I am very excited to announce that Anndee and I have accepted new positions with Extreme that will officially begin January 1st. My new role is Short-Term Volunteer Manager, and Anndee will work part-time as Short-Term Volunteer Assistant. Our responsibilities include guiding a team of people whose jobs include leading the actual teams on the ground, as well as executing all of the pre-project communication, etc. We also have the responsibility of policy, procedure, as well as missiology and long-term vision for what short-term mission is and how it fits in with Extreme.
Even though we don’t officially take on the roles until January, we’re working each week, revising policy and putting procedures in effect. We begin communications with the May Project participants next month. For the time being, we don’t have all of the staff for our team, so Anndee and I will be filling the logistics spots until we do.
When we joined Extreme, we didn’t have a specific passion for short-term missions. Like many, Anndee and I had participated in short-term projects before (Youth In Mission during college, a trip to Macedonia in 2008). Despite this, we didn’t come into Extreme with any plans to work with short-term as a full-time ministry role. As Cluster Coordinators, part of our responsibility has been to do on-the-ground detail planning (lodging, food, transportation, plans for the evangelism events, etc.). As our staff has phased out here in Peru, Anndee and I have had the honor of taking on more and more of the responsibility of short-term projects in our city. During the September Build Project, I had the responsibility for every aspect of the project from the time the volunteers landed in Lima until they returned home.
We have hosted six teams here in Arequipa during our roughly 20 months of full-time ministry. While that was almost too much for us to handle, the number of teams we have had, coupled with the levels of responsibility Anndee and I have had during projects have prepared us very well for our next role with Extreme. The Lord was preparing us for our next role even when we didn’t know we needed to be prepared. After the May College Team, and after our application for another position similar to our current one (based in Chile), our director approached us about taking the Short-Term Manager position. He noticed our passion and energy and natural giftedness and saw a great fit. It was a surprise for us, but not a hard decision to make.
One of my favorite parts of a project is getting to meet such fantastic people from all walks of life who answer to call to come alongside us to expand God’s Kingdom. In my current role, I will get to work behind-the-scenes before and after a project, making sure that everything is getting accomplished in an efficient and timely manner. Then, during projects, I can be on-the-ground support and spend my timeconnecting with the short-term volunteers and encouraging the missionaries in the field. What an awesome opportunity.
As we help our current team through the transition of handing their ministry roles over to church members and finish our ministry in Arequipa well, we are also laying the groundwork for what it to come in Extreme Short Term Missions. Our emphasis is in two places: 1) Revise every aspect of the short-term process (registration, communication, roles, responsibilities, etc.) and make necessary adjustments. 2) Really think about what short-term mission is (and isn’t), think about how to do it well, why we do it, how it fits within the over-arching goals of Extreme, etc.
Both of these are great challenges, but Anndee and I are very excited to see how the Lord uses us to expand his Kingdom through this short-term process.
The current time-frame for our family is to work part-time on our new roles as we complete our jobs as Cluster Coordinators for the Cercado Church Planting Team. January, Chris will begin full time and Anndee will continue part-time from Rogers, Arkansas while we raise support. Chris and Anndee will fill the logistics roles for the two College Momentum Teams in Ecuador in May. We’ll return to Arkansas for the North Arkansas District Assembly and move the family to Quito, Ecuador in mid-June.
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