Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Flexibility is the name of the game in life – and in missions for sure! We thought we’d be in Canada now, training with the Missionaries To Canada, but that’s been postponed until August, so we’re here in Florida preparing for Boot Camp and our summer team. Due in part to this change, we were blessed to spend Easter with our former sending church, Living Word A/G, in Jennings, Louisiana. Thank you, Brad and Judy, for your hospitality.
It occurs to us that you may not be fully aware of the worldwide scope of the ministry of Teen Missions International. So, we’d like to share some of that with you.
Founded in 1970 as a ministry focused on “training tomorrow’s missionaries today”, the international scope of the ministry began as Christians in other countries began asking for the same opportunities for their youth. The first of the international Boot Camps was in the Philippines in 1982. There are now Teen Missions Boot Camps in 20 nations around the world in addition to the annual Lord’s Boot Camps in Florida. Over 40,000 North American youth, plus thousands overseas, have now been blessed with the opportunity to serve the Lord as missionaries.
Teen Missions M.I.S. – Missionary Institute for Secretaries began in the 70’s to train secretaries for mission boards. Also in the 70’s, a school for potential staff was in operation. From these beginnings, Teen Missions developed the Florida Free BIBLE, MISSIONARY & WORK Training Center (BMW) in 1988, a school to train young adults to serve as missionaries. It’s a three-year program, two years of academics (including Synthesis I – VI, Doctrine I – III, Analysis I & II, Church History, Pedagogy, Speech, Prophecy, Hermeneutics, Ethics, and more), followed by a one-year internship served within the ministries of Teen Missions. During the academic training, each student works afternoons in one of the departments at TMI headquarters, learning duties that support the staff, students and ministries worldwide. As the name implies, it’s free to attend (students must be former team members or leaders), thereby providing a comprehensive missions education without acquiring large amounts of debt, freeing the graduates to serve right away. Though not an accredited school, many accredited schools choose to give BMW graduates credit if they go on for a degree.
Again, a call for similar training came from overseas, and in time, Teen Missions opened BMW schools overseas as God provided. There are now 26 BMW schools in various locations around the world, providing free Bible School training to hundreds of former team members and former team leaders, many of whom are currently serving as missionaries and pastors.
With Boot Camps and BMW schools, came the need for bases.There are now 30 bases around the world. The bases are coordinated by American and national TMI staff, all of whom are faith supported. No one serving in the ministry of Teen Missions receives a salary. As you can imagine, there is much to do on a daily basis to support these many bases.
New in the family of Teen Missions’ ministries is the AIDS Orphans and Street Children ministry. The purpose of this ministry is to “take the orphanage to children” who have been orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Many children have a house in a village, and maybe an elderly grandparent, but very little else. A local TMI base goes out and surveys areas that have a need for orphan care, and work with the local village chiefs to find a centralized location for a “Rescue Unit”. Rescue Units are small portable buildings set up to serve several villages. The facilitators are very special national people who abound in love and a heart to serve. With perseverance, they serve in the bush, making themselves available to children and villagers day and night, seven days a week. They live very simply so as not to appear “above” those they serve. The rescue units provide a critical safety net for the orphans. They provide basic medical care, agricultural training and support so the orphans can grow food, spiritual training, and, as funds permit, they supply school uniforms and fees as well. Thousands of orphans are served by the Rescue Units. As the Lord provides, more units will be opened. There is no lack of need, with over 14 million children in sub-Saharan Africa alone orphaned by AIDS.
Associated with the AIDS Orphans ministry is our Motorcycle Sunday School Mission (MSSM). This is a ministry where two “circuit rider” missionaries travel by motorcycle through the bush, teaching Bible lessons. There are six Sunday Schools on each circuit, and the riders travel for five days, then have one day off and one day for preparation. The goal of this ministry is to teach Bible classes, help people learn of God’s love, to establish a Bible memory program including a quiz team, (top finalists win the prize of attending a Boot Camp in their area), hold literacy classes for the orphans and any villagers who care to attend and train local adults to teach Sunday School. The first circuits began running in Zambia and Malawi in 2008. As God provides, plans are to expand this ministry further.
We hope this glimpse of the TMI ministry world-wide has helped you understand it better. As you can imagine, there’s much to do in support of these ministries and the staff running them. This keeps the Florida headquarters staff very busy. The finances for every aspect of the ministry have to be processed daily, there is a great deal of support work for the staff that is accomplished by our Personnel Department, and we have others whose ministry is taking care of all the summer team needs for travel, training, leaders, volunteers to assist, and for every aspect of their summer. All that and much more is accomplished by a relatively small staff at the TMI headquarters here in Florida.
David and I want to thank you for making it possible for us serve in this ministry. It’s a privilege and
a blessing to represent you. May the Lord bless you as generously as you bless us – with time in prayer – and with finances as the Lord provides and directs. You can’t know how much it means to us to serve here or how much it means to have the encouragement of your loving support.
Together in His Service,
David and Stephanie Spindler