Dear Family and Friends, Some might look at what we do here at Teen Missions as crazy. Some might say it is exciting. Some might say it is dangerous. Some might say it is scary. Some might say it is stupid. Some parents may think that sending their child away for the summer will not help them. Others say short term missions is too costly; and others don’t just get what we are doing. So what are we doing at Teen Missions? Are we just taking teens overseas to give them excitement? Are we just trying to get spoiled teens to see the real world? Are we trying to get lazy teens to work? What are we doing? To me what we do here at Teen Missions is fulfilling that last command Jesus gave us—To Go And Make Disciples! That is what Teen Missions is doing.
Every year hundreds of youth come from across America and Canada to be discipled and trained to serve the Lord. As a summer leader I have the privilege and honor to be a part of their training and growth in the Lord. This summer God gave me two teams. My first team was the Cookie Command Team; Peanuts ages 7-9! They come to our camp for one week of fun-filled activities that bring them closer to our Savior. The heart of the program for this age group is to get them to see that they are never too young to serve the Lord! The team baked cookies and took them to nursing homes and fire departments across Merritt Island. This age groups has a lot of energy! By the end of the week I was very tired, but feeling blessed by what God did in their lives. Some of the world’s greatest missionaries got their calling at a young age. Who knows what these 7-9 year-olds will do when they grow up? Three days after my Peanut team left, my Preteen team came. I had fifteen 10-13 year-olds for the summer. And guess what? I was taking them to Malawi, Africa. At times I would look at them and say, what am I thinking—taking someone else’s child to Africa? But then I remembered 10 years ago I was that age heading for my first Teen Missions team to Germany. I remembered how excited I was and how God worked in my life that summer. The kids had a passion to serve God; and it was a privilege to not only take them to Malawi, but to disciple them for the summer.
Traveling to Malawi was very smooth. The kids did wonderful and except for some upset tummies on the way; none of them got very sick. After almost three days of traveling, we arrived in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. I was very tired and, as we got our passport stamps, I asked myself again—why am I doing this? God never said being a missionary would be easy, nor did He say we would always like it. But through the summer once again God showed me just how much joy can be had when we are serving Him. The team worked very hard while we were in Malawi. In the mornings we worked to build a fence around a garden at one of our Orphan Rescue Units. Gardens offer food to the local children when we have camps for them. The orphans, who lost parents at a young age can also come to learn how to work in the garden and to learn the skills they will need for later in life. Our national staff in Malawi do a wonderful job reaching out to these children who have lost both their parents. Some children may have only one parent which means the parent has to work full time and can’t teach their children the life skills they will need to live. The garden fence took long hours of digging into hard ground to make the post. By the time it was done the team had dug over 40 holes! The garden was 80 ft long with lots of room for many different veggies! After their mornings of work the team would play and spend time with the orphans who came to the Rescue Unit. I watched as my team began to see all the privileges they have in America. The team began seeing how spoiled some of them have been and how they have so much in America. As you watch the team grow closer together and see how God is working in their lives, it makes all of the hard times worth it all. Words cannot express what it is like looking into the eyes of the kids and knowing that they are closer in their walk with the Lord than three weeks before. Are we a little crazy for taking a ten year old to Africa? Maybe a little. But last time I checked, being nailed to a cross for someone else’s sin was thought to be crazy as well. Life is never boring while on a summer team and there is never a shortage of things to take care of. After living in Uganda this past year there were things I knew about Africa that the team did not. Big spiders are all over the place! Seems like every day I heard someone on the team screaming, “Mr. Josiah, come get the spider away from me!” Or “Mr. Josiah, I can get my clothes clean using a bucket!” “Mr. Josiah, there are ants in my tent!” “Mr. Josiah, there is a snake in the garden!” Laughter is never far away and a chance to speak into one of the team members lives is always just around the corner. As I look back over the summer I had a wonderful team and great leaders. God taught me many things and even when hard times came, God walked us through them. God showed His mighty hand of mercy by bringing this team halfway around the world and back. He showed love by allowing the team to be healthy. He showed His handy work in the changes that were made in the hearts of the kids. And finally He showed His grace to a leader, who at the start did not even want to take the team. That’s right, I needed grace! Grace for not seeing the privileges that was right before me to speak into the hearts of the team members who were coming to serve the Lord. It was our last weekend in Malawi, and as I rode in the back of the truck, I looked at the team and saw the changes in them. I saw how God used them to reach people in Malawi and how God taught me things through them. I was reminded again just how much I love my job! To disciple them while showing them the needs of the mission field.To show them their lives here on earth are not just about them, but about the world around them that needs the love of Jesus. To show them that God has an amazing plan for their life and they are never too young to have an impact on the Kingdom of God. A note to all the parents and my team members. I miss you all and hope that you are seeking after the Lord. Thank you to the parents once again for allowing your children to come and to serve the Lord. So what is next? Well serving at Teen Missions you never know what God is going to ask you to do. By the time you read this, I will be back in Malawi. That’s right— back to Africa again! When I came back from Uganda I thought I would never live in Africa again. But God even has to work on a missionary’s heart at times. I have been asked by the director to oversee the ministry in Malawi for a time. I know it will not be easy, but no one said that being a missionary would be easy. I know that God has called me to go back for a time and I am obeying. PLEASE keep me in your prayers as I move to Malawi. Thank you for standing with me in prayer and support. I could not do this alone. Letters mean so much to me. If you are able to write me please send to: Teen Missions in Malawi Private Bag 3 Chipoka MALAWI, Africa The biggest hindrance to the missionary task is self. Self that refuses to die. Self that refuses to sacrifice. Self that refuses to give. Self that refuses to go. – Thomas Hale – missionary to Nepal Serving Christ Together, Josiah Frey Prayer requests: That all I say and think will bring glory to God. For wisdom in my relationships with the people around me. For God to open doors for Teen Missions to work in. For my family as they walk this road with me even when they are away from me. That God would bless the people who are giving faithfully so that I can be here. THANK YOU!