Former businessman is on a mission across borders

VOLUNTARILY taking a huge pay cut at the start of a recession may not be considered the wisest of moves, but for one St Albans man it has proved to be a most fulfilling decision.

David Hardisty left his job as a management consultant in 2008 to become the UK director of Christian charity Mission Without Borders.

It was a decision which the 52 year old thought long and hard about and he regularly prayed to God for guidance, alongside his wife Tara.

Mission Without Borders was founded in 1960 to help with the material and spiritual needs of people living in poverty or suffering persecution in Eastern Europe, regardless of their faith.

Father-of-three David said: “I got involved with the charity through friends of mine who were trustees.

“I gave them help when they needed and was then asked by the international president to get more involved.”

The role meant a huge pay cut for David who took six months to make a final decision.

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He continued: “I had to give up quite a lucrative career, but I really did believe that’s what God wanted me to do.

“I also realised that I wasn’t going to make a change doing what I was doing before.”

Mission Without Borders runs many schemes including children’s summer camps, soup kitchens, child sponsorship and training courses in areas such as mechanics and carpentry.

It also runs a major project over the festive period, known as Operation Christmas Love.

The project sees the charity distribute around 30,000 boxes to people across six host countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine) who are in desperate need.

The boxes contain the basic foodstuffs such as rice, pasta and vegetables, as well as some goodies like biscuits and people receiving them have described the boxes as “lifesavers”.

The charity is now beginning to focus its attention on its Seeds of Hope scheme which runs throughout the spring.

People in the host countries often have land, but do not have the equipment to grow their own produce.

Seeds of Hope sees seeds distributed to families who are given agricultural training to help them to provide for themselves. The money they save can then be spent on other essentials.

David said: “We want to be there for the longer term to really make a difference to people and move them from the depths of poverty to a more sustainable lifestyle.”

This year will also see the introduction of a new Dream Bus, which is used to take children on day trips and educational visits.

The current vehicle has done more than half a million miles and is to be replaced by a new model, thanks to St Paul’s Church in St Albans which provided a donation for half the cost.

Speaking about the challenges of his role, David said: “Having taken on this job at the start of the recession, maintaining and growing the funding has been a real challenge; but just seeing the people who are working on the ground and the difference they are making is really inspiring.”