Let’s start with a story of how Mission Adventures got started. Flash back with us to the age of highlighter pink, leotards and leopard print. No, not modern day West Auckland, but the 80’s…
It was 1986. Youth With A Mission (YWAM) missionary Sean Lambert was praying about mobilising students for missions. As he prayed, Sean believed God asked him, “Do you believe Me for 1000 youth each year?” Full of faith and vision Sean responded, “Yes, Lord. I believe!” So Sean got on the phone to mobilise students. That year just 30 young people travelled to Mexico City to distribute Bibles. Discouraged, Sean doubled his efforts, but in 1987 still only 85 young people went out.
Then one day Sean received a phone call from a youth pastor named Charlie Morales. Charlie wanted to take his whole youth group of 40 on a mission trip. He said that most trips were too long, and too expensive. So Charlie and Sean got together and planned out a 12-day trip to Tijuana, Mexico for $129.
With this idea, Mission Adventures was born. Whole groups, including their leaders, were fired up for missions. From then on, Sean focused on mobilising groups. In 1991, youth groups totalling over 1000 young people went on outreach to Mexico. Sean’s prayer was answered. That same year, a Mission Adventures outreach centre was opened in Tijuana, Mexico.
Fast forward to 1996. The centre in Tijuana was maxed out, hosting more than 3,000 young people each year. Other YWAM centres were calling, asking Sean how he did it. Sean assembled a team to develop a way to multiply the program.
In 1997 the Mission Adventures Network was launched as a coalition of YWAM centres across North America. They dedicated themselves to providing easy access to missions for youth groups. Total participation in 1997 topped 4,000 people.
But what about New Zealand you may ask? In 2001, YWAM missionary Dave Laird decided to launch the Mission Adventures programme in the best country on Earth. Mission Adventures NZ is going strong to this day.
For more information on what Mission Adventures is doing around the world, click here.