Dear…. The first calling of YWAM is to send teams of mostly young people to take the Good News about Jesus to those who haven’t heard or understood the life-giving, life-saving message. I am copying two testimonies from teams who are on their Discipleship Training outreach now.
They illustrate how the Holy Spirit works through us when we are doing what He commissioned us to do. The first one is from Madagascar, written by Fiona, who was on staff here at Highfield Oval for several years. The second one is from a DTS team we recently sent from here to Albania. I will add some personal news and requests after these two encouraging stories:
“One of the students who had been heavily involved in witchcraft shared that in the past he would gather people and he would teach, but all he shared was from the kingdom of darkness and led people to death. On the outreach, people gathered to listen to him preach about Jesus and the result was life! Isn’t God amazing? Many students shared how God had healed them from past hurts; one girl said she’d had a very difficult relationship with her mother, but as she was healed and forgave her mother, she could take the first step by telling her mother she loved her.
Their relationship is being restored. One student shared that he was addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs just to cope with traumas he had gone through as a child, but as he was healed from the inside out and delivered, he has been able to break free. “On outreach the students were going door to door and prayed for a lady who had been bedridden for 4 years because of a stroke. She was healed!
A man with a terribly swollen leg, and the pastor’s wife sick with fever were all healed, as were countless others. One of the students who suffered from a debilitating heart condition himself was healed during the DTS. One staff member shared that many Muslims had asked for prayer as they had gone door to door, as a result a number had given their lives to Jesus.
“Many of the villages were going through a drought and needed rain to plant their crops. They asked the students to pray, and when they did, it immediately started raining! Then when the DTS needed to go and do “open airs”
they asked God to stop the rain just until they finished. Once they got home, it started raining again. What a testimony of God’s power!” Here is the team we sent to Albania recently; their update follows.We are now 4 weeks into outreach!
“Last week one of the trainees prayed for a 16-year-old boy, named Klejvis, who said he was a Christian. He had pain in his back which he’d had for over a year. This pain sometimes prevented him from leaving the house. After praying, the pain immediately left his body.
Klejvis then told the team about his friend who was really depressed; she had tried to take her life 3 times; so they prayed for her. When Klejvis got home he received a message saying how happy his friend was feeling!! The trainee maintained contact with Klejvis, meeting him regularly to read the Bible.
Klejvis bought himself a Bible and has been telling his friends in school about how Jesus healed him. In addition, he has been praying for other sick people! He invited them to church the following Sunday and they came! He now sends us messages telling us his favourite Bible verses that he’s read for that day (he reads it at least 3 times a day).
His friends have now also started reading the Bible and are telling him how encouraging they’ve found the gospel of Matthew. Klejvis says he wants to live his life telling people about Jesus like we did for him. The trainee and Klejvis went for ice cream the other day and Klejvis was telling the lady behind the counter how much Jesus loved her! Kleyvis has now asked his pastor if he can meet twice a week to study the Bible with him. God is so good!”
Downs and Ups.
These last few weeks for YWAM Harpenden have been full of “downs and ups”, in that order. Covid restrictions resulted in the fruits of isolation. We stopped meeting together for worship many months ago and, at the time, there were some strained relationships that would have normally been sorted out as a by-product of regular fellowship. Our online meetings were good, but that format is not great for repentance, confession, forgiveness, and restoration. And a discipling missionary community cannot be healthy without the events when God convicts different ones of judging, harsh words, gossip, withdrawing or other offenses against one another.
When some of the restrictions were lifted, we began to get together in teams and then we had a couple of days with the entire community together. The Holy Spirit was faithful to convict me, and others, of the ways we had fallen short of Christlike behaviour. As we confessed to the community, forgiveness was extended and the distances between us were closed. Those days were so fruitful and precious that the whole community decided to meet for another full day to worship and wait on God. I am writing this as our third day together has concluded, and as we hoped, we went deeper still. God has not finished with us and prolonged absence, along with different opinions about how Covid restrictions were applied, have left quite a lot to get sorted out. But we are encouraged that hearts are soft and genuine; honest conversations do have their healing effect. There have been times of repentance and then many sincere words of affirmation. It illustrated again that we don’t expect people to be perfect, but humility paves the way for restoring trust.
My sin was judging others. A couple of people had said or written things that seemed to say that Marti and I and our extended family needed to have less influence in this community. Based upon those few comments, we began to feel unwanted and drew the conclusion that many people were feeling that way. Once we confessed our sin of judging, it helped others to look inside too. What followed were words or notes of encouragement and acceptance. We thank God that we are in a much better frame of mind and emotions now.
All this illustrates that the Lord wants to get his “living stones” sorted out before we make new progress with the physical “stones”. As I have written before, we are at a critical stage of improving this amazing property so that it can be a tool fit for God’s purposes and a “thin place” where residents and visitors experience God’s presence. We have made good progress towards more accommodation but need to see quite a lot of money come in to finish the building, which is known as the Kinahan Lodge, after Peter Kinahan. (Peter worked with me and others for years towards planning improvements and extensions to the capacity of this site before he died of cancer three years ago .) Before we finish the KL, and to enable us to go on and improve the Factory building, we must install a new power supply. That will cost about £400,000 , and without it we are woefully short of electrical energy, so it had to be done now. The foundations have been laid, and the brickwork is starting today.
The last thing we did this morning was to reiterate how God has led us thus far. Then we took up an offering, which came to over £21,000. It was great to see a real sense of sacrificial buy-in from all who live here. However, as of this morning we were still about £120,000 short of the money needed to pay for the new power supply.
Would you please join us in prayer for God’s provision for the remaining £120,000 (about $200,000)? It would be a great encouragement if you would join with us in prayer for this. Completing it will symbolise a breakthrough for training up more ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. If you can think of others who might want to be a part of this, feel free to pass this information along.