Ten Talents International was founded by Mike & Lisa McColm. They reside in Vancouver, Washington with their four children, and are active members of Heritage Church. Mike & Lisa believe that God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things if we will just say, “Yes” to God. They became convinced that there was a need for a ministry dedicated to providing ordinary people a way to participate in the exciting work of missions. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This is the reason they started Ten Talents International. If you would like to have Mike or Lisa come speak at your church or gathering, please click here.
Mike and Lisa met in their church youth group in Vancouver, Washington. It was with this youth group that they first experienced the power of short term mission trips. They accompanied the youth group on several trips to Mexico. During these trips God placed within their hearts the love for missions work. After Lisa graduated from high school she attended Youth With A Mission’s Discipleship Training School at the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. She spent 3 months in training and two months in outreach to an orphanage and church outside Tokyo, Japan. The following September (1990) both Mike and Lisa entered into a year long internship program under their youth pastor called Master’s Commission. In addition to being involved in ministry to youth and children they also completed Biblical & ministry courses through Berean College, the Assembly of God’s distance learning program. In December of 1991 Mike and Lisa joined the courses of their lives by marrying. They then became involved in a church plant in the inner city of Portland, Oregon. Mike was working for a local home builder at this time, and Lisa was working in the benefits office of a trucking company. They attended and ministered at Portland Metro Assembly of God for six years: the ministry included being youth pastors for several years and other leadership positions. Mike received a Certificate of Ministry from the Oregon District of the Assemblies of God while there and also led teams on short term mission trips to Mexico. He also decided to start his own residential construction company. Then in 1998 God led them back to Vancouver, Washington, and Mike became a union carpenter working in commercial construction.
Change of Plans
They continued to be active in their church, being involved with young married couples, youth, and the church board. During all these years the desire to be involved in missions never weakened, though they thought that their first opportunity to do mission work full time would come when Mike was able to retire early from the union. In 2002 Mike was working on a building project for a friend and evangelist whose daughter is on the mission field in Africa. This friend asked Mike, “If missions is your passion, why not do it now?” That same night we had a visit from a friend who is Nigerian and this man shared with us about how God had spoken to him about ministering to Africa. He was getting ready to go on a trip to Uganda, did Mike want to come with him? Mike immediately said, “Yes! Of course I’ll pray about it, but yes!” In the time leading up to the trip Mike was praying and asking God what his role would be. His friend had preaching engagements lined up, but what was Mike’s role? He felt that God very clearly gave him five directions: #1 Identify the need (of course he would encounter many needs, but there would be a certain need God wanted him to do something about) #2 Raise the support to meet this need. #3 Organize teams to help meet this need. #4 Let people know about this need. #5 Keep people informed. During the trip to Uganda they made a short visit to Rwanda. Mike tells the rest of what happened in these words: It was in Rwanda that God made it clear what that need was. During the time I was there I was taken to some genocide sites. At one church, even 8 years after the genocide, you could see where people had been killed. There they were- just bones and clothes. Also during this trip I was confronted with many children begging on the streets. On one visit to an orphanage I listened to a child tell about how his family was killed in the genocide, leaving him alone. I remember thinking, “Dear God, who would take care of our daughter if that were to happen to us?” At that moment God asked me a question. My mind was filled with the images of the bags of bones I saw at the genocide sites and the children begging on the streets. God asked me, “What about you? What are you going to do about these, my children?” And like the scripture in Ezekiel “Can these bones live?” I knew what he meant. “Is there hope for these children?” All I could say is “OK- If you want me to do something about the street children in this country, I will.” I did not know how, I only knew I had to say yes to what God was asking me to do.
Faith Becomes Reality
By the summer of 2003 the necessary funds had been raised & we were able to open The Kanombe Children’s Home. In 2004 Mike returned to Rwanda with two other people. This was the year the feeding program for street children was started. Starting in 2005 Mike began to lead teams to Rwanda to love on kids, do practical helps for the homes and children, and to share the love of Jesus with others. This was also the year that construction began on the second home, the Faith Home, allowing new children to move into the Kanombe Home. In 2006 the Faith Home was completed and the children moved from a rented home nearby into their new home.
It was also in 2005 that Ten Talents International was officially started as a non-profit organization. The purpose of TTI is to utilize ordinary people’s talents, gifts, and resources to further the Kingdom of God. What a blessing it is to see how God has used this to make an eternal difference in the lives of so many in Rwanda who were once without hope. After returning from the spring 2007 trip Mike felt like God was saying, “Now is the time.” Meaning, “now is the time” for Rwanda- the country is open to ministry and ready, it is time to do whatever we can to further God’s kingdom there. As well as, “now is the time” for Mike to work full time for Ten Talents International, leaving the construction profession behind and allowing God to provide for their family. Mike transitioned into full time ministry with TTI in September 2007, and God has been faithful to take care of their family. Mike & Lisa continue to believe that the best and most exciting life that anyone can experience is when you purpose to say, “Yes” to God’s leading.