By Jennifer Svetlik, Salford congregation
When Conrad Martin was young, he loved collecting baseball cards. He was fascinated by the statistics recorded on the back of the cards. Conrad would keep ledgers of the stats from year to year, noting who had the most home runs or strikeouts and who won awards. His mother noticed this and suggested that he study accounting once he got to high school.
Conrad’s mother was right; accounting was where Conrad’s skills were perfectly utilized. Later, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA), and a Master’s degree in Economic Development from Eastern University (St. Davids, PA).
Now Conrad shares his gift for numbers with Eastern District & Franconia Conference, as the Director of Finance, a role he has had since 2001. He is responsible for the conference budget and assists church treasurers and congregational finance leaders. Conrad also has the role of Chief Operating Officer for FMC Properties (the property-holding company of the conference).
Conrad has worked for Mennonite organizations or Mennonite-owned businesses all his life. “It is my way of giving back to the church and serving with it,” says Conrad. “It keeps me connected with the work that God is doing through the church and his people.”
Conrad’s gifts in accounting and administration have taken him worldwide. In the late 1980s, he served as an accountant at a hospital in Shirati, Tanzania, with Eastern Mennonite Missions. In the early 1990s, Conrad served with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Bangladesh for over four years. Three of those years he administered a job creation program in Dhaka. He later returned to Tanzania for four years in the late 1990s as a project manager at a microcredit facility with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).
Conrad grew up in Greencastle, a small town in south-central Pennsylvania. “I come from a small, mostly white, mostly Christian community, so working in other countries with other cultures has given me a broader worldview,” says Conrad. “There are many things that other cultures, religions, and people can teach me.”
Conrad’s work internationally as well as within the conference has given him many cross-cultural opportunities. “The more I learn about different people, the more I come to know the fullness of God and his creation,” reflects Conrad. “Interacting with people who look or act differently than the way I was raised has helped me to also understand how similar we are.”
In the conference office, Conrad’s job allows him to do a wide variety of things in a day. He works with checks and deposits, payroll and insurance, property maintenance and rent receipts, month-end reports and yearly budgeting, government forms and investment management, and congregational tax-exemptions. “Any of these things can pop up on any given day,” shares Conrad, “so there is always something different to look forward to.”
From baseball cards to balancing million dollar conference budgets, Conrad has found ways to use his gifts to honor God. “It is rewarding to be able to use the gifts God has given me,” Conrad says. “It also gives me satisfaction when the auditors look at the conference books and give us a clean audit.”