Mission Builders International provides essential training and volunteers to help frontline missionaries thrive and multiply their life-changing work. That’s why we recently featured YWAM Emerge‘s volunteer invitation to their intensive aquaponics training course at their ranch in Colorado. After completing the training, volunteers could travel to a designated global community to reproduce the aquaponics system.
The course immediately intrigued Brad Spencer, MBI’s then-volunteer services coordinator. He shared the information with fellow Canadian Brian Oldridge. They applied and headed to Colorado last October to participate in the training.
“YWAM Emerge has a compelling story that I didn’t fully connect with until we got down there, met the players, and heard about where they are and have been. They have built systems worldwide and have current projects in Africa and the Middle East, working in communities to alleviate hunger and provide family and ministry income. Instruction is an important aspect of each OASYS build, as is surveying the local market to determine the most viable crops to meet local needs.
“Initially, they built very different systems, depending on the location and available materials. Eventually, they were motivated to engineer a repeatable design, reduced to the simplest, most common materials that did not require extensive startup expertise. Hence, OASYS was born. Building according to their OASYS design eliminates startup risk for the most part. They’ve streamlined troubleshooting and system support. The Emerge team and those trained on OASYS know how the system was built, significantly eliminating local design deviations.
“We met people from Africa, India, and other nations during the training course. International visitors were amazed and wanted to know how to get the system into their countries. Emerge tries to connect them with sponsors to help the visitors build in their nations. They just finished a system build in Kenya for a school.
“Some individual Emerge staff have projects underway in countries like Lebanon, South Africa, and Central Asia and are working to market them to other countries. Some locations are in closed countries, and the team uses the OASYS system to be in those countries legitimately. Offering high-value projects like this opens doors. They can share Christ by providing for peoples’ needs and building enduring relationships. Their relevance goes up because the people know that they care.
“Emerge is ten years into this and still strongly desires to make it happen. There is no shortage of vision; they share it with as many as possible. They need trained and skilled individuals willing to help make this happen in communities with needs.
“While Brian and I could not go on to the Kenya build, we did spend time encouraging the YWAM Emerge team in ways they could set up the ranch to accommodate Mission Builder volunteers. There are lots of opportunities to serve this ministry. What they accomplish is making a difference in communities worldwide and has excellent potential for multiplying and touching many more.”
Find out how you can serve YWAM Emerge by visiting www.missionbuilders.org/explore/. Then, fill out our easy online application.
Learn more about YWAM Emerge and aquaponics: www.ywamemerge.org
Connect with MBI so others may thrive: www.missionbuilders.org.
On Monday, June 20, 2022, dear friend and mission builder Frank Castles Jr. passed away unexpectedly in Lakeside, MT. He was doing what he loved to do: giving his time and skills to kingdom work.
“Frank and his wife, Relda, wandered into the MBI office and our hearts over 20 years ago. Their hunger to pursue the things of God as they neared retirement opened opportunities for service that took them around the world and down the street in whichever neighborhood they lived. With Southern hospitality and the warmest “Howdy, y’all!” Frank endeared himself to others in his workplace as a professional engineer and to us as a member of MBI’s board of directors.
“Relentless, whether he offered his help or insisted on having fun together, Frank modeled Jesus with a Southern drawl. Those who knew him came to know his family and learned that Frank lived life large as “Big Daddy” to his children and their children.
“God gives us ‘suddenlies’ in our lives that can surprise and change our course of direction in an instant. Frank’s sudden passing reminds me more than ever to take the time to say “I love y’all” each day to those around me because we don’t know the day or the hour of our last breath—or theirs.
“Frank gave of his time and talents to bless others, even to his very last moment on earth. He “just showed up” to help us 20-plus years ago, and he was gone an instant later (gratefully, it was a long, 20-year instant). Frank loved Jesus, and it’s obvious Jesus loved him—suddenly.
“I will miss Frank’s deep, resonant voice reciting the Shabbat prayer with his Southern accent: ‘Blessed are You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe. You hallow us with your commandments and command us to kindle the lights of Shabbat. Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’zivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.’
