Whirlwind Missions offers something truly remarkable to your team. There are now 761 language groups located within 5 miles of our headquarters! You are about to take a real, live foreign mission trip!
We work in the International Village in Metro Atlanta. It is truly a unique area in America. Within about four square miles there are 145 different countries represented. Until recently Wycliff Bible Translators had a missionary doing a version of the Hmuong Bible living at Woodgate in Chamblee!
Imagine for a second that you have been transported to Cambodia. You don't understand the language, don't know how to use the transportation system, or what food is safe or how to see a doctor. Two Buddhists dressed in orange robes come to your door, speaking English. You're excited because they know your language. They say, "Hello, my name is Phoung and this is Than. We want to welcome you to our community. We realize that you don't speak our language and we want you to know that we have Cambodian classes downstairs. We understand that you have children. Since you probably can't help them with their homework we have set up classes to help them after school. If you have a problem getting to the doctor, or need help translating, call me." And he hands you his card. After a while, what do you think your impression is going to be of Buddhists? I don't know what you thought about Buddhist back home, but they start to look pretty good in Cambodia! This is exactly what we do in the International Village, except instead of Buddhists, we're Christians!
Since most people don't speak another language (I speak six) we work mainly with children. There is no language barrier unless the children haven't started school or else they have just immigrated to the USA. I usually have at least three or four new kids to our community every month. They speak no English. I have to teach them, "Hello, my name is Nathaniel.
Most groups come and do backyard Bible Clubs with us during the Summer. This year we worked at 62 different apartment complexes. We have thirty-eight established missions. Most of these have inside facilities, five of them have complete kitchen facilities. Most of the apartments have an average of about 20-25 children who participate. They range from 1st through 7th grade. Three or four moms with their pre-schoolers is also common. There will be some high schoolers as well. The largest group we hosted in 2008 was around 950 high school/middle school students. Each group is broken down into teams. A good missionary team size will have 6-8 youngsters and 2 adults. Each team will cover one location. Most teams lead one mission from 1-3pm and a second mission from 3:30-5:30pm. So if your group is 30 people you will have three teams and cover six locations. My preference is to have a ratio of 1 missionary (you guys!) to 3 residents of the complexes. I don't like too many more missionaries than that because then people in your group start to feel like they are not needed.
All of the children will be internationals. They come from three major religious groups: Muslim, Buddhist and Catholic. We are there to share Jesus in a loving way.
Arguing about how we are right and Mohammed is wrong will never work. People are converted through and by love, not logic. I am very evangelistic, but I have found that an antagonist approach never works.
So let your groups know that we always have to be friendly first. It is my preference that your group has an overview on what these three faiths believe before they come. Here are a few links to help get you started:
I think it's great to use the material that you had for your own VBS to use with our kids. Just remember that most of them speak English as a second language, so their reading ability may not be all that great. Don't worry if another group has already used the same material. With the kids we're working with repetition is not necessarily a bad thing.
I am very flexible as far as when you want to come. I have plenty of work! BUT, you will have a better experience if you plan your trip when I have the fewest people in town. You'll get a lot more of Tim and Ashley if there are only 20 people in town as compared to 200!
The morning tours will be an eye opening and mind blowing experience for the team.
There is some shopping too, but that's mainly food items that they can share to get a taste of the culture.
Monday is the big briefing on the area and how to round up/deal with the kids at the mission. We meet at First Baptist Doraville at 9:30 AM. I start with teaching people "Hola" and have them greet every Spanish person they see at the market with that. During they week they'll greet people in Mandarin, Arabic and Hindi as they travel.
Then we go see the Buford Highway Farmers market. Each aisle represents a different country! It's like taking a trip around the world. I went there today. Greeted people in Turkish, Spanish, Japanese, Russian and Korean. It's an absolutely incredible place. We're there for about an hour.
Tuesday we meet at First Baptist Doraville at 10:00 AM. I take them to CD Tower which is where people buy their Buddhist idols. Every morning before the tour, I give a briefing explaining that religion, what they believe and then we go see it. We also see the Chinese pharmacy and a Mexican/Guatemalan grocery store.
On Tuesday I also focus on recognizing the difference between Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese writing. They won't understand it but they will recognize it!
On Wednesday we'll meet at First Baptist Doraville at 9:30 AM. After the religious briefing on Islam an Hinduism we go to Global Mall to see and meet with a Hindu priest and see how they pray. We also go to a N. African grocery store, see their prayer room and a library of Islamic books.
On Thursday we'll meet at First Baptist Doraville at 10:30 AM and then go to Plaza Fiesta which is an enormous Mexican mall. It's an amazing place! We focus on the Botanicas which is the Catholic esoteric spiritual side. But the whole place is incredible. Just like you've been transported to Central America.
It is almost impossible for people who have not been here to truly understand how incredible this experience is that I've set up. After you've been here you'll understand. You cannot oversell this trip. It is absolutely unique. And that's from someone who has lived all over the world and grew up in Africa!
