Some of us remember Ron Brewster as the fresh-faced 17-year-old kid with the spikey mullet arriving at YWAM Lakeside, Montana, in 1987 to enter his Discipleship Training School (DTS). We had no idea Ron would turn out to be a YWAM “lifer” (except for a brief stint as the college and admin pastor of a Foursquare church in Roseburg, Oregon). Nor did we dream he would one day be tapped to direct the YWAM Lakeside campus (2002-2010). What we know for sure now is that Ron was—and very much is—a gifted leader/administrator with a clear eye for making whatever he oversees run like clockwork, while encouraging fellow volunteers to reach their fullest potential in their service to Jesus.
Ron has an extensive resume (forgive us if we brag a little on his behalf) including:
1) A Master’s of Arts in Leadership.
2) A lead position with Leadership13, the coaching/mentoring ministry he co-
founded and dedicated to “developing servant leaders for lasting growth.”
3) One year living with his family of four in Chiang Rai, Thailand, in order to gain
the experience of living overseas and to better identify with and serve
4) Five years as managing director of YWAM San Diego/Baja.
5) A stint as an MBI corporate board member.
6) Current positions with five different YWAM corporate boards.
It all adds up to a high level of vision, dedication, and expertise. Can you see why we were excited when Ron called last December to let us know that, yes, he was now ready to step into an MBI leadership role?
Not only will Ron be taking MBI’s volunteer development ministry to the next level, but he is bringing three significant, intentional service ministries under the YWAM Mission Builders International umbrella, each one designed to be a resource for YWAM locations all over the world.
Perhaps the most noteworthy addition Ron brings to MBI is Jeanette—his wife of 24 years (as they say, “behind every good man…”). Jeanette has her own impressive history of YWAM and ministry experience: A DTS at YWAM Lakeside in 1990 followed by positions that included DTS staff, Schools Registrar, work in or management of various departments, and 12 years as a member of YWAM Lakeside’s leadership council. Her interest in serving others also led her to join the Debriefing ministry long-term, beginning in 2009.
Ron and Jeanette have two treasured “responsibilities”: their nineteen-year-old daughter Meraiah (away at university) and 15-year-old son Sebastian.
We’re pleased to have the Brewster family aboard, and we’re looking forward to the pleasure of seeing MBI grow into fullness and maturity as Ron applies his characteristic enthusiasm and wisdom. Stay tuned (yes, the best is yet to come)!
Without hesitation, I can say I’m excited for Ron Brewster and our new team to come on board with MBI. They’ll take us to new levels of growth, both in recruiting and placing volunteers with YWAM worldwide as well as in pursuing new and different avenues for serving and building the mission.
I may flinch when reminded that I’m no longer “the leader” of MBI, but I’ll continue to enjoy the “new, novel and different” of each day. I look forward to solving problems for someone else (somehow easier than solving my own) while no longer having direct responsibility for leading others.
Life is in constant-change mode, which is hard for those of us who find change and transition to be challenging. It’s certainly true with regard to the current state of our culture, which affects our worldview on politics, policy, and our way of life.
It’s true on a personal level as well for my bride Donna and I as we release the fruits our 18 years with MBI to younger leaders and look ahead with wonder. Our next step is a sabbatical, including a study tour, serving at a YWAM base or two, and a Leadership Development Course as we prepare to return to MBI next summer, ready to take on new roles under Ron’s leadership.
These kinds of things may convey the sense that things are out of control, uncertain, and fear-inducing. But the question for us all—whether the sky is really falling or not—is where are we at?
At the risk of sounding trite, the antidote to fear and uncertainty has been and always will be Jesus.
Life is a never-ending series of beginnings and endings. Jesus is either our guide or merely an acquaintance (if that) along the way. I chose Him to be my guide more than 39 years ago, and I’m still learning to follow Him. I want to know Him, to love more, and to learn about what His concerns and desires are.
What I find is that it really is about how well we love one another—how we think about and treat our neighbor, whether stranger or friend.