“I pray you are blessed with a friend like Frank Castles in your circle of influence—with or without the Southern touch. Shalom, y’all.” —John Briggs
“Frank was one of the most gentle, fun-loving, hard-working, friendly guys I have known. He graciously gave his time, talent, and treasure to MBI. Through his hard work and diligence, Frank pushed our Mission Lodge project to a place where we can now go on to the next stage. He will be missed greatly, not just because of his talents and contributions, but because of who he was.” —Ron Brewster, MBI co-director
“Frank spent the last month of his life investing in what God is doing through MBI. With a lifetime of experience as a civil engineer and hands-on knowledge of the MBI utility system, he applied his skills and talents to the civil construction work for the new MBI Mission Lodge project. He was able to mobilize and direct teams to begin clearing the site, moving dirt, and installing sewer lines. On any given day, you could find him calling volunteers, ordering materials, placing stakes around the site, and sharing his knowledge with all those around him. His work has laid a foundation that the future of MBI will rest on.” —Ross Lackey, Partner Architects
Excerpted from Frank’s obituary:
“Born December 31, 1946, in Starkville, Mississippi, Frank was an avid Mississippi State fan. He served overseas as a Navy Seabee during the Vietnam War. After returning to the States, Frank enrolled in Mississippi State University, earning a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. He owned a civil engineering firm in both Tupelo and Saltillo, MS, before serving as the associate city engineer for Kalispell for several years. After retiring from his Kalispell position, Frank and his beloved wife, Relda, moved back to Mississippi to be closer to family.
“A loving family man, Frank was known affectionately as Big Daddy. He was strong in his Christian faith, passing those values to his family along with his love for the outdoors and fishing. He and Relda enjoyed life to the fullest, making many trips back to Montana and Israel, where they volunteered their skills and shared their faith and spiritual gifts, resulting in countless adventures, wonderful memories, and lifetime friendships.
“Memorials can be made to Mission Builders International at PO Box 406, Lakeside, MT 59922, www.missionbuilders.org/ donate or Fields of Wheat, PO Box 729, Middlefield, OH 44062.”
Since 1960, YWAM missionaries have continued reaching out to this broken world spiritually and practically. They bring health and healing through hands-on mercy ministries and interrupt human trafficking via rescue and education. They strategically distribute Bibles to help end Bible poverty. And they’re training yet another generation of believers to share the good news of Jesus Christ. As YWAMers continue to make God known to the least, the last, and the lost, Mission Builders International is there to support them.
For instance, YWAM Cambodia strives to transform Cambodia’s history from one of “killing fields” to “living fields,” believing God for One Nation in One Generation. As a result, five hundred Cambodians now attend YWAM Cambodia’s ten church plants, and a thousand youth recently joined the soccer league hosted on their campus. MBI is helping YWAM Cambodia in tangible ways to realize its vision by sending volunteers, helping with training and equipping their leaders, debriefing their staff, providing professional architectural services, and more.
MBI remains committed to providing YWAM campuses with the services and practical help they need to stay healthy and fulfill their callings long-term. Now, we’re taking our commitment to a higher level. Planning is underway to build MBI’s Mission Lodge hospitality center to engage YWAM missionaries, volunteers, students, and visitors more fully.
The vision took root when YWAM Lakeside Montana gifted its prime one-acre piece of property to MBI in 2004. In 2019, MBI expanded its ministry by adding new services like Leadership13, LIFT, Partner Architects, Debriefing, and more. Today, the time is right to make the Mission Lodge a reality.
MBI co-director Dawn Masucci says: “Part of our vision for the Mission Lodge is to create a welcoming place where YWAM missionaries can come to be refreshed, retooled, and re-sent, so they may continue to ‘know God and make Him known.’ We’ve envisioned a well-designed building dedicated to the Lord that increases our capacity for hospitality, collaboration, training, communication, and recruiting.
“We also see a place to create more awareness about MBI and YWAM as we engage students and show hospitality to their families and friends. The 1000+ visitors who pass through YWAM Lakeside and visit the Mission Lodge every year will gain a clear understanding of what MBI does and leave inspired to find their unique opportunity to reach the world by helping international YWAM locations.
