“Volunesia (noun): that moment when you forget you’re volunteering to help change lives, because it’s changing yours.”
Mission Builders International’s assignment is to help harness one of the most powerful forces on earth—volunteers. We point do-gooders toward global service opportunities, and together, we see lives transformed. While volunteer service involves a sacrifice of time and finances, the rewards of reaching out with a helping hand are immeasurable!
Sometimes the amazing things volunteers accomplish are just accumulations of many small, well-done deeds. Tasks as ordinary as cooking meals, mowing lawns, cleaning toilets, or hammering nails become extraordinary in their collective effect.
A volunteer’s “job well done” may provide nutritious meals for orphans, or it may put a roof over a needy family. A job well done may insure a clean, vibrant classroom space for young children or needed housing for missionaries-in-training. Or a job well done may simply be helping steward one of the many worldwide YWAM facilities that are home to distinctive training schools and outreach ministries.
As missionary Pat E. reported:
“Our Mission Builders have served us in the kitchen, in the garden, in our preschool, in leading a daily devotion, in our worship team, being a hostess and decorator, and yes, installing electrical, framing walls, laying carpet and tile. Mission Builders International is the key to unlocking the most exciting investment of your life and opens the world of missions to you. You will always receive more than you give and that in itself is the blessing God has waiting for you.”
According to our friends at YWAM Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise, Australia): “Everything we do at YWAM Gold Coast is considered sacred and unto God, so we believe that whether one is in the kitchen preparing food for the troops or teaching on DTS, it’s all important to Jesus.” In other words, volunteer service is holy work.
Beyond just a job well done, those who volunteer are often overcome by volunesia, which is “that moment when you forget you’re volunteering to help change lives, because it’s changing yours.” If you would like the satisfaction of volunteering—making a difference in others’ lives as well as your own—MBI would like to extend an invitation to you to take your first step. The needs are real and the opportunities to meet them are plentiful.
In the words of missionary Michael L.:
“I have seen the great need for mission support through having supporters come physically alongside and get involved. The mission field can, at times, be lonely and daunting, but having witnessed how effective MBI is in helping relieve those stresses (not just by sending teams to help with projects, but also simply by having supporters help with day-to-day chores), I believe they have proved themselves to be a caring and professional ministry that is first amongst equals.”
All you need to do to step into a volunteer opportunity is: 1) Visit the Mission Builders website at www.missionbuilders.com. 2) Click on the ‘Where to Go’ tab to discover which location and what part of the world tugs at your heart. 3) Click ‘Contact Us’ to create your personal record and start filling out your quick-and-easy online application.
Go ahead! Do something extraordinary today!
If you’re familiar with Mission Builders International, you’ll know we send hands-on help to YWAM ministries all over the globe by recruiting and placing volunteers. You’ll also know those volunteers come in all ages, sizes, skills and abilities and are passionate about serving Jesus. Each one has their own particular motivation for serving, whether the location is near or far. Here are just a handful of the reasons they go. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to go!
To prove that no one is too old to work for God.
“Remind yourself that you are never too old to make a difference and have a purpose,” said one elderly woman, who volunteered at YWAM Salem, OR. “We’re never too old to work for God. I’m 73. As long as God keeps me going, I’m planning on doing His work.” Mary, another 73-year-old, served at YWAM Ozarks, AR. She wrote: “Most of the students are in their early 20s, but all [of them] talked to me and shared their stories when asked. Their genuine, faith-filled, humble attitudes but normal young dress and actions so inspired me! They really appreciated everything I did to help. I left rejoicing, so encouraged for our younger generations.”
To mentor students, staff, and locals with their skills and know-how.
Retirees Brian and Karen volunteered at YWAM Montana Lakeside. Brian taught carpentry, built cabinets for kitchen units and worked on a local Habitat for Humanity project. “A life skill like carpentry is a valuable outreach tool as well as being useable around the world,” Brian said. Karen added, “He was immensely proud of the young men he trained and absolutely loved teaching them.” Karen worked as the front desk receptionist, but occasionally slipped on the title of Mom or Grandma, “blessing students and staff with prayer time and long conversations.” They said their time “was refreshing and recharged our spiritual batteries.”
