A Missionary Budget: What Costs Does it Include?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

missionary budget

Wondering what goes into a missionary budget (which, when you’re raising support, can feel overwhelming)? We let you peek behind the curtain with some opinions of other global workers.

“A missionary Budget may cover all the costs of sending the missionary, not just what YOU need to live.”

A missionary budget may include all the expenses of fielding the missionary. Besides a salary, budget categories might include

  • taxes
  • health and life insurance
  • retirement
  • travel expenses (including cost of home assignments)
  • administrative expenses (including the costs of communicating with supporters, and often a certain percentage that supports the mission agency’s home office)
  • training costs (e.g. language school)
  • purchase or rental of property
  • purchase and maintenance of a vehicle.

It’s also wise to include some kind of surplus account, or perhaps a 5% buffer built right into the budget in anticipation of

  • lost support, cost of living increases
  • changing exchange rates
  • inflation
  • an emergency fund and/or insurance that covers medical evacuation

All this can add up to a daunting amount.

But trust me: Cutting corners is not worth the savings.

Being well prepared will help you and your family avoid some of the stress of arriving on the field and not having what you need. 

Most mission agencies include some kind of “admin fee.” What these fees cover varies considerably. A high admin fee may include some of the expenses listed above. A low one may suggest these items are listed elsewhere in your budget.

Editor’s note: If you’re considering going without a sending agency (and budgeting is one of your reasons), be sure to check out our series on the pros and cons.

It’s tempting to cut out things like contingency and retirement funds, but if missions is your career, you may regret neglecting such things.

Online resources you may find helpful: sample missionary budgets, basic budgeting forms, and How Much Is Enough?

Answer from Marti, who’s served as a mission mobilizer since 1995, including more than ten years with Pioneers.

“If married, both should get a salary.”

A missionary candidate recently asked me if I thought it was better for a married couple to both be counted as legal employees. Should just the serving member of the couple be paid, to simplify payroll even if both are working as missionaries?

Our organization issues W-2’s to my wife and I with half of our total income per year. I think it’s more respectful of our partnership to do it that way and honor my spouse’s major contributions to the work. That was our original reason.

We’ve discovered strong financial reasons along the way too.

When you are negotiating your budget with your agency and others, it’s to your advantage to present the full force of your contribution i.e. two full-time workers. Although people might remember there are two of us, it is to your financial advantage to remind them of the income you both are earning together.

Many missionaries, even if they start under the traditional model of only one marriage partner as the breadwinner, evolve eventually to give both spouses a significant responsibility in the work. There can be a tendency for some to forget that you are working not just 40 hours but 80+ hours as two workers.

Employing both partners accrues Social Security credits for that partner, too. I’m not sure, but I believe this means she’d have higher income in retirement than if she wasn’t an official employee.

Consider, too, that liability insurance and taxation “safe harbor laws” (allowing return to your home state for a number of days without being taxed) likely don’t extend to a non-employee legally.

Answer from Sam in Taiwan, who has served with Beyond and Joni and Friends for well over a decade.

“your MISSIONARY budget is hopefully designed for your longevity on the field, from veterans who’ve realistically counted the cost.”

Raising an amount so much higher than a salary may surprise you. Why’s this necessary? You may be raising the actual costs it takes a business to employ a person (which can be an additional 100-180% of a salary)–plus costs intrinsic to being a successful global worker. 

These expenses may include costs like

  • overhead for project costs for your ministry. For example, if you hope to run a supply distribution for at-risk children, you may be raising costs to maintain that programming. The more independent your project is from your sending organization, the more likely you may need to raise those project costs.
  • travel expenses.
  • your computer, software, internet, desk, chair, phone, office space, etc. Some agencies don’t already provide these.
  • member care. These costs cover critical mental and emotional support for the challenges of living cross-culturally and more challenging circumstances. There are a vital component to your longevity, and should be factored into your budget (or your organization’s).

Editor’s note: When considering what to relate to potential financial supporters about your own budget, see this post, “RAISING SUPPORT: 2 COMMANDMENTS OF SHARING BUDGET NEEDS”. Sometimes missionary budgets are difficult for non-missionaries to understand without passing undue judgment.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR A MISSIONARY BUDGET

Obviously, lower administrative fees in a missionary budget help reduce your overall budget. But typically, more moderate to high admin fees include more benefits and services that help keep you going on the mission field.

Other thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Different sending organizations have very different philosophies of budget-setting (ranging from frugal to robust, job-based or needs-based). They also have varying levels of control over budget-setting.
  • Ask your organization about categories or aspects of a budget you don’t understand.
  • Keep in mind that the amount may seem overwhelming when you’re raising a high support goal. But your budget is hopefully designed for your longevity on the field, from veterans who’ve realistically counted the cost.
  • It’s also far easier to raise support before your first departure–and much harder to raise from the field and even during travel back to your passport culture. So go well-funded from the start!

Answer from John, the Human Resources director for Engineering Ministries’ International’s offices around the world.

Like this post? You might like

How to Overcome Obstacles and Get Fully Funded

“Is there any way other than begging for financial support?”

The Fix: For What Might Be Broken in Your Fundraising

 

Go with a Mission Agency–or Go on Your Own?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

mission agency

After 30-plus years as a missionary, I have seen the wide and wonderful diversity in the people God calls to be missionaries! And everyone has different expectations about how they will go overseas and what kind of mission agency or “sending structure” they will use.

