Here at MBI, we love hearing stories about how trusting in Jesus and responding in love and forgiveness in the face of challenge can radically change the outcome of lives. We’d like to share this beautiful story of God’s help and grace as told by DTS student, Christin Ingold, who took her training at YWAM Berlin in Germany and fulfilled her field assignment in Muizenberg/Capetown South Africa. (Mission Builders International supports YWAM Berlin and YWAM Muizenburg by sending volunteers.)
Yesterday was one of those days that showed me once more how precious and not-to-be-taken-for-granted life is. My friend Andrew and I were running at the beach. We were already on our way back when someone grabbed me by the shoulder and took hold of my shirt to stop me. As I turned around, I saw four guys, and in that moment, I already knew they were going to rob us. One of them held a knife, another one an empty bottle and one of them a long stick.
While Andrew stopped and came back to me, they took my phone and all the rings and earrings I was wearing. Andrew looked at one of the guys, who stood closest to him, and asked: “Can I pray for you?” Immediately, and for me unexpectedly, this guy responded: “Yes, I need it.” His eyes were empty, and the way he said it was so desperate. No hint of irony in his voice at all.
Andrew hugged him and held him while he was praying. I stood directly behind them, watching this guy’s face. He was obviously overwhelmed and touched by what just happened. As Andrew spoke forgiveness over him in prayer, this guy made eye contact with me and said: “I am so sorry. Please forgive me!” I already held his hand, as I had started to pray for him as well, but I pressed it even harder and said: “I forgive you. You are forgiven.”
The other three guys now were all standing with their backs to us. One of them came to me again, still wanting to take off one of my bracelets. As he grabbed my wrist, the guy who just received prayer, still in Andrew’s arms, reached out to his friend’s hand and pushed it away. There was change in his eyes, and God really broke my heart for him. I guess from this day on I’ll understand the story of the sinner hanging next to Jesus, taking the grace of forgiveness a little deeper and with personal attachment. Forgiveness is always there, but it needs humility to take it.
As Andrew and I got out of this situation, we fell down in the sand on our knees to pray. Only in this moment the awareness and reality hit me of what just happened … we were still alive. We weren’t raped or killed. This whole story could have had such a different ending. Both of us were able to stay calm and act in the opposite spirit, which wasn’t to our credit at all but only by God’s grace. That one of these four guys experienced God’s love deeply was so worth losing the phone.
I am thankful for my life once more, I am thankful for God’s protection and for my friend, Andrew, whose instinctive act of compassion calmed the whole situation down, me included. And I am thankful one more time for Jesus and the cross, which made this immediate forgiveness possible.
Can’t say it enough: God is good, more than we can imagine. All glory to him.
~ Christin Ingold, YWAM Berlin, Germany
on outreach in Muizenberg/Capetown, South Africa
by Lori McDaniel
Every year over 2 million people participate in short-term mission trips.
They exit planes on foreign soil, motivated by compassion, a desire to save the lost, or to do something they’ve never done before. They trickle into villages or cities with agendas and plans, usually toting candy, crayons, and their old vacation Bible school material.
They share the gospel, do humanitarian work, make relationships that melt their hearts, and then return home with their world-perspective changed.
I think I still have t-shirts from several of those trips!
Churches have the potential to use short-term teams strategically and the potential to use short-term teams destructively.
- Over $2 billion dollars a year is spent on short-term missions.
- Less than 1 out of 5 teams go to places that are unreached.
- 75% of short-term mission trips are done poorly.
It is crucial that churches train short-term teams well and send them to strategic places. If we are going send over 2 million volunteers and spend over $2 billion, we need to steward our efforts.
We need to lead people to think like missionaries, not tourists.
When we lead people to think like missionaries, we move them from being mission volunteers to living a life style as kingdom citizens on God’s global mission.
They begin to understand the world as God sees it, learn to think like the people of the culture they are in, learn to share the gospel in a way it can be understood and received, and learn to think how to make a multiplying impact, not a one-time impact.
DO YOU THINK LIKE A TOURIST OR A MISSIONARY?
Take the test for yourself and mentally circle which ones describe you.
Tourists think: What can I take on my trip to make me more comfortable?
Missionaries think: What can I do to make the people I’m with more comfortable around me?
Tourists think: I’d like to fix all the problems I see.
Missionaries think: I’d like to know what the people of the culture think are the problems.
Tourists think: I’d like to take you home with me.
Missionaries think: I could live among you.
Tourists think: If I give candy, money, or my shoes I’ve made an immediate difference.
Missionaries think: What can I possibly do that will make a multiplying, reproducing difference?
Tourists think: I could build a church building FOR the people here for nearly nothing.
Missionaries think: I could plant a church WITH the people here using nothing.
Tourists think: I am on a mission to export my faith and convert people.