To indulge a special passion or life-celebration.
Lynne, a regular mission builder (along with her husband Len) said: “I LOVE to travel! By connecting with MBI, not only do I get to travel anywhere in the world, but I get to travel with a purpose, connecting with and supporting missionaries wherever I go. Where will we go next? It doesn’t really matter, the possibilities are endless, and we know God has our course already planned.”
One lady wrote: “My husband and I volunteered for two weeks with Mission Builders at YWAM Amsterdam. It was a highlight of our two-month retirement celebration trip to Europe. We were warmly greeted . . . made to feel like valued members of the team . . . told several times how much they appreciated having people our age there, and of course, they were very thankful for the work we did. We’ll definitely explore volunteering at other YWAM campuses.”
To offer their individual skills, abilities and gifts.
Mission building is “a chance to use the gifts that you possess to help further the gospel message,” Michele wrote. “From cooking to computer programming, and gardening to construction, there are so many ways to help. My husband John is a mechanic, and I am an avid gardener and cook. We’ve served all around the U.S. and are so glad we can be a part of mission work without having to go to a seminary for training! We just serve using the gifts and skills we already have.”
Manoela F. from Brazil said: “I’m almost 22, an industrial engineering student and intern worker at Bosch, Brazil. I got vacation from work and college to be a Mission Builder in YWAM San Jose, Costa Rica. I understood a calling from God saying I needed to go someplace not so close and make the people feel loved through things I like to do; for example, playing soccer. As a Mission Builder, I could help in hospitality, I could help in the kitchen to cook for the base, I could play soccer again. I could help the Homes of Hope and the Metro Ministries, too, and join some of the DTS soccer classes.”
To do something they’ve never done before (and take their families with them).
Linda wrote to say: “My family (she, her husband and three kids ages 12, 7, and 5) had an amazing time watching God work through our time at Cowboys With A Mission in Meteetse, WY. We had odd jobs around the base, from cleaning out the cows’ water tub to helping build a house for staff to looking for a rattlesnake that bit three horses early one morning. Mission builders with an open mind and a willingness to fall in where needed will greatly benefit this campus. The directors blessed our family by allowing us to be a part of the CWAM family!”
To broaden their horizons and better their lives.
Swiss couple Kurt and Edith volunteered at YWAM Muizenburg, South Africa. They wanted to improve their English but got so much more. Edith said: “It broadened my horizons to see so many other cultures. It was our first time in an English-speaking country. It was interesting and a challenge. Friendly students, full of passion, were thankful to have older volunteers on campus.”
Mission Builder volunteer Casey said: “Seeing how the Lord is working outside of the U.S. was really eye-opening. My wife and I had a life-changing experience while we were helping out. We’re currently praying about joining YWAM full time; they’re mobilizing today’s youth for Christ’s mission!”
One young volunteer, who served at YWAM Guadalajara, Mexico, said: “I got to learn more Spanish and was able to touch many peoples’ lives with the love of Jesus. I felt so useful! All my gifts in teaching, music, and audio engineering were used. It was a life-changing experience. The Mexican culture was devoid of materialism and the driven-ness I constantly feel while living in the big city here in America. So when I returned home, all that ‘stuff’ hit me like a wave. But now that I’m back in the swing of things, I can see how my experience serving the peoples of Guadalajara, Ixtlahuacan, Chapala, and Ajijic will help me to live better while I’m here in the States. I have a much broader perspective on life—one I don’t believe I could have without physically going outside America.”
As you read through these testimonies, you may have seen your desires mirrored back to you and had an aha! moment. If that happened, remember, there’s room for you to give of your time and energy for the kingdom of God, and MBI can help you find just the right place to do it. Check out the possibilities and fill out an application today at www.MissionBuilders.org!
“Has God ever promised you something? Has God ever clearly led you?”