Some folks are so determined to do things their way, there’s no way they will survive working within a mission agency.

Others are totally committed to doing things as a team and won’t go without a sending agency and a team.

And there’s everything in between.

Determined to do it on your own and in your way? Consider these questions.

See this post on critical tasks to have in order if you choose not to go with a mission agency. Keep these in mind, too:

  • How will you receive donations and receipt them with an IRS-approved receipt? How will that money get to you in [insert vast and distant land, possibly without reliable wi-fi] and be exchanged for currency you can use?
  • What kind of visa will you apply for to stay long term?
  • Consider trauma-, evacuation-, disaster-, and oh-no-level situations in which a mission agency normally provides support and seasoned, educated protocols.

Who will find you and help your wife bail you out of jail when you disappear one day because you were involved in a traffic accident?

There are countries where, when there is an accident that results in someone being seriously injured, the driver involved is simply taken to jail until the person gets out of the hospital. And “no” you don’t get one free phone call. Sometimes those countries have a special “chauffers’ jail” where you can go instead (if you paid for that policy). These actually feed you and provide you with a blanket.

(This post has more on these kinds of situations, which some churches acting as sending agencies have found themselves ill-prepared to handle.)

  • Are you aware that your passport nation taxes often change when you live overseas a certain number of days a year? Will you have to pay income taxes in the country you go to live in?
  • Are you planning to make every cultural blunder yourself or will you learn from others you’re connected with?

In light of this…

I need to ask–why re-invent the wheel? There are people who have been there and done it. And you will get much further down the road faster if you benefit from their experience.

Let me be clear: No mission agency will be a perfect match. There will always be things that you just have to live with. Be diligent to search beforehand for a match on the priorities most important to you.

Still not convinced? A number of groups help provide legal coverage and financial services to free you up for ministry. Find them here.

 

What questions should you ask in choosing a solid mission agency?

For those of you already convinced, start with What is a Missions Agency and Why You Should Use One? You’ll find ideas to consider as you align yourself with a quality sending entity.

But how will you choose an agency that is a good match for you? What questions should you ask? That’s where the following articles shine!

We also are aware not all of you will go as traditional missionaries. Don’t miss our BUSINESS AS MISSION (BAM) :: BUSINESS FOR TRANSFORMATION (B4T) page.

  • Grace Bible Church in Houston offers a thoughtful article (created originally by Christar) with 11 topics to explore regarding your agency–and notably, why they’re so valuable to ask about.
  • The former Arab World Ministries–which merged into Pioneers–produced this valuable pdf outlining the value of going with an agency and how to choose an agency.

Right questions = seeing beyond the answers

As with any decision involving mutual commitment and working together, asking the right questions will help you get the info you need to make a wise decision. But it also hopefully gives you a feel for the ethos and values of the sending organization you are considering.

Ask questions of the home office staff and also ask questions of the folks who are on the field actually doing the ministry. That will round out your picture. The folks on the field usually will give you more details and be a bit more candid because they live there and know the complete story.

Wishing you the best as you walk this path!

Global veteran David Armstrong. He’s set foot in 15 countries. David confesses Crepes and Waffles in Bogota, Colombia is one of his favorite restaurants. 

Don’t miss his post on building community overseas.

 

 

Choosing an Emotionally Healthy Missions Organization

Reading Time: 4 minutes

emotionally healthy

Missed our last post on Emotionally Healthy Missions? Grab it here!

When you’re headed overseas, it’s easy to underestimate the effects your organization’s health could have on the ability to thrive overseas.

As I type, I think of the friend who called me recently, voice throaty with tears, as she discussed their lack of ability to care for her after stepping off the field.

Or I remember my conversation with the missionary couple who felt they had no option but to leave their organization once they’re on the field.

I think of a young mom who felt her agency had far more interest in “the mission” than they did in the missionaries themselves.

I remember the friend that arrived with her family of five in-country for the first time, but were simply dropped at a boarding house with no cash, no meals for the first night. The whole family went to sleep on an empty stomach.

Feel Free to Date Around

Unfortunately, looking for an organization is a bit like dating. Everyone’s got their best foot forward–and is often unable to see the friction inevitable in a future “marriage”. 

And keep in mind–there’s no perfect partner on either side. The trick is to go in with eyes wide open.

How can you set yourself up for a wiser partnership when it comes to the emotional health of an organization?

1. Think bigger than a shared mission–and get intuitive.

Finding a good organizational fit can’t only be about a similar mission and proper theology–because no one wants to share a mission, but deal with unhealthy conflict management, possess few resources to care for trauma, or feel like their org doesn’t really listen.

When dating, I remember looking at the guy’s clothes, observing how he carried on a conversation (do I have to drive the convo constantly? And is he genuinely interested in me?). I watched how he tipped, how he treated the wait staff.

Bring that kind of intuition into your interactions with your missions organization. Chances are, the person who’s interviewing you or answering your questions won’t be the same person managing you or living down the street when you’re overseas.

Gather as much intuitive information as you can, sorting out how each individual changes the dynamic of your interactions and your impression of the agency.

2. To find an emotionally healthy agency, Ask Good Questions.

Consider asking questions like these to narrow down your choices to an agency that’s more emotionally healthy.

