A License to Serve: Designing Thriving Missions Communities

A License to Serve: Designing Thriving Missions Communities

YWAM campuses and missionaries worldwide flourish when they have the practical and professional resources necessary to stay focused on their ministries’ core work. Providing those resources is at the heart of what MBI does—so others may thrive.

Partner Architects is one of the professional resources MBI offers. They provide architectural “design for missionaries, by missionaries,” working with ministries in under-served locations “to create places that support God’s redemptive work in the world.”

Partner Architects’ door is open to professional architects who share their vision. In September 2023, they welcomed Garrett Morrison.

Garrett knew he was different from the time he was in the sixth grade. A math assignment triggered his lifelong desire to become an architect, and he organized his high school studies accordingly. Then, in Garrett’s junior year, the Lord threw him a curve ball, calling him to be a missionary. At the time, Garrett had no idea how architecture and missions fit together, so he laid down his vision for architecture to become a missionary with YWAM.

Garrett served for nearly a decade with YWAM Montana-Lakeside (along with his wife Sarah and their four children). He spent the latter half of those years with the independent architectural ministry 100 Fold Studio. Those years of training set him on a path to becoming a licensed architect, and after a year of university, he joined a firm in Washington state, taking the opportunity to complete licensure through work experience.

“All in all, it took a decade of training and testing, and by God’s grace, I passed my final exam and became a licensed architect in 2023,” Garrett says. “Soon after, the Lord called me to take a new step and work with MBI’s Partner Architects.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to come alongside missionaries as a professional resource in architectural design, to journey in faith together, ‘lifting their arms’ by undertaking the project design process that could otherwise overwhelm the work of the ministry.

“We’ve heard the horror stories of ministries held back by their current facilities due to lack of resources—unsafe, unfit buildings that neither serve the vision nor communicate the gospel to the community in a way that helps them to flourish. As missionaries ourselves, we share and understand the values and challenges of our missionary clients. We have a unique capacity to speak the same language and help them fulfill the mission and vision God has called them to.” (Photo: Garrett Morrison, center)

After joining Partner Architects, Garrett began designing the new YWAM UofN campus in Pailin, Cambodia (one of the many ministry sites that grew out of the YWAM Battambang campus). Garrett says, “UofN Pailin is exciting because it represents the multiplication of the gospel and the mission within the country that moves YWAM Cambodia closer to the fulfillment of their vision of reaching ‘one nation in one generation.'”

Garrett recently returned from Cambodia, where he visited UofN Pailin and Freedom’s Promise, a ministry currently constructing an 18-classroom school building that will open in 2025. Partner provided a campus masterplan and design for the school, which will significantly increase the ministry’s capacity to impact communities with the gospel and eradicate human trafficking in Cambodia.

Garrett and the Partner Architects team spent a week in late April at YWAM Mazatlán in Mexico. The Mazatlán team plans to grow the campus to house and train 3000 missionaries yearly to reach Mexico and other nations with the gospel.

“For two days,” Garrett says, “the Partner Architects team listened to the Mazatlán leaders and staff members describe their vision and values. We helped them define their measures of success, the campus aesthetics they desire, and the program requirements necessary to meet their mission needs. At the end of more than twelve hours of meetings, as we reported back from our notes what we heard, the hospitality coordinator exclaimed, ‘I think you have captured our heart perfectly!’

“We have a current project in the Gambia in West Africa, where we are helping to design a new YWAM campus in the country’s center. We’re also working with a church project in Samoa and a pastor-training and church-planting ministry in the Middle East.”

Garrett concludes, “Partner Architects could use more licensed architects. We’re praying for two more licensed individuals to join our Montana team. There is a lot of work ahead, and it is thrilling to be a part of it and to have the ability to use our gifts and talents to serve missionaries and the gospel!”

For more information, visit www.partnerarchitects.org.

 

I Did a DTS. Now What?

I Did a DTS. Now What?

Many students of YWAM’s Discipleship Training School graduate with a desire to serve full-time in the mission, and YWAM campuses worldwide need people just like them to achieve their mission goals and thrive. MBI brings these two dynamic groups together through our After DTS program.

DTS graduates can now explore opportunities and locations through volunteer placement, allowing them to experience a variety of service opportunities, places, cultures, and causes. Graduates may learn new skills, encounter new people groups, fall in love with a ministry vision, find their “tribe” of like-minded missionaries, and more! They volunteer at global locations, build lasting relationships, and find their best fit for long-term service. MBI makes easy what used to be laborious and time-consuming.

Dawn Mekunwattana from Thailand did her DTS in the spring of 2011 at YWAM Lakeside and knew she wanted to join their staff someday. She spent time mission building on campus between the secondary schools she attended after her basic training. She says:

“My mission building experience gave me a snapshot into the behind-the-scenes life of missionary members on campus and helped to solidify my desire to serve full-time in Montana. I loved the Mission Builder community! We had our meetings and times of connection and prayer outside of the regular base meetings, and I loved connecting with all the people who would come through for those short seasons to serve and bless others. Mission building also grew my confidence—I could serve and work in many capacities! It’s been ten years since I did my DTS and six years since I last worked as a mission builder.  Now, I’m finally here as a full-time missionary member!”

DTS graduates like Daniel, Fabio, Presley, and others have utilized the After DTS program to explore the exciting ways and places available to them to serve within YWAM as they’ve fulfilled God’s call on their lives.

Are you a DTS graduate with a passion for moving to the next step of service? Apply at www.missionbuilders.org to volunteer with After DTS and discover your next step!

The Extraordinary Ordinary

The Extraordinary Ordinary

“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!