Fory VandenEinde directs the multiple outreaches
of Mission America Placement Service. Each year, thousands of men and
women and young people are involved in projects impacting churches and
communities across the country. VandenEinde recently spoke with Scott
Harrup, associate editor.
EVANGEL: What are the main ministry arms of Mission
America Placement Service?
We have four arms. Summer Volunteers are college students who are thinking
about ministry and participate in an eight-week summer outreach with
pastors, inner-city ministries, Teen Challenge centers or similar projects.
We have the one- and two-year Missionary Associate program which involves
laypeople in missions ministry for longer periods. The MAPS church teams
are groups of people sponsored by churches that go out and get involved
in construction and evangelism projects. RV Volunteers are also involved
in evangelism and construction.
EVANGEL: How did you become involved with MAPS
VANDENEINDE: About 12 years ago, we had a
revival in our church in Willmar, Minn. My wife, Cindi, and I felt a
call to full-time service. In seeking the Lord in the following months
we saw an ad in the Pentecostal Evangel talking about the RV
Volunteer ministry. We went to a national convention and checked it
out. I had been a general contractor, and it was exciting to discover
an opportunity to serve the Lord with our skills. The fellowship and
camaraderie were inviting. One of the biggest projects we became involved
in was overseeing the reconstruction of churches across Puerto Rico
in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges. We spent more than five months
on the island coordinating the visiting church teams from the mainland.
With the help of almost 300 people from across America we rebuilt 25
EVANGEL: What personal qualities does it take
to serve as a MAPS volunteer?
VANDENEINDE: You need willing hands and a
servants heart. You need to be open to the Lords leading
and be flexible enough to deal with a variety of situations. Its
important to know that you dont have to come to a ministry project
with a résumé of impressive skills. I came into MAPS with
my skills as a contractor, but Ive seen many men and women learn
the needed skills on the spot and do beautiful work for the Lord. Bankers,
lawyers, doctors, secretaries, teachers it doesnt matter.
They can all be used by God to carry out ministry projects.
EVANGEL: Could you name some key projects developing
for MAPS volunteers this year?
VANDENEINDE: I wouldnt want to prioritize
any group of projects. They are all vital. But we have concentrated
on helping small churches that cant help themselves to get into
their first buildings. These churches really need our help. In just
the past six months we have completed 30 churches. We dont want
to just get a church started; we want to see new congregations moving
into new sanctuaries.
EVANGEL: What response do you receive from the
recipients of MAPS ministries?
VANDENEINDE: Our MAPS workers do more than
just build buildings. A lot of times they are also an emotional help
to a struggling pastor and congregation. Theyre on-site to offer
spiritual encouragement. Many of our volunteers have been believers
for many years and have much to offer. They have a real impact on the
people they minister among.
Pastor Steve Berry of Rainier, Ore., wrote to us
recently: "I could not say enough for the godly character and heart
for ministry that these RVers brought to us. We have given to missions
for many years. Missions came to us through the ministry of MAPS."
EVANGEL: Anything else?
VANDENEINDE: Our mission statement describes
so well our ministry goals. "Mission America Placement Service
is the facilitating arm of Home Missions that coordinates laypeople
in various avenues of service. MAPS is a servant ministry designed to
help districts with construction and evangelism needs." We really
focus on the layperson to give him or her an opportunity to have a powerful