Questions to ask yourself

  1. How much does this organization value appearances over authenticity?
  2. Do their rhythms and expectations allow great margin for missionaries to replenish and serve from the inside out?
  3. How do I anticipate resting, finding community, being personally discipled, finding personal enjoyment, and otherwise creating an emotionally healthy environment that helps me stay as long and as emotionally healthy as possible?
  4. Who are this organization’s heroes? Of whom do they speak more negatively? (What does this tell me about their values?)
  5. How truthful and realistic does this organization seem?
  6. Do I agree with their approaches to evangelism?
  7. What do I identify with about this organization? What turns me off?

Questions to ask the organization

  1. What infrastructures are already in place for
    • training
    • on-boarding once you arrive
    • debriefing
    • member care
    • trauma care
    • emergency evacuation (physically, but also emotionally)
    • holding staff accountable
    • manager training (Pro tip: healthy management is often taken for granted…until it isn’t there)?

    2. How has your organization and its goals changed to respond to the changing face and theology of missions? (How are you doing missions differently now than you used to?)

    3. How have you dealt with burned-out missionaries in the past?

    4. How do you work to increasingly partner with nationals?

    5. What’s the missionary community like in the area(s) we’re considering? Are there children our kids’ ages? What are the educational possibilities?

    6. Can you offer us any anonymous examples of how you’ve dealt with conflict or missionaries’ “red flags” (porn addiction, severe anxiety, depression, etc.) while on field?

    7. What are your expectations for emotionally healthy home assignments, including

    • timing
    • how we would spend our time while in our passport country
    • ways to replenish ourselves and address needs harder to meet on the field (counseling, etc.)?

    8. What ways do you help missionaries succeed cross-culturally? Who will introduce us to the country cross-culturally?

    9. How do you partner with other organizations interdependently?

    10. What options will be available to us if we need counseling?

    11. For what matters (e.g. with extended family) do you encourage missionaries to return to their home countries temporarily or long-term?

    12. Describe your prayer support system.

    3. Consider your singleness, gender, and unique family structure.

    Questions for Singles

    Elizabeth, a missionary with SEND International for over 37 years, advises these questions for singles:

    1. How are singles, especially single women, viewed in your organization? Can they hold ministry leadership positions?
    2. If singles are part of a team, is there a good balance of singles and married couples?
    3. How is the support structured for singles? Is it assumed they will live with another single or do they have the freedom to live alone?
    4. What are your policies for a single marrying someone from their country of ministry?
    5. Is a single woman treated at all differently than a single man? What is the difference?

    Also, if you are dating or engaged, how does this affect you joining that agency?

    Questions for Families

    Families might also consider questions like these:

    • Jesus sent his disciples out in a minimum of twos. How do I see our family connecting with other like-minded families in the area we hope to go?
    • What are expectations for standards of living, e.g. appropriate and inappropriate levels of comfort?
    • If my marriage or a child needs immediate help with emotional issues, what are our options?
    • What’s the expectation of involvement for missionary spouses?

    Find even more questions to ask of agencies here and here.

    We want to hear from you.

    What questions do you find it critical to ask to find an emotionally healthy missions agency?

    Comment below!

Meet an Agency: Steiger

Reading Time: 8 minutes

We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a nitro cold brew with Steiger, a powerful worldwide organization seeking to bridge the gap between the Church and youth around the world. They first captivated our staff at Go. Serve. Love with a stunning video on how they’re specifically using the arts in European cities. 

Part of our passion here at GSL is to mobilize even those of you who never saw yourself going overseas with the way you were made. Get ready to break out of the missionary mold, y’all.

TELL US WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION SPECIALIZES IN. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

Steiger is a rapidly-growing, worldwide mission organization that is called to reach and disciple the Global Youth Culture for Jesus.

Our primary purpose is to bridge the gap between the Church and the Global Youth Culture. We do this by raising up missionaries and equipping the local church to proclaim the message of Jesus in the language of the Global Youth Culture, and establishing long-term teams in cities through creative evangelism, relevant discipleship, and local church partnership.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND? HOW LARGE IS YOUR ORGANIZATION? WHAT REACH DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE GLOBALLY?

Steiger’s story began in 1983 in Amsterdam, at the height of the European punk rock movement. David and Jodi Pierce began a Bible study there, on a barge known as Steiger 14 behind the Central Train Station, reaching the city’s punks and anarchists.

Shortly after, David started a band called No Longer Music (NLM), as a tool to communicate the Gospel of Jesus to these young people who would never step foot in a church.

Over the years, NLM has served as a pioneer, going into previously unreached or difficult to reach places, and has been the catalyst for a worldwide movement. This has led to the creation of ministries, the planting of new churches, and the surging rise of a wave of Jesus followers who are passionate about bringing Christ’s love to those who would not otherwise experience it.

In 2003, in response to the need to raise up the next generation of radical missionaries, imparting to them the lessons and principles learned in over 20 years of front-line ministry, David and Jodi Pierce started the Steiger Missions School. As a direct result, a worldwide missions organization focused on reaching the Global Youth Culture was born.

Steiger Statistics: September 1, 2017 – August 31, 2018
  • 81 missionaries/staff, 160 team members and 359 volunteers
  • 13,422 attended Steiger training events
  • At least 103,655 reached* with the Gospel in 21 countries
  • 1,056 new discipleship relationships** established

*Reached: The number of people who have clearly heard the Gospel message proclaimed in person through Steiger’s ministry activities. Does not include people reached via mass media (social media, TV, etc), though Steiger will begin tracking these numbers in 2019, nor does it take into account the indirect reach of the church partners that are trained by Steiger.

