ATN Moving Forward: Mission Trips
My plan was to finish with our vision casting series yesterday, but I felt like bringing teams down on mission trips was an important part of the vision of All Things New, so today will actually finish up our vision casting series. Just so you know, we will also be emailing each of the vision casting blogs to everyone on our email list, so if you have already read the blogs as they have gone out, please disregard the upcoming emails. We do not want to junk up your inbox, but we do feel like it is important for as many people connected to ATN as possible to hear about our vision moving forward and not everyone is an avid blog reader.
Today I want to cast vision for the teams that come down either through ATN, local churches, or even as families and individuals. To cast this vision, I want to start by talking about why teams are important in the first place and the reasons may surprise you. As you know, we love it when teams come down and spend time with our kids. Team members can be great role models, they can help with things in Haiti, they can help get our name out in the community, and most of all each team member returns home with a new and personal way of praying and advocating for All Things New. None of these, however, are the most important thing that happens when teams come down. The most important thing that we hope happens when teams come down to Haiti is that each and every team member returns home with a deeper understanding of what it means to follow Christ and a new and more Christlike view of the world. The truth is, we hope that when team members come down that their lives are changed! I know from past experience that when we get ready to go on mission trips we truly expect to be world changers as GOD leads us to different parts of the country and the world, but what we should be praying for first and foremost is that GOD would change us. That is where our hope is. We hope that GOD would use All Things New and the ministry that we have in Haiti to change the lives of the team members that come down. Of course we also hope that GOD uses each of you who have and who will come down to change the lives of our kids, of our family, of our community, and anyone else connected to our ministry. Our first prayer and the vision that we have for every team member that comes down, however, is that GOD will change your life and teach you what it means to follow Him.
With that said, I will explain some of the things we are doing in regards to teams and let you know what we hope to see GOD do in this area in the future. The first thing that we are doing right now is updating all of our training materials, prayer sheets, and Bible Studies to make sure each team is well equipped for each trip. We recently updated the informational packet as well so that teams know what they need to do in terms of paperwork, shots, background checks, packing, etc. Our plan right now is to offer 3 All Things New trips per year, offer the opportunity for churches to come down with advanced notice, and we allow individuals and families to come down when possible as well. The past couple of years we have averaged about 6 teams per year and we would like to see that increase to at least 10 by 2018! That is a lofty but achievable goal. We also hope to be ready to accept interns sometime in the future it is just difficult now with 2 babies in our family. Finally, the last part of our vision or teams is that team members will become our greatest advocates, our greatest encouragers, our biggest prayers, and the support system that helps take All Things New to the next level.