USA (MNN) — Teen Missions International is an organization that specializes in training and equipping teenagers for the mission field. They have 265 acres of prime Florida swamp, which serves as a training camp for hundreds of youth each year. For 39 years they've been trying to instill a mission's vision in young people.
Teen Missions President and Founder Bob Bland says it's working. "We've taken over 40,000 teenagers to the mission field in those years. And many of those are missionaries now."
However, the training isn't limited to teens in the United States. "We're running the same overseas in about 30 countries with national teenagers who go out and do work projects. We build schools and churches and orphanages and clinics and hospitals. And of course, we have evangelism teams as well."
Teen Missions is actively involved in HIV/AIDS ministry in Africa.
Teen Missions will be the focus of a network television program, says Bland. "CBS 48 Hours, which is network television, produced a one-hour special. It shows the ministry of teens missions. They are going to air that on Saturday December 13, and it's called The Lord's Bootcamp."
Bland says while he's hoping a lot more people will get acquainted with Teen Missions, he's also praying that their HIV/AIDS ministry will receive more attention. "Since the 70's, 17-million people have died of AIDS — just in Sub-Saharan Africa. And that isn't even the bad news. The bad news they left 13 million orphans."
Bland puts the problem in perspective in an area of Zimbabwe. "We surveyed in a rural area, a five mile circle. In that five mile circle there were 600 AIDS orphans. There were four households in which the oldest living person was 10 years old."
Bland says in order to handle the orphan problems, 80,000 orphanages holding 500 children would have to be built. That's why they're establishing rescue units and drawing attention to the incredible need. He's hoping to recruit young people to help this situation. "We send a team each year. We're recruiting now for kids to go in the summer of 2009 to work with the AIDS orphans there."
Information about the trip is available at http://www.TeenMissions.org. Check your local listings in the U.S. to see when CBS's 48 Hours airs in your area.