**New discipleship relationships: Verified individuals who have indicated a decision to follow Jesus and have participated in Steiger’s ongoing discipleship activities. Does not factor in those who indicated a decision to follow Jesus, but with whom we were unable to verify engagement

TELL US ONE STORY THAT GETS YOUR MOTOR RUNNIN’. WHAT’S GOD DOING THROUGH YOUR ORGANIZATION?

In recent years, Steiger has witnessed significant growth, as God has afforded us unprecedented opportunities to reach hundreds of thousands of unchurched young people all over the world.

Steiger’s strategic focus is to bridge the gap between the Church and the Global Youth Culture by establishing long-term teams in cities around the world.

STEIGER

A Steiger City Team

A Steiger City Team is a dynamic, missionary team specialized in reaching the Global Youth Culture of a key urban center through creative evangelism, relevant discipleship, and local church partnership.

Because it both unifies and mobilizes the Church, these Steiger teams are a small, yet powerful catalytic force that can impact entire cities.

Each Steiger City Team:
  • Develops a culture of seeking God through prayer, Bible study, worship, and bold faith
  • Establishes a regular, relational presence in the secular scene of its city
  • Engages in weekly, creative evangelism
  • Creates spaces such as community houses and weekly informal Bible studies, which foster discipleship
  • Hosts at least one annual, large-scale evangelistic endeavor, which may include an evangelistic concert, interactive art exhibit, online campaign, or other creative means of outreach
  • Offers at least one annual mission training event—a Steiger seminar, Compact School, or conference
  • Establishes a network of church and ministry partnerships throughout the city
  • Invests continually in new leaders, who will plant new city teams

In 2018, Steiger’s 10 city teams, with the support of catalytic ministries, reached at least 103,655 people with the Gospel, and established 1,056 new discipleship relationships.

Steiger’s philosophy is to disciple new believers “where they are,” in order to truly foster a culture of disciples who make disciples, who make disciples.

These new disciples are taught how to be followers of Jesus in their “scene” (ie. culture) and are soon involved in the action themselves. In fact, they often become the most effective evangelists of all, having an impact far beyond the direct reach of Steiger’s teams and missionaries.

Moah’s story

One such example would be Moah Barboza of Sao Paulo, Brazil (pictured to the right) . He was the lead singer of a popular band in the hardcore music scene when he heard the Gospel preached by a Steiger band in a nightclub. He was so moved that he asked the lead singer to “teach him about Jesus” after his band’s rehearsal every week.Steiger

This resulted in the beginning of a Bible study in a bar for both Moah and all his friends, and eventually led to him joining a local church and being baptized, while never leaving the scene (and his influence there) behind. Since then, he has grown in maturity and has become an effective evangelist in the secular music scene in Sao Paulo, leading many to Christ and starting numerous Bible studies.

Steiger

Moah with participants in one of the Bible studies he leads

Steiger’s vision is to establish 100 City Teams around the world by 2025, who are both reaching 1,000,000 people and engaging in 10,000 new discipleship relationships annually.

 

5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE. GO.

Steiger

Steiger Union team praying before the Compact School in Moscow Russia, March 2019. read more

Meet an Agency: Engineering Ministries International (EMI)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a chai with Engineering Ministries International (EMI). You’ve seen them in posts like these:

And get this: they’re not just looking for design professionals. Read on.

Tell us what your organization specializes in. What are you passionate about?

EMI is passionate about involving design professionals in the Kingdom of God. We specialize in showing architects, engineers, construction managers, surveyors, and others how to use their God-given professional talents and training to serve communities and the Church around the world.

Our vision is “People restored by God and the world restored through design.” You will find EMI teams coming alongside Christian charities and groups seeking to live the gospel in unreached communities. These teams use their technical experience to support God’s work of spiritual restoration.

 

How long have you been around? How large is your organization? What reach does your organization have globally?

EMI was incorporated as a 503(c)3 in Colorado Springs, USA in 1983 with a handful of people. Our second location was in north India in 1998. EMI has grown to over 150 staff in 11 teams at 10 locations since.

A few other stats:

  • Staff work in teams located in Canada, Cambodia, India, Nicaragua, Middle East-North Africa, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, the UK, and the USA. These teams are a blend of local and international staff.
  • EMI staff and project teams work on roughly 90 projects per year – projects like schools, hospitals, ministry centers, children’s homes, water projects, disaster response, and more.
  • There are various levels of engagement at EMI. Internships and Fellowships are a way for students and professionals-in-training to join EMI for a period. EMI’s short-term project trip model allows seasoned design professionals to make a significant contribution in a 10-14 day design trip.

Tell us one story that excites you from what God is doing through your organization?

We could talk about hospitals being built in North Africa, Ugandan construction workers taking baptism, growth of EMI’s design professional network in India, or how God has upheld our team in Nicaragua over many recent challenges. But the story behind the banner photo above is exciting in a different way. It’s not because of its uniqueness or sweeping impact, but because it is so common at EMI.

