Meet an Agency: Action International

We heart this new, ongoing series–a cup of java with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a caramel cappuccino with ACTION International. Grab a chair.

TELL US WHAT YOUR AGENCY SPECIALIZES IN. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

You probably picked up on this–but we’re all about taking action! Specifically, we focus on taking the news of Jesus and compassionate care to the vulnerable, needy, and often forgotten people around the world.

We are committed to doing this through sending global workers who treasure Jesus Christ and share his Gospel in word and deed, and work primarily with the materially poor, in partnership with local churches.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND, AND HOW LARGE ARE YOU GUYS? IN WHAT COUNTRIES ARE YOUR GLOBAL WORKERS LOCATED?

Action International started in 1972 with a handful of American missionaries who worked alongside small Filipino churches on the streets of Manila, Philippines, ministering to street kids who had run away from home and were sniffing glue and huffing paint.

From that small beginning, we’ve grown to an evangelical, interdenominational, missionary-sending organization with about 260 workers in 30 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.

ACTION International Pastor Training in Cambodia

TELL US ONE STORY THAT EXCITES YOU FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION IS DOING.

Jay and Maya* met and fell in love as single missionaries working with the urban poor in São Paulo. She is Swiss, and he is American but had spent some time as a teen in Brazil when his father went there for business. They joined ACTION in 1991, and in 1993 they founded ABBA, a local ministry to street children and their families. From taking van-loads of children from the street to camp, the ministry has grown to be a large, fruitful work with children in multiple locations of the city.

Through friendship with church leaders in Brazil, Jay became increasingly involved in the placement of refugees in Brazil for permanent relocation. He made several fact-finding trips to the Middle East to discern what the Lord was doing. On one of these trips, while crossing a busy street at night, missionary Adam Perez was hit by a car and killed. This traumatic experience became a mantle of calling for Jay to carry on some of the work Adam had started among refugees.

Today, Jay and Maya partner with an NGO to teach English in 23 refugee camps among an unreached people group, where only 0.14% are evangelical Christian. Jay and Maya live in a container and teach English in another converted container. They pray for enough teachers to supply all the camps with Christian teachers who will have opportunity to make friends and be the light among sojourners.

If you feel called to teach English, provide trauma counseling, or work with an unreached people group in a refugee camp, Jay and Maya would be thrilled to see their small team grow! There are opportunities for people considering short-term and long-term work. Reach out to us through our Get Involved form!

5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR ORGANIZATION’S CULTURE. GO.

  • Evangelical
  • Multicultural
  • Gospel-centered
  • Incarnational
  • Flexible

WHAT’S DISTINCTIVE ABOUT YOU GUYS?

ACTION is most known for our work among children at risk and training pastors. These ministries are done in partnership with local churches to equip and strengthen them to love their communities better in the name of Jesus.

We also love to see people use their gifts and calling around the world, and we seek to accommodate this into what ACTION is doing, which sometimes means starting new ministries or even opening new fields.

LET’S TALK BRASS TACKS. GIVE US THE 411 ON YOUR APPLICATION AND TRAINING PROCESS.

1. First, we get to know a little about people, including what their mission focus is, through our Get Involved form and an initial phone call.

2. Then, depending on the type of ministry they are pursuing (short-term, internship, or long-term), they can complete the appropriate application(s) with the support of someone in our Mobilization Department that acts as a coach and mentor as they work through the process.

3. Longer-term applicants are then invited to an orientation at our USA headquarters in Seattle to meet our staff, receive final approval, and begin initial training in fundraising and vision-casting.

4. Finally, we provide a second in-person training that focuses on culture and field-preparedness closer to deployment.

WHAT KIND OF GLOBAL WORKERS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? PAINT US A WORD PICTURE.

We have found that some of the best global workers are

  • teachable
  • adaptable
  • servant-hearted
  • kingdom-minded
  • team-players
  • already rooted and active in local churches and communities

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER “RED FLAGS” IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?

Because cross-cultural missions involves working in a different culture, it would be concerning if an applicant did not demonstrate an attitude of humility, teachability, and flexibility. But this is also Christian mission work, so we would have serious reservations if the applicant did not display a vibrant relationship with Christ or a solid understanding of the Gospel and biblical truths.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING IN AN OVERSEAS DIRECTION?

First, a bonus: Print ACTION’s free infographic to help you pray for kids–especially kids at risk–around the world.)

  • Do here what you hope to do there. You don’t walk off the plane and all of the sudden become an excellent disciple-maker or evangelist. Or, for example, if you’d like to work with refugees in the Middle East, seek opportunities to serve refugees locally as part of your preparation.
  • Communicate early with your pastor or church leaders and let them be a part of the discernment process. It is your church that will help discern your maturity, your readiness, and your gifting. And it’s the church that will send you.
  • Meet with missionaries from your own church to learn about their journey into cross-cultural service and seek their counsel. Invite friends and family to be praying with you at the beginning of the process.
  • If you are hoping to serve long-term, think about writing a letter to friends and family letting them know of how you sense God is leading you. Ask them to pray for you to find the right opportunity with the right organization. Then, send updates during your discernment process. By doing this, you’ll give those who know you well the opportunity to provide godly input, counsel, and encouragement. And when you start to raise support, they will have been part of the process from the start, and have a better understanding of how God is working in your life. They’ll likely be more open to partnering with you financially as well.

*names have been changed to protect the workers and ministry

Got more questions for Action International? Contact them with their Get Involved form, or contact Kyle, their Associate USA Director, at kyle@actionusa.org.

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