Missionaries think: I’m joining God, who is on a mission and already at work among the people.
Don’t cancel your plane ticket if you found yourself in the “tourist” category. And don’t mark your past mission efforts as a “fail.” Being on mission with God is a journey. I’ve lived on both sides and have another blog of stupid “mission” things I’ve done. I believe that if God can raise the dead, he can redeem my stupidity!
But let us be learners of doing missions well. Being on mission with God is a journey, a journey on which we should be active learners.
Let us raise disciples that live on mission in their local context so that when they cross cultures for a short time, they relocate thinking like a missionary.
by Amy Lindstrom
I remember looking in my husband’s eyes as we sat across from one another at a local restaurant. I had called a meeting. I had a lot on my mind.
I was fighting my way through the sadness of an empty nest, looking for new meaning and purpose. I knew I needed more and I wanted to “finish well.” I had deep fear that my last productive decades would be spent going out for lunch with friends, sharing photos of grand babies, scrap-booking and reading an occasional book. It wouldn’t be enough.
“Give me a few more years,” Paul said. So I did. I waited a few more years, finding more meaning than I’d anticipated. I finished a master’s degree in Christian counseling ministry. I was involved in mentoring younger women and mothers, counseling, praying, leading small groups, teaching. Still, I knew there was more. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was going to look like or how it would happen, but my soul longed for adventure, depth, more of Jesus and a community of others that longed for the same things.
Finally, God intervened and some rearranging began to happen in our lives. Some was good, some was difficult. Paul submitted to the changes, remembering the agreement he made across the table that winter day.
It was time for an adventure with Jesus. Depth, growth, challenge, pain, revelation, surrender; all of these were part of the MBI Crossroads DTS we participated in during the spring of 2014. Not even two years ago! Amazing, considering all that has happened since then. It was as if the waters of labor broke and the real me was birthed from a struggle I didn’t understand at the time.
Like many of you, I knew there was more in me than the world would want me to believe; more than what I saw so many in my generation settling for. I knew all of the experiences, failures, pain, loving and sacrifice I’d lived through was training that made me fit for a work that was somehow holy.
Holy is defined as: consecrated to God; set apart for the service of God. I knew the coming decades of my life were to be set apart in a way that was different from those now past. Motherhood and teaching had been services that were sacred in their own particular ways. But, I knew something was waiting that was different.
Looking back at the past 24 months, I find it amazing to see what the Lord has done with the days and weeks and months now in my rearview mirror. I’m blessed to have seen many of my life-long dreams reach their fullness. Some I had even protected from utterance in my prayers. There have been times when I was filled with doubt and painfully stretched, but the adventure I began in my Crossroads DTS has become a whirlwind of adventure, growth and delightful surprises.
Last January, I traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, where I was a mission builder for 10 days. I went there in a desperate attempt to remind myself that God was working on a plan, ordering my steps, and there was something else to come after my CDTS. I went with small expectations, not knowing what would happen, just willing to serve in a warm and beautiful place. What happened was immeasurably more than all I asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). I worked in hospitality and housekeeping, something I knew a little about. But the Lord gave me grace and favor, opening doors so I could also use my education and experience to lead a time of intercession and minister to staff and students through prayer, counseling and teaching. Those younger than me sought my wisdom, knowledge and friendship. They welcomed me as a valuable blessing to their community. This was the encouragement I needed to expand my YWAM training in order to use my experience in counseling ministry to bless YWAMers.
In April of 2015, I attended a secondary school in Kona, Hawaii: Foundations of Counseling Ministry. This has opened further doors for me to use my master’s degree in YWAM. I completed three months of outreach over the fall and winter, ministering in Scandinavia and campuses in my home state of Wisconsin. Paul and I traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico, again where I taught, ministered, counseled and participated in local outreach. He assisted with campus projects and helped build a house with Homes of Hope. In future months, I will continue teaching, counseling and ministering to those who long to expand the kingdom but are hindered by the pain and wounds of life.
This is what I have learned since my adventure with YWAM began:
- Although the Y in YWAM stands for youth, the younger generation is hungry for the wisdom and experience that my generation has to give. Having lacked a God-like love as children, many still crave the care and nurture of those older than themselves; spiritual mothers and fathers to accept, mentor and cheer. God is a God of the generations. He desires to join the generations together in bonds of love and unity. Yes, they really want us, need us, and we are still part of the story!
- There is a real community available to us; a big family that loves us as we are and welcomes the chance to do life with us. There is a belonging that is unique to the Body of Christ, where we are able to transcend differences in cultures, colors, languages, age and gender. Yes, there is a community where we can belong!
- God is challenging my generation to surrender the selfishness of a retirement focused on pleasure; to use the blessings of our age and resources to benefit the kingdom. Yes, we really have much more to give than we realize!