This past summer, I was confronted with transition, change, and the finality of life when
I met Steve Peterson on July 7, 2018, at Tillicum Beach State Park on the Oregon coast.
Steve, at 68 years of age, was walking the length of the West Coast—part of his bucket list—before boarding an Amtrak train for Florida’s Disney World, and eventually entering hospice, where he would finish his life’s journey after a recent diagnosis of terminal Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
With no family (he never married) and driving trucks for the past 31 years, his only close friend is a retired Army colonel who is helping him arrange his life’s affairs. His only regret? Not marrying the woman he had opportunity to when he was young.
Was he lonely? “Heck no,” he told me. “Jesus is my constant companion!”
Steve’s journey was not without interruptions, which brought him across my path (or vice versa). All his worldly possessions (his camping gear, backpack, tent, sleeping bag, etc.) were suddenly gone—stolen. Rather than reacting with anger, sadness, or disappointment, and recognizing the time remaining was too short for him to be concerned about it, Steve chose to keep moving forward, trusting Jesus for his daily bread.
As we talked and prayed, I was compelled to give Steve what little cash I had in my pocket to get him his next meal and a little farther along on his journey. God showed up.
Was I skeptical of Steve’s story? Yes, but not enough to second-guess what Jesus would do.
How about you? Are you skeptical about the future? Will you choose, along with me, to trust Jesus to guide and provide, despite inevitable changes and transitions, believing that the best is yet to come?
I’m believing it for MBI; I’m believing it for us.
Indeed—I’ll say it again—the best is yet to come!
Change is coming to Mission Builders International, bringing with it the excitement and challenges that accompany beginnings, endings, firsts, and lasts. As MBI grows and embraces change—welcoming new people and a fresh round of related ministries—we celebrate that change even as we continue doing what we’ve always done: recruiting and sending volunteers to help YWAM locations globally.
During this season of transition, we’ve come to a particular ending: MBI will no longer be partnering with YWAM Lakeside in hosting the Crossroads Discipleship Training School (but take heart—the CDTS will resume at YWAM Lakeside in 2020). To close this chapter, we’d like to share a handful stories from the graduates of the 2018 school. We love what God has done in and through them, and we know you will too!
“God is asking me to come on staff with the YWAM Puerto Vallarta team. I believe the CDTS has prepared me, because I am the most confident in who I am in Christ that I have been in my entire life. I know who He is, I know who I am in Him, and I want to make Him known. I’ve faced difficult things, I’ve worked with so many different people, I’ve moved into places where I knew no one, and I am ready and excited to take the next steps God is calling me to take.” ~ Jay J.
“My most significant experience was finding out that the voice I would hear or the prompting [I felt] really was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. That helped me greatly.” ~ Lynn C.
“The teaching on grace has changed my way of thinking, because I had lived so many years trying to please God in order to earn salvation.” ~ Mandi W.
“To my delight, I never felt unwelcomed by anyone because of my age. Both in the training and outreach stage, I felt very much welcomed and embraced, and that age was not at all significant to the ministry.” ~ Mike D.
“The first church we went to [in Puerto Vallarta] I asked the Lord, ‘What would you have me do?’ He said, ‘Sit down.’ I did, and He brought a five-year-old to me to sit on my lap. She was looking for a safe place. Thank you Lord! It was me!” ~ Laura W.
“At one of my low points in Mexico, when I was feeling inadequate about speaking with people, I was praying in the Catholic Church of the Square in Bucerias. I heard very distinctly: ‘I called you to be faithful, not successful.’ I left that place feeling God had met me in my time of need and that what I was doing was acceptable to Him.” ~ Kate D.
“I believe God is asking me to go further into missions with YWAM and has prepared me for what is next for me. I am putting my whole life in God’s hands; He has never failed me yet. My favorite verse is Isaiah 6:8: ‘And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Here am I; send me.’ This is what I pray: Here are my feet Lord; I will go where you send me.” ~ Jules M.
This final CDTS produced fruit that will last, maturing into richer relationships with the Father and good works for his kingdom. What more could we ask for? Thank you Lord for new beginnings and happy endings!