This month, Global Outreach Developments International will send out 23 representatives (as well as 7 guests - friends who are helping us meet our short term objectives) to our four focused regions of ministry: Latin America, East Africa, India, and South East Asia.
Some will begin their cultural immersion experiences, while others will be continuing the work already begun there, pushing us closer to the long-term strategic goal of a 'transplanted community' in each of these four regions.
A transplanted community contrasts the traditional paradigm of sending out missionary couples, or short-term teams to implement programs or projects. Instead our regional teams (or small communities) will relocate to a settlement owned by the organization, where the team can model behavior & innovations (such as responsibility for neighbor, interdependence, generosity, solar energy, bio-intensive farming, etc.) necessary for the transformation of the larger communities to which they are ‘planted.’ We call this being 'a people, within a people.'
Three ladies (Brittani Collinsworth, Breann Bennecker and Leafa Vagatai), all students of the Institute for Global Outreach Developments International, will spend 6 weeks in the Philippines, participating in what we call an “immersion.” An immersion describes a 5-7 week trip in one country that allows an individual to immerse in the culture, language, beliefs, and needs of the people native to that place. All of our regional team 'members' (or future missionaries with our organization) are required to spend 2 immersion trips (of 5-7 weeks) in the country, as well as a 3-6 month 'semester abroad,' a 6-9 month 'occupational development term' and 1-year 'project implementation term.'
This is coupled with extensive biblical and missiological education, an occupational focus, and language study. In sending individuals to these regions, these expectations are at the forefront of their stay. In addition, Gregg Garner will join the ladies in Philippines and attempt to locate the settlement plot for the G.O.D. Southeast Asia hub--a main geographical starting point where G.O.D. Int’l will be based in this region.
Michael Davis, Michael Johnson, Jeremiah Watson and Mitchell Buchanan are in El Salvador, continuing the development of the plot of land the team is leasing there. Projects include painting, electrical, and plumbing of the homes that will house full-time representatives from G.O.D. International. We are very happy to have Michael Davis' father and father-in-law, join us in the work, as well as experience El Salvador, its people, culture, and need, for the first time.
In Uganda, 3 Kenyan and 3 Ugandan cooperatives of G.O.D. Int’l will meet Gregg Garner, Cameron and Colin Kagay, Skylar and Rylan Aaseby, Ashley Moore and Jordan Miller to celebrate the relationships God has orchestrated and sustained over the last decade, as well as cast vision for the future.
Two couples from Iowa Falls, who, through a prolonged friendship with members of G.O.D. Int’l, wanted to get a better look into our international work, will join the team, as will Vern Aaseby (Skylar & Rylan's father). This team will have a dual focus: one, to mark the lot lines for the 7 acre settlement and begin the construction of a triplex which will serve as an itinerant housing unit for volunteers; and two, allow first-timers to Africa to witness the need that exists, primarily through prison, hospital, slum, church and school visits and by spending time with our cooperative families.
Gregg Garner will also join the December, India 'Immersion team' consisting of Nick Moore, Laura Voight, Rebekah Davis, Leah Thress, Kelly Jobe, Taylor and Heather Maute (and children) and Rosemary and Nick Sherrod. While there, Gregg will assist the team in locating a settlement plot; the India hub.
Most members of this team will also be participating in their second immersion experience, and for this reason, will be doing increased research in their spheres of occupational focus. Leah and Heather will be visiting maternity wards. Kelly and Rosemary will be working with womens groups and visiting and surveying the university in Lucknow. Nick Moore, Laura, and Rebekah will be visiting health care centers, Taylor will be researching sustainable horticulture, and Nick Sherrod sustainable housing. The team will be participating in Hindi language classes and other cultural lessons.
A common refrain around our organization is that “we are more than just a school.” As we break between semesters, we utilize the term “Winter Mission,” and as you can see from the above synopsis, that is no exaggeration. We really are on mission. Our care and concern for the poor and marginalized, compels us to go, care and do our best to help— making long term commitments to see qualitative change.
We ask that you please join us, in prayer and hope, that we can represent God (make his name holy) and initiate his ideal (kingdom come) in areas of such desperate need (where they are simply asking for daily bread) (Mt. 6, Lk. 11). Please pray for our safety, our protection, and the Lord’s favor as we venture to do what he has put in our hearts—develop communities who model the ethics of God through healthy individuals and families who live in peace with one another, exemplifying the fullness of life we believe God wants for all of his children.