EMI

Photo by Paul Grandinetti, Kenya

Here we see two old friends. Volunteer water engineer Bruce Burton (left) first met Tenwek Hospital’s water treatment manager Shadrack Langat during a previous EMI project trip to Kenya in 2011. Since then he’s been keeping up with Shadrak, who would sometimes ask Bruce’s advice as he manages the Hospital’s water treatment facilities. Joyfully reunited at Tenwek in 2018, the two were inseparable – sharing joy, laughter, burdens, and engineering skills to build one another in Christ.

It is through little interactions of humility in friendships like these that God builds strong community despite the distances and differences between His people. This is a picture of discipleship at EMI in its simplest, most typical form. We are the body of Christ at work in the microcosm of the design professions–and it is exciting!

5 words to describe your organizational culture. Go.

A Civil Engineering intern teaches an Architectural intern at a recent survey seminar in Cambodia.

  • Design.
  • Discipleship.
  • Diversity.
  • Team.
  • Service.

What is distinctive about your organization?

=&5=& Design professionals are job- and task-oriented. EMI made discipleship and professional mentoring a core value because we want be generous with the skills God gave us. We do want to see the job done, but we know God has called us to build others up spiritually and professionally as we do it.

EMI

Workers raise the frame of a temporary clinic in Bangladesh. EMI designed the Master Plan for the Primary Health Centre at this site. read more

Meet an Agency: OMF International

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing an almondmilk mochaccino with OMF (Overseas Mission Fellowship) International.

Tell us what your organization specializes in. What are you passionate about?

OMF aims to see an indigenous biblical church movement in each people group of East Asia, evangelizing their own people and reaching out in mission to other peoples.

We’re not only looking to make individual disciples, but to see whole communities transformed by the Good News of Jesus. East Asia is vast and wide. So in some places that means pioneer church-planting work and in other places that means partnering with local churches to train and support them in mission.

How long have you been around? How large is your organization? What reach does your organization have globally?

OMF was founded by Hudson Taylor in 1865 as the China Inland Mission. In the mid-20th century we faced a “reluctant exodus” from China–and God spread us across East Asia. Since then we changed our name to Overseas Mission Fellowship, and now OMF International.

Today we have over 3,000 cross-cultural workers and support staff across the world.

We’re geared up in particular about two of our ministries: Diaspora and New Horizons.

Diaspora, as the name implies, is a ministry to East Asian people who are temporarily living away from home in places like the Americas, Africa, Australia, and Europe. 

New Horizons is a sending collaboration with local agencies in countries where OMF does not have a national office. God is sending Christians to East Asia from places like South America, Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, and India.

We love seeing God send his people from everywhere….to everywhere!

Tell us one story that excites you from what God is doing through your organization?

Numbering more than 100,000, the “Sunny” people are poor, subsistence farmers. Traditionally, they hold a mixture of Buddhist and animist beliefs. As of 2012, there were no churches amongst the Sunny and less than 10 Sunny Christians.

That’s when the prayer walks began.

Between 2012-2016, more than 45 prayer walking teams visited “John” (OMF missionary) in Southeast Asia and prayed amongst more than 200 Sunny villages.

As the groups went along, they would not only pray, but also build relationships with the villagers. Sometimes, they would pray for various medical or spiritual needs that some of the Sunny people they met had. One year, a team met a guy who had problems breathing; they prayed for him, and his condition improved. The next year, another prayer walking team went back to his village and the man wanted to be baptized. Others in the village had similar experience. Later, John went back to train a small group of believers. It was the beginnings of a Sunny church.

Today, there are nearly 250 Sunny believers and six Sunny churches. John credits God’s work through the prayer walks as a major reason for the growth.

Click here for the whole story!

5 words to describe your organizational culture. Go.

  • Prayerful.
  • Relational.
  • Incarnational.
  • Diverse.
  • Partnering.

What is distinctive about your organization?

Two things:

  • Our focus on East Asia.
  • Our emphasis on prayer.

There are certainly many needs in the world, but God has called us to the people of East Asia.
From Hudson Taylor to J.O. Fraser to thousands of unnamed workers since, OMF has a mind-blowing legacy of seeing God work through the prayers of his people.

We have a number of prayer guides available for East Asian countries and unreached people!  Click here. 

Let’s talk Brass tacks. Give us the 411 on your application process and training?

OMF is committed to the long-haul work of church planting and mobilizing in East Asia. Therefore, we have a thorough application and training process.

Each applicant, both long- and short-term is on a mission discipleship journey. Our role is to steward the relationship and care for the person over the long-term. Long-term workers may spend two to three years learning language and culture before moving to their target community. Short-term workers receive training before and after their trip and we also follow-up with them for months after their trip to help them stay involved in God’s mission.

What kind of global workers are you looking for? Paint us a picture.

Since 1865, OMF has been looking for “willing and skilled” workers. A humble, learning attitude is critical for cross-cultural work as well a willingness to use whatever gifts God has given the individual. Every cross-cultural worker is contributing to church planting, no matter what their “job” is.

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER “RED FLAGS” IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?

Anyone who still thinks Christianity is a Western religion and that we have to take the Gospel “over there” would be a cause for concern. In certain pockets in Asia, the church is strong and growing stronger. We want our workers to learn from and partner well with what God is already doing in East Asia.

Tell us anything we missed.

Serve Asia is OMF’s program for those who want to serve East Asia’s peoples for anything from 2 weeks up to 12 months. Our focus isn’t only on “going” in mission and “doing” something. It’s about learning and discovering more about what is at the center of God’s heart. It’s a journey of learning more about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and following him into places that need to hear the Good News. Serve Asia is therefore not just about the short-term, it’s about gaining long-term vision and being part of God’s global mission.

