by Becky Hefty | Mar 8, 2023 | Connections Article
MBI helps YWAM missionaries and ministries flourish because when they do, so do the people they serve. That’s why MBI is YWAM’s go-to center for unique, professional-level, contextualized services like those offered by Leadership13 (L13).
The L13 team consists of experienced mission leaders who understand that successful leaders don’t just happen—they’re trained. Focusing on leadership teams is one of their top priorities and why L13 offers Train the Trainer seminars, helping equip and empower YWAM leaders.
MBI co-director and L13 member Dawn Masucci says: “At Train the Trainer seminars, we provide materials and instruction for the ‘trainers’ who will return to their YWAM locations and teach their leaders. This approach helps identify and counter the difficulties of campuses experiencing a higher turnover rate.”
Pioneer team members at YWAM Lancaster in Pennsylvania said: “We grew so fast our systems were not in place for sustainability. L13 helped us work through the stages of growth and success. Their input was a turning point for us. And their Train the Trainer seminars have increased our ability to raise and equip leadership within our staff. MBI has given us solid, useful tools that created a stable foundation to fulfill our mission of reaching the unreached.”
A YWAM attendee at a Train the Trainer event in Tijuana, Mexico, wrote: “I was so encouraged after a great week with you guys. I spent a few days with a campus we pioneered in YWAM Analco in Durango, Mexico. I saw the material we learned in Tijuana come to life as I walked them through several sessions. Thanks for investing in me and indirectly in our new Durango YWAM location! You are helping people like me to thrive so we can also help others thrive.”
MBI continues to serve global YWAM missionaries and campuses at their specific points of need. As a result, those ministries can stay focused on how God has called them to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
by Becky Hefty | Feb 6, 2023 | Places and Projects
Cambodia is rich in people and potential. But each year, countless Cambodian women and young girls fall into the hands of sex traffickers working out of neighboring Thailand. The poverty-stricken border communities of Poipet are particularly vulnerable to traffickers.
Ross Lackey of MBI’s Partner Architects was working on a project with YWAM Battambang in Cambodia several years ago when friends introduced him to the founders of Freedom’s Promise, a trafficking prevention organization located in Poipet. Ross met with the Freedom’s Promise team and agreed to help design and execute a campus plan consolidating their community development and evangelism ministries into one effective hub accessible to the locals.
In January this year, Ross and intern-architect Gabe Smisson spent nearly two weeks on the ground in Cambodia and at the Freedom’s Promise site in Poipet.
“We’ve begun the largest of their campus buildings, a school for 500 students,” Ross reports. “The first foundation pilings were going in while we were there.
“The challenge of a project like this is searching for products, materials, and finishes in-country and out. Gabe and I visited multiple shops, suppliers, and stores to find products with the right mix of cost, durability, functionality, aesthetics, and availability. It all has to work together.
“But God had more plans for our trip than just finding products and materials,” Ross continues. “One evening, we went to dinner at a restaurant and had a ‘chance’ encounter with a friend of our contact. The gentleman happened to be dining alone at the restaurant when we arrived. After we were introduced, we invited the man to sit with us. He works with another Poipet slum ministry called LightBridge.
“He told us he’d been deputized to lead the construction of a new school for LightBridge. They would build the school on their site in the slum, but he had no idea where to start. Our friend grinned and said, ‘Well, do you know who you happen to be talking to?’
“Our friend explained that Gabe and I were architects and missionaries using our skills for missions. Our discussion resulted in a two-hour meeting the next day. We talked about processes and next steps and how Partner Architects might help with their project in the future. Currently, LightBridge is using some of Partner Architects’ online video resources to organize and direct their team.”
Ross concludes: “The LightBridge school project is now on Partner Architect’s radar because God ‘happened’ to bring us together in their time of need.”
Yes, God is on the move in Cambodia.
Find out more about Partner Architects at www.partnerarchitects.org.
by Becky Hefty | Sep 6, 2022 | Connections Article
MBI helps frontline YWAM missionaries thrive in their work by offering valuable services, perhaps none as unique and timely as that of its newest ministry service: Mission 91.
J.T. Pharr and Matthew Praetzel founded Mission 91 as a professional YWAM missionary team offering consulting, training, and ministry best practices in situational awareness, de-escalation, and risk mitigation. Mission 91 also offers a four-month, biblically centered training program to instruct missionary members and church staff in crisis mitigation, enhancing property security, emergency preparedness, and how to be a source of refuge in their communities.
J.T. says: “Ministries and missionaries recognize that traditional security models are not conducive to ministry context. They need help establishing eﬀective security measures without compromising their eﬀectiveness in ministry. Mission 91 is the perfect avenue for utilizing the skill sets of those with a call to prepare others. Through this program, the body of Christ will become better equipped to walk boldly into stressful situations with high awareness and readiness.”
“Jesus was the most situationally aware person ever,” says Matthew. “He modeled how we can impact the people on the fringes of society by noticing them and speaking into their situation, whether they’re victims of injustice, perpetrators of crises, or simply individuals who feel left out. Mission 91 training enables Christians to be Jesus to people amid their worst days or decisions.”
“Our vision for Mission 91 from the beginning,” J.T. and Matthew conclude, “has been to help ministries worldwide thrive in crisis-related incidents and environments. MBI allows us the space and resources to do exactly that. Our unique backgrounds provide something new to MBI, and we look forward to helping expand the reach of this awesome ministry. The team at MBI has the kind of quality people we wish to surround ourselves with. We couldn’t be more pleased with the opportunity to work with this community.”