Most teams start around 1:30 PM.There is a good reason for that - the kids that live in the apartments aren't up till around then! The mornings are used for team briefings, planning sessions, service projects, and Prayer Walks. The best scenario is to start after lunch. Perhaps 1:30-3:30PM for the first mission group then 4-6 pm for the second group. Recreation starts most sessions. Usually it's best to tell the Bible story, give the snack out and then do the craft. The craft should relate to the story. The cookies are leverage for attention so tell the story before you give out the treats. Ends up the day with more recreation time and more cookies or goodies if you have some left over.
In the morning we host tours in the International Village.
The morning tours will be an eye opening and mind blowing experience for the team.
There is some shopping too, but that's mainly for food items that they can share to get a taste of the culture.
Monday is the big briefing on the area and how to round up/deal with the kids at the mission. I start with teaching people "Hola" and have them greet every Spanish person they see at the market with that. During they week they'll learn to greet people in Mandarin, Arabic and Hindi as they travel.
Tuesday I take them to Phuc Loc Tho which is where people buy their Buddhist idols. Every morning before the tour, I give a briefing explaining that religion, what they believe and then we go see it. We also see the Chinese pharmacy and a Mexican/Guatemalan grocery store.
Wednesday after the religious briefing on Islam and Hinduism we go to Global Mall to see and meet with a Hindu priest and see how they pray. We also go to a North African grocery store, see their prayer room and a library of Islamic books.
Thursday we go to Plaza Fiesta which is an enormous Mexican mall. It's an amazing place! We focus on the Botanicas which are the Catholic esoteric spiritual stores. The whole place is incredible, just like you've been transported to Central America.
Friday morning is a free time for your team to revisit the areas or rest.
It is almost impossible for people who have not been here to truly understand how incredible this experience is. It is absolutely unique. And that's from someone who has lived all over the world and grew up in Africa!
My partners at Mission Arlington in Texas have developed some fantastic Bible story material. For ideas about presentations for the Backyard Bible Club check out Mission Arlington Curriculum. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader to see these files (and for the maps to the missions!).
If you need some ideas on simple crafts to do with the kids at the missions check out these links:
Supplies can be bought at Michael's which is across the street from Northlake Mall on LaVista Road, or at Office Depot, which is on Peachtree Industrial just around the corner from Azalea Mission.
For hotels we found the best to be Comfort Inn. At $59 a night for four people with double beds and full hot breakfast!
We deal with Comfort Inn located at 2001 Clearview Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30340. The contact person there is April Gipson. Make sure you tell her that you're working with Tim Cummins and Whirlwind Missions. They are working on getting the best deals possible for the teams. Prices start out at $69 per a room with two double beds. Call April on her cell phone: 770-374-9651.
All of the churches listed below have facilities that could be used by a visiting team. Contact them directly and ask about their facility and the price/schedule availability. Take a look at the Host Churches part of the Photo Gallery.
We have an exciting partnership with North Peachtree Baptist Church. They are located just off of 285 near the International Village. They are offering the use of their facilities for $25/person. That amount is the same if you stay one day or the whole week. That is an outstanding offering and it’s to your advantage to stay longer! They have terrific facilities and can host a maximum of 100 people. They do have kitchen facilities but if you have a very large team, it would probably be better to plan on cooking at our home church of FBC Doraville, which is just a few minutes from NPBC. Betty Luther is Office Manager and is in charge of scheduling the facility. Contact her directly at 4805 Tilly Mill Road, Atlanta, Georgia, 30360. Telephone: 770-457-1148.
Briarcliff Baptist Church will host teams. Call and ask for Helym Kefler at 404-633-6103. They are a terrific church near the International Village right off of I-85. The address is 4105 Briarcliff, Atlanta, GA 30345. They haven't set firm prices, at least they haven't communicated that to me. Seems like about $5/person/day is about what the other teams paid.
Rehoboth Baptist Church also has capacity for large teams. Call Robbie Langford at 770-939-3182 to schedule your stay. Rehoboth charges $15 per person per night.
Our friends at First Baptist Church of Doraville let us use their big kitchen for group meals and have been very helpful with that. We just have to make sure that we leave the place absolutely spotless. I usually suggest that we give them a love offering for their utilities as well, but that's up to you. Several of our missions have kitchen facilities, but if you're cooking for a big group it'd be better to use FBC Doraville. You can call Renee Glass at 770-457-0244.
The majority of the costs are in lodging and food. That is really up to you as to how fancy you go with that. Atlanta has a LOT of fun stuff to do including Six Flags, White Water, Stone Mountain, the Zoo, the Braves, and Sci-Trek.
Atlanta is also home to CNN, Underground Atlanta, and the World of Coke.
Atlanta's newest attraction is the home of the world's largest fish tank: the Georgia Aquarium.
I'm sure you'll have other questions later. Email is a great way to get in touch with me. For even speedier results don't hesitate to call me at 770-490-1668.
Don't just take my word for it! Take a look at Youth Director Testimony to hear what one of our partners experienced!
My wife and I are faith missionaries. Our board has established a contract for our visiting teams. The financial support insures the ongoing operation of our missions and the liability insurance that covers your team. Please click on Contract and email the document back to me. When we receive 50% of your expected support we consider your team confirmed. You will then see your team on the Team Assignments page and will know where you will be serving.
We look forward to reaching the lost with you!