- It is never too late to heal, find purpose, dream dreams, discover what else is inside of us. God has never stopped dreaming dreams for us and he has not forgotten the things he has whispered into our hearts, the promises he has made. Yes, he is faithful to finish what he started in each of us (Philippians 1:6)!
- God knows us. He knows exactly what we bring to his kingdom and the best place to set us. He knows every detail of our joys, talents, knowledge, and if we follow, he will place us exactly where we can most brightly shine for him. That may be behind a bulldozer, in a kitchen, playing with orphans, painting a sign or praying with the brokenhearted. He alone knows where we fit and the time of our arrival. Yes, we can trust him!
Be encouraged today! The Father is not finished with me or you. Perhaps, like myself, you can find YOUR place with YWAM and MBI. Perhaps you, too, will begin with a Crossroads Discipleship Training School. God may have another road for you to travel. But I am certain that however the Father chooses to do it, there is still meaningful purpose and growth awaiting you. Change and adventure are both exhilarating and terrifying at times. But to me, the alternative is even more frightening. God is good, trustworthy and faithful. Lean into ALL that he has for you.
You may already be connected to Mission Builders International. Perhaps you love the idea of lifting the arms of those in long-term missions. Or maybe you support a friend or family member in such efforts. Or is it that your curiosity has been piqued by missions? Whatever your reason, this letter could confirm what already resonates in your heart, or it could be God’s nudge for you to go for it!
I spent five years longing to know God more in a safe and set-apart season of my life. I remember talking, for the umpteenth time, of my desires to my good friend, Melisa, who’d spent years in YWAM, living in the Middle East. She had something I didn’t—a maturity and well-roundedness—but more than that, a heart able to expand toward people and places in a way mine couldn’t. I told her once more, “I want what you have!” In a moment I’ll never forget, Melisa pounded her fist emphatically on the coffee shop table and said, “Then you just need to GO!”
Go? Me? Oh no, no, no. That’s not possible. I’ve already established myself in a career. I’d have to quit my job! That’s a lot to ask of me financially too. How in the world could I afford to do that? I’m pretty involved in my local church; how can I be released from my commitments? What about insurance? Rent? Leaving family and friends? And the clincher: YWAM is for those “young pups.” I’m too old!
Now, with a humble and knowing smile, I’m writing this on my last full day of outreach in Romania. For the first time in my walk with Christ, I didn’t allow fears and my over-analytical brain to define my desires or my future. Months ago, I took a leap of faith and declared, “I’m going to Montana!” I finally allowed God to be Himself. When I cut through the tethers of human understanding, the poison of people-pleasing, and my anxiety over many things, He showed me places of freedom and provision I’d only dreamed of.
How has a Crossroads Discipleship Training School changed my life? I received precious revelation about God’s character and grace, missions, evangelism and relationships. I surrounded myself with people who love Jesus and who encouraged me in how God has fashioned me. I was sharpened by different life perspectives, cultures, personalities and life situations.
Ups? Most definitely. Downs? You betcha. In fact, if you were to part the grass-is-always-greener curtain on anything in life, in time you would see—the ordinary. Did I just kill the mood? I certainly don’t want to paint a bleak picture. But as I read Romans 12 this past week, I recognized the beauty of the common dirt my Jesus walked on daily as He sojourned on earth, and the apostle Paul’s loving encouragement to do likewise.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Recognize what He wants from you, and respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, which drags you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you and develops well-formed maturity in you. A DTS enables you to embrace the everyday, ordinary life and to place all that you think, believe and are, at Jesus’ feet as a “living sacrifice.” As you do this, you allow Him to open your heart and eyes to people, places and experiences you never would have before.
At a Crossroads DTS (for those 30+), you can continue the journey of life-long learning and discipleship. It’s a season of receiving without apology, working out frustrations you’ve had and lies you’ve believed for years, making new and lasting relationships with other believers, gaining a heart for things that never before crossed your mind, wrestling through the hard questions of life and seeing God take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.
What would a Crossroads Discipleship Training School do for you? Only God can answer that. Just go for it! –Anna Patton
MBI’s next CDTS begins April 4, 2016. Visit www.missionbuilders.org for details and fill out the online CDTS application. For a photo tour of Anna’s 2014 outreach to Romania, visit the YWAM Mission Builders International Inc. Facebook page and view the photo album.
The predicted coming crisis this fall is revealing the heart and shaking those things that can be shaken.
