Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An answer to some difficult questions...

Recently, I was at a community outreach in West Modesto and I got asked one of the three really hard questions to answer, I stammered around the question as I often do. Here are the 3 hard questions... What do you do? How much of your time does YWAM take? How can I volunteer with your program?

The following is an older email I stumbled on today that I wrote in response to someone who wanted to come and join our work here. I have changed it to make it make sense as a blog post. So here's my answer to those hard questions...

"My family came to Modesto from Canada (we had been with and still partner with Global Youth Network) as YWAMers to work with a little local church that couldn't afford to hire us. We came to help the church start doing community outreach, we didn't even set out to start any YWAM (Youth With A Mission) thing here at all...we were just YWAMers seconded to a local church. Then, Aaron came from Canada to join us and then the Sustars and then YWAM told us we should become an official operating location so that's what we did. There are only 2 families and a single dude here and the Sustars are headed to Thailand for 2 years to work with some good friends we have over there.

"We do outreach. We spend regular time on the street (especially 9th street that has a lot of old residential motels) just meeting with people and building relationships with them. Every Friday we host a little coffee time out there on the street and hang out for a bit. Lots of other things we do come from that....from the friendships we form on Friday. So like, today, I hung out with my homeless friend in his shack he built in his sister's back's really rainy and windy today so I took him a little food and checked in on him. Aaron is with our other friend who is trying to recover from an alcohol addiction...they went to the movies to just spend a little time together. Last night, we picked up another friend at the Shiva motel for Bible study at our church. So, we do stuff like that.

"And we are partnering with the local church....uniquely with one church, New Hope Christian Fellowship...the church our family originally came to serve. I am the worship leader and a deacon and we facilitate the youth group. We also have developed lots of friendships with other churches through the youth pastor's network, Youth For Christ and City Ministry Network. So we do some speaking at local churches about evangelism, local poverty and simple outreach. We also host them in local outreach experiences when there's interest.

"We don't look for it but we do host we don't actively recruit teams but through relationship we have about 4 - 5 teams a year. We use these times to try to impart the simplicity of reaching out through relationship. So we do teaching and take the teams out with us to hang out on the street here in Modesto and do what compassion moves them to do.

"God has continued to challenge us to go further and deeper but at the same time drop more and more that propensity in all of us to lean on programs or systems instead of relationships. Our heart has been to keep the greatest expression of love at the top of our priorities... friendship that's willing to lay down it's life.

"In the past few years, we have been taking trips to Thailand to work with some good friends that have started a ministry to vulnerable families on the Thai/Burmese border. Our friends at Compasio are such a good fit because they are a lot like us...they don't really know what they're doing but they just go ahead and do what they can. Like I said, the Sustars are headed there, Aaron visits regularly and I serve on the U.S. board.

"The work here was born out of friendship and continues to be. We are not a YWAM in we do not have a property, we live in the community in rental houses. We do not have secured staff housing here. We have no real money as we have no programy source of income...our ministry exists on little gifts here and there and us chipping in from our own individual support to do the things we do.

"Our mode is to release one another into ministry by regularly meeting and praying together and serving one another to do what God has put in our heart. To be friends and extend friendship to others. And to articulate our story creatively. We sensed God giving us these words in a prayer day a couple of years ago...'creative, compassionate community'. So, that's our aim. We are a work in progress that grows dynamically through friendship."

So, hope that helps. If you still have questions, let's have a coffee!

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