MTI is an independent training organization. We serve cross-cultural workers from many different denominations, sending agencies and churches.

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Please note that this information does not apply to MHM or International Congress on Language Learning (ICLL). Please see those respective pages for information regarding those programs.

Of course individuals can attend! About half of our program participants are singles. We mention families in our program descriptions because it is a unique dimension of the services that MTI offers in comparison to other training programs.

Anyone heading into cross-cultural ministry should consider Compass as necessary training that is foundational for effectiveness, endurance and enjoyment in your calling.

Are you heading into the great unknown of cross-cultural work on a mission for God?

Do you, and your family, know you’ll be navigating the tricky terrain of learning a new language?

Then it’s time for MTI’s Compass program to equip you with the indispensable tools you’ll need on the journey, as well as develop the attitudes necessary to reach your destination.

For the last 60 years, MTI has been the first choice of those agencies, individuals and families who want to start their journey in the right direction and who are willing to learn from those who have gone before.

The questions that lurk in the mind of every new cross-cultural messenger of the Gospel range from “Am I going to be another drop-out statistic?” to “Am I going to be the next Hudson Taylor?”   The answer to both questions directly relates to the quality of training you will receive.  The road of cross-cultural Kingdom endeavors is filled with good intentions that have unwittingly wreaked havoc on the cause. It is possible to go beyond good intentions and learn from those who have journeyed the tricky terrain before you and lived to tell about it…and love it.

The wisest man who lived instructs us not to be hasty and miss the way and yet zeal without knowledge does exactly that.  Zealous passion can allow ill-equipped, well-intentioned messengers to squander resources and hurt hearts. On the other hand, for those who follow the way of the Master, and count the cost, there can be joy in the journey, godly pride in being a hardworking servant in a tough field, and effectiveness in causes that will impact the Kingdom for eternity.

Make no mistake, Compass is not intended for short-termers.  Compass is for those who are endeavoring a significant cause for Christ and who know that they will have to learn the language and culture in order to be effective.

The timing of when you come is important. We would encourage you to attend Compass somewhere between 2-6 months before your overseas departure.  We find that if your training is too close to your departure, your mind will be distracted with logistics and your souls too unsettled for us to shape your equipping fully.  If your training is too far away from your departure date, you may not be as motivated or as able to retain your learning.  Of course, training at anytime is better than none at all.


Compass provides the tools and skills necessary to navigate the disorienting terrain of cross-cultural ministry.  We only focus on the issues that will “make or break” you as a cross-cultural messenger of the Gospel.   We determine those skills by listening to hundreds of messengers returning from overseas in our confidential debriefings, the impact nationals say we are having overseas, and expert consensus.


Compass orients your character and attitudes in a direction that will have a lasting impact on your effectiveness, endurance and personal vitality.


Compass focuses on keeping the whole family intact and embracing their journey to a new land.  We have a separate children’s program for five different age- clusters is coordinated with the adult program and a staff dedicated to healthy families.


Compass creates space for each community to form its own unique characteristics.  We all learn best when we have safe, vulnerable, engaged communities, but such communities cannot be forced, they must be given space to naturally form.


Compass utilizes methods that engage the mind, the heart, and the body in such a way that the learning is remembered – versus traditional use of lecture-only presentations.


Compass instills hope and confidence to a cross-cultural journey of unfamiliar terrain.  Compass alumni consistently say I was heading overseas feeling apprehensive and fearful, but now I’m feeling optimistic that I can handle the hard realities.


Compass employs staff that have significant cross-cultural experience and are willing to be vulnerable about the paradoxes of cross-cultural ministry – the gory and the glory stories.  We have 1 trainer for every 4 Compass participants.


Compass engenders a community of learners by providing a large facility that is tailor made for experiential learning, family bonding, personal reflection and community engagement.


Compass invests in your future.  Spending the money now – an equivalent to what it would cost for 1-2 months of overseas living with your agency – is well worth the effectiveness, endurances and personal vitality later, especially knowing that the average family unit costs $350,000 for a 4 year assignment.


Compass will equip and develop you, in a way that makes a significant different in the effectiveness in your calling to serve in a different culture, your endurance in the midst of hardships, and your personal vitality.

Absolutely. With the training you get at Compass, you will not only get more out of language school, you will be able to do personal language learning projects during and after language school. In addition, if you bring the skills and techniques you learn in Compass to Language School, you will be less dependent on the school; and you will leave with many ideas for continuing on in language learning.

We recommend that you enter a DAR retreat 6+ weeks after your return from the field. This will give you a needed adjustment period that will maximize your DAR experience.

The DAR retreat is designed for cross-cultural workers, singles and families, who are returning from the mission field to the U.S. for a short home leave, a longer stay, or perhaps indefinitely.

DAR is designed for those who have fully engaged with another culture for at least 1+ years and longer term service. It is meant for those who have experienced all the pains and joys of adjusting to another culture and language, providing an opportunity to reflect back and unpack how living overseas has impacted them.

For 60 years, Mission Training International has been helping parents prepare their children for what lies ahead. Kids ask a million questions. Why are we going? Why us? What will it really be like? Will I like it? Who will be my new friends? Will I still fit in? How will I talk when I don’t know the language? What can I bring with me when we go? There’s days I don’t want to go… is that OK?  Is it OK to ask these questions again?

CHIPs will help you find answers to these and other typical behavioral responses from kids. Our goal is to empower parents to value their kids’ questions and internal world, responding in ways that will keep the family close and unified. After all, perhaps the brightest beacon of witness in any culture is a family in which Christ’s love, grace, and forgiveness is readily evident.

MHM is meant for counselors, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and any other mental health providers. Such individuals will find this conference relationally rich and professionally invigorating. Although member care personnel and leaders from mission agencies are welcome, please recognize that presenters will be targeting mental health practitioners.

  • Preparing your heart as a facilitator to debrief others
  • Creating a safe environment and relationship
  • Eliciting the stories and experiences of others
  • Validating skills
  • Normalizing skills
  • Spiritual renewal skills for those who are weary warriors