Monday, October 19, 2009
New website offers networking tool for missionaries, ministries
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
LAKE FOREST, CA (ANS) -- On his first overseas mission trip to visit Carl & Lauretta DuBois, two Wycliffe missionaries in the southern Philippines, Mark Ellis was surprised by what he found.
“They lived in a 350 square foot house – smaller than most American’s two-car garage,” he says. “They had to be evacuated twice due to various threats, and they survived a bout with cancer and a terrible accident that left their son partially paralyzed. They did all this to bring the gospel to the Tagabawa people.”
Ellis, a veteran senior writer with ASSIST News Service, knew he could tell their story through ANS, but he wondered how many other missionaries had similar stories and unmet needs.
“I knew I couldn’t cover all their stories, so I started working on a website that allows them to share their stories themselves.”
On www.Godreports.com missionaries and ministry organizations can create their own webpages – their “Godreports” – where they can share their vision, passion, prayer requests, needs and updates. They can link photos, video and worship music to their page.
“They can also raise funds for vital mission projects,” Ellis notes.
During the mission trip to Mindanao in the southern Philippines, Ellis met a man named Benancio who had fallen out of a palm tree and was paralyzed from the waist down. “After the accident, his wife abandoned him,” Ellis reports. “I went to visit him at his hut and saw him trying to care for his four small children. It was an appalling living situation.”
When Ellis returned home, Benancio’s plight weighed heavily on his heart. “I checked around to see if there was some way to help Benancio and his children, but I couldn’t find anybody to give me any direction.” A few years later, Ellis learned of Benancio’s death.
“I don’t want there to be any more Benancios, so I organized Godreports with an interactive map of the world,” Ellis says. Users can click on any country and find ministry organizations making a difference in each country.
Responding to spiritual and physical needs is an important goal of the website. “Suppose a missionary needs Bibles, food, or medical supplies to meet an urgent need and he’s unaware that someone is working only 50 miles away who could help with that need,” Ellis says. “I’m hopeful Godreports will help build greater collaboration on the mission field.”
As Ellis built the Godreports website, he says he had the privilege to meet Dr. Yong Cho at the U.S. Center for World Mission, in Pasadena, California, and was impressed by one of Dr. Cho’s observations:
“Missions are now from everywhere to everywhere, and while this is a good thing, it has also created a great deal of unnecessary duplication and even confusion…We remain largely ignorant of what each other is doing.” (Cho is international director of the Global Network of Mission Structures.)
“From the local church to the highest levels of the missions’ movement, there is a lack of networking and communication,” Ellis notes. “I hope Godreports will be a great tool to remedy this situation.”
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