Sorry for the long gap between updates!
The last few months have been full of challenges and growth for both me and for YWAM York. We have established local ministry more solidly in our community through weekly kids club and youth nights, as well as through Easter activities and a holiday club. Our relationships in our neighbourhood are going deeper, and we love getting to know our community better. We especially love our deepening relationships with our youth, who have started to let us into their lives more. In our most recent holiday club, we talked about heroes in the Bible, and several of the children initiated conversations about Jesus and God. It is amazing to get to be a part of those moments of discovery with them!
We also saw somebody come to Christ on a recent evangelism that we did with a Brazilian DTS team that was visiting York, and a time of Easter evangelism, a Chinese man met Christ! In our unchurched nation, these are victories that we celebrate!
However, there are also internal challenges that we are facing. Our team has gone down to three members now - Raya left at the end of June after praying and feeling that it was time for her to return to the States. Her departure was not due to anything in YWAM York or in our relationship with her, and we miss her! We are learning to do life as a three and not a four. We are also now splitting our rent and other costs between three instead of four, so we are trusting even more for God to show up every month!
The first weekend of July, we hosted a retreat for all of the bases of YWAM North England. Before you get too impressed, I should say that there are only four bases, and that each team has around 3 members on it (give or take a few for children!). We came together to pray, share vision and to get to know each other. We are already planning activities that we can do together, which are much easier to run with 12 people than with three! It's also nice to have nearby support from our YWAM family. During the retreat, somebody prayed that we would receive money from an anonymous businessman to help with the upkeep of our community centre. I decided that I would really trust God to come through in this way, instead of just agreeing with the prayer and keeping going. This prayer was prayed on 2 July. Three days later, we received a thin envelope through the post at the base. I opened it, and there was a cheque to YWAM York for £1,000 from an anonymous person, dated 2 July! To be honest, I was not surprised; when I saw the envelope, I knew there was a cheque. But it was tangible confirmation from God that He will provide for us in these next months! He is already providing for our building in the face of increased energy costs and maintenance issues!
We are also taking part in several festivals this summer. English people love a festival - the not terrible weather really encourages them to get out their tents and brave the rain in order to be all together. I will be at a total of four festivals this summer - three of them camping! This past weekend, Renee and I were at Cedarwood, a festival for northeastern churches. We represented YWAM England, and we even got to pray with some of the children and the youth who came to visit our YWAM England stand!
In a few weeks' time, I head to SixtyOne, which is a festival for Christian young people. I have the privilege of creating the artwork for the venue (a massive shed that fits 1,000 people). This intersection of two of my passions - art and students - has me very excited! Some of the students that I know will also be at the event. I can't wait to see students from across the UK awakened for Jesus!
A few days after arriving home from SixtyOne, I will head back to the same location for Satellites, a youth festival. I will both be representing YWAM England at the YWAM England stand and helping out with the youth from my church! I am so excited to be able to be there as they encounter God in a festival setting - something that hasn't been possible since 2019.
Festivals are the time youth and young people generally make big decisions for God, decisions which we then get to walk out with them throughout the year. Could you pray for our youth and young people to feel encouraged to take those steps at the festivals this summer, and for us to be able to support them, not just in the coming weeks, but throughout the year? It takes enormous courage to be a Christian young person in England - there aren't so many of them, so just being Christian is a bold move. But they are also the ones who will reach their generation - it is a privilege to be able to walk with them as they influence their generation!
Could you also pray for YWAM York? Renee, Yvonne and I are doing well, and we want to grow in our communication and to create a healthy, good culture for anybody else who decides to come with us. We are spending time over the next few weeks to ask God how He wants us to move ahead in different areas of both our ministry and our community, and we are re-structuring accordingly. We want to be a YWAM base that moves in God's best way for us, that loves God and loves people well!
If you'd like to receive our team newsletter, which will be going out soon, send me an email at email@example.com, and I will sign you up for it!