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Stewarding Our Blessings: Accountant Mary Randolph Follows God's Lead

By Andrew Shaughnessy, Jun 22, 2021

When God called Mary Randolph to the mission field in 2006, it took her by surprise. Mary was an accountant working as a consultant for government contractors in Washington, D.C., not a doctor, nurse, or ministry professional, the professions one normally thinks of as suited for global missions. Did God really call accountants to the mission field? She wasn’t so sure. And yet, the call was unmistakable, coming in clear while Mary was teaching English on a short-term mission trip to Romania with her church. 

Soon after she returned home, pastors at two different churches she was attending preached on the Great Commission. A coincidence? She thought not. 

“That confirmed that God was calling me,” Mary said. “I contacted MTW and said, ‘Do you need an accountant on the mission field?’ And they said, ‘Definitely.’” 

Mary loved Romania, and at first she had her heart set on returning to Eastern Europe. But then the leader of MTW Thailand posted a full-page job description that he needed an accountant with exactly her experience. It was a good fit, so Mary applied. In June, 2007 she was accepted and began preparing to move to Bangkok. But first, she had to get her affairs in order. Though Mary had moved from the D.C. area to North Carolina years before, she still had a house in northern Virginia that she needed to sell.

Settling Her Affairs With A Charitable Trust

I didn’t want to keep this house,” she said. “It was the settlement in my divorce. I didn’t want the profit, and I didn’t want it to be a part of my estate.” 

Before joining MTW, Mary had already been in touch with another ministry’s estate design services. That organization helped Mary create her first charitable remainder trust, a stewardship vehicle in which real estate is sold with no depletion of capital gains. The proceeds from that sale were then invested in a balanced portfolio, and Mary turned to MTW’s Estate and Gift Planning Department to manage it. With the trust, Mary was able to get her real estate off her hands, receive immediate tax benefits, and receive income from the trust for life. When God eventually calls her home, the remainder of the trust assets will pass to MTW and other ministries she supports. 

“That was my first charitable giving vehicle,” Mary said. “Because I was becoming part of MTW, I wanted them to manage whatever needed to be done. Then, in 2008, I was off to Thailand!

From Accounting to a Business as Mission Enterprise

Mary served as an MTW missionary in Thailand from 2008 to 2013, putting her accounting skills to good use throughout. In addition to handling the Bangkok team’s accounting reports, she built relationships and ministered to local Thais through teaching an advanced English language class. 

One day, two Thai women who were part of the MTW staff approached Mary with an idea. They had been evangelizing and ministering in the slums of Bangkok, and they wanted to start a craft business that could provide income for women in the slums while simultaneously increasing their opportunities to share the gospel. Could Mary help?

Combining their ingenuity with Mary’s accounting know-how, together they started Napada, a business as mission enterprise that gave low-income women jobs making handbags out of Thai fabric, which were sold to buyers in the U.S. Every day, the women would sit together and sew handbags, and Mary and her Thai partners would work alongside them, leading devotions, sharing the gospel, and talking about their relationship with Jesus. 

Teaching at Napada

“No matter your background, if the Lord is leading you into missions then He’s got a reason and a plan for you,” Mary said. “My background is accounting, but my major before accounting was home economics. When God called me to the mission field I thought, ‘What am I going to do there?’ But when the Lord took me to Thailand He used both my home economics background and my accounting background to help start this business. … If the Lord is calling you, He’s going to use your talents.”

Though Mary returned to the U.S. in 2013, Napada is still up and running—still providing jobs and a platform for sharing the gospel with low-income women in Bangkok. As for Mary, she continues to steward her gifts, both her professional talents and the financial gifts with which God has blessed her. In addition to her charitable remainder trust, Mary has a donor advised fund and a living trust which benefits four different ministries. Now, MTW Center for Estate and Gift Planning Director Bruce Owens is helping her update and adjust her estate design to fit her needs. 

“God has provided everything that we have,” Mary said. “The way I look at it, it all belongs to Him, so I want to use it the best way that He wants to use it. I’m just the custodian of all these blessings.”

Learn how MTW can help you with your estate planning: MTW's Center for Estate and Gift Planning.  

Andrew Shaughnessy

Andrew Shaughnessy is a long-time word slinger who spent nearly six years as MTW’s staff writer, gathering and telling impact stories from missionaries across the globe. These days, he’s off working as an analyst and editor in the publishing industry, writing fiction, and mountaineering. He holds a B.A. in history and English literature from Covenant College, and an M.S. in political science from Portland State University.

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