Global Village Gives Missionaries A Webpage to Call Home
Missions are not just about a particular project, place, or people.
“Missions,” said Wade Pallister, “must be who you are. They must be your lifestyle. They don’t end when you go home, they are only the beginning. They are who you are, what you do, how you raise your family, where you buy your coffee. Missions must completely envelope every bit of your being.”
Thanks to new technology and social media trends, Pallister is now living out his calling, documenting his journey, and asking others to not just support his mission, but to become part of his story.
Pallister, who has been with Youth With A Mission Canada since 1989, is planning to travel to northern Thailand with his family to launch a social enterprise that includes establishing a fair trade natural soap factory and spa that will provide employment opportunities, job training, and viable markets for agricultural crops for the Akha people of Southeast Asia.
As he prepares for the mission, Pallister has been documenting his process on thisglobalvillage.com, a website launched in the summer of 2010. Capitalizing on society’s fascination with reality TV, the rise of social media, and audiences’ eagerness to know everything about everyone as soon as it happens, the site uses videos, blogs, text messages, and photos to instantly and constantly connect missionaries with supporters, donors, organizations, and anyone interested in experiencing raw, uncut stories from the mission field.
Like reality TV for Christians, Global Village features real people contributing real, undiluted, and timely information. It lets contributors share their experiences, motivates and inspires prayers and donations, and encourages online visitors to make a difference in the world through awareness, accessibility, and authenticity.
For Pallister, the forum completely fit his philosophy.
“A few years ago I had a Damascus road experience during a talk with my brother about technology and social media,” he said. “We talked about how the next phase of the Internet will belong to people who provide content. It’s that democratization of the media that appeals to me: you don’t need power or wealth to get your voice heard.”
Having been introduced to the founder of thisglobalvillage.com through a mutal friend, Pallister became one of the first missionaries to get on board. With his own life adapting and changing as the scope of his journey progresses, he is enjoying the chance to share his experience with others.
“Like a lot of missionaries, the concept of where home is changes,” he said. Having been with Vancouver Youth With A Mission since 1996, he and his wife and three small children are now without a permanent home. Living in a van since September, they are house-sitting and staying with friends in Canada and the USA, while getting ready to make their research trip to Thailand.
“The concept of home comes down to where God has you and where your friends are,” Pallister said. Being able to instantly share thoughts and ideas through postings, videos, and photos and to interact with people around the world through Global Village expands those notions of home and friendship, because meaningful connections can be made any where, at any time.
Pallister is hoping that through those interactions, online visitors will become supporters and champions, and join him in acting as agents of change and messengers of hope.
“The power of story is so important,” he said, noting that thisglobalvillage.com gives online visitors a forum where they can learn, share, educate and enlighten themselves, and be part of experiences they may not otherwise be exposed to.
“So often people in North American have a very colonial, racist mindset,” Pallister observed: “They think, ‘I’m white and Christian, and I need to help people with a different skin colour than me‘.” But there are needs everywhere, including in Vancouver, where Pallister plans to return to after his mission in Thailand: “Missions have to be about obedience and intentionality, not about geography,” he said. “The great thing about Global Village is it breaks down those mindsets.”
“Yes, people can donate and give, but through the power of story they can also relate to the journey. I’d ask that people go to thisglobalvillage.com and read stories they believe in, to partner with a journey they believe in.”
“I would love for people to read my story and champion our project, to invite their friends, start their own pages about our project, and become part of our story.”
Pallister also hopes others will act with intention and use their gifts wherever there is a need. “Whatever skills you have, I would encourage you to use them wherever God has called you to do it. I encourage everyone to create their own stories.”