15 Jun What is a “Brigade”?
Many may wonder why we use the term “brigade” for visiting short term mission teams. Brigade is generally a military term but can also mean “a group of individuals organized for a particular purpose”. When the Waldron family moved there in 2009 they realized that in Honduras the term “brigade” was being used to refer to groups of North Americans that would come to serve in the form of medical teams, construction teams, or VBS teams. Since that time Mission UpReach has used the term.
In the past 8 years, thousands have been served with general medical attention, dental work, and vision checks through our medical brigades. These are generally conducted in small outlying villages where the most needy people live and where access to good medical attention is scarce. Hundreds have visited us to participate in construction brigades that have completed projects from improving local school buildings, building new church buildings, and more recently specific construction projects at our Moses Project farm. One of our most popular brigades is our VBS brigades that work alongside our DESEO program in local public schools. When VBS brigades come they get to go into the schools with fun activities and crafts centered around a specific Bible story. The participants really enjoy the interaction with the children and teachers and become a part of helping us demonstrate the love of Christ to the 1,500 children we serve each week.
Many of the thousands of participants over the past eight years have testified to the life-changing experience participating in a brigade has brought into their lives. Many say that they couldn’t grasp the magnitude of all that God has done and is doing until they came and saw it with their own eyes. Many participants are impacted on a deep spiritual level and return home with a greater passion for the lost and needy in their own communities. And a few actually decide to make foreign missions their life’s passion. As a mission, the service these brigades do and the love they exude through their kindness and generosity all serve to reinforce what we are doing on an everyday basis.
Many non-profit organizations focus solely on humanitarian work and recruit teams for that end. At Mission UpReach we are determined to utilize the efforts of our visiting teams toward the goal of building the John 1010 generation. This means we have a great responsibility to direct the good intentions of the brigades toward the strategy of doing good in the name of Jesus, stewarding the good works of the brigades for eternal purposes. For this reason, each visitor pays for his/her expenses and any expenses related to the work they do while in country. No donations given to Mission UpReach are ever used to fund brigades, although the infrastructure in place provides the logistical support to ensure a safe, productive, and well organized experience for all participants.