Unashamed of the past, which is shaping my present. Living unashamed of the Gospel now and forevermore.
The past 60 days have been like a fight scene from Avengers; action-packed, with tons of characters! Back on March 28-April 10, I led an outreach to Hobbs, NM & Lubbock, TX. Afterwards, we came straight back to YWAM’s annual worship & mission’s conference, INSPIRE, on April 12th & 13th. I was barely getting off the carpet with God, when the 3rd annual Unashamed Retreat kicked-off, on April 28 and ran through May 3rd. While writing this, I am in Virginia Beach getting ready for round-two of INSPIRE, April 17th & 18th! In which 50 YWAM’ers are collaborating alongside a local multi-site church, New Life, to see the “Hampton Roads” area Inspired and unearthed for His names sake!
Here are a few stories from each of the events just mentioned and the implications they are having on the Kingdom.
The 806 Outreach, March 28-April 10
This outreach was unique because it was the first time I led the same group of missionaries, on separate outreaches, to different locations. A little explanation about these “outreach teams” at YWAM is, there are various “schools” that you go through which teach and emphasize different spiritual aspects. The first school all must complete upon entering YWAM, is called Discipleship Training School (5 months). After graduating, and if God continues leading you into mission’s, the next required school is, School of Evangelism (5 months). So, the group that came on “The 806 Outreach” are the same School of Evangelism students I led for 4 weeks back in the Fall to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia Beach (more to come about VA Beach), for their Discipleship Training School. All that to say, it made for a family dynamic, that was natural, comfortable, and helped create an atmosphere for Holy Spirit to have free reign to move through us, because trust had been established and their weren’t any weird “getting-to-know-each-other” phases.
The ministry of this outreach in West Texas consisted of leading 11 services, with 6 different ministries in 10 days. Over the course of 4 days at Trinity School we taught 18 Bible classes for Junior High and High School students, led 2 Chapel services, and facilitated 2 small-group periods. There was unfettered collaboration with Church on the Rock, the Lubbock Dreamcenter, The Wesley, and Kingdom Come Ministries, all of which are established relationships that reach new depths of trust/influence with the passing of each trip to Lubbock. But, a unique aspect of this trip, which wrecked me on a personal level as much as anything, was spending time as a YWAM family, with my blood family.
As mentioned before, this was the second trip I led this group of students on. The previous trip took place back in the fall during the month of October. Personally, October was a significant month because it was when we found out my mother had a serious form of cancer that required emergency surgery and treatment plans. I was across the country entering our second week of outreach, when I got the call in Virginia Beach. In a moment of desperation and vulnerability, I was surrounded by this team and poured out upon with empathy, and God’s words. Tears were shed, and words were spoken that I will never forget. Each were so filled with faith, that the atmosphere couldn’t help but lift mine. It’s amazing when we surround ourselves with people that truly seek God’s heart in situations. The degree of peace, assurance and hope that is imparted in us when we link arms is supernatural. In many ways, this group carried me when I felt helpless, and I know the implications of their prayers will never fully be evident this side of heaven.
So when we decided Lubbock was the outreach location, with this team, I was compelled to create a space for them to meet and know my family, whom they spent hours praying for six months prior. My two families getting to know one another. We went to church services together, grocery shopped, shared meals, even went to the driving range, my family, with my YWAM family. It was an intertwining of my two hearts like I’ve never experienced, AND THEY LOVED EACHOTHER! We went to my aunt’s house during the college basketball Final Four for a bar-b-q, and stayed for 8 hours! I have not felt that comfortable with the combination of two very important areas of my life, since I was a teenager, and back then it was something very different that brought us together. Now, the commonality is Jesus.
INSPIRE, April 12 & 13
Immediately following Lubbock we rushed back to Tyler for our annual Worship & Mission’s conference called Inspire. This two-day conference is designed to restore hope in Christians to a degree in which the only appropriate response is to, “Go.” Leading up to the event we felt that God was going to unearth things within the people after an encounter with Him. Through worship, speaking, arts and prayer, Inspire took the 900 people that attended through a journey of encountering God, intentionally creating space for Him to speak, then processing the dreams, purposes, and direction that God imparted, alongside YWAM missionaries.
Specifically, my responsibilities were coordinating and hosting the livestream for the event, which can be found on YWAM Tyler’s Facebook page under videos. In addition, I organized a space called encounter that saw over 300 people receive ministry, by 60 missionaries throughout the weekend. It is a conference unlike most, because it has the DNA and heartbeat of Missions. For our campus and many that have been involved for years, there was something special about this year’s event. God was unearthing dreams in some that had been unspoken, or dormant for years, and there was an incredible moment on Friday night which physical healings were taking place, freedom came to others, and prophetic visions were appearing to some that typically don’t experience that expression of Holy Spirit.
All in all, it felt like a continuation of the national event we went to in Orlando back in February called, The Send. I saw how because of our obedience to go to Florida, it led to a friendship with one of the worship leaders at The Send (also a YWAM’er) who came to lead worship Friday night of Inspire! It’s humbling and inspiring seeing efforts in months past, have impactful consequences on current projects in my life, and to bring our community in on that, is just icing!
Unashamed Retreat, April 28-May 3
Fifteen days after Inspire, I coordinated an annual men’s retreat for the third consecutive year. This is a project that’s near my heart, and one of the primary focus’s I had upon coming back to YWAM, because it was started for the ministry that I credit for saving my life, Shiloh. This year was special because it was the first time we had another ministry join the retreat, Victory Life. There were 42 men leaving shame behind, entering into the plans God has for their lives, unashamed of the Gospel.
Watch the video below to take a glimpse into the Unashamed Retreat!
Until all have heard!