From the moment we landed in Kona, Hawaii a strange sense of peace overtook me as we walked off the plane and into the cozy airport. We were picked up by one of our oldest and dearest friends and as he placed the lei over our heads and kissed us on the cheek an overwhelming emotion took over as I felt a familiarity… We were with family.
YWAM… we call it our “tribe” and I never really new what it meant until that moment. That meaning of that word really resonated with me as we entered the Kona Campus. We stood in worship with HUNDREDS of young people singing unreservedly to God as a sea of raised hands and shouts of acclamation filled the air. I could hardly hold back the tears. I was home. I was with family. Although we only knew a handful of people in the entire group, we all shared a common purpose – ‘To know God and make Him known’. Oh, what joy filled my heart as I saw what could be in our future… One day our YWAM Center could be a launching pad for hundreds of young people to make God known in the nations!
The Impartation Seminar we attended was just that… we were IMPARTED to. It was lead by the founders of Youth With A Mission, Loren and Darlene Cunningham along with David Hamilton, the (**). Luke and I hung on to EVERY word that was spoken trying to take it all in. What a privilege to sit with these heroes of not only the mission but of faith. We understood more deeply the value of hearing God and obeying without reserve. It was refreshing and encouraging as we step out in our own faith journey as God continues to speak.
In our time there, we had a few times with Loren that were major highlights during our visit:
One time over lunch, I was chatting with Loren and he asked where we were locating our new ministry. I told him we were starting things up in San Jose, CA. He shared his particular attachment to the Bay Area because that is where he and Darlene met. He shared a few insights about the South Bay and with a big smile said, “The Bay Area is like a big vertical line of business. There are many things happening but with you on the bottom of the Bay… it’s like adding a big dot to an exclamation point. You will bring excitement and change!” I was so encouraged and felt completely believed in.
This morning before we left we asked Loren and another friend to pray with us as we were heading back to California. We have continually felt challenged by God this week to not dream small. So we’ve been talking here and there about things we should be praying about… So, as we agreed together in prayer with Loren, it didn’t really come as too much of a shock when he started praying out things we had been talking about in private. We just felt like God was smiling and saying, “SEE! Stick with me. I know what I’m doing”. J We were also so blessed as he commissioned us out as leaders and pioneers of YWAM. I think we left on cloud 9.
Our goal in going to this was to (1) engage deeper with God, (2) get reconnected with our broader YWAM family, (3) get some refreshing and (4) celebrate 10 years of being together. I feel that all of those expectations were met and then some! Our cup overflows right now and it was EXACTLY what we needed. We are so grateful that we get to serve together with this tribe called YWAM as ambassadors for Him.