USA (MNN) — Today, many Christians are carefully considering where to invest in cross-cultural missions. The old way of doing it was to recruit western Christians, send them to training, teach them the language, then support their work until they’re ready to retire or they’re sent home–whichever comes first.
Today, there’s a different model.
The Haggai Institute trains nationals. Dr. Aldo Fontao is a Haggai Institute trained cardiologist from Argentina. He is a very influential doctor who has cared for four presidents in his country. Fontao says, “I attended training on how to evangelize your own people.”
The goal is to take influential Christian leaders in hard-to-reach areas and train them for 25 days. Fontao says, “It’s a new way of doing missions.”
Why is it needed? “Most of the countries most in need of evangelism– like in the Middle East and Asia–are closed to American missionaries or [missionaries] from other countries.”
If foreign workers are able to get in, Fontao says, “They have to go there, learn the culture and the language, get into the community. That takes not less than 10 years. And, how much does that cost? With that, you could train 100 locals.”
Why train key national Christian leaders? “They have the language, they don’t need a visa, and they can do a much better job from the very beginning,” says Fontao. “And: you don’t have to support them.”
Haggai Institute has trained royalty from Africa, vice-presidents, political candidates and professionals–people who already have influence within their culture.
The training costs $12,500 for 25 days of intense training outside of their country. Why so much? Fontao says, “That pays for the airfare, the lecturer, the training [location], for absolutely everything, and participants pay a portion of that.”
That’s a fraction of what a first-world missionary is paid over a lifetime. And, this training is duplicating itself. “Each of the trainees commit themselves to training 100 others. In these 27 years with Haggai Institute, I have trained more than 30,000 people.” That’s an incredible return on investment!
The training Haggai Institute provides isn’t theoretical; it’s practical, hands on, one-on-one training. “Also, we teach people how to reach the new generations and how to reach special groups–how to deal with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam–all that stuff which can be a real challenge in how you defend your faith.” The training gives them principles that they can put into practice as soon as leaders return.
While you may not be able to help provide the full funding needed for one of these leader, could you support one for a day? It costs $500. That covers lodging, flight, food, materials, and more. You can also team up with others to make this happen.