We also have a team of consultants that offers free resources and trainings to help churches discern and develop a strategic significant impact among the unreached. Email them at churches@omf.org.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking in an overseas direction?

Work hard now at knowing God, pursuing holiness, and loving people. Going overseas will not magically make you into a super Christian. If anything you’ll feel weaker and face more spiritual warfare than you have ever experienced in your life. You’ll need a deeply rooted dependence on God to survive and thrive.

You can learn more about our opportunities here. 

Interested in joining OMF? Contact Matt Whitacre at US.ServeAsia@omfmail.com
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Meet an Agency: Lahash

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a lavender latte with Lahash.

Lahash 1

Tell us what your organization specializes in. What are you passionate about?

Lahash is a child sponsorship organization with headquarters in Portland, Oregon.

Our vision is that all children in Africa know Jesus and are loved by a flourishing global church. We are passionate about seeing children in East Africa cared for holistically. We do all of our work in partnership with local ministry partners. Our local Christian partners provide these kids with educational support, counseling, mentoring, clothing, nutritional support and share with them of the love and good news of Jesus.

 

How long have you been around? How large is your organization? What reach does your organization have globally?

Lahash was started thirteen years ago by Dan Holcomb. He saw a need for holistic care of children in East Africa. We have five different partnerships. Three of our partnerships are located in Tanzania, one in Rwanda, and one in Kenya. We currently are serving 450 kids across East Africa.

Lahash is a small but mighty team of ten employees: seven that work in the Portland office and three that work and live in Kenya.

Tell us one story that excites you from what God is doing through your organization?

Sure! One of the youth in our program was a young woman named Golda. She was an orphaned child from South Sudan and was in great need.

Through Lahash’s work with our partner ministry, she was able to grow up, receive mentoring and support, attend a great school, and eventually attend higher education.

God transformed this very vulnerable life into a powerful ministry leader in the region. Currently Golda has a job with a ministry in South Sudan where she cares for “the least of these” in her home nation.

These stories completely energize our team! We love seeing God use our efforts to transform lives and allow these special kids to grow up to become a blessing to their local community. We love seeing God heal and restore broken people and provide a new heart and new beginning in life.

5 words to describe your organizational culture. Go.

  • Christ-centered
  • Team
  • Supportive
  • Driven
  • Accepting

What is distinctive about your organization?

We are unique because we have staff here in the United States and also in Africa. We also holistically care for the children in our program as in we give them education, food and the love of Jesus.

We also take the month of March and dedicate that as Rice and Beans month. We simplify our diets in order to experience what the children in our partnerships face every day. And then we use the extra money that we have saved and send it overseas to our partners.

Let’s talk Brass tacks. Give us the 411 on your application process and training?

We have a number of short and long-term roles where individuals can join the team and help the local church in East Africa grow and thrive as they care for vulnerable kids.

You can apply to Lahash by emailing info@lahash.org. Before any international travel and service takes place, training is done at our home office in Portland, Oregon to ensure that individuals are trained with language, cultural customs, spiritual realities, political sensitivities, and and understanding of dress and food realities.

Our goal is that these international partnerships and connections are beneficial to both the local church as well as the international partners.

What kind of global workers are you looking for? Paint us a picture.

We are looking for individuals who are passionate about engaging the least of these. We are looking for people who have a heart for the Lord and a heart for service.

We want people who are humble, listeners, learners, sensitive, and teachable. We desire that our team members ask hard questions but do not get mired in the cynicism of the day, instead looking up with joy and hope at the challenges ahead.

We desire team members who are passionate about both the Great Commission (evangelism and discipleship) as well as the Great Commandment (loving God and loving neighbors). We desire team members who are people who are passionate about both the King (Jesus) and the Kingdom (God’s rule where shalom and justice are complete).

Tell us anything we missed.

Our team has a strong background in storytelling and media creation. We love crafting beautiful stories of what God is doing around the world and sharing those stories with others. We desire that these stories, images, and videos to be dignifying to the local church and to our friends that we serve. Have a particular interest and skill set in the creative arts? Check out our website and see if you’d like to join our team and help out our media department.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking in an overseas direction?

=&9=&Make sure that your heart lines up with God’s, and that this is where he wants you to be. Surrender your desires to God and it’s in that place of surrender where you will experience true union with Jesus.

Interested in joining Lahash? Email them at info@lahash.Org
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Meet an Agency: All Nations

Reading Time: 6 minutes

i-saw-the-messiah

We heart this new, ongoing series–a virtual trip to the coffee shop with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a green tea frappuccino with All Nations--perhaps better known as the sending organization of the late John Chau. 

TELL US WHAT YOUR AGENCY SPECIALIZES IN. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

the-faithfulness-of-god-in-africaWe long to see Jesus worshiped by all the peoples of the earth.

To do this, we make disciples and train leaders to ignite church planting movements among the neglected peoples of the earth.

Our passion: To see disciples that love and obey Jesus raise up more disciples that love and obey Jesus.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND, AND HOW LARGE ARE YOU GUYS? IN WHAT COUNTRIES ARE YOUR GLOBAL WORKERS LOCATED?

the-buffalo-skin-legendSo by the numbers–All Nations has been around since 1993. We’ve currently got around 350 missionaries in 44 countries worldwide.