“Our vision for the Mission Lodge, with its wooded location and beautiful views, also embodies a place of restoration and replenishment for those experiencing a rough season in ministry. Frontline YWAM missionaries will come to be debriefed by professionally trained debriefing staff. Leaders who may feel tired and bruised will receive encouragement, skilled mentoring, and fellowship, returning to the field with renewed faith that they can, indeed, take on giants.”
MBI’s Ross Lackey of Partner Architects created a master plan for the one-acre site, designing the 16,000 square foot building and preparing for construction. The Lodge’s interior will include twenty guest rooms and a caretaker’s suite, a full kitchen, a large conference room, a commons area, a reception area for hospitality, and an MBI office area with desk spaces and meeting rooms to accommodate thirty staff. The exterior design features a drive-through covered entry and twenty dedicated parking spaces.
Site preparation begins this spring, with foundation completion projected for early 2023. Construction will start soon after. Our faith goal is to have the building “dried in” by the winter of 2023, then debt-free and ready for service by the end of 2024.
Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.” The Mission Lodge’s purpose, design, functionality, and beauty increase MBI’s ability to shape lives by helping YWAM missionaries—and the people they serve worldwide—to thrive.
Mission Builders International’s staff team is rich in its collective experience and perfectly suited for helping worldwide YWAM ministries to thrive. Team member Dawn Masucci brings finely-tuned teaching and leadership skills to the table. She acquired her expertise during the four years she worked with YWAM in Hong Kong and the nearly thirty years she and her husband Mark served in leadership at YWAM Lakeside Montana.
Dawn is MBI’s co-executive director and takes oversight for its service ministries and home base staff members. She makes sure that staff members’ needs are met and that each individual remains healthy and fruitful in their ministry roles.
Dawn is a team player and cheerleader by nature. She loves to see people become all God intends them to be. So it comes as no surprise that Dawn’s responsibilities at MBI’s home office closely parallel what she does as point person and team player with MBI’s Leadership 13 ministry.
“I enjoy working in the area of team dynamics and organizational health,” Dawn says. “My sweet spot is creating vulnerable moments that bring people together, providing an atmosphere where people can learn and grow. I try to make way for these learning experiences through teaching, facilitating, and coaching.
“My life verse is 1 Corinthians 12. I love to see people understand who they are, what part of the body they represent, and how they can ‘play nice’ in the context of the larger body. It’s gratifying when you see the lights come on! Once individuals understand how to integrate their gifts into their ministry’s team dynamic, they are better able to participate in building cohesive, successful relationships.”
Dawn concludes, “We tend to get busy working in the ministry. But sometimes we have to stop and work on the ministry and its team if we want to go forward and be truly healthy and productive.”
Whether Dawn is applying her skills at MBI or other YWAM locations, she helps ministries succeed in their larger visions by keeping their members healthy proportionally. When a ministry knows how to care for its staff, it is sure to thrive.
For years we’ve stated that YWAM Mission Builders International’s goal is to connect Christian volunteers with Youth With A Mission ministries worldwide, and we have faithfully been doing just that. But while the practical help delivered by thousands of volunteers has made it possible for those ministries to “keep the main thing the main thing,” it is clear that they also need the kind of support that can only be provided by experienced people who understand the unique needs and inner workings of YWAM and who know exactly what it takes to help individual ministries grow, prosper, and effectively deliver on their missions goals from the inside out.
Now, MBI is poised to help meet those needs!
As you know from our previous newsletter, we recently welcomed Ron Brewster (former director of YWAM Lakeside Montana) as MBI’s new director. With Ron at the helm, we’ve enlarged our “tent” to include an expanded staff team and several new-to-us working ministries, each one dedicated to doing whatever it takes to see global YWAM ministries flourish.
MBI is now home to a tactical team of qualified, long-term YWAMers who have first-hand experience not only in volunteer placement but also in leadership development, debriefing, financial and strategic planning, financial stewardship, donor processing, visa and immigration matters, IRS compliance, and more. Seasoned leaders and mentors as well as key staff and organizational resources are now available for YWAM locations seeking to overcome internal challenges and build enduring foundations.