When twenty-nine-year-old Kristen H. of Fredericksburg, VA, gave God the opportunity to fill her heart with His desires, she didn’t dream it would involve living boldly and serving Him globally. God surprised Kristen with a mission-building journey. She spent a gap year as a volunteer with Mission Builders International, helping at YWAM locations and visiting missionary friends in Uganda, Swaziland, South Africa, Cambodia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Israel and Germany.
How did it all get started? Kristen says:
“A little over one year ago I was able to attend a retreat just a couple hours from where I live. You’re thinking I’m going to say that God slowly showed me something through the speakers that weekend, right? But no, God didn’t even wait for the retreat to officially start to speak to me.
“It happened that I was there a couple hours early, so I walked down to the pond, with my Bible in hand, and just sat before the Lord and quietly read and prayed. While I was sitting there, God clearly spoke to me through a few different verses in Psalm 20 and 21 and promised me that He would give me the desires of my heart. I asked God to do as He promised and grant me my heart’s desires, to make His desires mine and direct my steps. I didn’t know what those desires of my heart were and in what way God would fulfill that promise until almost a year to the day later.
“I do love to travel and, while I had a gap year in life and was seeking God for the direction I needed to take, I thought it would be great to take a little time and maybe plan a trip across the United States. But, as God continued to lead, I had no idea He would bring me to a place of traveling the world!
“I was praying and seeking Him on whether this mission trip was what He had for me and realized it was exactly where He was leading me. I’m not the girl who has always had a pull toward being on the mission field, but when I asked God to grant my heart’s desires and make His desires mine, He took me seriously. He created in me a desire I didn’t even realize I had: a desire to see His work advanced, a desire to serve His people, a desire to live boldly for Him.”
From teaching English and making jewelry to cooking meals and taking care of small children, from housekeeping and reception work to organizing in a café that employs marginalized women, Kristen served the YWAM campuses that hosted her and the people they reach out to. In the midst of serving, she also experienced the beauty of her host nations physically, culturally and historically.
“His ways and plans are so much better than ours,” Kristen says. “I had a big idea, He had a fantastic one!”
Kristen’s story may not be very different from one just waiting to unfold in your life. What are your heart’s desires, and where in the world might God be leading you? For fantastic possibilities, visit www.missionbuilder.org!
(To see more photos from Kristen’s journey, visit her blog at mymissionjourney.com.)
What does it take to be a mission builder? Please circle any or all of the applicable answers below:
- Good looks.
- Personal charm.
- A big bank account.
- The right connections.
- Skills everybody but you has.
- None of the above.
If you answered ‘none of the above,’ you are correct. Mission Builders International is looking for those who are willing to just show up and do whatever it takes. Period. We don’t require fees, memberships, or special skills. We make it as easy as possible for potential volunteers to connect with a best-fit missions service opportunity.
What about you? Do you want to serve and make a difference but don’t know how to get started? Let us help you. Answer the three following questions and you’ll be off to a good start.
Where would you like to go? MBI currently serves over 100 YWAM locations worldwide. Chances are we’re already sending volunteers to some area of the world that comes to your mind. Some locations may require a little more time, money and effort to reach, but we can help you navigate the complexities. You’ll be a pro in no time!
What would you like to do? Perhaps you have a particular skill or talent you’d like to offer, such as cooking, sewing, construction or landscaping. Maybe you’re tech savvy, artistic, or great with kids. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who likes a long and varied punch list so you can roll up your sleeves and say, “Let me at ‘em!” Whatever you’d like to do, there’s a place for you.
When can you go (and for how long)? Depending on the area of the world you choose and how your timing fits with the schedules and needs of different YWAM facilities, the sky is the limit. Go Down Under when it’s cold north of the Equator? Check. Go to the city or state next door so you can be in the vicinity of friends and family while you serve? Check. Go someplace that shares your ministry passion? Check. Put it on your calendar and contact us!
It’s easy to be a mission builder!
