Global YWAM missionaries sometimes find themselves overwhelmed by needs and circumstances beyond their control despite diligent efforts. MBI provides the practical help and training they need to thrive in the face of diverse challenges.
The ministries of YWAM San Antonio Del Mar (Tijuana) and YWAM Ensenada in Mexico work hard to secure their respective campuses and ministry commitments against potential incidents, theft, and vulnerability. They understand that maintaining a strong sense of security enables their teams to focus outwardly on their crucial ministry calling to provide Homes of Hope to homeless families and consistently meet locals at their points of greatest need. For this reason, campus leadership reached out in 2021 for professional training from MBI’s Mission 91 (M91).
Over the past year, M91 members Matt Praetzel, J.T. Pharr, and Luke Smith worked with eighteen individuals between the two campuses, including staff, directors, and hired security personnel. Besides helping them develop both policies and procedures and standard operating procedures, the M91 team introduced a curriculum to take the trainees above and beyond basic security skills. The curriculum includes laying the groundwork for the prerequisite training, physical capability, and baseline knowledge that allows multiple well-trained people to respond to incidents, ensuring the burden doesn’t fall on just one or two people. The training modules also include operations planning, de-escalation, mission debriefing, and incident reporting.
Importantly, the M91 crew helped the Tijuana and Ensenada campuses form Refuge teams. These are not typical “security teams,” a label Matt says “carries unhelpful stigmas and biases. Our philosophy is that the people training in protection can help the vulnerable and present the gospel to those who wish to cause harm. We train these teams to see Jesus amid people’s worst days and their worst decisions.” Rather than a hardcore security focus, M91 offers Refuge teams as platforms for potential life-changing ministry.
“We had an excellent conversation with YWAM San Antonio Del Mar’s campus administrator, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the campus itself. He specifically commended us on the fact that we consult with organizations for long-term success in managing crises instead of coming to deal with the problems at hand and then leaving. Relief work certainly has value. However, many organizations end up in the same place when the next incident hits. He was grateful that our services not only solve the immediate problem but also provide the tools and resources necessary to handle incidents themselves in the future.”
Mission 91 helps YWAM campuses face potentially dangerous situations while reflecting Jesus. As all of those MBI offers, their services enable YWAM missionaries to meet challenges, stay on track, and stay healthy in their God-given calling.
To learn more, contact us at Team@missionbuilders.org or visit our website at www.missionbuilders.org.
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.
Our first container of medical equipment and supplies, shipped in 2016, was received gratefully by Mwanamonga villagers, three hospitals and many village dispensaries.
The Mwanamonga dispensary had no beds or gurneys, and now have all they need for the size of their facility. While I didn’t get to visit every hospital and village dispensary, I did get to pass out a few wheelchairs. To be able to share some hope and dignity with folks who are Polio survivors but who have crawled on their hands and knees for the past 30 years was a highlight of my life. Esther, on my left in the photo below, had done just that. To sit alongside her in her wheelchair the following week at a church service was an incredible joy for me.
I was able to travel to Bugando Hospital and help Dr. Masala’s team unpack and install the women’s mammography biopsy machine. Dr. Masala had completed 7 years of oncology training in Italy on an identical machine and then returned to Tanzania, never dreaming that very soon the same machine would be delivered to his workplace. One of the engineers said to me during the installation: “Do you realize just how impossible it would be for us to even hope for a machine like this? Do you realize how many Tanzanian shillings it would cost?” The average villager’s income is about TZS 10,000—$5.00 USD per day—that’s if they can get work.
Please pray for our efforts as we pack and load two more shipments. We need God’s favor in every area. We’ve taken on a seemingly enormous task, but, one day at a time, sweet Jesus.
Go Fund Me: Help us ship two more containers! https://www.gofundme.com/medical-supplies-for-tanzania
My wife Joyce and I are involved with MBI as field staff in and for South Africa. We work with YWAM campuses in South Africa as well as HuntSA, a hunting and safari operation that encourages Christian sportsmen and women to come and have an adventure in God’s playground and then serve the marginalized children of South Africa.
There are an estimated 3.7 million orphans in South Africa. Close to half of them have lost their parents to AIDS-related diseases, and there are many more children living with sick and bedridden caregivers. About 150,000 children are believed to be living in child-headed households. They need the hope only Jesus can bring.
This year we helped bring 42 people over to hunt, recreate and serve in many ways in our villages, orphanages and soup clubs. But even with the numbers of people coming there is really only one thing that counts—the power of one! We all possess the power to make a difference in one life. We have that opportunity every day, whether here or in Africa.
I want to tell you about Peter. He’s about 16 years old. Last year, Sharon L. came over with Joyce and me to teach preschool for two weeks at Jehovah Jireh Haven orphanage. She bumped into Peter, who lives there. Sharon found out he was illiterate and that he wanted to learn to read, so she taught him. That was one year ago. He’s now reading at the seventh-grade level and has been sponsored to attend the Christian academy we work with. He wants to be a lawyer.
