Happy Holidays America! (We’re trying to stay ahead of the times and be Politically Correct . . . just not sure how much longer “Happy Thanksgiving” will remain PC. In any case, have a blessed Family Time. Oh dear, is it still OK to talk about family?) Seriously, here’s some fun.
Face it, we’re all disabled – and have been since the woman (who later became known as Eve), had her chat with Satan; and then, together with Adam-the-compliant, they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree.
Since then, we all have an impediment, a handicap, an impairment, a defect, an abnormality . . . “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . .” (Rom 3:23). Every one of us made the decision to be selfish early in life. Until we make things right, we are red-carded from eternal life.
Followers of Jesus know that we can return the red card, and walk confidently through this life as ‘liberated’ men and women. But some, though freed from the eternal penalty, still bear physical, mental and emotional burdens – consequences of a fallen world in which everything is not perfect (as the Manufacturer had intended).
Perhaps two of the most prominent examples of ‘red card-less,’ victorious living despite crippling impairments, are Nick Vujicic (www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/) and Bethany Hamilton (www.bethanyhamilton.com/) . . . the one born with no arms or legs, the other surrendering an arm to a shark. I know neither of these iconic, conquering, bravehearted heroes; but I do know some heroes – who along with their families – manage to walk consistently through some of life’s awful adversities; adversities that would hamstring many of us.
Does God call the disabled as well as the ‘abled’? Who says that He can’t use people with disabilities anywhere, even on the mission field? Jesus said, “Go into all the world . . .” but He didn’t say, “Go into all the world in perfect health.”
Take Audra Jo Baumgarth, Crossroads class of ’85. Though paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair, she came, along with husband Lee (now with Jesus), and boldly asked us to pray about them going on outreach to the Philippines and China. These were nations, back then, which had almost no facilities for the disabled. We prayed (a bit fearfully), they went, and God moved. People were amazed to see their courage and freely listened to the message they brought.
Or how about Rod Thorpe, a senior YWAM leader today? Like King George VI (The King’s Speech), Rod, born into a then-unbelieving family, had a tongue-locking stutter. Suffering through long and lonely school years in abject embarrassment, he came to Jesus, who then called him into missions – to lead and to preach! He is an inspiring leader and an engaging and galvanizing speaker, making light of his impediment, which still is not totally overcome. (His Australian ‘mates,’ with their unique cultural expressions of love, help lighten things up for Rod.)
Then there’s Dannie Hawley, DTS graduate, called to Africa as a nurse, struck blind, now overseeing a residential ministry to children in Guinea, West Africa. Along with her ‘eyes’ (co-worker Anne-Lise Debrot), Dannie’s blindness did not cancel Jesus’ call. See Boutique for Dannie’s response to last month’s “Tender Times” article.
Karen Engel is another of my heroes. Serving as a Mission Builder in Kona in 1988, she was struck down – with her family – by a drunk driver. Like Audra Jo she is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Since then she has had a baby, done DTS, is active in church and is a total encouragement to anyone who knows her.
Others are born with so-called major ‘defects’ – those lifelong reminders that this is not a perfect world. The number and variety of them is too great to list; it is often (maybe usually?), the family of the burdened one which is saddled with the load – whether that burden comes through birth, or taken up by choice as in adoption. So these families share in the hero-dom. Case in point (and once more I’m going to get down home and personal): Ruthie.
Thirteen years ago, our Laurie felt from the Lord she was to adopt an Asian Down Syndrome baby girl. Laurie was single. The timing was wrong – there was no baby available to her. But she held onto the word of the Lord and kept praying for that little girl. Then she met Pete and their courtship and marriage are history. But after a bit of married life, the subject of the baby came up, and before you knew it, the miracle adoption went through and Ruthie, hailing from Taiwan, became a charter member of our total family – aunties and uncles and cousins and all.
Is Ruthie a burden? No! She’s a load-lifter. Are there ‘difficult’ times? Yes, as with all children, but really only seldom. Has she positively ‘added’ to our family? Yes! If we’re somewhere else in the world, we all need regular Skype-fixes with her.
In London recently, the Special Olympics graphically proved beyond any doubt, that the so-called ‘disabled’ are often more able than the able-bodied!
And we, the so-called able-bodied, have much to learn; in compassion, in love and in treating all others with respect and dignity.
Eugene Peterson writes some classic introductions to each book in The Message. Though not inspired, these short preambles are inspiring. Here are some excerpts:
1 Corinthians: When people become Christians, they don’t at the same moment become nice. This always comes as something of a surprise. Conversion to Christ and his ways doesn’t automatically furnish a person with impeccable manners and suitable morals.
2 Corinthians: Because leadership is necessarily an exercise of authority, it usually shifts into an exercise in power. But the minute it does that, it begins to inflict damage on both the leader and the led.
James: Christian churches are not, as a rule, model communities of good behavior. They are, rather, places where human misbehavior is brought out in the open, faced, and dealt with.
15 Years Later
Our DTS was hard. Hard and painful. We know we learned valuable lessons but the learning was very difficult on the way through. There were many reasons. The truth is, we came away hurt. Sometimes that happens.
We were still dealing with this when we started to receive inTouch from YWAM Associates. Yes, this was back when it was on paper and delivered by snail mail. In one letter Peter wrote a piece called Can of Worms, where he opened the door to us to let the hurt out. I wrote back a letter (which was published in inTouch) showing the pain that we had felt and this allowed me to feel heard, and it started the process of healing.
I was reminded of this just the other week when Peter and Donna turned up in our little town of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (the 7th best city in the world according to Lonely Planet), to lead a Refresh day. It was so lovely to actually meet these people who have meant so much to me and to hear from them and pray with them.
