YouTube has potential for building relationships and bringing different parts of the world together. I already knew that…but I didn’t expect it to be as literally true as this. Gret Glyer is a missionary living in the world’s poorest country, and he runs the Bad Missionary channel. This helps us get to know the names, faces, and stories of those he helps (and we can join him in helping).
Gret was kind enough to answer my questions about his own story about Africa, the direction of his channel, and a perspective you may not have heard before on world missions.
Can you tell our readers new to your channel a bit about who you are?
Gret: Don’t even know where to start with this haha. I’m a regular guy. I’m trying to follow Jesus and God has given me a heart for the poor.
What’s the story of how you became a missionary? Is it something you always planned?
G: Hmm, this is sort of a lengthy story. The brief version is that I was unhappy working at a rental car company, and I wanted something more out of life. I didn’t want to wake up in 20 years and the only accomplishment I would have to show for myself is being REALLY good at renting out cars. So I started looking for opportunities and nothing worked out, which made me depressed. Then after a season of being patient, God dropped the opportunity to go to Malawi into my lap.
What inspired you to create the Bad Missionary YouTube channel?
G: My first year in Malawi, I spent a lot of time blogging…with words. And it took about 6 months before I realized that words only go so far to express the situation in another country. Especially a country like Malawi that is so different than the States. It’s so different that it would be like describing another planet. There’s just no frame of reference for the average American to understand the culture. So I made the channel as part of my efforts to better relate my experiences in Malawi to an audience in America.
What does a typical day ministering in Malawi look like for you? Is it anything like a video game where you’re the wanderer in search of quests to help others?
G: This video does a decent job of showing an average day:
Lots of different stuff happening in all sorts of different contexts. I actually think an RPG character whose on a quest is a pretty good analogy. A lot of time I’ll have a loose idea of what I’m trying to accomplish, and I just know that I have to complete the problem in front of me before I move onto the next thing. Sometimes that means going into a village without a translator and trying to find the chief. Other times it means brainstorming a marketing strategy to fundraise money for a family that needs a house.
How do you see creativity and technology affecting missions?
G: Right now they don’t affect missions very much because people don’t give them priority. But I want both of those things to have a bigger impact. Both creativity and technology can be tremendously useful tools that can help solve problems on a massive scale. It’s my hope to bring these things into the mission context.
What’s your favorite thing about serving in Malawi?
G: Anyone who loves where they live always says they love it for the same reason: the people. That’s the case with me. Malawians are some of the most gentle, hospitable, and welcoming people I’ve ever met. It’s a special place. Malawi’s nickname is “The Warm Heart of Africa.” You have to visit to see how true that really is.
Should someone go on missions only if they feel specially called?
G: No. It’s true that the more intention you put into mission work, the more of an impact you’ll make. But it’s okay to go into mission work because you’re not sure what else to do with your life at the moment. Some people work at Starbucks while they try and figure out their calling. I think it’s totally fine if mission work is what someone does while they try and figure out their life.
What projects are you currently working on?
G: Lots. Village Fridays. I’m trying to start a vlog. I run HOWMs and we just started an “Adopt-A-Widow” program for that. I do work making videos with the World Race (here’s the channel). Also my podcast and I occasionally blog on Medium.
Do you have any exciting hints for the future of your channel?
G: Mostly that I want to start a vlog and I want to hit bigger goals for Village Fridays. The latter is really dependent on how involved people get in giving and sharing. I’ll scale it as big as I can.
What other creative content do you have to share?
G: Here’s one of my first videos:
What’s the the geekiest thing about you?
G: Geekiest? Hmmm. I’m not that much of a geek. I like pop music (Justin Bieber, etc. haha) but I don’t really think that’s geeky. I don’t play video games. I guess the “geekiest” thing is that I’m a really big productivity guy. I like apps (like Evernote) that help me get more accomplished in a day. Wish I had a better answer haha.
I guess I sort of geek out about certain people too. I paradoxically really like guys like Neil Postman or Wendell Berry, both of whom have a disdain for technology/progress. Scott Harrison of charity:water is a big inspiration of mine. I’m also fascinated by the community the Vlogbrothers have built.
How can those who want to support you in ministry best help?
G: The best way is to support me directly. I don’t get a salary from anywhere (I don’t even take one from HOWMs). So my personal expenses all have to come from fundraising (which I do separately than all my other endeavors). But, honestly, donating to Village Fridays or HOWMs would make me just as happy. So however people want to get involved would be best.
Village Fridays – give a mosquito net to help rid an ENTIRE village of Malaria
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