Thursday, March 30, 2017

It's time for Slovenia!

From the 18-21st of March, we organised an event called “It’s time for Slovenia” in Ljubljana: a mini-gathering of people from all over YWAM Europe interested in starting something in this nation. There were 22 adults (and 7 kids) from 12 different nations who came together to see how we could start something in YWAM in Slovenia. It was 2 days of praying for the nation and the people who are already working there in different organisations and also trying to see what and how we can work there in the future.

The team who was organising the event came together because everyone around about the same time were feeling God telling them “It is time for Slovenia”. it was such a privilege to work together with people from YWAM Grimerud in Norway, YWAM Amsterdam in Holland, and Andreja, the only known Slovenian YWAMer... Here we are: Andreas and Geir Edvin from Norway, Andreja, me, and Reinier from Holland. 

There was a media team from YWAM Amsterdam who came specifically to make videos to promote the idea of YWAM in Slovenia. Here is one of their videos:

While we were organising the event, we discovered by accident that our former European Director, Jeff Fountain, "just happened" to be there at the same time to promote his book about Europe's Christian roots, which had been translated into Slovenian. So, as part of the gathering, we held a special event called “Hope for Slovenia. Hope for Europe” with him as the main speaker, with local people attending as well.

Throughout the event, we clearly saw that it is time for Slovenia!!
Belinda Chaplin

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

God's miracle in Croatia

It's been a dream and vision for a long time to have a boat here on the water, using it as a tool for evangelism, discipleship training, reconciliation, leadership development, youth work and whatever and wherever else God calls us to. It's also a big part of what God is doing in YWAM international, as we became the 25th boat in the YWAM ship ministries around the
The boat came out of the water, was cleaned, repainted and the engine was serviced. Then the we sailed the boat on a 15-hour trip from the town of purchase to our home town. This all happened during our DTS last year.

The prayer we pray most often is, 'God, you are the focus and this boat is just the tool'. It's certainly been an adventure and we are excited for where God will continue to take us.

Jarod has already been part of regattas (races), we’ve used it for church groups and we took a trip to a nearby island to pray for and encourage a prayer group that meets there. We are now getting ready to use it for our DTS starting this weekend.

We named the boat 'St. Brendan' after an Irish Monk, ship builder and explorer from the 6th century who was known as 'Brendan the Navigator'. It is believed by some historians that he was eager to spread the Gospel to unknown lands, with the winds of the Holy Spirit in his sails. Here is the prayer of St.Brendan which we believe is so fitting for the vision of this boat.

“Help me to journey beyond the familiar 
and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.

Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm within me.
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now, are in Your hand.
Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
and somehow, make my obedience count for You.”

Thank you for all your interest and support for the boat. We've been able to pay for a place to keep the boat for this year, fix and implement all the bits and pieces needed to make it sea worthy and we've seen a good amount come in towards the loan we took out to buy the boat.
We have around 25,000 Euros still to raise and also around 500 euros monthly for the running costs, so please keep us in your prayers.

Bexi Graham, YWAM Croatia

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lessons of The Past In Our Walk With the Lord

In YWAM, we are keen on listening to the word of the Lord, right? We count it as a high value, don’t we? In fact, it tops the list of values regarded as something like our “constitution” as a movement in the place of theologies or rules & regulations. But how do we get it then, especially for us corporately?

Loren Cunningham in his books explains to us how (being a founder or apostle, respectively) he quite regularly went to people whom he considered to have spiritual insight and stayed with them. Often, as for example with Joy Dawson (“Walking in the Fear of the Lord”, “Intimacy with God”), he would then open the door for a prophet to speak to YWAM a certain message that often helped bring certain key things into the foundations of the mission. This was his way to put into practice a reality in the Kingdom of God: Apostles have a “first” place, then prophets do their ministry next to release groundbreaking things for God (cf. Eph 4: 11ff). then other gifts spring into action. So, as we are called in YWAM to “do new things in new ways”, we do well to make sure we understand the Lord’s actual word for that time and season as best as we can. Leaders labor quite a bit sometimes to bring good speakers to our conferences. They do well if they always look out also for those who can give us prophetic inspiration as a Mission-movement for that time.

