by Patrick Ragan
While we here at AMG International cannot literally be "all things to all people," we can certainly strive to facilitate people serving the Lord in as many places, in as many ways, and for as long as they feel led to do so.
At AMG, the "sky's the limit" as far as ministry opportunities go, so it is a wonderful challenge for us to be a part of helping people find that place where they can help Advance the Ministries of the Gospel around the world!
For the past ten years, the Lord has led thousands of short-term missionaries to serve around the world through AMG's Mission Adventures short-term team ministry. One way the Lord has worked in the hearts of some short-term team members is for them to return to the field with AMG, only this time to go for longer than just one week.
To help facilitate this, we are developing an internship ministry called, Mission Crossings. Crossings interns serve anywhere from one month to two years on the field. In 2008, the Lord gave us Crossings interns who served in Peru, the Philippines, and Greece.
The next step after an internship, for some, is to follow the Lord into long-term or career missionary service. We call our ministry for long-term missionaries Mission Journeys. Journeys missionaries serve for two years or more on the field they're led to.
One example of this is how the Lord has worked in the heart of one of our longer-term missionaries, Ron Unruh. In 2001, Ron was a team member on my very first Mission Adventures team to serve at AMG's Home of Hope Orphanage on Bacolod Island in the Philippines. Just to take that step of faith and go on this trip halfway around the world was as big a deal for Ron as it is for most first-time team members.
Once we arrived, Ron fell in love with the Philippine people and the kids at the orphanage and they fell in love with him. He is a "gentle giant" sort of guy with an easy going nature and big smile-perfect for the Philippines, as they are a gentle people with lots of smiles to go around. His size made him a natural attraction for the kids as well. God used him in many ways at Home of Hope to meet practical needs and of course, to give lots of hugs! God did something special in Ron's heart on this trip.
It wasn't long after we returned that Ron called me asking about going back but this time for a longer period of time. We were happy to help him go back and the children and staff at Home of Hope were equally excited to have him return.
Ron and his wife Nancy have now been to Home of Hope almost every year for the past several years, showing the love of Christ to children who have no family to speak of and meeting practical needs like painting walls and repairing furniture, etc. They sponsor a little girl who is now thirteen years old and have been honored guests at Home of Hope graduation ceremonies over the years. The staff even gave them their own special room, complete with an air conditioner! Ron and Nancy have truly become part of the Home of Hope family.
While Ron and Nancy have not become AMG Mission Journeys full time, long-term missionaries, they did spend seven months of 2008 on Bacolod Island, serving at Home of Hope and at the three other AMG childcare centers on the island.
For us in the home office, it is a wonderful privilege to come alongside and help facilitate the desires of those seeking to follow the Lord in missionary service. Ron and Nancy are just one example of this. The Lord is calling young and old alike to serve Him, and we want to be ready to help in any way we can.
Many times people tell me that they have no special skills or abilities and so would not be useful on a short-term trip and certainly not for a longer time of service. While certainly there is a place for special skills on the mission field (i.e. construction, medical, etc), I have found that what God looks for most of all is a willing heart. If we make ourselves available with no strings attached, we will find ourselves on the most fulfilling adventure of faith we could ever imagine. Just ask Ron and Nancy.
For longer-term missions opportunities with AMG International, look under "World Missions/Longer Term Missions" at www.amginternational.org.
Patrick Ragan is coordinator of missionary personnel for AMG International.