OASYS: Helping World Communities Thrive

OASYS: Helping World Communities Thrive

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.

Brad says:

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.

 

Security and Success in Missions

Security and Success in Missions

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.

Training for Trainers

Training for Trainers

MBI helps YWAM missionaries and ministries flourish because when they do, so do the people they serve. That’s why MBI is YWAM’s go-to center for unique, professional-level, contextualized services like those offered by Leadership13 (L13).

The L13 team consists of experienced mission leaders who understand that successful leaders don’t just happen—they’re trained. Focusing on leadership teams is one of their top priorities and why L13 offers Train the Trainer seminars, helping equip and empower YWAM leaders.

MBI co-director and L13 member Dawn Masucci says: “At Train the Trainer seminars, we provide materials andGordy McDonald, Train the Trainers seminar instruction for the ‘trainers’ who will return to their YWAM locations and teach their leaders. This approach helps identify and counter the difficulties of campuses experiencing a higher turnover rate.”

Pioneer team members at YWAM Lancaster in Pennsylvania said: “We grew so fast our systems were not in place for sustainability. L13 helped us work through the stages of growth and success. Their input was a turning point for us. And their Train the Trainer seminars have increased our ability to raise and equip leadership within our staff. MBI has given us solid, useful tools that created a stable foundation to fulfill our mission of reaching the unreached.”

A YWAM attendee at a Train the Trainer event in Tijuana, Mexico, wrote: “I was so encouraged after a great week with you guys. I spent a few days with a campus we pioneered in YWAM Analco in Durango, Mexico. I saw the material we learned in Tijuana come to life as I walked them through several sessions. Thanks for investing in me and indirectly in our new Durango YWAM location! You are helping people like me to thrive so we can also help others thrive.”

MBI continues to serve global YWAM missionaries and campuses at their specific points of need. As a result, those ministries can stay focused on how God has called them to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

LIFT: Tools for Missionaries

LIFT: Tools for Missionaries

Lack of knowledge can complicate missions. Missions service is about more than just preaching the gospel, feeding the hungry, or rescuing refugees. Today’s missionaries must also navigate travel, technology, and global connectedness—and the complex laws that govern them. Know-how is critical to success.

MBI offers a unique professional and contextualized service called LIFT (legal, immigration, financial, tactical) to help YWAM missionaries crush the “big rocks” that sometimes hinder ministry. LIFT workshops allow YWAM leaders and staff to work through issues with experts via training, discussion, and one-on-one consultations. LIFT’s topical training ranges broadly from corporate bylaws and worker visas to financial planning and facilities security.

In February this year, MBI offered a LIFT workshop at the YWAM San Antonio Del Mar campus in Mexico. Nearly sixty leaders and staff representing over thirty-five US YWAM campuses attended the three-day event to hear from experienced YWAM leaders and MBI’s network of lawyers and professionals.

Husband and wife lawyer team, Allen and Julie Anjo (Office of General Counsel at YWAM’s UofN in Kona) taught on nonprofits, child protection, mandated reporting, religious worker visas, data privacy, and constitutional protections for nonprofits. “These legal considerations,” they say, “form a basis for legal protections that allow the ministries to focus on their calling to the Great Commission. As lawyers called first to missions, we use our skills, experience, and expertise to help ministries and missionaries set up strong legal foundations so they can succeed in their calling and not worry about possible compliance issues or lawsuits.”

After the LIFT workshop, YWAM participants said: “What an incredible resource! Every base should attend!” “I learned so much exceptional information, much of which I didn’t know.” “I loved having a place where we could get this information and knowing where to look in the future.”

As YWAM ministries worldwide do whatever it takes to reach the world, MBI continues to provide the tools they need to thrive through opportunities like LIFT.

A Time to Build

A Time to Build

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 “livingRoss Lackey, Partner Architects in Poipet Cambodia 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.

Rendering of MBI Mission Lodge