In 2000 two different men, who did not yet know each other, heard the beginnings of God’s call to what would turn out to be key mission roles – one in Senegal, West Africa and one in Mazatlán, Mexico. Mark began gathering US churches to work together to reach the dominant people group, called the Wolof, in Senegal. Chad began working with US church youth ministries to reach out to the impoverished people of Mazatlán with the good news of the Gospel. Both were faithful to the relationships they made in these distant lands. Both had a contagious spirit, getting people involved in the mission. Both continued to grow in their understanding of God’s callings as they continued in these ministries.
Mark and Chad met in 2004 through the exploding new church plant they had joined in Silverdale, Washington. They discovered their shared passion to do more to help heal the world. Chad as a pastor at the church and Mark as an elder, took a major role in helping to move the mission forward. They shared many cups of coffee over the years discussing the best ways to help people in the US and people in other countries and cultures build strong relationships, as they shared in the calling to reach those caught in the poverty cycle with the light and love of Jesus. How can people who do not speak the same language form relationships? How was God calling the church to work in both Mexico and West Africa? Was this a new mission organization being born, or something else? After much contemplating, and a pivotal conference in Senegal, Mark and Chad became convinced that child sponsorship would be the best vehicle for breaking the cycle of poverty in the lives of children and families. In Mazatlán, these sponsorships would help fund the basic needs of children though feeding centers. Kids would get to eat a healthy meal before school every day; they would have shoes, school uniforms, school supplies and a Bible. Most importantly, they would have daily spiritual training with adults who cared about them. In Senegal, these sponsorships would fund tuition for a quality education for kids in need at Christian schools, where they would learn about a God who loves them from teachers who care about them.
It very quickly became clear that this mission had grown to a point that it needed a supporting mission organization that had a high value for the role of the global church in its calling to empower the poorest of the poor. In January 2010, newlife church commissioned and launched GO on the Mission as an independent non-profit that would grow quickly to include churches, individuals and business people in multiple other churches and states. Mark was the first Africa Director and Chad was the first Latin America Director. In the first few years, GO established their child sponsorship program, built partnerships with churches in the US, and began making a big difference in helping children break the cycle of poverty in Mexico and West Africa.
Over the last 8 years, the sponsorship programs have grown to 300 sponsored children. In Senegal, several Christian schools have been adopted by US churches with many projects at these schools carried out successfully, including such things as a putting in new playgrounds at a several schools, and massively expanding a school from 2 small rooms to a two-story building with several classrooms. In Mexico, multiple feeding centers have been built and opened, many US churches have done building projects in the colonias, and GO’s annual soccer camp now partners with 8 local Mexican churches and has an average attendance of 1500 children. Our staff both in the US and in our partner countries have grown, professional database and accounting systems have been installed, and many people have traveled with our trips to visit their sponsored child. We can’t wait to see what happens over the next several years.