Teen Missions International was founded in 1971 by Robert Bland. As stated on their website, TMI exists "to launch youth into lifetime missions involvement by training, discipling and mobilizing them to impact eternity around the world NOW." Every summer since 1971 hundreds of young people between the ages of 9 and 19 are trained at TMI's headquarters in Merritt Island, Florida, affectionately known as The Lord's Boot Camp. After two weeks of simulation training in Florida's swamps with no electricity, running water, or air conditioning, students are prepared for a work or evangelism project with an established overseas mission. While at Boot Camp the participants are also trained in construction, evangelism, teaching English as a second language, and team building. The goal of Boot Camp is to cause students to experience culture shock before they leave training, so that they can be more effective ministers overseas.
TMI runs 39 programs similar to Boot Camp in 23 countries around the world, training the national teens of those countries to also rise up and proclaim the gospel among their own people. A portion of the funds raised by North American teens attending The Lord's Boot Camp makes it possible for young people around the world to receive Bible training they would otherwise never be able to afford. The impact on the lives of the students themselves who experience a summer mission trip with TMI is probably the most important part of TMI's ministry.
As students see the pressing needs of the world and learn that they, as followers of Christ, are equipped to meet those needs, their hearts begin to ache for the things God's heart aches for. When I went to Zambia with TMI two summers ago, the small flame in my heart for fulfilling the Great Commission was stoked into a blazing inferno that I trust will not be quenched until the Lord takes me home. This is the kind of passion I want to see in other young people of North America, and this is why I am returning to The Lord's Boot Camp this summer. I hope to encourage the younger members of my team (including my younger sister), and challenge them to live with reckless abandon for the One who gave up all for them.