Are you interested in people and cultures beyond your everyday circle?
Some of us may have grown up as missionary kids or in military families and lived in other countries. Others have traveled on short-term missions trips, and for some of us, the closest we’ve come to international travel is watching “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”
The world is a lot smaller place these days, and we’re more aware than ever before of what is going on in the rest of the world. But you may not know what Focus on the Family, the parent organization of Boundless, does outside the U.S. borders.
1. Focus on the Family has a big international footprint.
Focus on the Family Associate Offices are in 12 countries, along with ministry partners that actively engage the culture in 60 countries, and a presence through radio and media in about 120 countries.
Focus on the Family serves families on every continent except Antarctica, and if there were a way for penguins to listen to The Boundless Show, we’d be down there, too. This global partnership reaches from South Africa to Ireland, from Eastern Europe to the Far East, from Cairo to Costa Rica. Christians abroad are just as desperate for Focus on the Family insights on life, relationships and faith as they are in the United States.
2. Focus on the Family looks wildly different from country to country.
Focus on the Family Africa cares for 878 AIDS orphans in South Africa every month. This is a direct response to the need in their culture and the grim reality that AIDS is tearing South African families apart. The orphan care program would not work everywhere, or even be necessary everywhere, but Focus on the Family Africa has the freedom to address the staggering need they see around them and the initiative to get it done.
A Focus on the Family home in Luthando, South Africa, that provides food, school uniforms, school fees and shelter for vulnerable children
More than 7,000 miles away in Northeast China, Focus on the Family’s Chinese outreach identified an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to local families. They worked with local government officials to provide surgeries for 65 babies born with cleft palates. One grateful father commented that “by helping a child in this poor neighborhood, we are helping three generations.” This tangible expression of God’s love helped establish Focus on the Family’s Chinese outreach as an organization that truly cares about families.
3. Focus on the Family teams develop creative ways to deliver their programs.
These countries don’t exactly have a Bible Belt for the Associate Offices to fall back on. The church and Christian school networks that are so prevalent in the U.S. are not nearly as substantial overseas. So Associate Offices have to learn to work through different channels to communicate their message.
In Costa Rica, volunteers teach No Apologies™ in public schools. No Apologies is a character-based, abstinence education program that encourages young people to stand up for their self-worth, to understand the impact of their choices, and to choose God’s way. It’s a program that has been a huge success internationally for Focus on the Family, to the degree that more than 3 million students have signed pledges at the end of the program, committing to sexual purity.
In China, there is a corporation that offers the No Apologies™ course to its employees through Focus on the Family volunteers in their human resources department. For U.S. readers, can you imagine either of those scenarios playing out in the United States? Yet international offices and ministry partners have found a way to make these initiatives succeed by delivering the high-quality, high-impact programs that their audiences are looking for.
International ministry is not just something Focus on the Family stumbled upon. We have been developing international ministry opportunities for 25 years. Global outreach is important to us because it’s important to God. People matter. Focus on the Family works with extraordinary teams around the world to share this simple message.
What are some international causes that matter to you? How do you find ways to stay connected to the projects that you care about?
Kyle Adams joined Focus on the Family in 2014, working in Global Ministry Development. He has traveled to Algeria, Chile, Dubai, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Yemen with different ministries and is consistently amazed at how the kingdom of God is so much larger than he ever imagined. Kyle lives in Monument, Colo., with his wife and four young children.