The North America hub, in Kansas City,  has 150 missionaries serving in 23 countries. And we’ve adopted 30 unreached or enegaged people groups globally! (Don’t miss Go. Serve. Love’s printable infographic to help you pray for unreached groups.)

All of our missionaries are involved in starting churches that start churches. Most places where churches don’t yet exist are persecuted countries, so many of our missionaries and church planters also do business. As a result, we have a group that is invested in Pioneer Business Planting to help missionaries plant businesses that provide sustainability to movements of believers.

(Editor’s note: Unfamiliar with Business as Mission? Check out Your Career, Globally: What Could I Do with a Business Degree in Overseas Missions? and recent BAM goodies on our #BestoftheBestFriday page.)

TELL US ONE STORY THAT EXCITES YOU FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION IS DOING.

Ahmad and his wife became refugees from the revolution in Syria. Prior to the war, Ahmad had even worked in the Syrian Secret Police force.

But as the war progressed, and he was ordered to do terrible things to the revolutionaries, he decided to defect. Additionally, his twin baby boys died in the first few months of the war, after inhaling toxic fumes from an explosion. Ahmad left everything to bring his wife and remaining daughter to safety.

Since they have been refugees, they have had another son, and there is a third on the way. But life is still tough, especially because Ahmad has to keep a very low profile. As a defector from the Syrian army, there is a bounty on his head. He can’t risk working illegally in his new country where he is a refugee, because if he were caught, he would be sent back to Syria and certain execution.

The last time All Nations missionaries visited Ahmad, he shared his “war story” with them. One of them said, “We are so sorry. This is not God’s heart for you to suffer like this. This is because of human sin.”

Ahmad agreed heartily. “Yes, all of the descendants of Adam have sin, because of what happened in the Garden. But there is good news. God wanted to take our sin away, and so he sent someone special to do that. Do you know who he sent?”

They were stunned. The missionaries actually started tearing up. They had shared many Bible stories with Ahmad, and given him an Arabic Bible, but they had not yet shared with him the full story of the Cross. What would he say?

They replied to his question, “Who? Who did he send?”

Ahmad continued, “Well, he couldn’t send someone from Adam’s line, because every one of us has sin, and God needed to send someone without sin. So, he sent the Holy Spirit on the Virgin Mary. She gave birth to Jesus, and since he didn’t have an earthly father he was free from the sin of Adam. He sacrificed himself on the Cross to take away our sins and the sins of the whole world!”

The All Nations missionaries pushed away tears. “Where did you learn this?”

“In the Bible you gave me,” he replied. “Especially the Gospels: You know, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

The All Nations missionaries shared with him the story of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 and conducted an impromptu Discovery Bible Study.

At the end of the study, when everyone was sharing how they would apply what they had learned, he said, “I will see all my friends and family during the holiday this coming weekend. I want to do what Cornelius and Peter did. I want to share with them the whole story about Jesus, and how he sacrificed himself on the cross for the sins of all of us!”

Wow. The missionaries could hardly believe it. This man had been reading his Bible and God had given him full understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice.

Since that day, Ahmad has shared the Gospel with many, baptized about 150 new believers, and planted 45 house churches among his friends and relatives. Some of these are in the country where he is a refugee, and some are back in Syria itself!

Ahmad is only one example of the unusual openness All Nations missionaries are seeing among Syrians. All Nations believes that God is doing something historic that we have never seen in the Arab world. He is drawing many, many people to Jesus in amazing ways!

Grab more amazing stories of how God is moving at All Nations’ blog.

5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR ORGANIZATION’S CULTURE. GO.

We’d like to make it even simpler than that. We love and obey Jesus.

WHAT’S DISTINCTIVE ABOUT YOU GUYS?

We believe everyone is called to be disciple-makers. Our training and on-ramp process is simple and reproducible, so that we can raise up indigenous leaders from the beginning.

We really believe our workers should be planning to work themselves out of the job, and raise up local leaders from the start, just as Paul did with Timothy.

Although how we train is simple and reproducible, it provides a lifetime of depth and maturity.

LET’S TALK BRASS TACKS. GIVE US THE 411 ON YOUR APPLICATION AND TRAINING PROCESS.

We run a 3-week intensive cross-cultural ministry training called CPx (Church Planting Experience). This is the on-ramp required for all of our cross-cultural missionaries.

We follow this up with a 10-month long internship that is done with experienced practitioners in a group-coaching format. This can be done online or onsite.

We have applications for CPx, the internship, and for long-term field work. Once someone is approved for long-term field work, we provide pastoral care monthly, and provide language coaching and church planting coaching.

We also provide numerous training opportunities for those going to places closer to home and also to sending churches. We help local churches know how to send well, how to be disciple-makers, teach the Bible in simple ways, and how to share Jesus with Muslims. These trainings are offered once a month in Kansas City, on-line, and can be brought to a local area with an All Nations trainer almost anywhere in the world upon request.

WHAT KIND OF GLOBAL WORKERS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? PAINT US A WORD PICTURE.

We’ve got our eyes peeled for workers who love and obey Jesus and believe that the harvest is plentiful. We’re talking people that will find open and hungry people for the gospel and disciple them to plant churches that multiply. We love people that have a passion to empower the locals they will be working with–people with grit, willing to put in the hard work of discipling others.

