In 1998 as Hurricane Mitch ravaged Honduras and Nicaragua, a small team from Mercy Ships, on the ground at the time, immediately began responding to the needs of the people who had lost everything. Rescue turned to relief efforts as the team organized food and supply distribution, most of which was brought in by the m/v Caribbean Mercy. As word spread, local pastors began to gather in the living room of the main team house. Weeks turned to months. Tom Schmidt realized that in order to equip these pastors to better equip their people, he himself needed more training.
Throughout the next 20 years, Tom and Holly Schmidt served God's people as missionaries, both in the US and abroad. They, along with their nine children, pastored churches and started and led city ministries. During the long journey, the Lord of the Harvest deposited a vision - to develop a training HUB that would be a place where people could be equipped to "make His name great among the nations" (Malachi 1:11). There is a need for biblically-trained pastors, missionaries, and mariners to reach 'the least, the lost, the lonely, and the left-behind' - the most vulnerable in any society. This is true both in our own backyards and among islands and coastlines isolated by a lack of roads and a susceptibility to natural disasters.
Fast forward to March 2018. With the prompting of the Lord, the Schmidts felt the time for this HUB was upon them. After talking and praying with their support and leadership teams, they began casting the vision for this new ministry. It would be a safe haven for others to join and be involved in the spheres around them, specifically regarding the local church and family - the widows, orphans, single parents, and at-risk individuals. This HUB would develop with local and international focuses, layered with training, discipleship, and multiplication at every level. The Bible and the study of it lays the foundation of the ministry. Training mariners biblically and with nautical skills build upon that premise. These sailors, and other individuals, are now fully equipped and deployed to vessels within YWAM or other spheres to serve the most remote and isolated of the world. In all things, the Spirit of God and His presence would daily lead this team of missionaries.
Over the years of preparation, the Lord had given Holly glimpses of networks of teams working together. She could easily describe it, but had no specific word for it. Then in the fall of 2019, the Schmidts and a group of missionaries gather together in Kona, Hawaii to prepare for the launch of this new pioneering effort in Texas. During one of the weekly time of intercession, they asked the Lord for a specific word that would capture an aspect of what this new ministry was birthing. One of the gals said, 'Carrier'. Immediately everyone in the room realized this was the word for the new ministry, but felt it needed more clarification. So they began looking up definition. One referred to a ship that carries supplies, which went with the vision of deploying biblically-trained mariners. The other definition, which no one really liked, referred to a person who carried a virus and spread it to others. Everyone laughed. Little did they know what was right around the corner!
In March of 2020, the pioneering team of 4 adults and 3 kids found themselves finally settled into their new location and eagerly waiting for the other staff set to join them. Then the world came to a screeching halt - COVID. As they began to pray and talk with others, what seemed to be random conversations began to birth something new, a unique way of training inductive Bible studies. The online training world within YWAM has served faithfully for years, building a program designed to train and disciple those who had a hunger to learn and had access to internet connection - regardless of their location. A connection was made with YWAM King's Lodge and YWAM Lakeside, the developers of this online Bible training program. Building on the foundation they had already laid, YWAM Ships Corpus Christi was able to run 2 online Chronological Bible Core Courses of the course of 2020, and began development of a third school. Through these schools they saw the birth of Carrier Teams.
A Carrier Team is a group of 2-6 individuals that are connected to the HUB - YWAM Ships Corpus Christi. The HUB is a resource center that unites instructors and experts, networking within YWAM and other Christ-focused ministries to provide the training, material, and support needed for each Carrier Team leader. This leader carries that training and discipleship to the members of the team, who in turn carry their training to those within their spheres of society. Thus the multiplication process continues to spread the hope of Christ through discipleship and biblically-sound study of the Word of God. While much of the learning and training is done online, small teams connect regionally by time zone or location. This small team, plugged into the HUB for support and materials, brings additional social and emotional learning elements into the more academic aspects of the school.