Seed money

It was like Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus

As a partner at a large accounting firm, Robert Conway’s world started to fall apart when his wife was diagnosed with ME.

But a visit to an Elim church changed everything.

In the early 1990s, it seemed Robert Conway had it all. A partner at big four accounting firm Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, Robert lived in a beautiful home in Andover, Hampshire, with his wife and four children.

But his world began to fall apart in 1994 when his wife Sue became seriously ill with ME.

“We had great private healthcare and went to see all the best doctors. But nobody could do anything for her,” remembers Robert.

“At the time I would often come home late because I was not only a workaholic but also an alcoholic. I worked hard, played hard and wanted to stay out of the way because life at home was very difficult.

“Then one night my wife asked me to take her to a Christian meeting. I told her, ‘I don’t really believe it, but I love you, so I’ll be your taxi driver.’”

That night proved life-changing for them both as Sue went forward for prayer and Robert prayed for the first time in his life.

“Sue was miraculously healed and filled with the Holy Spirit. To me that was like Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus,” says Robert.

“A friend later took us to Elim Andover Church where we just felt the love of God radiating – it was just beautiful.

“One evening Pastor Colin James asked if anybody there was ready to receive Jesus. I went forward and he prayed for me, and I believe that’s when I was born again.

“We’ve been blessed to continue to be active members at Elim Andover since that life-changing evening.”

Over the next decade Robert was passionate about sharing his Christian faith with his colleagues in the business world.

In 2005 he gave up his successful career to launch Parable Trust, a not-for-profit company that would serve Jesus in the marketplace.

“The vision was to create a storehouse for God to help start and grow businesses. And it wasn’t to be like the way the world does it. It was all based on faith and generosity.

“So everything that we’ve done was by the way of abundance, by providing seed money, professional support and prayer to help start-up businesses, and by rescuing struggling businesses without creating loans or taking equity.

“Over the last 16 years, we have seen God’s favour and many miracles as we’ve been able to help countless people start and grow businesses in the UK and internationally.

“Since starting with our first £10 seed offering, the Lord has multiplied our talents, creating global businesses generating sales of £30 million per annum, building the storehouse to more than £8 million in net assets.”

robert-conwayAnd now Robert aims to inspire many others, co-writing a book called ‘Conquering the Marketplace’ which tells the story of the Parable Trust. 

“Far from being a manual about the marketplace, this is much more a transparent and often frank guide to the lessons we’ve learned along the way,” he says.

 

First published in the October 2021 issue of Direction, Elim’s monthly magazine. Subscribe now to get Direction delivered to your home.

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