Another source is to corporately pause and listen in order to hear God’s voice in our meetings and conferences. A fitting place to do that is obviously during worship times in big plenaries but also in smaller intercession groups. Now, the Lord does bless us and he gives us actually many words, but what do we do then with this?

Now, as Belinda Chaplin recently asked me to recall a certain impression I received during last year’s Central European gathering in Hungary, at first I drew a blank! I do get prophetic impressions, but often I have a hard time recall it because I don’t write it down or record it in some way. This can happen to all of us: we are too excited to take care of it in that moment. But let’s do this: make sure you find your own personal way of not forgetting what the Lord said – and do it! This, by the way, is also helpful when it comes to test such prophecies, which we should always do according to 1. Cor. 14:29. When you have put the content down somewhere in a diary, journal or mobile phone, you can always go back to it and see in what way it has later become relevant. Or: whether you did the thing you should have done with it.

Now, back to last year’s conference and the words we received then. It is a wonderful aspect of the gift of leading to also discern the spiritual value of a word or impression and then help the body to whom it is geared apply it in a meaningful way. Please, if you are a leader, have this in mind for a situation of prophetic activity: maybe you could serve by either coming behind a certain word and show the people how to apply it – or perhaps sort it out: we are called to discern and test everything and keep what is good. Train yourself in finding the sensitive words that minister in such a way!
The impression I had at the Central European gathering in Hungary last year was like this: in a first image I “saw” a portion of ground all full of weeds and nettles, grown very high. Then the picture changed and it was as if I was now in a barn like some farmhouses have. The ground with the nettles was now inside and free of the weeds and stingy nettles. And I felt the joy of re-discovering things of value that had been deposited and forgotten there. So, the call then was for us to look again what valuables from the Lord we might have stored away in our “barns”, forgotten, put aside. It appears that part of the Word of the Lord presently is what he has spoken or given to us already in the past!

Now, I once heard Darlene Cunningham speak about what to do when we have lost the sense that we hear the Word of the Lord to us. She talked about the story in 2. Kings 6 when Elisha made a lost axe-head flow up in the river at the spot where it was lost. So, in case we have lost the word of the Lord, we’re supposed to go back and check whether we have been obedient to the last word God gave us. Sometimes the Lord is silent because we didn’t want to act according to his last instruction or forgot it.

But what could this word about the past now mean for us as YWAM CE? I would like to point us toward one application (of many, perhaps) I feel it can have.

Some time ago Alina Weidell did a wonderful job for us all: she collected from different ministries active in Romania their “history” – that is, both how that ministry was started and built up as well as what emphasis and lessons the Lord gave them over time! You can obtain this collection from Heidi Kovacs and learn what God did and said to different ones of us in the past. To me this is a great treasure box and inspiration! And sometimes the lesson is as strikingly simple as that: endure the mosquitos in order to be taken seriously by the people you want to reach! A lesson I gathered from David Painting’s description of their beginnings. How about if as a ministry leader you write down “your” part of what happened – or identify a soul who would enjoy being the “Chronicler”?
Interestingly for YWAM Romania there is no central place it all started from and then filtered to the periphery. Yes, there was ministry in and out of Bucharest – but major centers were founded and flourished in the Western part of the country. All at the same time almost and all with unique “flavor” and zeal! As far as I can recall it was Jeff Fountain’s effort and merit (YWAM’s European leader at the time) to travel tirelessly to Romania and other places and work towards bringing all ministries into fellowship and correlation and then some cooperation!

May I suggest that teams get together and get familiar (again) with God’s history of their place, base or ministry? Why not invite your former leaders to share! And get acquainted also with the word of the Lord to others in YWAM of your country or CE, respectively. In YouTube you will also be able to find teachings of our founders and some mothers and fathers in the Lord. I recently listened to Loren speak on the Word of the Lord. I sure didn’t only enjoy the hairdos of the Seventies… Nothing is as enriching as listening to the lessons and the stories of those that went with the word of the Lord before us!

© Birgit Hämmerle, March 2017