Journey Through Change

Journey Through Change

On the many occasions I walk through SeaTac International Airport, I generally enjoy joining the more than 46 million passengers heading somewhere through its gates each year for fun, for family, for reunions, for work, for weddings, for funerals, for service, for missions, for calling, for destiny. Walking through an airport means I’m heading somewhere for some (hopefully good) reason.  

While I have a general disdain for early morning or overnight red-eye flights, I usually enjoy the journey, meeting new people and watching for those to whom the LORD might introduce me. Traveling means a change of location—even if temporarily. I enjoy the “new, novel, and different” that travel rewards its participants with and count it God’s mercy to have traveled reasonably safely these past 34 years in YWAM.

John and Donna Briggs – 2002

Perhaps travel is part of the reason Donna and I willingly tethered ourselves to an office in Montana for 18 years, helping thousands of Christians connect with worldwide missions, with the perk of joining them when we could. 

At the same time, we have prayed and patiently waited for God to release His younger leader(s) in order to pass on the leadership of MBI with the charge to take it to the next level. Gratefully, God has answered those prayers with the return of Ron Brewster, a long-time personal friend, former director of YWAM Montana, current administrator of YWAM San Diego/Baja, and former member of MBI’s board of directors. Ron, his bride Jeanette, and a growing team of co-workers are scheduled to join MBI’s day-to-day team by January 2019. 

Serving alongside YWAM ministries in more than 185 nations lends itself to change, and not just in location. We constantly take the risk of introducing volunteers to young, often inexperienced, often carefree, and occasionally undisciplined YWAM co-workers around the world. Volunteers are often willing to overlook some of those traits to discover and enjoy God’s appointment. And despite the frustrations, YWAMers—youth in general—help keep us young with the shared passion and goal of knowing God and making Him known. Keeping our focus on Jesus and not the foibles of imperfect people (we include ourselves in that description) has increased our love for the mission and missionaries of YWAM.  It helps, of course, to be stubbornly called to serve alongside those who may not always recognize or appreciate the help MBI offers.

Sustaining and growing a ministry like MBI cannot be accomplished alone. In fact, over 80 friends and co-workers have labored together at one time or another over the past 18 years, guiding us with their wisdom from either a board of directors position or as day-to-day team members providing the practical service to get the job of recruitment and placement done. In addition, hundreds of prayer partners and financial supporters have provided their time and treasures to impact missions worldwide through MBI. As a result, it’s conservatively estimated that over 20,000 volunteers have served alongside hundreds of YWAM missionaries and ministries since July 2000 (including countless thousands more since MBI’s concept was formed in 1978). 

Donna and I are especially appreciative of the help and support of tenacious co-laborers like Becky Hefty, who has researched, written, edited, and posted countless articles about the people, places, and opportunities for service that have helped communicate MBI beyond our borders.  And of course, MBI is built around connections to friends like you, made possible by database programmers David McQuoid and, more recently, Greg Griffin, working in the background. But at the core of MBI for the past 18 years have been faithful partners on our board of directors, like Lynn and Jacky Battermann and Dean and Molly Ketchum. They have, like so many others, selflessly given time, talent, and treasure to follow Jesus wherever He leads. 

I’ll conclude by starting at the beginning of my journey with MBI: Sitting in an office in early 2000, I met Don McGalliard, a former board member and mission builder volunteer who traveled to Colorado Springs from his home in Oregon specifically to meet with and encourage me to assume the leadership role of the ministry. His kindness and generosity helped re-launch MBI that day. This past month, the outcome of his generosity showed up on our doorstep in the form of a young missionary from Nepal. She was testifying that Don’s compassion and generosity as a mission builder volunteer—giving himself in a labor of love to help build a training center in Kathmandu—directly impacted her family. As a result, she responded to the call of missions in service to Jesus, which brought her to Montana and the opportunity to personally say thank you to the ministry and the people behind her calling. That thank you is also meant for those who have helped MBI directly, as well as those who have volunteered through the years. 

And now it’s my turn. On behalf of Donna and our team, thank you to all of you for the years of Connections. The best is yet to come!

John Briggs








  1. So are you and Donna now retiring John? Or moving to another role in MBI as a volunteer somewhere in the greater beyond? I am still dreaming of the day when I plan to give you a call and say “John, send me”.😊

    • Haha! The Briggs won’t be retiring!

      “Refiring” is on the docket for us to return to MBI after a few months of traveling to visit YWAM ministries and missionaries. We plan to return mid-year in 2019 to help the new team in whatever way we can.

      Very likely, we’ll still be around to take your call when you are ready to go!

  2. Wow! Did I ever need to read this right now! Especially the fifth paragraph which starts….Serving alongside….

    Great timing! Thanks for this.

    Blessings to you both.

  3. Oh John & Donna, Exciting to hear how God is leading you all to Step Ahead again! We are so grateful for the steady stream of MBI folks you have sent our way. Further, encouraged to know that the Brewsters are taking this opportunity to carry on forward with MBI. One day, Kimberly looks forward to catching back up with you all either here in Thailand or up in Big Sky country. Until then, may peace, joy, grace fill and surround you.

    • John and Kim, it is so good to hear how you are doing. John and Donna, it is good to know what plans you have in the future, Lord willing. I have wonderful memories of CDTS 1994 with you all and the Thailand outreach with the Quinleys which I hope was liberating for your town at that time, John. God speed and many of God’s blessings abundant on all of you–wherever you are in this world we are on.

  4. There are a lot of people that have come into our lives over the years, but you and Donna are certainly high up on the list of folks we admire and appreciate that we have lived and worked with. We are all made in the image of God, but only those who embrace Jesus’ lordship move into the realm of living in His likeness. You guys are doing that and we are thrilled to have you as friends. Praying for your journey–it is eternal.

    • You guys have done a wonderful job and been so faithful. We look forward to coming and building upon what you and Donna and others have built. See you soon.

  5. Interesting….

  6. Hi guys Great to see this. Thank you for your faithfulness. It was such a thrill to collaborate with you for 5 years in building the training center in Kathmandu, Nepal, those 20 years back. I visited again this spring (we now live back in the UK ) with my family and joyfully shared with over 100 YWAMers and two schools now housed in the building compound. Not only were you instrumental in doing this, but you spent many hours with us beforehand in training seminars, helping us to look at biblical mission and vision so we would build people and ministries as well as bricks and mortar to last. The buildings completely survived the horrific earthquakes in 2015, as they were meant to. Big up to Lynn and Jackie Batterman, Dale and Sandie Boe, John Hunyady, Troy Stremler, Harold! and any others (sorry – names escape me right now, but there was Mexican guy who came many times and a guy and his wife who were pig farmers) who came many times to walk with us along the way, dig dirt, pour concrete, pore over plans, pray and worship with us, and eat glorious dhal bhat masu!! Glory to God–your labours are not in vain!

  7. God bless MBI.
    Great to hear from Johnny Walker again regarding his time in Kathmandu when we worked together on the new training center.

  8. Thank you John and Donna for all your work. It has been a pleasure knowing you and interacting with you in Missions together!. Enjoy your redeployment!
    Jack and Jan Narvel YWAM Myrtle Beach (Redeployed)


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