Changing the World, One Person at a Time
Would you be willing to sell almost everything you owned, leave behind your country, family and friends and raise over $28,000 to help people in need? NCI’s newest marketing hire did just that! A devoted employee and passionate philanthropist, Mike has always put others before himself, both in the office and off the job.
A constant motivator and encouragement to everyone on the NCI team, Mike’s passion for missions has made a profound impact on the way he works and lives out his daily life. Read on to learn more about Mike, his role at NCI, and his globe-trotting adventures to help others.
Think you are well traveled? Over an eleven month period, Mike and his wife Denise visited 11 countries, encompassing 9 different languages, on 4 different continents!
Coffee, Kids and Adventure: Mike's Story
Intrigued to learn more about this globe-trotting, sports-loving, father of four? Read on to learn how he seeks to make an impact on others with each coffee-fueled day, and about the amazing adventure he and his wife embarked on to make a positive difference in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are you originally from/how did you end up in back in Michigan?
I am originally from the metro Detroit area in Michigan. After marrying my wife we traveled the world for a year doing missions work, moved to Medina, OH when we returned, moved to the Toledo area after six months, back to Michigan for a few years and then on to Denver, CO for a few years for grad school, and then back to Toledo.
What is your family like?
I am the oldest of three, one brother who works for GM and one sister who works harder than both of us as a stay-at-home mother. I have been married for 10 years to my wonderful wife, Denise. We have four children ages 7,5,4 and 1.
What are your interests/hobbies?
I enjoy sports, both watching and playing with football being my favorite. I also love reading and watching movies.
What do you do in your free time?
Having four children, I’ve forgotten what free time is like. Joking aside, I usually spend my time reading or watching Marvel movies on Netflix.
What has your career path look like?
I have worked a variety of jobs in the past, all of which have given me a skill-set that is fairly diverse and allows me to relate to, and communicate with, a wide variety of people. I’ve worked everywhere from food-service to hospitals, security to seminary and seemingly everywhere in between. Communication is the most important skill that I’ve had to develop in each of these jobs, and I use the ability to communicate clearly and effectively every single day.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day starts in the office where I get a “game plan” and figure out where I’ll drive out to, gathering promotional material and researching the area I’m going. Once I head out, I’ll drive an average of 150-300 miles in any given day to meet with city/county officials to find ways that NCI can help them achieve their goals.
Do you have any advice for people considering marketing as a career?
Communication is key. Our society is busier than it has ever been. Honor your client’s time by communicating clearly, concisely and consistently.
What is your favorite thing about your job? Least favorite?
I love meeting new people and this job allows me to meet new people every day. The only thing I would like more would be the ability to spend more time with them to get to know them better.
Have a differint Question?
11 Countries | 11 Months
Check out some of the amazing places Mike and his wife visited below!
The World Race
What got you interested in doing missions? How did you find out about it/get involved?
The main reason I started participating in missions was the desire to help other people and have the opportunity to share my faith.
What group did you work with, why?
The first trip I did was with a Lutheran high school in the Metro Detroit area where I helped lead a group of high school students to do hurricane relief work in Biloxi, Mississippi. My father-in-law was organizing the trip and two of my sister-in-laws had attended, or were currently attending the school at the time, so it was a natural fit.
The next trip I went on was through Adventures in Missions. They were offering the opportunity to go to 11 different countries over 11 months to do a wide variety of work. I wanted to experience a variety of different ministry options, and I’ve enjoyed travel and experiencing different cultures, so it was a natural fit.
What is involved from your standpoint? Is it paid for, do you have to apply/raise money?
For the trip to Biloxi, we didn’t need to raise funds because my wife and I had volunteered to help lead the trip, the trip through Adventures in Missions (AIM) was different. For Biloxi, we helped with transportation, we led Bible studies/devotionals and participated with the hands on work of restoring homes.
For AIM we had to raise the funds ourselves. At the time my wife and I needed to raise close to $28,000 to go. It sounds like a lot, but when travel, food and lodging for a year are included in that, it really wasn’t that much. We did multiple fundraisers, spoke at churches and even asked that instead of giving traditional wedding gifts, people donated towards the trip (we were engaged at the time we had decided to go).
