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. 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...

Oh, What a New Year!

The concept of MBI—connecting Christians with frontline missions—is entering its 40th year. Let that sink in for a moment, if you will. Behind that seemingly simple statement are thousands upon thousands of connections between volunteers and their friends in missions who have responded to the same call: “Who shall go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8) MBI has served as the bridge for countless connections, not just of lifelong friendships but connections of eternal value: revealing the God Who knows us well to those who did not know Him. Over the years, MBI’s story has not changed much. The locations and the characters (MBI’s ageless volunteers from around the world) who respond to the call make up new angles and opportunities to our story. However, the central theme is still the same: connecting Christians to frontline missions, co-laboring with YWAMers around the world to know God and to make Him known. And it has worked – very well. Despite my occasional George Bailey moments in which I question if “it’s a wonderful life,” I can honestly answer: “It truly is.” When I consider the hundreds of personal friends who have grown with us over the years and those who have come to a loving relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior, I can exuberantly say, “Yes, I want to finish this race well!” My bride Donna and I are also entering into and celebrating our 40th year of marital bliss and thirty-three years as YWAM missionaries. We’ve been privileged to raise our family of three children, who now have families of their own, and God has provided a way for us...

A Pleasant Surprise

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...

Good Will, Great Adventure

When Pat and Thelma Lewis of Wenatchee, WA, arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they were surprised and delighted to learn the only way to get to their village destination involved United Nations transport. It was one more remarkable experience to add to their four-month mission building adventure. Shoulder to shoulder with Pakistani peacekeeping soldiers, the Lewises arrived in Minembwe by helicopter to assist missionary friends for two weeks at the village’s primary school and fledgling University of Eben’ezer. Nearly 300 students attend the two schools, many of them walking an hour or more one way for the privilege. Pat spoke to the students about MBI’s role as a Christian volunteer agency, and together, using a curriculum designed in part by the university’s teachers, he and Thelma taught English classes to “very bright” children in the primary school. Thelma also instructed college students in basics of dental hygiene and created diagrams for use in future classes. “Older village women,” she noted, “reveal a thin, black line of gum tissue when they smile—the result of brushing with coal.” The Lewises also helped with local projects. “God really used these opportunities to give back to communities wherever we went,” they said. “People in the Congo have nothing. Their provision is whatever they can raise, and their dependence on God is much greater than we could even comprehend. As Americans, our norm far exceeds their wildest dreams. Congolese men talk about survival, not retirement. So Westerners coming to give of themselves and help was the biggest gift these villagers could imagine.” Even the Pakistani soldiers responded to the Lewis’s good...