At the beginning of this year we launched a new feature here at The Touring Camper that highlights ways campers, RVers, hikers, backpackers, or outdoor enthusiasts can get involved in service opportunities and give back to their communities. This month we are showcasing Mission Builders International’s RV Associates. Directors Lynn and Jacky Battermann shared a little bit about the work volunteers are accomplishing through this RV ministry:
Tell me a little bit about the history of Mission Builders RV Associates: Mission Builders International (MBI) connects short-term volunteers of all ages with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) ministries and training centers worldwide. YWAM (pronounced “WHY-wham) is a global movement of Christians from many cultures, age groups, and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world by uniting in a common purpose to know God and to make Him known. Mission Builder volunteers can serve at any of our YWAM locations for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of three months.
When and why did it start? As the RV movement in America has become more popular, more people starting asking about serving at YWAM locations while traveling with their RVs. As more people started selling their homes and becoming full time RVers, the interest in serving for part of the year grew. MBI RV Associates became an official program of Mission Builders International in April 2007.
Where do volunteers with Mission Builders RV Associates work and serve? All around the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Who can volunteer with Mission Builders RV Associates? Anyone who has a heart to serve. Mission Builders International is a Christian mobilization ministry. Most volunteers are from a Christian faith perspective, or at least are warm toward the Christian values. Our statement of faith says, “Mission Builders International is an international movement of Christians from many denominations dedicated to presenting Jesus personally to this generation, to mobilizing as many as possible to help in this task, and to the training and equipping of believers for their part in fulfilling the Great Commission. As citizens of God’s Kingdom, we are called to love, worship, and obey our Lord, to love and serve His Body, the Church, and to present the whole gospel for the whole person throughout the whole world.”
Are there certain requirements? A heart willing to serve and work cooperatively in a team.
If a full-time RVing family with children wanted to be part of Mission Builders RV Associates, would there be opportunities for the whole family to serve? There are a few locations that have opportunities for the whole family.
How much time must volunteers commit to serve? Generally volunteers will serve 6-8 hours each day, Monday-Friday with weekends off to rest, explore, and get to know others from their team.
What type of work do Mission Builders RV Associate volunteers usually do? Mission Builder volunteers generally help with the logistics of operating the ministry. Skilled volunteers do things like help build buildings, serve in medical clinics, or build websites and databases. However, most volunteers will help in the kitchen, housekeeping, facilities maintenance, hospitality, gardening–the list is endless of the possible ways volunteers could be asked to help! Volunteers may also have the opportunity to serve in the local outreach ministries with staff and students when the logistical work is done.
Are there projects for all skill levels and health restrictions? Yes. If there are health restrictions, these must be discussed with the on-site ministry leader prior to arrival.
Where do Mission Builders RV Associates team members live and park their camper during the projects? Most locations will provide a hook-up for the volunteers, a few will charge a fee to cover water and electrical expenses. A few locations do not have facilities for RVs. Then volunteers would pay at a neighboring RV park and pay the negotiated rate for their stay.
Can you share a highlight or special moment from the work Mission Builders RV Associates did this past year? We are just one couple. There are MANY more who are serving and having a great time. To paint a picture of what it looks like, we’ll share our average year of activities with MBI RV Associates:
- During June, we spend two or three weeks at Discovery Bay-YWAM Training Center near Port Townsend, Wash. We do a variety of maintenance work, build or remodel facilities, and work in the kitchen helping with meals and desserts for the students and staff. On weekends we go sightseeing or take in a local cultural event. Sundays find us at a local church. The staff have been a blessing to work with over the 10 years we have served there.
- In July, we travel north up the Okanagan Valley to Okanagan Gleaners in Oliver, B.C. The ministry has a dozen new RV sites and laundry and shower facilities. The activity is to prepare vegetables for dehydration so they can prepare soup mix to send oversees to needy ministries working to feed the hungry along with the gospel. We go to work at 8 a.m., have a short prayer time, a goody break at 10 a.m., and usually finish by noon. The day’s vegetables are dehydrated for 8 hours. The next day, the trays are cleaned and we start the process again. The afternoons are spent touring the Okanagan Valley, riding bicycles, or having a meal together at a local restaurant.
- In September, we traveled to Canby, Ore., to work at the Canby Christian Retreat Center. Again, the guys did maintenance of buildings and other facilities while the ladies worked in the kitchen making lots of cookies for the youth groups on retreats. They have a very nice RV park, swimming pool, and other recreation facilities. The ministry has a Sunday worship service. The staff are so appreciative of our time with them.
- Gleanings for the Hungry is one of our favorite YWAM locations. The staff are wonderful to work with. During the summer soft fruit season, they run 13 weeks with 100 new youth every week from churches all over the U.S. They process and sun-dry tons of soft fruit and store it until it can be put in zip-lock bags and shipped all over the world to hungry people. During winter months, senior citizens and volunteers make soup mix from donated dried vegetables. The ministry sends out one or two 40’ containers of soup mix and dried fruit a week to hungry people along with the gospel of Jesus Christ. RVers stay in a new park on the property with full hooks-ups on concrete slabs with landscaping. All the volunteers eat together in a beautiful dining hall with excellent food. Each morning there is an hour of worship, teachings, testimonies, and prayer. God has truly blessed this wonderful ministry for over 30 years. They have so many volunteers now, you need to get on their schedule well ahead of time. You will love it.
- We spent the rest of the winter RV seasons near Wickenburg, Ariz., at The Shepherds Canyon-Standing Stones Retreat Center. The ministry runs week-long retreats to restore burned out Christian pastors and their wives or other full-time Christian workers. The RV ladies prepare food and care for the personal needs of clients during the week. The men are building a new eight-bedroom Casita building. There are a dozen RV sites with 50 amp service.
All of these ministries are so appreciative of our volunteer services. God has used us to minister and speak into numerous people’s lives. We also have opportunities to lead and share our “mission stories” during team devotion times. We are blessed to be able serve the Lord and see the kingdom of God extended by supporting front-line ministries
Is there anything else you would like to highlight about Mission Builders RV Associates? If you like to meet new people, serve the Lord through serving other Christian ministries, with very few rules, and lots of freedom, then MBI will be for you!
Thank you Lynn and Jacky for sharing about the work MBI RV Associates are doing! If you are interested in finding out more about this ministry, please visit the MBI RV Associates website.