What training did you receive ahead of time?
Well, there wasn’t any training for the Biloxi trip, but we were a part of a leadership team that was enthusiastic and ready to what was needed.
For the AIM trip (The World Race), we went to Gainesville, GA for a week to participate in teachings, meet our fellow missionaries, and form teams.
Where did you go?
Our trip took us to Ireland, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, Israel, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. We stayed for roughly a month in each location doing anything from children’s ministry to door-to-door evangelism to preaching in front of established congregations and everything in between. Given the fact of 11 different countries, with a variety of different languages, we relied heavily on translators and guides.
Did you have any kids yet at the time you were traveling?
We didn’t. The trip with AIM really isn’t a kid friendly trip due to the constant travel.
What was it like coming home?
My wife and I decided that we were young enough to be a little crazy. We sold most of our stuff to help raising the money to go, the stuff we kept we were able to store with our families. We had enough saved that any of our bills would be paid for and taken out automatically so we were set on that front. In regards to family events, we missed a lot, but we knew we would and had accepted that. We had one major exception for my sister-in-law’s wedding. My in-laws surprised everyone and flew us home for the celebration and then we went right back out.
When we got home, we had a car and some possessions, but we didn’t have any work or our own place to live (our families were great and gave us a place to stay for as long as we needed).
What did you do after you got back?
Shortly after coming home we found out we were pregnant with our first child, so we jumped back into life at home with both feet. I hadn’t yet graduated from college so I worked multiple jobs while going to school full-time and providing for my expanding family. I worked as a food server for Outback Steakhouse, I worked at a local gym and eventually got a job at a hospital in Michigan.
How did the trip influence you and/or change the course of your lives?
The trip humbled me. I learned what abundance I truly had and became much more appreciative. I also became more driven to do whatever I could to help others in need.
How did your time in missions impact how you approach your job at NCI?
The trip gave me a long term focus, and really drove home the idea that everyone is important and has a story. I want to learn those stories and help others reach the goals they have.
Are You up for an Adventure?
Interested in finding out if you have what it takes to travel the globe, or just want to learn more about Adventures in Missions? Check out the video and click on the link below for more information.
Mike’s Advice for Travel & Missions
1. On Traveling Abroad
Be patient, slow down and enjoy the ride, you never know when you’ll get the chance to do it again.
2. Interest in Missions
First, talk to your pastor/s. They’ll likely have a great amount of insight and direction that can be extremely helpful.
3. When and Where
Decide the length of time you’d like to go. Trips range from 1-3 days to long-term trips of a year plus.
4. With Whom
Consider teaming with a good organization. My wife and I went through Adventures In Missions. They’ve been around for over 20 years and provide a lot of different trips both overseas and domestic. I’d recommend them to anyone.
Rising to the Occasion: Combating a Global Problem One Person at a Time
How far would you go to help those in need? According to the Global Poverty Report (2018), 11% of the world is currently living on less than $2.00 a day (1). 1/3 of the world’s urban population lives in unsafe and unhealthy slums, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, almost half the population, 42%, lives on less than $1.90 – the World Bank’s international standard for extreme poverty (2).
Unsafe and substandard living conditions are just the beginning, and are significant contributing factors to other discouraging trends. While the death ratio for newborns in their first month of life is less than 1 in 333 in high-income industrialized nations, the death rate for infants in sub-Saharan Africa is 1 in 36 (3). Of children dying before the age of five, most deaths occur as a result of preventable diseases that are almost non-existent in the western world, such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia (2).
Surprisingly, many of these diseases are caused by a lack of things available in abundance in the western world, such as access to clean water, sufficient food to eat, basic sanitation, and hygienic places to live, eat and work (1). In terms of food alone, 1 in 3 children in sub-Saharan Africa will experience stunted growth because they don’t get enough food to eat, or enough essential vitamins and mineral in their diet (1). The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 815 million of 7.6 billion people worldwide suffered from chronic undernourishment in 2016 (9).
