Training for Life Outside the Artificial World

lady-smile_0I am excited about the potential ministry of the Institute for Global Opportunities. For over a year now we have been planning for, and discussing, the possibility of beginning a mission training centre in Asia. The vision begins with providing missionary training in an overseas setting. We believe that combining theological and mission skills, training with practical on the field experience, will be a combination that will result in missionaries that are better prepared for the challenges of mission work.

It is my opinion that every North American Christian ought to spend a portion of their life outside of North America. We live in an artificial world here in North America. We have our large houses with al the conveniences. Electricity powers our tools and equipment, making it simple for us to complete rather complex tasks. We have good vehicles and super highways which allow us to travel long distances very quickly and easily. We have an abundance of food and clothing. Most of us have food deep down in our freezers that we have forgotten about. Most of us have clothing in our closets that we haven’t worn for a year, and probably won’t wear in the next year.

It is hard for us to relate to the family with four children who live in a 100-200 square foot house with a dirt floor and thatch roof, the family who has no electricity, running water, indoor bathroom or kitchen. We find it hard to imagine living with only a one or two day supply of food and two changes of clothing for each person in the family.

Yet our North American lifestyle is the abnormal one in the world. It is reported that over 2 billion of the world’s 6 billion people live on $2.00 U.S. a day. There are 800 million people in the world who are considered to be hungry. I believe that rather than doing missionary training in the artificial North American setting, and then sending missionaries to the more normal overseas setting, we should be training missionaries in the overseas setting.

The Institute for Global Opportunities will provide students with the opportunity to travel and minister to Asia, and then return to the classroom setting for further instruction and mentoring by the instructors. The issues being dealt with will not be the theoretical issues of some faraway land and time, but the real everyday issues that were faced by the students in their ministry between the classroom terms.

My heart for the potential ministry of the Institute for Global Opportunities is based on my beliefs that missionaries generally need more training, that it would be food for them to get that training in an overseas setting and that every North American Christian ought to spend a portion of their life outside of North America.

Pray with us that this vision would be realized and God would use it to impact the lives of North American Anabaptist believers, and to make a difference in the world for His kingdom. We appreciate your interest in this ministry and your prayers and support.

By Merle Burkholder, IGo Board Member (I Witness News/Fall 2004)

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