In 2005, 10 years ago this summer, I got on a plane with a team of students and traveled to Brasil for 10 days. Little did I know what this trip would begin, a season where we dedicated an enormous amount of time, money and energy to developing student mission leaders. [Although some of this started in 2004, 2005 was an international team.] Except for 2009, I have done this every summer since. It has been an huge task and has required a good amount of sacrifice but the benefits have been incredible - these experiences have done more for my soul than almost anything else in my life. In many ways, I feel like I was made for this.
Here are some big picture metrics - back of the napkin style:
9 teams, 114 people, average team size of 12.
13 countries. I have never led an adult team, by the way.
Collectively raised around $245,000.
71 team prep meetings and 5 team prep overnighters [Mission Advance]. 350 hours of team preparation.
94 days on the field. 8904 hours of serving.
As best as I can gather, 85% of these students are still engaged in Christian missional leadership. I'm not saying there is cause and effect here - just because a student goes on one of these doesn't mean that they will grow in their leadership. But we do track that statistic and if any of these numbers matter, it is that one.
From SPACE to The Ember Cast, thank you to the many, many friends, co-conspirators and student missions patrons that have journeyed with us. If you've sent an encouraging email, prayed for a student or a team, donated money, liked or read a post, retweeted or made a favorite, showed up at a bake sale or made a meal or encouraged a team or student, etc, the list could go on and on - we are forever grateful and none of this would be possible without you. You have marked the course of human history and the future is indebted to you.