Monday, March 13, 2006

Road to YWAM

Prayer requests really tell you a lot about what's occupying your thoughts and day-to-day life, don't they?

When I worked at Hope Manor Detention Centre, just after I finished seminary, our prayer requests often included things like asking for opportunities to share our faith with some of the teenaged inmates residents, for peace in the facility's dorms and school program, and -- not infrequently -- that we wouldn't be killed during a shift at work. 

As a Christian-run correctional facility, we often found ourselves paddling upstream with parole officers, court officials, and the residents themselves, who were generally not impressed with having Christians on staff.

The level of community that the staff developed through working in such a situation was quite raw and real. Because of our rotating work schedule, we could only attend church once every six weeks, so a house church in our apartment became our main gathering every Thursday evening.

We were connected with the local YWAM Performing Arts base, and YWAM students would spend one night per week volunteering at our facility as a part of their DTS. Through the YWAM staff, we discovered that there was a worship time every Thursday morning at 8:00AM that we were welcome to participate in. From that time on, Thursday became our "Sabbath", as we would join YWAM for early morning worship, then go out for breakfast as a staff together, and meet in Wendy's and my apartment in the evening for a Bible study and more hangin' out together. And, once every six weeks, we'd join the local Vineyard church for worship.

By the spring of 1990, Wendy & I were seriously considering three possible future options: joining YWAM (we'd been invited to be staff at the base), or perhaps Jesus People USA (we'd visited their inner-city place in Chicago twice to explore the possibility), or accepting an offer from a church in Victoria to be their youth pastor. Although we ended up moving to Victoria, Wendy & I both had a strong sense that, at some point in our future, YWAM would play a bigger role in our lives.

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