Everyone loves a good report. At Mission Builders International, we love hearing about our volunteers’ experiences serving alongside global YWAM ministries. The connection between Mission Builders and missionaries is more than just about the value of the work that’s accomplished; it’s also about the rich insights and relationships that result when people work together for kingdom purposes.
David H., who serves with MBI’s RV Associates, blessed us with the following two-week snapshot of his time of service at YWAM Orlando in Florida. We’d like to share his infectious joy and encourage you to find out for yourselves what God has in store for those who offer their time and skills. David wrote:
“A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. Events below are just some of the highlights.
More Mission Builders!
This morning the dining hall is filled with Mission Builders! About fifty Amish from Pennsylvania arrived over the weekend. Men, women, young and old! Many of them have been here before, several times.
After breakfast, the projects planned for the week are announced and the volunteers join the group where they feel led: replacing a roof on a house, building the deck on the dining hall, pool house rehab, cutting and clearing trees in the upper camp grounds. The tree cutting turns up a little shy on people, so I get asked to help with the chain saw work. Not a problem. It will be some good exercise for me, and the project I’m working on is not urgent.
An Observation on Christian Unity.
Throughout the week, as I work on the various jobs, I get to know several of the Amish: Jim, Lewis, Marcus, Lester, Mary Jane and others. They are hardworking people. They may dress and talk differently, but they have good hearts, and many times I catch a glimpse of Jesus in them, and I know they are my brothers and sisters in the Lord. This is very interesting, because YWAMers and Amish/Mennonites must be at opposite ends of the Christian spectrum, at least in outward appearances. YWAMers are quite free and open in their worship and style of dress, the Amish/Mennonites quite conservative.
I am coming more and more to the opinion that unity among Christians will not come about by some new doctrine or theology, but rather by the individual followers of Christ discovering their brothers and sisters as they work side by side pursuing the kingdom work the Father has called us to do!
There is something about doing those things I know the Lord has called me to do. In that step of faith, new revelation takes place in my heart, and I begin to see with the eyes of my heart (my spiritual eyes) a new and broader perspective on the kingdom of God. A realization that my perspective of God has been too small. That I am a part of a family of God much bigger than I ever thought. How else can YWAMers and Amish come together in common effort and worship? Wow! Just a small glimpse of the kingdom of heaven!
Returning DTS Students!
More new faces are showing up at the base and great excitement is in the air! DTS (Discipleship Training School) students who studied here in the fall have been on “outreach” for the last two months. They are now finishing their program and are beginning to return. They will be arriving today and through the weekend, totaling about 80 students and staff who have been in Haiti, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. They will have some incredible stories. There will be a graduation for that class in a week or two. The next two weeks will be very exciting with all the stories.
The dining hall is pretty full with people; still many Amish and Mennonite Mission Builders here to finish up the deck. Most all the students who had been on outreach have now returned, and they are sharing the dining hall also as a central gathering place. The returning students, together with the Mission Builders, are making for a pretty busy place. All meals are now being served in the Arena, since the dining hall is too small!
Speaking in Code
Morning worship is full of people. It’s a good thing they don’t use chairs for our worship services; it’s standing room only this morning! Lots of hugs going around with the returning students. The singing is enthusiastic with all the excitement in the air. Worship ends with a few announcements. One of the leaders asks: “Raise your hand if you were in a country where you could not speak the name of Jesus or in a place where you had to speak in code.” Hands all over the room go up! I am amazed.
The Dead Baby
One evening a few days ago, some of the staff felt called to just go out to the community and seek the Holy Spirit’s lead in finding someone who might be in need. One of the young ladies ended up at Target, and once there, felt led to go to the baby clothes section—a little odd since the YWAMer was not married and had no children. At the baby section, she found a very pregnant mother who seemed troubled. She engaged her in talk. The young mother soon broke down and, with tears flowing down her cheeks, said, “My baby is dead. I haven’t felt anything for three weeks, and now the doctor has said the baby will be stillborn.” She asked the mother if she would like prayer. As the YWAMer prayed, the mother started sobbing and laughing; the baby had started kicking and the mom got all excited. “I can feel the baby! Here, feel it, feel the baby kicking!” They exchanged contact info, and the next day at the doctor’s office they found the heart beat right away and found everything normal with the baby!
Tuesday Evening Service
The enthusiastic singing of the returning students seems like it will bring the house down. The message: “Think Long.” What you do today will be the stories you’ll tell your grandchildren. Think about what kind of legacy you will leave.”
Ready to leave a legacy? The door to global volunteer opportunities is wide open. Contact us at www.missionbuilders.org and fill out your volunteer application today. Be sure to check out MBI’s RV Associates if “home” is wherever your RV takes you.