Peter is so happy, and he is a life changed and empowered for the future. Like so many of our orphans, Peter has no birth certificate. Things are going very slowly in this process. Would you pray for Peter, especially that he can get his birth certificate?
Remember you have the power of ONE!
“English camp is the happiest place on earth! Coming here, you find yourself in a completely different world. You forget about your problems, you meet amazing, unique and sincere people. There is an absolutely indescribable atmosphere. This camp greatly influenced me and my life, and I am extremely grateful to the organizers and the camp team for such a place. May God bless you all!” – Ksenia Lysenko, camper
Words like these were heard over and over again on the last day of the English camp as kids from each lesson group got up in front of all the other campers to share their impressions of the week.
One young man, Yury, seemed to talk non-stop about his love for Jesus and wanted to tell everyone he met. One day, Yury asked me why his friends don’t want to hear the gospel when he tries to tell them about Jesus. I encouraged him to keep trusting God to work in the hearts of his friends. Our part is to tell them about Jesus, pray for them and love them with God’s love, but only God can change their hearts. He was very encouraged to realize that it is all in God’s hands.
In all, three kids put their trust in Christ during the camp and five more kids have started going to church. More than 50 kids came to the first youth meeting after the camp, and they continue to be in touch with the camp leaders. Just this past weekend, the Volgograd church gathered again for a special baptism of 7 young people.
Pray for more fruit to be harvested in the coming months!
Craig Blair serves as volunteer development staff at MBI and continues to be an integral part of the yearly Christian English camp held just outside of Volgograd, Russia.
Each summer for the past four years, I’ve participated in a summer English camp near Volgograd, Russia, sponsored by members of various location churches. These past two years, I’ve led the team of American volunteers, who come to help with the conversational English lessons at camp and share their lives and love for God with the kids. This year, following my completion of a TESOL course (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at YWAM Montana, I took on the task of creating the lesson plan for this summer camp.
Each year the kids have become more and more receptive to the message of the gospel as we have built relationship with them. The camp organizers felt like this year the kids were ready to go deeper, and God did amazing things in their lives.
I met Yarik (short for Yaroslov) on the first day of camp. He was going to be in my lesson group, but when I spoke to him in English, he replied, “I only know German!” I wondered if he was going to be hard to crack, but as soon as he figured out I could speak Russian, he warmed right up.
One of our daily activities at camp after our group lessons are over is having one-on-one time with one or two of the kids for an hour. I knew Yarik came from a Christian family, but I didn’t know anything about his own walk with God. I figured he would be a good kid from my group to start with.
Most of our conversation was in Russian, as he knew very little English with which to practice. We talked about our hobbies, sports we liked and other general topics. Finally, I asked Yarik if both of his parents went to church. As he began to tell me about his parents and family, tears streamed down his face, but still he continued to share. His dad used to be a pastor, but his mom had walked away from her faith. He was so afraid for her and felt helpless to do anything. He was trying to be a good Christian and a good son, but it was so hard.
I could not imagine that already, on the first day, one of the kids from my group was opening up so deeply. He obviously was desperate for God to do something in his life. I felt God wanted me to encourage him with the story of the prodigal son. I told him not to worry so much for his mom. God still loved her even though she had walked away. He was waiting and longing for her to come back, but she was still his daughter and that would never change. We prayed together for her, and I also prayed for Yarik to find strength and rest in God’s love for him.
Later in the week, a special evening was set aside to highlight the gospel message with the kids at camp. It was called a ceremony of light. The atmosphere was charged by the presence of the Holy Spirit, who was touching everybody that night. Yarik was sitting next to me and very emotional as he thought about his sin and how God, in his love, sent his Son to pay for our sins so we could have a relationship with God.
At the end of the ceremony, we were encouraged to go around and say to our friends words of encouragement, care and love. After several minutes, Yarik approached me and gave me a big embrace, crying and not letting go. He said how, on that night, he finally understood just how much God loved him. It was a big moment for him in his walk with God, and a night he will never forget.
In this camp of 61 kids, we saw 6 decisions of faith in Christ, 3 kids who repented of sins and renewed their faith, 5 more kids who grew in their faith and 14 kids who were touched by the gospel and got more interested in the Christian faith. In addition to that, two boys, Misha and Vitya, who came from an orphanage the churches work with, experienced a tremendous change in their lives. They had been addicted to alcohol and were known as “bad boys.” Since the camp, they have repented of the things they were doing and have become members of the local church. They both desire to get baptized and want to serve other orphans in the orphanage where they live. Praise God for the work in the lives of these kids at camp, and pray for the ongoing ministry in their lives by the local church and youth groups they are now connected with.