Welcome to Missionary Orientation
We’re excited to welcome you to the ABWE International Headquarters for Missionary Orientation! You’re on a journey, and our staff of experts are eager to help guide and support you along the way. We hope we can confirm that ABWE is the right missions agency for you.
Before you embark, please review the following information for Missionary Orientation. Feel free to reach out to Brianna Shoeman with any questions. She will be happy to answer them!
April 7-12, 2024
Missionary Orientation takes place at ABWE International Headquarters located at 522 Lewisberry Rd., New Cumberland, PA 17070.
This week, you’re our guest! As such, all applicants don’t need to pay for training, housing, or most meals. The only costs you’ll have to pay for are travel to and from Missionary Orientation, a rental car if you choose to rent one (we recommend carpooling if you’re staying in the same location as others), and a couple of evening meals. But you can get reimbursed for your travel from your missionary account after it’s opened and if funds are available within 90 days.
At ABWE, food is our specialty! Although continental breakfasts will be provided either at your hotel or at the guesthouse, lunches and most dinners will take place onsite and are made by our own in-house chef and team. Snacks and drinks will also be available throughout the day. We will be giving you an ABWE branded water bottle so you can fill up at our water bottle filling station. (Of course, you can also bring your own water bottle if you are partial to yours!) For those with special food restrictions, you can signify that in the registration form, and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. If you have any questions regarding food restrictions, please contact Brianna Shoeman.
You’ll receive an email just before Orientation from Brianna Shoeman about your housing arrangements. You’ll either be staying on our property in one of our guesthouse’s comfortable rooms or in a nearby hotel. Check-in is at 3 p.m. for both the hotel and guesthouse. Try to check in before Missionary Orientation begins if possible. Brianna’s email will include all housing details for your time with us. Again, please contact Brianna if you still have questions after her email to you.
Have little ones making the trek? We’ve got you covered! ABWE has a newly-renovated nursery onsite for children up through age 4. All our childcare providers have completed rigorous background checks and received all Pennsylvania child protection clearances. We want to ensure your peace of mind, knowing that your young children will be well cared for! All we ask is that you come get your child from the nursery during meals. Our caregivers need breaks to eat too! We’ll have highchairs and booster seats available.
We encourage you to attend the summer Orientation if you have children ages 5 or over. Children ages 5-17+ years old will have their own MK Orientation following the themes of the adult orientation. The MK Orientation will be held offsite at a local church with their own programs and meals. This program is during the July Orientation only.
Shorts and T-shirts are appropriate for the children’s programs.
Our typical staff dress code is business casual including jeans.
There will a be a few occasions to dress more intentionally. 1) You’ll have your portrait taken on Tuesday. This portrait will be used for ABWE publications, your profile picture for the website, the appointment committee, and other internal uses. For those going to restricted access countries, the portrait will only be used internally. 2) On Wednesday, you’ll have an interview with our New Missionary Appointment Committee. This is like any other job interview, so please plan to dress accordingly.
P.S. Temperatures in the training room can vary, so you may want to bring a light sweater or jacket!
YOUR MISSIONARY JOURNEY
At ABWE, we have identified 5 stages on your journey to become a missionary.
Your week of Missionary Orientation has been carefully planned to help jumpstart your missionary journey. You’ve already passed the “Identify” stage as a person who is interested in some form of missionary service. In the next stage, we’ll see if we are a good fit for each other.
This is where you are. At this point, you’ve been on the phone with several people from ABWE and have filled out our application. On Monday and Tuesday, we will continue that process, spending time together to confirm that we are the right organization for you.
Wednesday is the New Missionary Appointment Interview, when you’ll officially be activated and become a missionary with the ABWE family! During the “Activate” stage, you’ll learn about our financial structure, the online missionary portal, your giving page, and much more.
This stage begins at Missionary Orientation but will continue throughout your time with us as we encourage you to become a lifelong learner. We’re excited to help you grow in your walk with God, as well as develop the skills you’ll need in the role to which he has called you. After Missionary Orientation, you’ll work with your Executive Director to craft a personal development plan based on your experience, country of service (if applicable), and your ministry role. Friday is a full day dedicated to partnership development training. This will equip you to begin discovering the financial and prayer partners God has prepared for you in advance.
This final stage occurs when you have finished your development plan and raised the necessary funds and prayer support. Then, you’ll launch into the ministry to which God has called you!
WHAT TO EXPECT
Want to be ahead of the curve? Here are some ways that you can prepare for your journey before even stepping foot onto the ABWE International Headquarters.
What To Bring:
- A laptop or tablet to access Microsoft Office products (Two if you are a couple)
- Headphones to do your online training
- Passport OR both driver’s license AND social security card for each applicant
- Any paperwork that ABWE sent to you ahead of time to be filled out
- Social security numbers of all your dependents
- Name, birthday, and social security numbers of anyone else you would like to name as your beneficiary on your life insurance forms
- Healthcare and vaccination records of all family members to reference as you fill out the health history forms (if needed)
- Leave some room in your suitcase! You will be given several gifts and books while you are here.
How To Prepare:
- Download Microsoft Teams (free download) to the laptops/tablets that you are bringing with you.
- Watch this 7-minute video on how to use Teams. If you need help, someone will be available to assist you on Sunday night during the introduction time. All documents and PowerPoint presentations will be available on Teams during and after Missionary Orientation.
- Once you are sent your ABWE email address credentials, please set up two-factor authentication and then email Brianna at email@example.com and let her know that you successfully got into your email inbox.
- On Monday, you’ll be asked to give a 3-minute testimony, briefly sharing your how God called you into missions and where you believe he is calling you (or options if you aren’t sure yet). What did the Lord do in your life to bring you to this point? Couples will be given 6 minutes and can use that time separately or go back and forth equally between themselves.
- On Wednesday, you’ll be given 5 minutes during the New Missionary Appointment Interview to share what you plan to do and where, along with conveying your thoughts on ABWE’s vision of multiplying leaders, churches, and missions’ movements among every people.
- Take a look at a sample schedule to give you a better idea of what to expect.
While you’re here at Missionary Orientation, you’ll have time to work on child safety training and personal security training online if you have not already completed those.
After Missionary Orientation is finished and you have gone home, there will be a few virtual appointments that we will set up with you as you continue the onboarding process. For those of you going overseas, you will have a virtual appointment with Dr. Miriam Wheeler, our Missionary Health Care Director, who will go over your health forms with you. This appointment is for placement purposes to ensure a good fit with where you are planning to go and what you are planning to do. For everyone, there will be a virtual appointment with your Executive Director and Pre-field Coach. The purpose of this meeting will be to finalize your Individual Development Plan going forward as your prepare for your future ministry.
We know you’re excited about coming to Missionary Orientation (we are too!), but we also want you to be mindful of your digital footprint—especially those of you wanting to go to restricted fields.
In light of this, here are some cyber security best practices:
- Use a secure communication medium (e.g. Signal)
- Have a clean online presence
- Be wise with social media
- Use a VPN to protect your internet traffic
- Protect digital files
- Never reuse a password
Read the full ABWE Digital Security Guidelines below and check out the video. Thanks in advance for your attention to this matter!
We hope this guide helps you know how to plan for Missionary Orientation! Know that we are praying for you as you take this next step and are excited to see how God will work in and through you in the days ahead. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your contact in Mobilization or to Brianna Shoeman. We’re here to serve you!