I have been living in the Philippines for almost two years now, and have been helping coordinate the Project 52 and Nehemiah Teams. I return to the States in a week exactly, so call me sentimental but I wanted to share with you why, I love NT. (And P52, too.)
|Me with my teammates and friends from NT 2011 in Bohol, Philippines.|
The time commitment. Nehemiah Teams is a mission sending organization that takes full advantage of the summer and ask students to commit 2 months to going and living on the mission field. One of things I heard again and again was “Yes I have been overseas before but never for this long.” The time commitment allows young people to get a glimpse of a career missionary life and the (very real) need for long-term commitments to finish the Great Commission.
Discipleship. NT has quiet times, memory verses, and Bible studies for the team to work through together while they are on the field. It is amazing how much difference they make in the team’s effectiveness, unity, and general attitude. The teams who focus only on the work or ministry easily lose sight of what is important while the teams who continue through the discipleship materials grow together and work better as a team, spiritually mature while on the field, and are easily able to apply scripture to real life situations that they face. Missions is a lifestyle that cannot be lived out in human strength, the purpose of the NT discipleship materials is to feed and challenge the students while they are ministering. What I love most about the discipleship that takes place in NT is that it is truly iron sharpening iron; often teams are in remote places with little Christian fellowship outside of their team. It is those teams who know each other's faults and failures AND still maintain team unity that have truly experienced the love of the family of God.
Responsibility. NT is not an experience it is missions. NT does not cater to volunteers in hopes of making it a pleasant or enjoyable time for them. If being holy and living a godly Christian life is difficult in America then why should be bother pretending it will be a piece of cake while on the field? Missions is realizing your responsibility to pick up the cross, follow Jesus, and go tell others to come along no matter the cost or sacrifice. NT’s goal is to help the young people of this generation do just that –realize others’ need for Christ, go proclaim the gospel, and share in the harvest!
|Sharing the truths of God's Word!|
It is not just Americans. Sometimes people think of missions as Americans going out to the ends of the earth, but thankfully God is not limited to what we think He can do or is doing. God is sending Filipinos out all over the world and even within the Philippines. It was such a fun blessing for me to get to see my Fil friends in actions sharing the gospel. Baptizing Filipinos. And planting churches in the unreached and hard to reach places in the Philippines!
Local partners. NT partners with missionaries all over the world and works within their strategy (that they already have set in place). NT is not a cookie cutter there are medical, basketball, evangelism, and nanny teams (to name a few). The type of group is limited only to the creativity of the local partner. The partner is able to give them strategy, direction, and guidance without having to babysit them. Although we want to work inside the existing missionary's strategy we in no way want to cripple them with constant supervision need. We believe that college students are adults and capable of ministering as such. God has used young people to do great things and we have the faith that He will continue to do just that!
Orientation. So many (not just young) people are afraid to commit to missions or ministries because of fears or feelings of inadequacy. NT uses the orientation time as a time to introduce the country, language, and ministry they will be serving in while while also training students for the field. The gospel is defined, different methods of sharing are taught, and time is given to practice the different ways of sharing.
The Challenge. NT and P52 challenges participants to take home a lit fire, to keep it burning, and cast a vision that lights up a nation. The summer is not about self-improvement but the reality of the life changing God. NT's intention is not to at the completion of NT to send home better Christians but students who understand the the command of the Great Commission and are willing to submit themselves to God whether that mean in the middle of the rainforest, in a busy public market, or on their college campus.