Mission Builders International loves missionaries. We value what God accomplishes generation to generation through those who listen for his call with fresh ears. That’s why we’re dedicated to recruiting and sending volunteers to assist global YWAM ministries—ministries with remarkable vision—like YWAM Bend, Oregon. In this two-part series, we’ll not only share YWAM Bend’s unfolding story but also the equally delightful account of the YWAMers-turned-mission builders who intersected with them on a very unusual project.
Apostolic pioneering. That’s a fancy term used to describe how visionary leaders birth and multiply self-supporting, reproducible ministries worldwide. It requires sacrifice, persistence—and a plan.
The staff team at YWAM Bend consists of apostolic pioneers. “Spud” and MaryEsther Hooley and their sons, Zach and Caleb, can trace their family tree back through many generations of agriculture. Having lost everything to crop failure after years of farming in southern Idaho, Spud and MaryEsther took their young sons and embarked on a four-year missions stint in Eastern Europe. As a result, Zach and Caleb—brothers and best friends—found their own missions call. God led the Hooley family through seasons of personal seeking, life-defining YWAM schools and outreaches, and leadership opportunities at YWAM Idaho. These proved to be training grounds for their next step in missions.
During a time of family vision-casting in January of 2012, the Hooleys asked themselves: “What passions do we have and how does God want to use them to fulfill our destiny and build his kingdom?” Their conclusion: “After14 generations in agriculture, 40 years on a potato farm, and 14 years in missions, we believed God had providentially created a foundation for us to marry agriculture and missions.” Pioneering YWAM Bend became the logical answer to their question.
During a year-long, prayer-bathed incubation period for the vision, Spud, MaryEsther and Zach attended YWAM Idaho’s School of Apostolic Pioneering. There, they met Duane and Becky Zingale (and infant daughter Chloe), who joined them wholeheartedly in their vision. In September 2014, after leading a school at YWAM Idaho and building a community center in Mongolia, God opened the doors for the Hooleys and the Zingales to move to Bend and begin establishing foundations for a brand-new ministry.
YWAM Bend’s vision is to “cultivate kingdom culture in every culture,” beginning with the city of Bend, expanding to include America and extending, in particular, to the ethnic peoples of Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia. How will they accomplish their mission? “By modeling the fullness of God’s Presence (Spirit) and God’s Word (Truth) and teaching organic agriculture, appropriate architecture, innovative technologies and renewable energy.” Through these, they seek to provide “physical and spiritual food, shelter, tools, and energy for the nations as an expression of the Father’s love,” because, they remind us, “love looks like something.” Out of their efforts will come communities that are both missional and self-sustaining technologically, ecologically and economically and which are capable of producing leaders who will reproduce that model around the world.
The apostolic vision of YWAM Bend’s pioneering staff is becoming a reality. That means there is plenty of work to be done and abundant opportunities for volunteers to come alongside with practical help (see the Opportunities section in this newsletter for details). Some of the initial projects accomplished at YWAM Bend have been unusual; like setting up two Mongolian gers (more commonly translated as yurts). The gers are now Zach’s and Caleb’s homes, reflecting their love for Mongolia’s people and traditions.
Mission builders David and Chrystal Cook, on their way from one YWAM location to another, stopped off in Bend just in time to help erect the gers before the snow fell. But that’s a story for our next Connections newsletter. Get ready to not only hear about the Cook’s adventure setting up the gers at YWAM Bend, but about their exciting mission-building lifestyle as well. In the meantime, check out www.missionbuilders.org or contact us to find out what volunteer opportunities await you!