It’s not every day you find a $5000 check in the day’s mail. When you do, it’s a pleasant surprise, especially when the story behind the $5000 is as encouraging as the surprise itself.
MBI’s calling is “connecting Christians to frontline missions.” When someone who is not a Christ-follower contacts us to volunteer at one of the hundred-plus locations we offer on our website, we may be somewhat surprised, but we’re never discouraging. You see, it’s our understanding that if a YWAM location is doing the work of bringing the lost to Jesus, wouldn’t they want to invite someone who isn’t afraid to work alongside them, even if that person isn’t a follower of Christ yet?
When we know someone is not a Christ-follower, we coach (or warn) them that YWAM locations are usually pretty evangelistic, passionate about worshipping Jesus, and willing to open their doors to strangers – especially if the stranger is willing to offer their labor and not their criticism.
When I telephoned the donor of the $5000 with my thanks, he explained that, a few years ago, he and his wife had a friend who did not know the LORD but wanted to be involved in offering his building skills to a trustworthy organization with international connections. The donors put the potential volunteer in touch with MBI, and we contacted a YWAM location that was willing to host him. According to the donor, their friend traveled to Europe, volunteered his time, and then returned to his community as a new believer. He joined a local church and has since gone on a few more mission-building assignments.
The donor thought we at MBI should know that what we do matters – especially to those who come to know Jesus through the simple act of just showing up where Jesus can meet them. And he hoped the check would bring encouragement to us to “keep on keeping on.”
He was right, the check was the exclamation point that caught my attention and caused me to call and learn “the rest of the story.”
Some surprises are worth more than a check in the mail. So surprise yourself: Check out MBI’s website, find an opportunity to volunteer and tell a friend!
May God surprise YOU with a gift of encouragement today!
P.S. Yes, that’s a “happy stick” in the photo above mine!
Few of us are comfortable with change. Whether it’s forced upon us or we embrace it willingly, change can lead us to a different way of looking at and doing things.
After years of working with our email address of MBI@missionbuilders.net, and with our website address in mind, we finally changed it to Team@missionbuilders.org. It now better reflects how we work and connect with the world. That’s just one visible change. Bigger changes are occurring behind our website, in our in-office document-handling, email and calendars, as well as in our accounting procedures and the way we communicate with the world, including the switch from ConstantContact to MailChimp for emailed newsletter service – starting with this newsletter.
Of course, right in the middle of all this change, our long-time, locally-owned bank of some 20 years (which has treated us like family) was bought by a regional corporate bank, forcing more change upon us. Oh yes, and how can I forget the ever-changing updates to our computer operating systems (Windows 10, anyone?), cell phones and every other electronic gadget, forcing us to learn and relearn new ways of doing things (whatever happened to the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?).
Even bigger changes are in the wind of U.S. politics, potentially affecting the direction and future of the nation for good or bad, depending on one’s point of view. I have to admit, there have been moments of my crying out to God for deliverance from the craziness of politics amplified by a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth media.
Gratefully, God’s not surprised, flustered or impressed by the flurry of changes affecting us. In fact, He is both the Author and Finisher of our faith and the events that create change in the first place! As a person who embraces the “new, novel and different,” I’m content to know that God is indeed in control and that everything will eventually work out. In the meantime, MBI continues to connect friends like you—who are willing to embrace change and trust the Creator—to the frontlines He sends us to.
It will all work out. It always does. God will not be moved.
I’m especially encouraged for some reason. Could it be our new granddaughter, who brings smiles and laughter in the middle of a busy day? Or could it be the afterglow of prayer and intercession for the nations and the world, filling me with faith that God is moving on every continent to bring about revival? Can you see Him sowing His mercy and grace amid the political theater, Islamic fascism and crackpot dictators threatening the world with destruction?
When the world gives us every reason to wring our hands and pull our hair in anxiety and fear, God gives us hope. “And now this hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5).
What does hope occasionally look like?
Let us introduce you to Gregg Scott, another of our MBI heroes who ‘just shows up’ and gets the job done. Despite personal pain and injury, this New Zealander-turned-American ‘Grizzly Adams’ sort of character has pressed on through many challenges over the years, taking friends like us along for the journey. We’re grateful for the glimpse of heaven he reveals through simple acts of kindness toward us and others, like gathering equipment for the disabled in Tanzania and giving YWAM Lakeside Montana DTS students the opportunity to be part of the blessing (see photo above and read our blog post titled Double Vision).
