015, we highlighted 21 congregations that were "culturally diverse on purpose." This year, however, we're taking a different approach and naming 21 businesses whose leaders are a witness for Christ in some way through their professional platforms. From cupcake makers to insurance agency owners to roofers, we have covered a wide range of businesses in this year's MT21 feature.
Today, we are highlighting T&T Construction (ttcfl.com).
T&T Construction ttcfl.com
In the early days of Central Florida-based T&T Construction, President Linda Thomas found a practical way to share her faith and show concern for a key contractor with the then-fledgling company.
Stricken with cancer, a father of two young girls reached out for prayer and consolation. Thomas and her husband, Bill, often visited the man and his family at home and in the hospital. Worried about the future of his wife and family, he found solace in the idea of a God who could take care of them after he was gone.
Before his death, the man prayed and received Jesus as his Savior. Though his small business didn't survive his passing, his widow's new husband now works at T&T.
"We've had a few people who say during job interviews they know this is a Christian company," says Thomas, who became president two years after the company incorporated in 1995. "Right now we're building a new web page, but in the past, we had an entire page that featured our mission work."
There are other clues to T&T's Christian base, such as its mission statement. In addition to embracing client service through hard work and integrity, it wants to "always remember that God alone gives us the strength to work."
Suppliers who pop in from time to time with lunch for some of the 200-plus staff members are so used to Thomas or an employee saying grace they often wait for it to happen.
Yet for the mother of four—two of whom work at T&T—the real highlight of expressing her beliefs in daily life comes on the mission field. Her family's interest in missions originated with Bill, who was invited to accompany some friends on trips to Central America back in the 1980s. Because of political unrest at the time, she resisted the idea of him going, so he stayed home. However, when a member of Bill's group invited them to Hawaii, they opted to go and build trusses for a church building.
Since then, the Thomases and some of their employees have traveled to dozens of countries. Sometimes they are part of groups organized by Faith Assembly in Orlando; at other times, they cooperate with independent networks or Convoy of Hope.
In recent years, Bill has worked with a West African theological school, constructing steel buildings for new churches in Togo led by seminary graduates.
The Thomases have also helped build a summer camp in El Salvador that hosts teens and families doing street ministry and other forms of outreach, a school for orphans in Tanzania and one of the largest churches in Havana, Cuba.
Several years ago, after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, Thomas and several other women traveled there to distribute $5,000 worth of medical supplies and give numerous immunization shots. Overwhelming demand forced them to shut down their clinic the first day.
"After Hawaii, my first mission trip was to a Bible school in Costa Rica," Thomas says. "We've done everything there from remodeling to adding on to buildings. At one point, we were thinking about sitting down to look at our passports and count up all our trips."
Her most satisfying moments have come in places where the people aren't expecting Americans to get their hands dirty, but the residents have a chance to see their visitors down digging in the dirt, shoveling rocks and praying with them. Linda finds it highly satisfying to see lives change, saying they show her why it's important to keep going on the trips.
"It almost feels selfish to want to go because you know you're going to receive more than you give," Thomas says. "That's a connection you can't tell someone about. They have to see it."
Among those she has impacted are her son, Jason, company vice president and strong supporter of mission trips, and her daughter, Rebecca, who also works at the company. Rebecca has launched Sweet Tea and Smores, a worship gathering at a private ranch that will host its first formal event this October.
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