So where are we 15 years on? We are still in Tasmania where we started, still at the same church, working in regular jobs and raising two children in a normal house on a normal street with a mortgage and two cars.
But the exciting thing for us is that we are able to support our church as we move to being more missions oriented, that we have been able to welcome YWAM teams into our church and our local school, that we know we are working where God has planted us and that we are going to be sending our daughter to her own DTS in about a year’s time. The hurt has healed and the wisdom that we learnt through the experience and teaching has stayed. I have taught father heart and intercession at the church and have used my King’s Kids experience to minister to children and I KNOW that my work place is my mission field. So I bless God for what He takes us through and I pray that I will always be more able to embrace whatever He sends because He works all things together for our good. Ruth
Out of a job?
Are you a University grad . . . and can’t find a job? Read 28 year-old Stevie Lujan’s story:
“As a teenager growing up in Maui, all I wanted was to be in missions, because that is what God called me to at an early age. I knew I needed to graduate from high school – and I did. But, along the way, I skipped a lot of classes by informally sitting in on DTS lectures at the local YWAM base, where one of the teachers was Donna Jordan. Eventually I attended my own DTS, and am now full time in missions, based in Newcastle, Australia.”
Stevie heard God’s call early in life. But it seems as though even a lot of highly qualified university graduates are unable to find employment, and are sitting around, discouraged. There is a whole world of opportunity and fulfillment that is waiting for you, if you are one of them, . . . all it takes is a heart that is open to God’s leading.
Stevie has been gainfully employed by God in this way for over ten years, living a life of faith, and fulfilled in his calling. I would add that life in missions is not all easy. But as someone once said, “Life is difficult.” And that applies to university graduates with stacks of degrees, as well as to missionaries, who live a different kind of ‘difficult.’
Last month’s Tender Times drew lots of comment . . .
You hit the message and the pain on the head, so to speak. Thanks for composing a tender tome for the terrible sense of helplessness when loved ones (some we know only because of YWAM), are in great pain and our prayers seem so wanting. Tears flow frequently it seems for many facing eternity all too soon (from our point of view at least). Thank you for tender words. John Briggs
For several more touching and tender letters, click here
“The greatest holdup to missions? Christian parents!” says George Verwer, Founder of Operation Mobilization. Now we have a new book by YWAMer Gunila Baumann. She and her husband released all three of their children into missions. Click on the book to order this from YWAM Publishing.
The Value of the Individual
This is one of YWAM’s Foundational Values, and it is also the keystone and guiding principle for us in YWAM Associates. We care about you as an individual, not just one of about five million who have been touched by YWAM. Jesus the Shepherd cares for each one of his sheep and will leave the many to look for you, if you’re lost. (Matt 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7)
Are you a lost sheep? Or are you looking for the one who is lost?
Sometimes after returning from YWAM it’s possible to feel lost and to begin listening to lies of the enemy. And it may be hard to find others who have the same heart after God; wandering from The Truth (The Good Shepherd), can happen. (John 14:6)
After serving in YWAM, it’s easy to miss community, worshipping, interceding, sharing each other’s burdens, rejoicing and reaching out to the lost; and even just eating together.
If you’re lost it’s often hard to find the way back; but the Good Shepherd will leave the 99 and search and bring you back into His presence. The angels rejoice as He gently carries you, or leads you home. He has seen every tear, the confusion, fear and loneliness and is waiting until you realize you are lost. He sees your heart, so there need be no shame or condemnation. For “you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25)
Maybe you were a ‘fellow sheep’ but didn’t notice your friend had lost his way. ”My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)
Perhaps you were a YWAM leader and cared for your sheep as long as they were in your pasture; but you didn’t make sure the sheep and lambs were going on to another safe pasture when they left your care. Or have you ever ‘used’ God’s sheep to fulfill your own vision? (read Ezekiel 34). God trusts us with His sheep and lambs. Do we care for them until they are settled and feeding in good pastures?
Let us care for each other. Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” Then, ”If you love Me feed My sheep, take care of My lambs.” (John 21:15-17)
Let’s all of us look for and pray for those who have been led astray; or for the ones that God has entrusted us with, making sure they’re safe and well fed.
Love and Blessings,
Renewal Camps & Gatherings 2013
Feb 10-15 Kona, Hawaii: YWAM Associates Second MedGathering with Drs David & Ruth Demian. Hosts: Dr Bruce & Barbara Thompson, Peter & Donna Jordan.
This Gathering is open to all! Click on the waves to register!
Feb 20-25, Kona: YWAM Associates International is hosting a five-day gathering of all current full, and part time staff, plus any others who might be interested in becoming involved in this ministry. For details click here
Europe starts with a Dean Sherman Tripleheader next summer!
June 16 – 22 Piemont, Italy: Speaker – Dean, click here for details
June 30 – July 6: Restenäs, Sweden, Dean, again!
July 7 – 13: Sighisoara in Transylvania, Romania, Dean, Once more!
July 22 – 27: Skjærgårdsheimen, Norway Contact Lidvard click here
August 4 – 10: YWAM Champagne Le Gault, France
And Finally . . .
Here’s a new take on last month’s apophthegm, (look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls!)
“Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skills.”
“Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and beauty!” from Margi Klausmeier
Till next time,
The Small Print
—and the whole ministry of YWAM Associates—is for the encouragement and building up of the saints.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a saint.
YWAM Associates exists by faith, daring to live on the edge, yet relying upon God and his people to supply everyday ministry needs. If God should lead you to support us, write check to “YWAM Associates,” and mail to address below.
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Feel free to use anything from , in whole or in part, in any way that will glorify God and advance His Kingdom.
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Editor, Peter Jordan; Regular Contributor, Donna Jordan; Copy Editor, Laurie Jordan-Worrall;
Mascot, Ruth Worrall