Here is what MBI offers:
SUPPORT AND DEVELOPMENT TO LEADERSHIP TEAMS
- New! Leadership13 (L13) is a small group of experienced leaders that exists to serve YWAM leaders and their teams worldwide. Bringing our combined years of leadership experience and entering into a unique one-year time commitment, L13 seeks to strengthen and enhance the vision, values, and calling of each location by identifying their challenges and helping them develop an effective plan to address them. Whether it’s clarifying vision, developing a team charter, or helping to create strategies and systems that will strengthen the overall ministry, it is our deep desire that, with God’s help, YWAM ministries around the world will not only survive but thrive in all of their efforts to “know God and make Him known.” ~ Gordy McDonald
STAFF AND ORGANIZATIONAL SERVICES (SOS)
- New! L.I.F.T. is designed to help YWAM North America leaders strategically address legal, immigration, financial, and tactical/risk areas. ~ Ron Brewster
- Biblical Financial Coaching provides resources that help missionaries/ministry workers be “good and faithful stewards” of whatever God has provided them. The YWAM Leader’s Financial Toolkit as well as the Personal Financial Coaching and the Steps To Wise Investing Workshop work together to light the way to biblically sound financial stewardship. ~ Stu Sorenson
- Strategic Planning is a ministry-development strategy aimed at helping individuals in their life- and project-planning as well as teams in the areas of ministry planning, team-building, problem-solving, counseling, and improving effectiveness/efficiency. Used primarily for YWAM location staff and students, this planning process has helped over 600 missionaries, largely in Latin America, the U.S., and China. ~ Chip and Sandy Wanner
- New! Debriefing is a week-long ministry time focused on helping YWAM missionaries process times of stress, grief/loss, transition, and injustice. By filtering their circumstances through Scripture, debriefees are able to gain perspective, hear from God, find healing and freedom, extend forgiveness, and move forward renewed and strengthened, confident that Jesus has taken their burdens. ~ Jeanette Brewster
- MBI continues to recruit short-term volunteers, matching them with global ministry opportunities within YWAM. Mission Builder volunteers “lift up the arms” of frontline missionaries through practical, hands-on service. ~ John and Donna Briggs
- MBI RV Associates facilitates volunteer opportunities for those who have re-purposed their retirements and want to use their time and skills to render practical assistance to YWAM missionaries (and other ministries) at RV-ready locations throughout North America. “We serve God through serving others.” ~ Lynn and Jackie Battermann
- Mobile Mechanics helps keep missionaries on the move by providing the expertise of a 35-year veteran mechanic, who brings all the tools and skills needed to get vehicle repairs and maintenance done. This saves money for individual missionaries and missionary organizations, allowing them to put their valuable dollars toward spreading the good news about Jesus Christ. ~ John and Michele Whitlock
- New! After DTS is MBI’s placement process geared specifically toward students who have finished their missions training and are actively looking for their next assignment. MBI is positioned to connect DTS graduates with YWAM locations worldwide, where they can assist as volunteers while exploring where God may have them serve long-term. ~ Ron Brewster
- New! Virtual Volunteers (coming in 2020) MBI’s version of LinkedIn, focuses on attracting skilled volunteers who can offer long-distance help to global YWAM locations. From web design to graphic design to leadership coaching to digital mobilization—and much more—those who may not be able to travel will soon be able to help “make God known” by serving as virtual volunteers. ~ Ron Brewster
- New! Volunteer Teams: Vacation With A Purpose (VWAP) is a one-week volunteer trip designed for families and church teams who want to work alongside full-time missionaries. VWAP volunteers do construction, painting, and landscaping projects on YWAM campuses, helping them steward what God has given them. During the week, participants not only do physical work but also get encouraged and challenged in their faith and walk with God. ~ Andrew Hobby
With all of these new tools in its belt, MBI will continue its legacy as a conduit, offering a full spectrum of services in order to see thriving YWAM ministries knowing God and making him known all over the world.
“MBI provides leadership support, practical resources, and volunteer connections to YWAM locations worldwide. Our goal is to help YWAM locations thrive and be empowered to know God and make him known.”