During our US/Canada Trip, the Lord connected our family to some new churches and friends. One such “God connection” was in Pennsylvania, where we were introduced to the YWAM team in Harrisburg which was just about to begin their 3 month classroom study.
For those of you not familiar with YWAM (Youth With a Mission), they are a interdenominational missions organization that focuses on short term discipleship and exposure to foreign missions through a variety of means. They are ministering in 180 countries, and train over +20k (mostly young adults) per year.
One of the appealing things about YWAM to us as a partner is that they are not a denomination, nor a controlling organization, which allows for a wide variety of ‘focus’, depending on the vision of the leadership. Although every DTS (Discipleship Training School) covers some standard basic Christian doctrine, the exact focus of the team will vary from school to school. For example, some will focus on advancing the Kingdom of God through business, sports, medicine or education. When the DTS classroom portion is finished, the team collectively goes on a 2-3 month outreach as part of continued training and evangelism.
The team in Harrisburg is focused on Worship & Intercession. You can read about their focus here – http://fireandfragrance.com/vision/
They are worship leaders, song writers, singers and generally creative arts focused. This obviously peaked my interest as this past year I’ve been praying specifically for the next steps on the 2nd floor of the Cafe – and beyond. I’ve had a renewed desire to move back into creative ministry – particularly music, but also a ‘production’ for evangelism that I can’t shake. My increasing desire for the past 2yrs is to see more expedited discipleship with a focus on creative arts. At times it’s all I think about- more than the actual Cafe.
For the past season the Lord has encouraged me with this verse:
‘..for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.’ Phil 2:13
I love this verse.
We don’t originate ‘good’ or ‘god’ dreams or desires on our own. We tap into them, if they are legitimate, through the Spirit of God.
We are by nature self focused, planning and executing decisions in general for our own well being and happiness. God enters the picture with His love and mercy, reveals our sin, changes our hearts and fills us with His desires. Our very motivations and mission for life alters when the love of the Father enters us.
It doesn’t stop there though… He not only fills us with the ‘will’ or desire, but the strength to ‘work’ towards His heart. He provides the spiritual and natural resources to accomplish HIS work. We can take comfort in knowing that if God is at work, He will provide.
Basically, the encouragement is that we are not alone, though it may, at times, feel as if we are. We are co-laborers with Christ – it’s His harvest, and He goes with us. The battle is His, the souls are His, we are His. What a relief! You, too, may have some crazy ideas and feel like Noah building an arc – it’s good to know we aren’t alone.
We have had a dream in our hearts to see the nations impacted for Christ, and ‘see’ a gathering of young men and women, from inside and outside of Ukraine gathering to learn more of Christ, and trained for more effective life and ministry in the world.
This isn’t my exclusive dream, it’s the dream of God. If you are filled with the Spirit of God you have a measure of this dream in your heart too. I think He gives us all bits and pieces and divinely orchestrates us together. Ultimately it’s His plan to fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord – like the waters cover the sea.
So back to YWAM. Through a series of events, God put it on the teams heart to change their original outreach plans to join us in Ukraine! This was not something I pursued or even asked about, and it came together in such a way that we all believe God is going to do something great. A team of 9 adults along with 4 small children will be joining us for 2 months, from April 15 – June 15!
We were able to swing by and individually meet each member of the DTS on our way back to Canada a few weeks ago. We are excited about what God is going to do obviously, and also anxious to get preparing in a number of ways to maximize their particular gifts for the Lord.
So what will they be doing?
We will be breaking their time into two phases (1st month, 2nd month).
Phase one will be focused locally/regionally as we host evening concerts, times of prayer/worship, courses on song writing, instrument classes. We’ll use the Cafe and be renovating the second floor to better suit these outreaches in the next few weeks. The Lord provided financially specifically for the needs upstairs – that’s another story:) We’ll be inviting friends from Kiev and area churches to participate in singing, playing instruments, or just gathering to be encouraged.
Phase two will be praying for a few opportunities outside of our area. We’re discussing working with YWAM in Kiev for some outreach events, as well as some Christian camps taking place where the team could come and minister, as well as experience more of Ukraine. Ultimately, our town will be home base for most of the team’s time in Ukraine – so we’ll have some housing, meal and transportation needs to get working on.
We believe the Lord has joined us to this team. We love their hearts and they feel a connection to our family. We believe God wants to awaken hearts to His presence, His reality, His love – and we are going to create an atmosphere of continual praise, prayer on the 2nd floor of the Cafe and do our best to listen to His voice for the rest. We believe God will draw hearts that are searching, and encourage those that already know Him that He is alive and has not forgotten them.
We return to Ukraine refreshed and energized. Life has a way of getting us lulled to sleep in its rhythms, doesn’t it? Please pray that He continues to fill – we do also sense a tension, a spiritual ‘something’ that is also at work, and we know as believers there is no such thing as a spiritual vacuum. I think of the quote:
“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan” – CS Lewis
Obviously, with all that is happening in Ukraine right now, many are hurting, anxious and even fearful. Christ is the answer, ultimately. We pray this team, along with everyone the Lord draws to serve with us this spring/summer, will help to spark a greater awakening to His reality, and the spiritual battle taking place every day. May His church grow in passion and number.
Bruce & Deborah