Each month, we introduce you to a Christian who is on the generosity path, and we ask them what God’s taught them about giving.
This month, meet Anne-Christine Bataillard from Switzerland.
1. Teach the Next Generation.
Anne-Christine’s father, Jean Andre, was a Swiss grain trader, leading Andre & Cie SA. The family’s company was one of the world’s great grain houses, along with Cargill and Archer Daniels Midlands. As Jean and George, his eldest brother, built his grain empire, Jean also built Grain of Wheat International, a ministry to refresh orphans and those left destitute by World War 2, and gave to numerous other causes.
Anne-Christine says, “When my father was still alive, he showed the next generation how to give: what he was giving to, why he was doing it. That’s the first step.” After Jean died in 1994, five of his six children – including Anne-Christine – took responsibility for a region. “I was responsible for Argentina,” Anne-Christine says. “He was giving to a lot of missions there, so I went to Argentina many times to get to know them.” Her siblings often reminded themselves that, “The money is not for us; it’s for the Lord.”
The money is not for us; it’s for the Lord.
2. Ask God the Toughest Question.
Anne-Christine says, “The hardest question is ‘How much is enough?’ Some people are happy living in a flat, very simply, no car, just bikes so that they can give a lot more to the kingdom. Others need more. Is it really a sin? What is too much? Could I give more? Of course. How much does God want me to keep for us? What we could do is sell everything, go to the countryside and live in a flat and give away much more, but is this God’s plan for us ? This is the real question.”
3. Know Great Leaders and Set Them Free Financially.
Twice recently, Anne-Christine found talented ministry leaders who had to take side jobs. She asked one, “How much would you need to be full-time?” He named a number. Anne-Christine said, “I’m ready to do it.” Asked why, she says, “It gives the right people to the right work full-time in the Kingdom.” Anne-Christine is passionate about giving through trusted relationships. “In every gift,” she says, “I want to know the people. Even if I have to go to that place, I will go and meet that person.”
Anne-Christine loves to give to:
Anne-Christine supports many causes, but the ministry her father founded is closest to her heart. “My father visited Germany after the war and saw so many mothers with children and no money, no flats.” Her father said at the time, “I just cannot take this. All the money I earn personally, I will divide into two and give half to the Lord.” That year, he invited 50 kids from Germany to Switzerland for three months for rehabilitation. Anne-Christine recalls, “First he rented a house and renovated it. The big houses had been used by the soldiers and it was a disaster, but he bought it and they lived there. Most of them had no clothes, hungry, emotionally destroyed. We got to show them love, to teach them about Jesus. It was a really holistic approach.”
Fast forward 65 years: GOWI still reaches out to children – about half of them Muslim now – in more than 30 nations around the world. Working through local churches to provide a continuum of ministry as the children grow, the GOWI provides long-term stability to children.