By Sean Malone, Director of Crisis Response International
There has been a lot of talk and speculation about what is coming upon the world this fall, from New York Times bestsellers like The Harbinger and The Mystery of the Shemitah (Shemitah years are God’s seven year cycles mentioned in Scripture and linked to economic activity) to contemporary prophets and blood moon preachers. While we can’t draw hard and fast doctrines from any of these things, they are signs that make one wonder. I personally have heard quite a bit about what is supposed to happen in America this September but very little about what we are to do. Is it just me or does it feel like someone just sucked the air out of the room? It’s like a collective gasp around the body of Christ right now as many of us are frozen, stuck and unsure of what to do. Some are even locked up in fear while the enemy just laughs. But I believe God is raising up people who understand the times and know what to do.
“From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.” 2 Chronicles 12:32 NLT.
Just as God raised up the sons of Issachar who could interpret the times and know what to do, we need to be equipped with knowledge and wisdom on how to take action for the good of the Church and for the sake of the Gospel.
Faith Not Fear
No matter what happens this fall, none of it will take God by surprise. The answer to navigating the potentially troubled waters of this fall is rooted in faith and not fear. If your plan is to hunker down, hoard and just hold on, friends I am sorry you are missing the point. It would help us all to dig into the book of Hebrews to see a bigger picture. In Hebrews chapter 11 we see the many things the heroes of faith endured. By faith Noah, by faith Abraham, by faith Moses, they ran their race well and endured hardship “by faith” and became heroes of the faith. In chapter 12 we are reminded that God disciplines us as his sons and that we are to endure hardship as discipline from the Lord. Discipline is a sign of our sonship. He goes on to tell us that there is a time period that God will shake everything that can be shaken so that we can receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
God’s Shakings Are Redemptive in Nature
One thing we need to understand if we are talking about a God orchestrated shaking is that it is redemptive in nature and designed to perfect love for Him and for others. It’s ultimately the first and second commandment coming into first and second place. Anything not under the Lordship of Christ needs to be and will be shaken anyway if it is hindering love for Him and others.
Think about that for a second.
What distractions are in your life that keep you from loving Him and others wholeheartedly? Right now is your heart tender and free from the cares of this life? Is He truly your magnificent obsession? Are you living fully for Him and through Him? Secondly, right now do you love others as yourself and carry a burden for the lost among the nations? This should serve as a tuning fork for our hearts because it is what is on His heart.
How Will We Respond?
If this is true, our response to the potential shakings of this fall should look different. Our preparedness for an economic, political or even geological shaking should be more than a desperate attempt to hold onto our western lifestyles. Preparing for the days ahead is so much deeper than hoarding stuff. I have news for you, if that is your response than God may even shake that too. Do you really think He is looking for more western independence? It makes me wonder how many people are paralyzed in fear right now of what’s coming and have retreated from what God has called them to do. Our western gospel of comfort that is devoid of the notion that we may suffer has fashioned a golden image of who God is. With the threat that their god may be shaken, people are locked down in fear. Shakings are the litmus test to show who we really serve. Ask yourself this question, how much of my lifestyle did I fabricate and how much of it is built on God’s unshakable Kingdom?
Restoring the Second Commandment
The other aspect we need to understand is that in the shakings, God is restoring the second commandment as well as the first commandment. Love for others. What happens in the midst of a disaster or crisis? People come together and help each other. As we prepare for this fall, we need to be preparing to help others.
Today there is a prophecy about global crisis and the response is: determine to prepare for survival and self-preservation. In the 1st century there was a prophecy about a global crisis (Acts 11:27-30) and the response was: giving and aiding those impacted; each according to their ability determined to send relief to the brethren elsewhere.
We love to point fingers at the corporate depravity of our nation and say she deserves punishment while our hearts are just as bankrupt. Let’s take this time to examine our own lives and actions before we point the finger at anyone around us and make sure we are caring for the poor, needy and hurting, heeding the warnings of Scripture for the actions of Sodom.
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” Ezekiel 16: 49-50
Folks, it is an upside down Kingdom. You give it away to keep it and this is a sign your heart is free. Again, if God is dealing corporately with us in America than our preparedness should be more of the heart than a fear based grasp to hold onto our western lifestyles. Now there is nothing wrong with preparing your home, neighborhood, church and business for crisis and disaster. Here at CRI we hold seminars on how to train people to do so. However as the church we need to take inventory of our hearts motivation to make sure we are not hunkering and bunkering in fear but rather getting ready to help others and be the glorious church in that hour. If something is out from under the Lordship of Christ right now in your life than you want that dealt with now and not later.
Hebrews 11:7 says: “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” It’s says that Noah by faith…in holy fear prepared for his family.
Are you responding in faith or fear? Let’s choose faith. Join us as we call our nation to a fast now through September 23. We are praying and believing for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on the hearts and minds of those in our nation. Let’s humble ourselves before the Lord and believe that together we’ll see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
P.S. If we are going to be looking at the biblical calendar as a way that God deals with His people then remember the Shemitah just ended on September 13th and the year of Jubilee starts on September 23rd. I encourage you to be believing for great things!