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.
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!
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.
“Buildings preach,” says architect Ross Lackey. He believes that intentional architectural design can effectively promote everything from community values to religion.
After he and his family stepped into training and missions at YWAM Lakeside Montana in the fall of 2012, Ross spent seven years as architectural director of the nonprofit architectural firm 100 Fold Studio. He trained young architects to provide design services to charitable organizations around the world.
What Ross couldn’t get out of his mind, however, is the need frontline YWAM missionaries have for efficient spaces where they can do the work of training and discipleship effectually. He says, “YWAM ministries deserve places that support their efforts as part of God’s redemptive work in the world.”
So in May of this year, Ross aligned his brand new ministry, Partner Architects, with MBI, because they share a common goal: so others may thrive. MBI provides a conduit for an expanded expression of Ross’s vision.
“Partner Architects’ motto—Design for Missionaries, by Missionaries—clarifies that we serve missionaries from the shared place of being missionaries ourselves. We don’t come into a project with a different goal or set of values in play. When you can trust that your architect is making decisions based on a shared goal of seeing lives transformed by the gospel, your architect becomes a partner.”
Ross actively invites Christian professionals to see and use their gifts and talents not merely as a vocation, but also as a platform that can be used for eternal purposes. “Once they hear that they can be part of something bigger and farther-reaching,” he says, “they go from ‘my money matters’ to ‘my life matters.’ It’s a big step.
“In the end,” Ross concludes, “our success is not a pretty building, but rather how Christ is having a real impact on people’s lives.”
I have had friends, family, supporters, and fellow YWAM coworkers ask ‘why MBI?’
When I was a young base leader in my early thirties at YWAM Lakeside, MT, I was faced with many challenges. Not enough people to help accomplish the vision. Not enough resources to realize our goals. More leadership development needed in my personal life. There were always projects and needs that required extra help and expertise, and God often provided those things through Mission Builder volunteers.
When YWAM Lakeside was given a motel that was located a mile away, we had to set the three massive, incoming sections of the hotel on foundations. God brought a team of volunteers to help, and now the Bayshore is a gracious home to students and visitors. When we discovered that one of our twenty-seven houses was sinking into the ground, we had to demolish half of it and figure out how to rebuild in such a way that it would not sink again. A visitor “happened” to be walking through, saw our dilemma, and said, “I can help you solve the problem you have with this house sinking.” He volunteered, and 13 years later, the house is still standing.
These stories might not seem like much to some (and we have many stories of God bringing volunteers at just the right time), but to me, as the campus director, those volunteers were like water to a person thirsting in the desert.
It’s now been three months since I became the director of MBI. We have a great team working hard to continue the legacy of volunteer placement that MBI is known for as well as adding new vision. We’re stretching to reach goals connected to our expanded focus of seeing YWAM locations thrive through increased volunteer placement, leadership support,and staff and organizational services.
Beginning with volunteer placement, we have prayerfully and in faith set a goal to grow from recruiting and sending 500 volunteers yearly to 3,000. How? We have to tap into new pools of potential volunteers, so for the next six to nine months, we’ll be focusing on recruiting:
• Volunteer teams: Families, couples, and singles may serve as a group at a YWAM location, assisting with specific projects. In turn, they’ll be deeply and personally impacted through what we call a “mutually transformative experience.” One expression of the volunteer team concept that we want to multiply to other YWAM locations is a program called Vacation With A Purpose (VWAP), which has helped transform the YWAM Lakeside campus over the years.
• Discipleship Training School students: Many graduates of the DTS program are excited about missions but not sure what God is calling them to next. We now offer those students a platform (called After DTS) through missionbuilders.org where they may volunteer and discover where God may be calling them to serve long-term.
In our next newsletter, we’ll expand on MBI’s newest areas of focus: leadership support and staff and organizational services. We believe that with MBI’s new three-pronged approach we can more effectively help build the mission.
Why MBI? So others may thrive.
P.S. Watch for our new newsletter design, coming this summer!