Every evening for the past several months, I would put the kids to bed and cozy up with my Chromebook and start searching. I researched places around the entire world. Looked at everything from medical missions in Africa to hockey camps for Jesus in Russia. I sent emails galore and received few responses.
Then, I finally came across something that seemed promising. A program through Youth With A Mission (YWAM) called Mission Builders International. They recruit short-term volunteers and match them with global ministry opportunities within Youth With A Mission. Mission Builder volunteers “lift up the arms” of frontline missionaries through practical, hands-on service.
This sounded absolutely perfect!
After discovering Mission Builders, my routine changed a bit. I would find myself looking at all of the YWAM campuses throughout the world, searching for one that could use our help and was willing and able to take kids too.
In my search, I came across the website for the YWAM St. Croix campus and read the following:
“We get it! We have five families on base and ten kids under the age of eleven. We understand the unique situations that families face, but we also see the unique gift that it can be to your family. One of the greatest things that you can do for your child is to expose them to another culture while they are learning more about God and how to serve others. It helps to change/form worldviews that are priceless. Kids learn by doing, and short-term missions is a way to teach them about serving, loving others, and God’s heart for the nations in a way that your kids will never forget. It is also a great opportunity to bond as a family as you work together without all the distractions that you face at home. This is also a good first time opportunity as we are a U.S. territory. If you are willing to take a “leap of faith,” we are willing to help you discover missions with your family!”
I sent them an email to double-check that they allow really little kids (some ministries have a minimum age of 6 or older) and what the cost would be to stay for two weeks. Someone sent me answers the very next day!
After months of praying and preliminary planning (time off from work, finances, etc.), we purchased 4 plane tickets to St. Croix! I am beyond excited and so incredibly nervous all at the same time.
My pride keeps telling me I should wait until after everything is completely said and done before telling what we’re doing. That way, if the entire trip is a horrendous disaster, nobody would be the wiser! But . . . being a Christian does not mean living a perfect storybook life. It means trying your best to live this life making a difference for eternity. — Jayme with Cory, Conner and Jenna
I just got back from Spain recently. God has done so much I want to share, but for now I will tell some of the highlights.
As seems to be His way, God was showing up before I even got there. Sitting in the Paris airport waiting for the next flight, freezing because the air conditioning was way too low, I noticed a couple of men across from me. One was older, thin and obviously much colder than me. I had a blanket in my backpack so I pulled it out and offered it to him. It happens that he is an elder traveling with the pastor of his church in Africa. We talked until their flight left, simply enjoying how God brings His family together from around the world. A brother with blanket from America meeting a cold brother from Africa in France = life with Jesus!
Where I saw God at work the most is in the people I was there to serve, and what an amazing time! They were all there at a pivotal time in their lives training to pioneer the gospel in some of the hardest nations. My part was to provide them healthy meals so they have time and energy to focus on their part.
I also had the privilege of joining the class for a week in a location where we lived with Muslim families for the cultural experience. The family I stayed with lives in a 6′ by 14′ foot room; husband and wife, son and two daughters. While they don’t have much, they are one of the most loving families I have ever met. The amazing thing is that they had been previously exposed to the gospel and Jesus is showing Himself to them. The wife told us, “I have been praying to Mohammed and Jesus, but Jesus is the one who answers me!”
Getting God’s guidance to find the way forward is everyone’s challenge. And when a wrench is thrown in to thwart or slow progress, I wonder if it’s God’s way of challenging me to persevere or re-directing me to another tactic. I tend to look at life and ministry analogous to the glass being half empty as opposed to half full; a positive outlook about the way forward is not natural for me. I generally see what is NOT done and frequently forget to celebrate what HAS been done.
Some 1200 YWAM operating locations in 185 nations could benefit from the helping hands of mission builders like the Cook family (see related article) on a monthly basis. Doing the math (taking into account there are some that have no projects or room for mission builders while there are others that could use 100 at a time) 1200 locations x at least 2 mission builders a month = 2400/month x 12 months = 28,800 mission builders needed per year. That’s a LOT more mission builders than we presently serve!
Where are those volunteers willing to say “Here am I, send me!” to serve alongside YWAMers passionately pursing God to make Him known among the nations, and how does MBI reach them? That’s the question (or wrench) I cannot answer alone, and along with our board of directors, we have not found an affordable solution. How about you? Do you have ideas, strategies or the means to reach the hundreds of thousands it will take? Please let me know if you do, and let’s pray and work together!
MBI SHOULD be celebrating 15 years of ministry (since being relocated to Montana) and for mobilizing, recruiting and placing some 7,500 to 15,000 mission builder volunteers in over 300 YWAM operating locations worldwide. What we ARE celebrating on August 21-23 is the 30th anniversary of our neighbor, YWAM Lakeside (come join us), and the thousands of mission builders like the Cook family who have helped make a way for YWAMers around the world to share the love of Christ with the lost. Now that’s worth celebrating!