(Photo: J.T. Pharr, Luke Smith, Matthew Praetzel)
by Becky Hefty | Jul 14, 2022 | Connections Article, Memorial
On Monday, June 20, 2022, dear friend and mission builder Frank Castles Jr. passed away unexpectedly in Lakeside, MT. He was doing what he loved to do: giving his time and skills to kingdom work.
“Frank and his wife, Relda, wandered into the MBI office and our hearts over 20 years ago. Their hunger to pursue the things of God as they neared retirement opened opportunities for service that took them around the world and down the street in whichever neighborhood they lived. With Southern hospitality and the warmest “Howdy, y’all!” Frank endeared himself to others in his workplace as a professional engineer and to us as a member of MBI’s board of directors.
“Relentless, whether he offered his help or insisted on having fun together, Frank modeled Jesus with a Southern drawl. Those who knew him came to know his family and learned that Frank lived life large as “Big Daddy” to his children and their children.
“God gives us ‘suddenlies’ in our lives that can surprise and change our course of direction in an instant. Frank’s sudden passing reminds me more than ever to take the time to say “I love y’all” each day to those around me because we don’t know the day or the hour of our last breath—or theirs.
“Frank gave of his time and talents to bless others, even to his very last moment on earth. He “just showed up” to help us 20-plus years ago, and he was gone an instant later (gratefully, it was a long, 20-year instant). Frank loved Jesus, and it’s obvious Jesus loved him—suddenly.
“I will miss Frank’s deep, resonant voice reciting the Shabbat prayer with his Southern accent: ‘Blessed are You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe. You hallow us with your commandments and command us to kindle the lights of Shabbat. Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’zivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.’
“I pray you are blessed with a friend like Frank Castles in your circle of influence—with or without the Southern touch. Shalom, y’all.” —John Briggs
“Frank was one of the most gentle, fun-loving, hard-working, friendly guys I have known. He graciously gave his time, talent, and treasure to MBI. Through his hard work and diligence, Frank pushed our Mission Lodge project to a place where we can now go on to the next stage. He will be missed greatly, not just because of his talents and contributions, but because of who he was.” —Ron Brewster, MBI co-director
“Frank spent the last month of his life investing in what God is doing through MBI. With a lifetime of experience as a civil engineer and hands-on knowledge of the MBI utility system, he applied his skills and talents to the civil construction work for the new MBI Mission Lodge project. He was able to mobilize and direct teams to begin clearing the site, moving dirt, and installing sewer lines. On any given day, you could find him calling volunteers, ordering materials, placing stakes around the site, and sharing his knowledge with all those around him. His work has laid a foundation that the future of MBI will rest on.” —Ross Lackey, Partner Architects
Excerpted from Frank’s obituary:
“Born December 31, 1946, in Starkville, Mississippi, Frank was an avid Mississippi State fan. He served overseas as a Navy Seabee during the Vietnam War. After returning to the States, Frank enrolled in Mississippi State University, earning a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He owned a civil engineering firm in both Tupelo and Saltillo, MS, before serving as the associate city engineer for Kalispell for several years. After retiring from his Kalispell position, Frank and his beloved wife, Relda, moved back to Mississippi to be closer to family.
“A loving family man, Frank was known affectionately as Big Daddy. He was strong in his Christian faith, passing those values to his family along with his love for the outdoors and fishing. He and Relda enjoyed life to the fullest, making many trips back to Montana and Israel, where they volunteered their skills and shared their faith and spiritual gifts, resulting in countless adventures, wonderful memories, and lifetime friendships.
“Memorials can be made to Mission Builders International at PO Box 406, Lakeside, MT 59922, www.missionbuilders.org/ donate or Fields of Wheat, PO Box 729, Middlefield, OH 44062.”
by Becky Hefty | Jun 1, 2022 | Connections Article
Lack of knowledge can complicate missions. Missions service is about more than just preaching the gospel, feeding the hungry, or rescuing refugees. Today’s missionaries must also navigate travel, technology, and global connectedness—and the complex laws that govern them. Know-how is critical to success.
MBI offers a unique professional and contextualized service called LIFT (legal, immigration, financial, tactical) to help YWAM missionaries crush the “big rocks” that sometimes hinder ministry. LIFT workshops allow YWAM leaders and staff to work through issues with experts via training, discussion, and one-on-one consultations. LIFT’s topical training ranges broadly from corporate bylaws and worker visas to financial planning and facilities security.
In February this year, MBI offered a LIFT workshop at the YWAM San Antonio Del Mar campus in Mexico. Nearly sixty leaders and staff representing over thirty-five US YWAM campuses attended the three-day event to hear from experienced YWAM leaders and MBI’s network of lawyers and professionals.
Husband and wife lawyer team, Allen and Julie Anjo (Office of General Counsel at YWAM’s UofN in Kona) taught on nonprofits, child protection, mandated reporting, religious worker visas, data privacy, and constitutional protections for nonprofits. “These legal considerations,” they say, “form a basis for legal protections that allow the ministries to focus on their calling to the Great Commission. As lawyers called first to missions, we use our skills, experience, and expertise to help ministries and missionaries set up strong legal foundations so they can succeed in their calling and not worry about possible compliance issues or lawsuits.”
After the LIFT workshop, YWAM participants said: “What an incredible resource! Every base should attend!” “I learned so much exceptional information, much of which I didn’t know.” “I loved having a place where we could get this information and knowing where to look in the future.”
As YWAM ministries worldwide do whatever it takes to reach the world, MBI continues to provide the tools they need to thrive through opportunities like LIFT.