In this thing called the Church, the Body of Christ, we realize we are all on a journey of discovery together and that we can actually learn from each other. I pray you who are reading this have true friends who exhibit the deep, abiding love Jesus gives us through people like Gregg and his bride, Alison. We all may not be fully-funded, as the world would have us strive to be, but we are all the richer for friends who selflessly offer help by just showing up. It’s what Mission Builders around the world do every day, and it’s a great community to belong to!
Look for your opportunity through our website – or come join us in the next Crossroads DTS.
I have a growing expectancy that God is about to bring significant breakthroughs to a world of chaos, hatred and despair. My optimism is fed, in part, by meeting and working with young, Jesus-loving leaders like our new friends at YWAM Bend, Oregon, and others like them in dozens of locations around the world.
I personally may not have what it takes to bring dramatic change to the world and make it more like heaven on earth; but I can, and do, pray that the One who transforms the world continues to raise up his army of workers to fill his fields, white with the harvest of the lost.
That’s why I love what we (the Mission Builders International team) are able to do: recruit, place and encourage volunteers to work alongside Youth With A Mission missionaries around the world. YWAMers are not necessarily God’s answer to all the world’s problems. But, usually, they are willing workers who pray, listen for God’s voice and respond in obedience to do what so many are not doing: loving the unlovely, the forgotten, the broken, the outcast.
Mission Builders International is about connecting you with the harvest through all kinds of opportunities, whether you volunteer your construction skills to build housing for YWAMers in Kona, Hawaii; teach students to know God and make Him known in South Africa (or MBI’s Crossroads DTS here in Montana); cook in a YWAM kitchen in Grimerud, Norway; help raise the funds to feed orphans, or buy books to feed the souls of prisoners throughout the U.S.
The needs are great and the laborers are few, and whether you pray, send, or go this year or next, we invite your partnership with MBI to help us do what we cannot do alone.
For most of us, it doesn’t take long to feel overwhelmed when reading, watching or listening to national and international news. How dumb, how ignorant, how stupid, how outrageous, how immoral, how heinous, how tragic can it get?
Which reminds me of King David’s laments:
“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do” (Psalm 11:3)? “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me” (Psalm 13:2)?
One alternative is to ignore the news; to just turn it off. Sadly, it doesn’t go away or get better by simply ignoring it.
King David answers with this: “In the LORD I take refuge” (Psalm 11:1).
Since God doesn’t retreat or ignore the plight of the innocent, he sends those who are willing to say: “Here am I, send me.” Mission Builder volunteers like Pat and Thelma Lewis (our lead story) are not Hollywood-style heroes. They rejected resignation and chose to trust God, who rejuvenated their faith to just show up where he led them.
Gratefully, most Mission Builder opportunities are pretty tame—but not boring. Sometimes the opportunity may be more challenging to the faith of friends or family than to those who actually go and get the job done.
Until Jesus returns, the world will continue to be a dangerous place. But we serve a dangerous God who promises us his refuge and rejuvenation—not resignation. It’s my belief that when we respond to God’s call, the enemy is pushed back one project, one person, one sorrow at a time.
If you want to take a step toward rejuvenation, check out MBI’s website for your opportunity: www.missionbuilders.org
Getting God’s guidance to find the way forward is everyone’s challenge. And when a wrench is thrown in to thwart or slow progress, I wonder if it’s God’s way of challenging me to persevere or re-directing me to another tactic. I tend to look at life and ministry analogous to the glass being half empty as opposed to half full; a positive outlook about the way forward is not natural for me. I generally see what is NOT done and frequently forget to celebrate what HAS been done.
Some 1200 YWAM operating locations in 185 nations could benefit from the helping hands of mission builders like the Cook family (see related article) on a monthly basis. Doing the math (taking into account there are some that have no projects or room for mission builders while there are others that could use 100 at a time) 1200 locations x at least 2 mission builders a month = 2400/month x 12 months = 28,800 mission builders needed per year. That’s a LOT more mission builders than we presently serve!
Where are those volunteers willing to say “Here am I, send me!” to serve alongside YWAMers passionately pursing God to make Him known among the nations, and how does MBI reach them? That’s the question (or wrench) I cannot answer alone, and along with our board of directors, we have not found an affordable solution. How about you? Do you have ideas, strategies or the means to reach the hundreds of thousands it will take? Please let me know if you do, and let’s pray and work together!
MBI SHOULD be celebrating 15 years of ministry (since being relocated to Montana) and for mobilizing, recruiting and placing some 7,500 to 15,000 mission builder volunteers in over 300 YWAM operating locations worldwide. What we ARE celebrating on August 21-23 is the 30th anniversary of our neighbor, YWAM Lakeside (come join us), and the thousands of mission builders like the Cook family who have helped make a way for YWAMers around the world to share the love of Christ with the lost. Now that’s worth celebrating!