Rich and Elisa Brown with Inca Link use profiles to equip short-term overseas interns
As spring turns to summer each year, Rich and Elisa Brown and their Inca Link team in Quito, Ecuador, gear up for an influx of college-age missions workers who participate in The Amazing Race – a short-term missions experience that takes the interns through Inca Link’s projects in three countries: Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.
The interns work throughout the summer in Inca Link’s compassion ministries (orphanages, day care centers, sports ministries, teen pregnancy centers, sports ministries, and even garbage dumps), connecting with Latin American youth and ultimately reaching this hungry demographic with Christ’s irresistible love.
“The interns get to see all of our mission sites and meet our 17 missionaries,” says Rich. “And they get to do fun stuff – eat worms, jump off bridges in the jungles, ride donkeys, motorcycles, buses, and planes in Latin America.”
Upon the interns’ arrival in Latin America, Rich and his staff have them complete the Leading From Your Strengths profile. The group studies the results together to help the interns work more effectively with the ministry teams in Inca Link’s different locations throughout the summer.
The Profile in Practice on the Mission Field
Sarah, a short-term intern, completed the profile and was stunned at its accuracy. She talked to her peers and even called her mother at home in the U.S. All confirmed the results. The data revealed her tendency to be an Aggressive in solving problems, often bulldozing forward to make decisions purposefully and quickly. Yet Sarah was unaware that her approach hurt people´s feelings. Further, she often jumped too fast into making important decisions and did not take time to reflect. The report even mentioned her tendency to talk with her hands.
Soon afterwards, the team traveled to a construction project in Peru. The extremely hot climate meant a water shortage for the workers. Sarah noticed that her team members became dehydrated. Her first instinct was to run to the river and get drinking water quickly, but she remembered her profile results and her determination to put the team concept into practice. Instead, she conferred with her partner intern Johnny, a Reflective problem solver. He suggested checking with the local team about river water safety and together they learned that it abounded with parasites.
“But the water truck comes by every day at 11 AM,” the local team told them – just 15 minutes from then. Once the truck arrived, Sarah was able to use her problem solving strengths. She filled water bottles for the entire team while construction continued for the children´s home.
“If I had jumped into my problem-solving mode, I would still be in the bathroom right now trying to figure out what happened,” said Sarah. “But Johnny and I used our strengths together to get water to the team.”
Profiles Beyond the Race
The Leading From Your Strengths tools are versatile as well as practical, says Rich. The Inca Link team has partnered with Leader Mundial to use the profiles during leadership training, most recently with 40 businessmen and ministry leaders from 12 different countries in Latin America to better equip them to reach the next generation. Rich has even used the Position Insights profile to clarify job descriptions for Team Leader and Intern Coordinator positions and used the data to hire the right staff members.
At the end of each summer, The Amazing Race interns gather for a debriefing. “We talk about how they have seen impact from the profile during their Race,” says Rich. “And the results are amazing.”