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Adventures in Missions' 100,000th Volunteer is Serving Others and Changing Lives, Including Her Own

Contact: Jeff Goins, Adventures in Missions, 770-983-1060 ext 297

GAINESVILLE, Ga., Oct. 25, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- What began as a dream in one man's garage has morphed into a global movement, sending over 100,000 volunteers around the world. Annually, Adventures in Missions sends over 6,000 adults, students, and families on mission trips to more than 70 locations on several continents, with their trips ranging from a few days to a few years.

"It's counter-cultural, but it's not new. Our methods are Jesus' own," said Seth Barnes, Adventures' founder. "They aren't based on a curriculum or a program. We believe in impacting the world one relationship at a time."

Adventures hasn't always been the global organization it is today. This nonprofit originated in Seth Barnes' Wellington, Fla. home 23 years ago. The tiny operation quickly outgrew the kitchen, so it moved to the garage. In both places, the Barnes children were the organization's hardest workers, doing odd jobs like licking stamps and folding newsletters. As the ministry grew, so did the challenges, including enduring the skepticism of others.

"Life on the home front was difficult. We were pregnant with our fifth child, had no insurance, and nobody to pay me a salary," Barnes said. "But it was better to abandon everything and trust in God than to trust in my own competence."

Today, nearly a quarter century later, Barnes is still trusting God to guide and provide for his family, which now includes dozens of full-time staff members who train, support, and work alongside thousands of volunteers annually.

What makes Adventures different from other nonprofit organizations is the way in which its staff invites participants to purposely choose things that are eternal over temporary. Instead of striving for the American Dream, they challenge people to reach for God's dream -- for themselves, their families and their community, Barnes said, and others agree.

"I see how Adventures impacts not just the world, but is changing generations," said Selena Day of the Georgia-based Present Day Truth Ministries, an Adventures' ministry partner.

Adventures' 100,000th participant, Shelley Manning, launched her trip in July.

"Sometimes I feel very inadequate, but God is completely trustworthy and this is in my heart to do." Manning said. Although she left her job as a pediatric nurse, Manning believes she is still taking care of people, only in different ways.

She's part of the World Race, Adventures' fastest growing program taking participants to eleven countries in eleven months. This is Manning's first mission trip, and she's excited about both the adventure and the way God will develop her character along the way.

As Adventures begins a new chapter, World Race participant Lydia Shaw is the first of the next 100,000 volunteers.

"God impressed on me that now is the time. So I go," Shaw said of her decision to be a short-term missionary. "A missionary is someone who listens and follows."

In addition to Adventures' variety of trips, it also encourages and facilitates partnerships between North American churches and those in host countries. Its newest program, the Center for Global Action, provides opportunities for Adventures' alumni to dive deeper into discovering their call from God.

For more about Adventures in Missions and to watch an exclusive video, visit Adventures' 100K website.