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  • Timothy Cockes

IMB missionary credits GenSend with teaching him to ‘step out of the boat’

Kai Ininstoma,* a missionary in training with the International Mission Board, said his path toward doing full-time missions in South Asia was heavily shaped by his experience with GenSend, NAMB's summer missions program. (IMB photo)

RICHMOND, VA (BP) – Kai Ininstoma,* a missionary in training with the International Mission Board, said his path toward full-time missions was heavily shaped by his experience with GenSend, NAMB’s summer missions program.

Ininstoma was a part of the first official summer of GenSend in 2013, while he was a student at Texas A&M University. Ten years later, he is completing his final training before going to South Asia to serve full-time with the IMB.

He credits GenSend for both changing his life and guiding his path.

“Looking back, GenSend really has helped shape my life, how I lead, and how I view ministry,” Ininstoma said. “I’ve just continued to use a lot of the same tools I learned from it.

“I’m such a fan of GenSend and that was really my first ministry thing I’d really ever done. It just really grew me a lot.”

A self-described country boy from Texas, Ininstoma is the son of a pastor, but admits he never really had much missions experience until college.

As an ecology major, he pictured himself working on a ranch somewhere out in the country, before a summer mission trip to South Sudan made him have second thoughts.

Just as Ininstoma was “questioning what my future would look like,” NAMB’s Steve Turner, director of Next Gen Mobilization, visited the college ministry Ininstoma attended to talk about the GenSend summer program.

Ininstoma soon signed up and joined a group of students spending their summer ministering in Portland, Ore., which he said “might as well been Mars,” for him.

Despite how different Portland was from Texas, Ininstoma soon began to learn practical ministry tips which he said prove effective to this day.

Some of those include:

  • How to build relationships through a “third place” that people frequent besides work or home such as restaurants, coffee shops or gyms

  • How to understand the spiritual climate of the city you are in

  • How to meet people where they are in evangelism

Upon returning from GenSend, Ininstoma would later become an IMB Journeyman, but struggled to “reorient,” back to life in the states.

Eventually he fell into a season where he was working in West Texas as a horse trainer, but later thought to himself, “I’m more than what I’ve become.”

In this time of confusion, Ininstoma returned to the message Turner gave his college ministry when talking about GenSend.

“I remember Steve talking about that story where Peter steps out of the boat when Jesus was walking on the water,” Ininstoma said.

“When he came and spoke to us, it was like ‘What is your boat? What does it look for you to step outside of your boat, out of your comfort zone, and trust in the Lord that He’s with you and to see that God is moving?’ Looking back on my 10 years, there’s been a lot of seasons where I was like, ‘Am I really going to step out of the boat or do what’s comfortable?’

“The biggest thing God showed me through GenSend was stepping out of the boat. It’s served me well.”

Ininstoma said the reason GenSend is such a valuable program, is it catches college students at the exact crossroads he was at 10 years ago, and teaches them missions skills they keep for the rest of their lives.

“There’s nothing new under the sun,” Ininstoma said. “College students still to this day before they graduate are in the same pickle I was in. If all you ever show people is you can work a 9 to 5 job, you could live an hour from where you grew up and you could have 2.5 kids … then that’s usually going to be the vision for their life.

“But if you could cast a vision of stepping out of the boat and that you only get one life. We’re all going to spend it on something, so why not jump out of the boat and try to trust God for what He’s going to do? It’s worth it and it’s going to draw people to live in those Send Cities and it’s going to push people all over the world. They’ll use those same experiences wherever they go.”

This vision will soon be a reality for Ininstoma.

“So much has been given to me through experiences and through availability,” he said.

“I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but for right now as a single guy, it’s hard for me to justify doing anything else that I feel like could leverage what I’ve been given for the Kingdom more than this.

“So, I’m jumping out of the boat again.”

*name changed



Timothy Cockes is a Baptist Press staff writer.



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