It’s no secret that poverty and hunger plague communities of people at home and abroad, from rural villages to inner cities to drought-stricken and war-torn nations. Statistics show that 719 million people live in extreme poverty worldwide, and 828 million suffer from hunger.
YWAM missionaries know feeding and caring for impoverished men, women, and children is a powerful part of its mandate to make God known. Meeting real physical needs reveals God’s intentional love for those who hunger body and soul. YWAM Gleanings for the Hungry understands this. They say:
“As a mercy ministry of Youth With A Mission, our mission is to feed the hungry of the world, both physically and spiritually. A large part of fulfilling our mission is the procurement and production of shelf-stable food. In the summer, we dry peaches and nectarines not pristine enough for sale. Year-round, we produce a dehydrated vegetable soup mix, mostly from donated products. We give everything we produce free of charge to partner ministries worldwide for distribution in impoverished areas, along with the love of Jesus. We are a destination for all ages to come and volunteer, working together for eternal impact in a hurting world.”
YWAM Gleanings’ work depends on volunteer help. MBI’s Volunteer Placement ministry provides the visibility ministries like YWAM Gleanings need to attract helpers while offering an easy, seamless application process that gets volunteers on campus and to work quickly.
“The work was so rewarding because we helped prepare food to send to the poor in developing countries.” —Joan and Morry ▪ “Their mission of feeding the hungry locally in their community as well as around the world is a sight to be seen.” —Juli ▪ “Wow! Lots of service opportunities here that are touching people all around the world.” —Ed
MBI supports the work of YWAM frontline missionaries by providing the volunteers and vital services necessary to help keep them productive and thriving. Visit our website at www.missionbuilders.org and apply to volunteer today!
Global YWAM missionaries sometimes find themselves overwhelmed by needs and circumstances beyond their control despite diligent efforts. MBI provides the practical help and training they need to thrive in the face of diverse challenges.
The ministries of YWAM San Antonio Del Mar (Tijuana) and YWAM Ensenada in Mexico work hard to secure their respective campuses and ministry commitments against potential incidents, theft, and vulnerability. They understand that maintaining a strong sense of security enables their teams to focus outwardly on their crucial ministry calling to provide Homes of Hope to homeless families and consistently meet locals at their points of greatest need. For this reason, campus leadership reached out in 2021 for professional training from MBI’s Mission 91 (M91).
Over the past year, M91 members Matt Praetzel, J.T. Pharr, and Luke Smith worked with eighteen individuals between the two campuses, including staff, directors, and hired security personnel. Besides helping them develop both policies and procedures and standard operating procedures, the M91 team introduced a curriculum to take the trainees above and beyond basic security skills. The curriculum includes laying the groundwork for the prerequisite training, physical capability, and baseline knowledge that allows multiple well-trained people to respond to incidents, ensuring the burden doesn’t fall on just one or two people. The training modules also include operations planning, de-escalation, mission debriefing, and incident reporting.
Importantly, the M91 crew helped the Tijuana and Ensenada campuses form Refuge teams. These are not typical “security teams,” a label Matt says “carries unhelpful stigmas and biases. Our philosophy is that the people training in protection can help the vulnerable and present the gospel to those who wish to cause harm. We train these teams to see Jesus amid people’s worst days and their worst decisions.” Rather than a hardcore security focus, M91 offers Refuge teams as platforms for potential life-changing ministry.
“We had an excellent conversation with YWAM San Antonio Del Mar’s campus administrator, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the campus itself. He specifically commended us on the fact that we consult with organizations for long-term success in managing crises instead of coming to deal with the problems at hand and then leaving. Relief work certainly has value. However, many organizations end up in the same place when the next incident hits. He was grateful that our services not only solve the immediate problem but also provide the tools and resources necessary to handle incidents themselves in the future.”
Mission 91 helps YWAM campuses face potentially dangerous situations while reflecting Jesus. As all of those MBI offers, their services enable YWAM missionaries to meet challenges, stay on track, and stay healthy in their God-given calling.
To learn more, contact us at Team@missionbuilders.org or visit our website at www.missionbuilders.org.
MBI helps frontline YWAM missionaries thrive in their work by offering valuable services, perhaps none as unique and timely as that of its newest ministry service: Mission 91.
J.T. Pharr and Matthew Praetzel founded Mission 91 as a professional YWAM missionary team offering consulting, training, and ministry best practices in situational awareness, de-escalation, and risk mitigation. Mission 91 also offers a four-month, biblically centered training program to instruct missionary members and church staff in crisis mitigation, enhancing property security, emergency preparedness, and how to be a source of refuge in their communities.
J.T. says: “Ministries and missionaries recognize that traditional security models are not conducive to ministry context. They need help establishing eﬀective security measures without compromising their eﬀectiveness in ministry. Mission 91 is the perfect avenue for utilizing the skill sets of those with a call to prepare others. Through this program, the body of Christ will become better equipped to walk boldly into stressful situations with high awareness and readiness.”
“Jesus was the most situationally aware person ever,” says Matthew. “He modeled how we can impact the people on the fringes of society by noticing them and speaking into their situation, whether they’re victims of injustice, perpetrators of crises, or simply individuals who feel left out. Mission 91 training enables Christians to be Jesus to people amid their worst days or decisions.”
“Our vision for Mission 91 from the beginning,” J.T. and Matthew conclude, “has been to help ministries worldwide thrive in crisis-related incidents and environments. MBI allows us the space and resources to do exactly that. Our unique backgrounds provide something new to MBI, and we look forward to helping expand the reach of this awesome ministry. The team at MBI has the kind of quality people we wish to surround ourselves with. We couldn’t be more pleased with the opportunity to work with this community.”
(Photo: J.T. Pharr, Luke Smith, Matthew Praetzel)
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 to serve Him by serving others.
And now, 2018 is a year of new changes ahead for us personally and for MBI as we make room for new avenues of service. Stay tuned for details. We’re REALLY excited about what the LORD has in store for us and for you!