As I returned to the YWAM base after a long day, there were these beautifully adorned ladies moving gracefully about as if they were dancing on air. I thought God had sent His Angels!
Approaching the door, several were out front sweeping away the dark soil that was a constant nuisance from the front steps. They had smiles on their faces and a joy that radiated. Entering the main level, there were more of these angelic creatures in their long flowing gowns dancing about with brooms and singing and talking and laughing.
In this distant land in East Africa, with the heat and the dirt and austere living, I thought God looked down on our condition and sent His Angels to bless the Disciple Training School underway.
I soon learned they were on Outreach; the 2 ½ months each Discipleship Training School (DTS) completes at the end of their initial 3-month training. This team, known as Peacemakers DTS, traveled almost 8,000 miles from Wollongong, Australia to answer the call God placed on their heart.
The energy this team brought was infectious. They were there on a mission to contribute to the active DTS, lead in praise and worship, conduct street ministry and circling the city praying for the host nation.
These young people were part of YWAM Wollongong established in 2005. YWAM Wollongong had a vision God placed on their heart to establish a “sending base” to reach the 10/40 Window.
What is the 10/40 Window?
World evangelism estimates that of the 55 least evangelized countries, 97% of their population lives within the 10/40 Window. This region in the eastern hemisphere is situated between 10 degrees latitude north to 40 degrees latitude north of the equator.
Two-thirds of the world's population or more than 4.4 billion people live in the 10/40 Window with 90% of the people unevangelized. Many have never even heard the Gospel message. Not even one time! This is often called the “Resistant Belt” because it includes a majority of the worlds Muslim, Hindus and Buddhist.
YWAM Wollongong is part of a global movement called Youth with a Mission or YWAM. Founded by Loren and Darlene Cunningham in 1956, God gave Loren a vision of waves crashing on all the continents and nations of the earth. Those waves were young people reaching out with the love of Jesus. God told him to train them up and the University of the Nations was born. Their purpose is “To Know God and to Make Him Known.” Today, there are over 18,000 missionaries in 180 countries following the call of God on their life.
And that brings us back to these “Angels from Heaven” YWAM Wollongong. The team was composed of Naomi, Julia, Leen, Lexi, Alyssa, Laura, Allison, Sarah, Jaydon, Alena, Grace, Marieke and Caroline.
Because of the strict laws and cultural restrictions on evangelism, the country and names of those based there will remain confidential. They are in the 10/40 Window.
These ladies were all Martha’s as described in Luke 10 who were at first busy about the house cleaning, organizing and preparing for the work of the Lord. Then as evening came, they all gathered for a time of praise and worship. Alyssa came fully prepared with all her music laid out in front as she led with guitar.
This team had been worshiping together for some time. As their voices began to rise in praise and worship in anticipation of God’s anointing, there was such a harmony of sound.
The Holy Spirit was descending on this place and He was moving among us ministering to hearts, revealing Himself through song, bringing healing and comfort to wounded souls and leading us to greater revelations of who He is and His plan and purpose for our life. God brought these Angels to minister in praise and worship to the local DTS team just as they themselves were preparing for their own outreach.
In the following days they divided up in teams for street evangelism. One of the teams, Marieke and Caroline, wore the traditional hijab in order to avoid offending local residents and their cultural norms that come from westerners ignoring local customs.
Shopping for the daily meals, food prep, cooking and cleaning for 25 people also became a challenge. The Angels from team Wollongong jumped right in and sought to be the hands and feet of Jesus as they looked for ways they could contribute.
One notable event was American Grill day. Finding a thick juicy American hamburger, golden crunchy French fries, leafy lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, buns and all the condiments in this part of the world was near impossible. (Earlier I had volunteered to prepare the meal on my own without a clue of what I was signing up for).
In the photo, I’m flanked by Julia and Lexi who stepped in and saved the day.
Not only did they make the long and hazardous journey on foot to the only supermarket for westerners, they were invaluable in selecting the right products, spices, ingredients, cooking oil and utensils. Next, they took over in the kitchen once they realized I was absolutely lost. They came to the rescue, took control and prepared a feast. Their culinary skills ensured the group had a meal to remember.
Another challenge in the life of a missionary is one of minimalism. Literally the only piece of furniture in the house was a table. That was it! This created a challenge in the kitchen where spices, pots, cups and dishes were being stacked on the top of the refrigerator and the kitchen sink for storage.
One young lady, Lexi whom I renamed Martha because she was always busy, decided to build a spice rack. She literally went scrounging around the property to find wood scrap suitable to constructing a shelf. Next, she engineered the design and then went on a scavenger hunt to locate a saw, hammer and nails. And as the photo shows, she ended up doing most of the physical labor.
It was amazing to see the looks on people’s faces that had lived there for the last three months without even a rack to store a dish. God can use us to bless others in the simplest of things. We just have to follow the teaching of Isaiah 6:8 …”Here am I. Send me!”
These young people were literally from all over the world. They answered the call God placed on their life to attend Discipleship Training School in Wollongong, Australia for three months of intensive training then travel to Africa for another two months to minister in the 10/40 Window.
Should you or a young person you know wish to have the experience of a lifetime and encounter the Holy Spirit as never before, I strongly recommend attending Discipleship Training School. Having two sons of my own who attended DTS, I can attest to the transformative power a deeper relationship with Christ will have on the trajectory of their life.
All YWAM missionaries are supported by sponsors. No one earns a salary, not even the staff. You can contribute to their work in a variety of ways either to their General Fund, Property Fund, Staff or Student at YWAM Wollongong.
Thank you, YWAM Wollongong, for being obedient to God’s call.