A Millennial’s Dream

Written by: Heidi Salzman.

“Before CHILI, I didn’t really know where I was going. I knew I wanted to do something impactful; I knew I wanted to be a missionary. But I didn’t know where to start. After I heard about CHILI, ... I knew this is what I had been looking for.”

The above quote was spoken by one of the CHILI (Community Health Intercultural Learning Initiative) students. The five students—of whom I am one—all have two things in common.

  1. We’re all millennials   
  2. We all want to make an impact

Chances are if you’re reading this, you might be a millennial, too. Our generation, the millennials, is one of the biggest generations, succeeded only by the Baby Boomers of the previous century. We’re also pretty unique, diverse, and acceptant of others; I like that. We have some of the biggest drive and selfless ambition of any generation before us.

One thing I’ve observed in our colourful and diverse generation is that we crave greatness—we long to make an impact. But not the kind of greatness that glitters and shines—I’m talking about real greatness. The kind that makes a difference in our world and fills our cups of joy to trickling over.

As a Christian millennial, I have always had a deep longing in me to do something truly worthwhile. As a kid, I’d pretend I was the heroes and heroines in books. I imagined myself to be the redeemer of a town, a city, a continent, the world…Then I grew up, but that passion to do something great didn’t disappear with my awkward style and buck teeth.

I ate up books about missionaries and told stories of the missionary I would become one day. But to me, it was just as fanciful as the pretend heroine saving her country town.

Until one day, I heard about CHILI.

CHILI is an acronym for Community Health Intercultural Learning Initiative. It’s a two-year programme that provides training for six months in Shell, Ecuador and 18 months in another country. The training includes the following topics:

  • Community development training
  • Team building
  • Trips to the Amazon jungle
  • Water projects
  • Engineering
  • Spiritual formation
  • Evangelism training
  • …and much more!

The 18 months following the training are spent in another country where you’ll put into practice everything you learned. 

I jumped at the chance to do CHILI because I knew that even though I’d be leaving friends, family, and the house I’d been living in since a kid, there was something more I longed for. I wanted to meet God on a different level, in a different place. I wanted to stretch my faith and test my endurance. And now I’m so glad I didn’t shrink back from this opportunity.

Committing to CHILI could be potentially difficult for some. I know it was for me. But every time I make a sacrifice (even if it’s a tiny one), I remember this verse:

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. – Matthew 19:29

So what expectations will you have to meet for CHILI?

  • You’ll have to raise your own support
  • You’ll need to be flexible and willing to go with the flow
  • You need to have a clear and sure calling for the mission field
  • You are not required to have a degree to be part of CHILI (but it’s a plus!)
  • You don’t need any prior experience
  • You’re not required to have a Bible degree

While I think our generation is a beautiful generation, sadly, it’s one of the least religious in decades. Only 13% of millennials are religious at all. Even less than that are evangelical Christians.

Most of the missionaries on the field are middle-aged or older. Many of the people who need to be reached are millennials. Men and women from our own generation. Who’s going to relate to them the best? Who’s going to share the interests they do? Who’s going to dress in the same clothes and go gaga over the latest gadget like they do? Of course, the answer is us.

Do you want to join me in actually doing something to change this world? Will you immerse yourself in an amazing team and culture to learn about being a missionary? Could you turn your passion for greatness into energy for Jesus?

Yes, you can. I truly believe that CHILI is one of the best mission resources out there.

Ready to change the world for Jesus? Find out more about CHILI here.

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