By any measure, 2020 was a challenging year for the entire world. But for an organization (like MAI) that oversees work in communities around the world, it presented many dilemmas. Travel was locked-down due to COVID without any idea of when travel could once again resume. We grew concerned about how to continue to tell the “MAI Story” to current donors, prospective donors and others who wanted to know more about what MAI does. We began asking ourselves: how, during a pandemic, do you keep people engaged with the work you do as a mission? And perhaps more importantly, how can you grow missions engagement during such a time?
For at least 8 years MAI, had talked about taking people on mission trips so they could see the amazing transformation occurring in villages around the world. The hoped-for result would be mobilizing people to join in MAI’s kingdom work. When the lockdown took place it was clear that we couldn’t do that in person. But the rise of technology in the past 20 years opened doors that previously didn’t even exist. So, MAI decided the time had come to create “virtual mission trips” to address the challenge. Planning for the first virtual mission trip took place in summer and early fall of 2020.
A location was chosen (Democratic Republic of the Congo – which has the largest concentration of CHE programs in MAI and perhaps in the world) and we set to work. We thought through the various scenes we wanted filmed and what needed to be covered in those video clips. As with any good mission trip, we began researching history, culture, the geography, major events and other items to help inform those who would take the virtual mission trip about the country and its people. We scripted out and recorded the narration and voice-overs for what would become the first virtual mission trip. We found royalty free images, background music tracks, sound effects and stock video clips. We learned Adobe Premiere Pro to assemble and produce the end product. And, of course, we had our regional coordinator for the DRC capture video from three different communities, supply translations and narrative voiceovers to send to us for production.
This work culminated in a virtual vision trip of nearly an hour and will be viewed by groups invited to be part of the work in the DRC. Our hope and prayer is that it will engage potential donors to give to start new programs in the DRC but also to help the regional coordinator raise personal funding and hopefully to help MAI engage new donors for the organization as a whole.
The Virtual Vision Trip in 2020 was developed by Galen Dalrymple Dean, MAI Academy. You can view the replay here.