In our last newsletter, we shared about YWAM Bend, Oregon, a one-of-a-kind ministry with a vision calling for equally visionary mission builder volunteers. True to form, the first project accomplished at their location was out of the ordinary, just like the mission builders who showed up to help get the job done.
David and Crystal Cook happened to be in the area in early October of 2014 and volunteered to help set up YWAM Bend’s Mongolian gers (yurts), which would become housing for ministry staff. In the span of four days, David helped spread mulch, set up one ger, disassembled a second one at another location and prepped it for moving. Crystal helped with meal preps and garden gleaning (and David found time to cook some of his famous burgers for the staff as well). With the Cook’s help, the YWAM Bend team was settled in before the snow fell.
YWAM Bend wasn’t the first ministry nor will it be the last to benefit from the Cook’s volunteerism. Along with their son, Michael, and daughter, Amy, the Cooks began their mission-building adventure while visiting friends at YWAM San Francisco six years ago. David, who owned his own construction business, says, “While we were there we noticed so many broken toilets and door hinges and the like. We said we would stay and help and began to get a glimpse of the need out there.”
On their first long-term mission building trip, the Cook family traveled from Seattle to YWAM Orlando in Florida in a truck, living out of a camper on the back. There, David says, “The young staff would tell us about having a heart for Turkey or Africa, but they were at the campus helping with needs like cooking or maintenance instead of going where their hearts were. I wanted to help with those practical things so they could actually get out and do what God was calling them to do.” That’s when the Cooks decided to invest in missions by becoming full-time mission builders. They bought a pull-trailer and hit the road, making, to date, four circuits of the United States, volunteering at numerous YWAM campuses and taking YWAM missions training along the way.
Together, David and Michael worked at general maintenance projects, repairs, roofing and similar tasks. “Michael was my right-hand man,” David says, “as capable if not more so than me. From blenders to cars, he can fix so many things.” Their biggest project was at YWAM Mendocino in California. “The Woodbutcher cabin, their premier cabin from the ’70s,” David says, “was built on a hill. It was made with dowels and pegs; no nails. The foundation was rotting and needed repair, andthere were gaping holes in the deck. The staff had been at a loss as to how to save it. Michael and I spent 2 months jacking it up, tearing out old foundation and building a new one.”
When the Cooks first launched their mission-building lifestyle, Crystal says, “I felt like I was going to be tagging along; that I didn’t have a lot to offer and I would just be seeing what David would do. Friends prayed with us and helped me realize I had something to offer.” She and daughter Amy started working in the campus kitchens serving healthy, good-tasting food. Now, she says, “I get so much appreciation for cooking! People are constantly thanking and complimenting me! And Amy learned and grew so much; I am confident she could take on any YWAM kitchen.” But it’s more than just putting food on the table. Crystal says, “I like being a mom to the staff and teaching them. I’ve worked with several gals, teaching and mentoring them in kitchen and life skills and speaking into their lives spiritually. We adopt the young folks and feel like they are our kids. Some call me Mom, which blesses me because some of them don’t have good families. We love being family for them, pouring into them like parents.”
Although Michael (to be married in June) has now launched into his own YWAM adventure, David, Crystal and Amy continue traveling, enjoying the countryside, history and parks as they mission build campus to campus. What they like most, however, is meeting new people and making friends. “Our world used to be so small and now it is so broad,” they say, “and we haven’t gone international yet! No, we don’t have a home anymore, but we have many, many locations across the United States where we feel at home. We have people who are like family in all those locations.”
The Cooks agree: “There is so much need out there, and God has given His people the skills to meet those needs. Being the ones God uses is more fulfilling than anything we did living the normal North American lifestyle. Not everyone is called to do what we’re doing for a lifetime, but there are probably a lot of people who are called to do it short term. We wish we’d done this sooner, but we figure we have a good thirty years left, so we’ll make good use of it.”
Are you ready to share your time and skills in missions for a season? Looking for ministries you can serve from your RV? Visit our website at www.missionbuilders.org and see all the YWAM ministries around the world who need your help. Apply online today or contact us!