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER “RED FLAGS” IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?

  • People that are risk-averse or unwilling to take on necessary risk
  • People who don’t listen to the Holy Spirit and believe that they can do things in their own strength
  • People who are not willing to listen and learn to honor local cultures

Tell us anything we missed that you’d like to mention about your agency.

We are small, personable, and excited to walk with people on every part of their journey from becoming interested in missions to being a full-time field worker. We have a strong emphasis on pastoral care and coaching, so missionaries can last a long time and see fruit!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING IN AN OVERSEAS DIRECTION?

Do it! God is at work all over the world. We just need to find out what He is up to and join in. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. We’re praying for more workers!

Interested in joining All Nations? Contact Joshua Johnson at jjohnson@allnations.us!
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Meet an Agency: Africa Inland Mission (AIM)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We heart this new, ongoing series–a cup o’ joe with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a cold brew coffee with Africa Inland Mission (AIM). Grab a chair.

TELL US WHAT YOUR AGENCY SPECIALIZES IN. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

AIM specializes in outreach to unreached African people groups. These groups can be found in some of the most difficult to access places in the depths of Africa and in some of the most modern cities on the planet. (Want to start praying for unreached people groups? Here’s a Go. Serve. Love’s free printable prayer guide.)

Wherever there are African people groups who have no access to the Gospel, AIM either already has a presence there or is looking for a way to bring the gospel to those people.

 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND, AND HOW LARGE ARE YOU GUYS? IN WHAT COUNTRIES ARE YOUR GLOBAL WORKERS LOCATED?

AIM was founded in 1895 and has had a consistent presence in Africa since that time. We are currently involved in 27 African countries and in various countries across the globe where African diaspora members reside.

While our focus is on gospel outreach, we utilize many different tools to this end. We have farmers, doctors, engineers, teachers, translators–you name it. AIM also has a comprehensive support system including a world class counseling center, an aviation wing, and financial services.

TELL US ONE STORY THAT EXCITES YOU FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION IS DOING.

While AIM has been active for over 100 years, we are constantly innovating and following God’s lead into new areas of ministry. We are a truly global organization with offices and missionaries from around the world. Currently we are working hard to make sure that our organization is ready and capable to help mobilize Africans to reach Africans with the gospel.

From aimstories.com:

Paul and Helen [after two short-term stints in western Uganda], went back to their mission leaders with a gutsy question. “You know the needs on the field,” they said, “so if you could send us anywhere, where would you send us?”The Shepherds were told of an unreached people group in Uganda.

Though Paul and Helen had never heard of Kotido Town or met any of the Jie (a sub-tribe of the Karimojong people), when AIM asked them to serve in Karamoja, they readily agreed. And so they leapt into the unknown, without a lick of language or existing relationships, and found that God had faithfully gone before them. Despite a reputation for toughness, the Jie have been gracious and helpful, enfolding Paul and Helen—and especially their children—into the earthy rhythms of Kotido life.

In this region, known to be the poorest in Uganda, the Shepherds could easily spend every clamoring minute of each day attending to medical needs. “But what we really want is to see the gospel go out,” Paul explains. “We want to see people get saved; we want to see churches grow and thrive here. We want to see the Karimojong go from an unreached people group to a reached one.”

This is the heartbeat of AIM, because we believe it’s the heartbeat of God. May we continue to follow Him into lands wild and uncharted, bearing the lambent hope of the gospel.

5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR ORGANIZATION’S CULTURE. GO.

We can even start them with the same letter! Booyah.

  • Seeking
  • Service
  • Sacrifice
  • Suffering
  • Submission

WHAT’S DISTINCTIVE ABOUT YOU GUYS?

AIM is the largest mission agency that focuses solely on African people groups. Our drive is to see all unreached African people groups have an indigenous, reproducing church that reaches its own people and other people groups with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

LET’S TALK BRASS TACKS. GIVE US THE 411 ON YOUR APPLICATION AND TRAINING PROCESS.

Since AIM is a global organization, each office has a slightly different application and training process. However, all offices will ensure that the right candidates find the right fit in the right place. Our global offices are in close communication with our various field offices and are well aware of the various needs on the field and type of personnel that can fulfill those needs.

Once a candidate is accepted into service they will receive training in their home area before departing for the field and then will receive a three-week training on the field when they arrive. All members will also participate in a yearlong process of mentorship as they get started in ministry.

WHAT KIND OF GLOBAL WORKERS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? PAINT US A WORD PICTURE.

We are looking for passionate people!

We want people that are passionate to see unreached African people given the gift of the gospel. Whether you are a doctor, teacher, pastor, evangelist or just someone who is looking for a way to make an impact on the world with the gifts that God has given you–if you are someone who is passionate about seeing unreached African people groups reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can work together!

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER “RED FLAGS” IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?

We are concerned about applicants who seem inflexible. Africa is an unpredictable place and ministry is constantly changing even in the most stable environment. To succeed in outreach work to unreached African people groups an applicant must be prepared and able to handle ambiguity and change.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING IN AN OVERSEAS DIRECTION?

Find an agency that is passionate about what you are passionate about. Go with a group of people that can support you and whom you are able to confidently support. Teamwork is critical and it is hard to change your team once you are overseas.

So do your homework and find the right team before you go and make sure that they have resources and infrastructure to back up their promises before you go.

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