Contrast that with the United States where the USDA estimates that 30-40% of the US food supply is wasted each year with 31% of the loss coming from the retail and consumer level, equaling more than 133 billion pounds and 161 billion dollars’ worth of food in 2010 alone (6). Insufficient sustenance globally significantly affects cognitive functioning and the ability to perform well in school in food-poor areas (1), yet in the US food waste is the single largest contributor to trash which goes into municipal landfills, more than any other type of waste, including industrial sources (6).
Even among those with food, many still lack access to a basic education. While in the US approximately 33% of American Adults possess a bachelors or higher degree (US Census Bureau), and 84% or 4 out 5 students will graduate high school (7), UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS) estimates that 1 of every 5 children worldwide is not in school – more than 263 million children (5).
In South Africa, more than one million children walk over an hour to school each day (more than 12km every day to school and back) (4) and approximately 1 out of every 4 people in low and lower-middle income countries are illiterate, with women making up 66% of this group (8).
People born in the USA live, on average, 18 years longer than those born into the best circumstances in Sub-Saharan Africa (most people there will not live to see the age of 60) (1), and today, 29,000 children under the age of five will die, with more than 70% of those deaths attributed to preventable causes (10).
The list of saddening statistics continues well beyond these few highlights, yet these problems are old news.
While people like to talk about solutions and making a difference, change has yet to happen and people rarely take any personal action to intervene.
Mike Murphy and his wife did, and they did so in a big way. Selling off almost everything they owned and raising over $28,000 to go on an 11 country mission trip with Adventures in Missions (even forgoing wedding gifts in lieu of donations to their mission fund), Mike and Denise put their trust in God and gave up everything they owned to help others and make the world a better place.
For one year, they traveled the globe reaching out to those in need, supplying much needed hope, teaching others and providing support for those dying or suffering in silence.
They left with nothing – at least in terms of the American standards of materialism, job security and a solid bank account – but in their minds, they came back with everything (even finding out that Denise was pregnant with their first child shortly after their return!).
Why did they do it? There is a story by Loren Eiseley about an old man who confronted a small boy throwing starfish back into the sea about the fruitlessness of his venture. “…there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach,” the old man told the boy, “I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
Undaunted, the small boy bent down again and picked up another starfish which he threw into the sea. As the story goes, he then turned to the old man and smiling said, “I made a difference to that one!” (11).
Like the boy, Mike and Denise knew they couldn’t help everyone, but they were determined to help as many as were within their power, and were willing to sacrifice everything to do just that. Their role in life was about more than looking out for themselves – it was about giving back to others in need.
In the same way, Mike Murphy sees his job as more than just marketing; his care and concern for others, as exemplified in his selfless trip around the world, is the reason NCI’s clients trust and respect the company.
- The World Bank. (2018). Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018. Retrieved from http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/poverty-and-shared-prosperity
- Lifewater. (2018, December 21). 9 World Poverty Statistics that Everyone Should Know. Retrieved from https://lifewater.org/blog/9-world-poverty-statistics-to-know-today/
- UNICEF. (2017). Levels & Trends in Child Mortality Report 2017. Retrieved from United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME) website: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Child_Mortality_Report_2017.pdf
- The Walking School Bus. (2018). Statistics. Retrieved from https://thewalkingschoolbus.com/statistics/
- UNESCO Institute of Statistics. (2018, February 28). Education Data Release: One in Every Five Children, Adolescents and Youth is Out of School | UNESCO UIS. Retrieved from http://uis.unesco.org/en/news/education-data-release-one-every-five-children-adolescents-and-youth-out-school
- USDA. (2018). USDA | OCE | U.S. Food Waste Challenge | FAQ’s. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/faqs.htm
- Boyington, B. (2018, May 18). High School Graduation Rates By State. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/high-schools/best-high-schools/articles/2018-05-18/see-high-school-graduation-rates-by-state
- Global Partnership for Education. (2018, October 5). Education data. Retrieved from https://www.globalpartnership.org/data-and-results/education-data
- World Hunger Education Service. (2018). World Hunger, Poverty Facts, Statistics 2018 – World Hunger News. Retrieved from https://www.worldhunger.org/world-hunger-and-poverty-facts-and-statistics/
- UNICEF. (2015). UNICEF – Goal: Reduce child mortality. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/mdg/childmortality.html
- Eiseley, L. C. (1979). The Star Thrower. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
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