'Xtreme' missions teams looking for a few good men
RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--Young Southern Baptist men looking for adventure and an opportunity to share the gospel with unreached people groups might consider a new ministry opportunity with the International Mission Board.
Those chosen will travel in groups called "Xtreme teams" to remote areas of western South America to help start church-planting movements among the 76 people groups there that have never been exposed to the gospel. Believers from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru also will be members of the teams.
"The teams will locate unevangelized groups, do basic evangelism and saturate an area with the gospel using radio, cassettes and other available outlets," said Chris Ammons, Xtreme team coordinator.
The assignment, which would consist of a two- to three-year commitment, requires that workers be between the ages of 21 and 30. Workers must be able to endure humid jungles, long hikes and high altitudes of 17,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains.
"These young people will be more likely to have the physical stamina and ability to go into areas with challenging terrain," Ammons said.
The teams will seek out people groups living in areas that are difficult to access and have a population of 25,000 or less. Xtreme teams will be able to reach areas that career missionaries are not currently engaging, said Debbie Floyd, stateside advocacy coordinator for the region.
"To take the gospel to these people will require extreme strategies so the missionary task can be finished in western South America," she said.
Workers will receive training in language study, chronological Bible storying, rescue, survival skills and how to handle hostage situations. Teams will live in areas with various people groups for about six months at a time. The team's goal will involve producing spiritual leaders in an area before moving to the next area.
The first wave of "Xtremers" will be limited to single young men but that will eventually change, Floyd said.
"Future teams will include women," she said. "The reasoning for young men in the first wave has to do with areas where these men will travel. Safety is certainly a concern in areas where Americans are seldom if ever seen."
Teams will train Sept. 17 through Oct. 29 at the board's Missionary Learning Center near Richmond, Va., and then proceed to a training camp outside Lima, Peru. The teams will travel to Bolivia and Peru the first year and into Ecuador the second year to locate unreached people groups in these regions.
For more information on joining an Xtreme team, call toll-free 1-866-281-8955 or e-mail Chris Ammons at goXtreme@imb.org. If you will commit to pray for the teams, e-mail prayXtreme@imb.org. More information also can be found by visiting http://www.thextremeteam.org.
(BP) photos posted in BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: XTREME CLIMBING and XTREME TEAM.