USA (MNN) — Who says you have to go overseas to be a part of global missions?
If that were true, many people who have a heart for missions would be disappointed to learn they couldn’t participate.
Fortunately, ministries like Global Aid Network USA make it obvious that there are other ways to help people around the world and share the truth about God.
Recently, GAIN USA finished five days of packing goods at their Pennsylvania distribution center to meet needs in over 30 countries.
Steve Watson of GAIN USA says, “The main goal is to get volunteers involved: to show people that even if they can’t go on a mission trip or travel overseas, they can be involved with missions right here at home.”
Over the five days, GAIN USA received help from 3,100 volunteers, packed around 51,000 lbs of clothing, 120,000 meals of beans and rice, and 16,000 school supply kits.
While numbers don’t exactly represent impact, they certainly give a tangible picture of the fruits gained by partnerships with GAIN USA.
And the impact on the groups who go there isn’t something to be looked over, as Watson explains.
“Many have started at the distribution center…and then they’ve gone back and gotten their churches involved or school groups involved to help provide the aid that we ship.
“Many have gone on trips after coming to the distribution, so it’s a good entry for people to find out what Global Aid Network does, how we’re involved around the world, and how they can get more people involved.”
Throughout the day, volunteers take time to remember what it’s all about. Watson says, ‘Whenever we finish packing a pallet in a particular area, we’ll stop everybody and pray over that pallet that’s going out. [We] pray that God would get it into the hands of people who need it and that they would hear the Gospel when they get the aid that’s packed up.”
The ministry partners of GAIN USA who deliver the packages have opportunity to represent and share the love of Jesus Christ.
The level of openness about their discussions varies from country to country.
In more open countries, groups can have discussions about the Gospel of Jesus and even show the JESUS film.”
Other times, it’s not as easy.
“In a closed country, they don’t have quite the open opportunity to share the Gospel,” Watson explains. “But they do have the opportunity to build relationships with people. As they build relationships and people get to know them as human beings who care about them, then they do start asking that question, ‘Why? Why do you care about me? Why are you bringing me this aid?’ Then they get to share individually with people.”
Either way, Watson says, “All of the aid goes with the Gospel. It just depends on the setting whether they get to openly proclaim it or it’s more of a ‘let’s build relationship and share over time.'”
Watson works with the distribution remotely from the offices in Dallas. He looks forward to the packing project so that he can work alongside volunteers and employees that he doesn’t see otherwise.
“What I love about the packing event is people come back time and time again,” Watson says. He sees people who’ve gone on trips with GAIN USA and who volunteer and bring others along with them. “It’s kind of like a reunion.”
What is encouraging for Watson is seeing the hands raised when they ask how many people are first-timers. People who have been blessed by the experience return again inviting family, friends, and churches to get involved.
Registration for October’s packing project doesn’t open until September. In the meantime, you can stay updated with GAIN USA’s other projects and pray alongside them.
Watson is really excited about Tony’s Tour de Meals. Tony Fritz works in the distribution center, and in an effort to raise awareness and funds for food and shipping, he is riding his bike from the office Dallas to Pennsylvania’s distribution center.
He leaves this morning, embarking on a trip of over 1,500 miles. Stay tuned for updates on Tony’s Tour De Meals.
If you’d like to pledge to the bike ride, follow this link.