Missionary training center aims to train 20 new missionaries
September marked the start of a new endeavor for LM USA — the Global Impact Academy. But what exactly is it?
I asked our General Director, Christopher Matthews, the purpose behind the GIA…
“The Global Impact Academy vision is to prepare twenty young missionaries to head out to the mission field in 2023 to obey our Lord’s command to preach the Gospel in all nations before the end comes (Matthew 24:14). By 2028, if our Lord tarries, the GIA would prepare a total of 100 new missionaries for the fields, just as our founder, Dr. J. Hudson Taylor, prayed in 1881 for 70 new missionaries and received 76; in 1886 he prayed for another 100 new missionaries and received 102. The GIA’s purpose is to strengthen the LM USA teams in the current 8 countries of service and follow the Spirit of God’s guidance into an additional 8 new countries for the glory of Jesus.”
Consisting of a diverse faculty and robust course list, the GIA program offers classes two nights a week. To give GIA students a place to study, Liebenzell created the Missions Research Library in the same building as the classrooms, in Emmaus Farmhouse. On its shelves sit volumes on a broad range of subjects, and benefit local mission-minded pastors and researchers — not just GIA students.
(To find out more about our book drive, visit www.liebenzellmission.org/book-drive)
Classes take place at the historic Emmaus Farmhouse, purchased by the mission in 1945.
Coupled with classroom learning, a hands-on component takes place on Liebenzell’s farm. Says Mike Branch, our Global Missions Director, “Through the GIA, we seek to build a training program with a strong Biblical foundation and a focus on cross-culture missions and includes practical training in agriculture and farming. Working on the farm brings new insights to the student’s understanding of the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, helping them better identify with the rural communities where they will live.”
For students who will go on to work with people that depend on gardening, farming and animal husbandry to sustain themselves, the farming program provides resources that will help them produce more crops and stronger, healthier animals for their families and for the community. Our prayer is that communities will be blessed by this aid, and by God’s grace, it will open a door to share the good news of Jesus — the source of everything we need in life.
Renatto A. from Guatemala, since taking a class on the Gospel in Three Dimensions, says “now I understand my own culture and…how to speak with the elements that are important for each culture.”
Michael F. comes from Yap, an island of Micronesia, and is looking forward to the field internship at the end of the program. He chose the GIA “because I am hoping to get closer to The Lord as well as learn how to become a person fit for missions.”
Chloe S. from the Philippines has a desire to serve in full-time missions. “One of the most memorable things I’ve learned so far is the importance of a committed and fully surrendered life under the control of the Holy Spirit.” She’s hoping to “partner with God in His work,” whether that means discipleship, Christian Education, or another avenue.
Karin Benningfield, our Mobilization Manager, leads recruitment. She explains, “As our mobilization team interacts with those interested in serving on the mission field, a common response we hear is ‘I don’t know if I’m equipped or prepared to go.’ Being able to share with them how the Global Impact Academy can help them prepare to serve offers hope and excitement.”
Students from nearby Hackettstown and as far away as the Philippines have enrolled. When one student, Chloe, was approached and asked why she chose the GIA, she responded, “[it] is God’s answer to my prayers … [and] can help equip me to face the challenges ahead. I am hoping to have an in-depth knowledge of theology and to be trained in the cross-cultural and practical areas essential to mission work.” She added, “My favorite aspect of being a student in [the] GIA is the spirit of love, commitment and unity being fostered by the teachers, staff and students.”
For more information on the Global Impact Academy, visit www.liebenzellgia.org