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.
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!