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YWAM United 2018

YWAM United 2018

All three of our DTS outreach teams have arrived safely in Athens for YWAM United!

YWAM United is a joint outreach with multiple YWAM bases and churches to engage the refugee crisis. This year we have over 240 believers participating in worship, prayer, evangelism, and mercy ministry all with the aim of making God known in Athens, Greece! Our teams have arrived after spending 5 weeks in other nations in Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. They have already seen God move in miraculous ways and are excited to finish the last 3 weeks of their outreach alongside fellow our YWAM family!

Here are some updates from our students.

 

Arriving in Athens

“We arrived in Athens early Wednesday morning, and took most of the day to get situated in our new housing, unpack, and get the feel for the area. We also went for a prayer walk and did worship as a group. Over the next few days, we met up with the one of our [bases’] other teams for worship, intercession and evangelism times. All were very fruitful, and we even got to lead a man to the Lord!  

As a whole, we were able to get a good feel for the area, get accustomed to the difference in culture and prepare for the YWAM United activities next week.  The team is rested, re-energized and well-prepared for the weeks to come!”

Saying Goodbye and Saying Hello

“We’ve been making a lot of good connections with children the past two weeks. This week was our last week to work at Mosaico, a place where we can do child care with refugee children. We made some really good relationships there and it was hard to say goodbye. We met some boys in the park on Tuesday and we played a soccer game with them. We got their contact information and hopefully we’ll be playing with them again. We brought our coloring markers and paper to the city square yesterday near our apartment and we got to color with so many children and meet their mom’s or dad’s as well. We’re getting to know the people there and they’re getting to know us. We’re getting to pray for them and tell them about Jesus. God is good and He’s opening many doors for us here in Athens. Praise the Lord!”

Compassion of Jesus and Salvation!

“Jesus showed us the first day in Greece how much He’s moving! Josiah, Hannah, and I [Sarah] saw Jesus move in a mighty way. We were walking down the streets of Athens and I spotted a homeless man sitting down looking hopeless. Once I saw him, I ran to him with the expectation knowing that Jesus was gonna move big time. I sat down with Him in the middle of the sidewalk and started talking with him. I asked if he knew Jesus and he said he didn’t, so I got to share the gospel with him and what Jesus did for him. Tears started running down his face. I was convinced that Jesus immediately encountered him and he felt God’s love crash over him.  I told him how much Jesus cares about him and I got to tell him a testimony about a time when I experienced loneliness. I felt like Jesus was never there for me, but in reality He has ALWAYS been there for me! Whenever I felt hopeless or lonely, Jesus was hurting with me. Once I felt His presence all over me, I felt completely at peace. I then asked the man if he wanted to ask Jesus in his heart and he said YES! Jesus never ceases to amaze the heck out of me. He loves that man so much that He sent us to go and tell him that. Jesus was chasing after him and we saw a salvation the first day!! Imagine what else Jesus is gonna do within our next three weeks here!”

Encouraging Persecuted Christians

“On Monday while we were doing street and worship evangelism in Victoria square, this guy walked past us playing worship music two times and would stop and stare at us. A few minutes later he came back and said hi to us and he said he could sense something different about us. I talked to him for about 30 minutes and he told me that he had seen “The Jesus movie” in Iran and after watching that movie, he believed in Jesus. For this reason, they wanted to kill him in Iran, so he ran to Greece. I talked to him more two days later, because He wanted more information about Jesus. I explained the gospel, the Trinity and I installed the bible app on his phone. The next time I met with him, he experienced healing in his neck when I prayed for him. I told him about the Holy Spirit and how it lives in us Christians. The last question he had for me was how he could be baptized because he had read about baptism and he wanted to be baptized. So we are going to baptize him on Sunday! Praise the Lord!”

Thank you for praying for our teams for wisdom and discernment as they release the kingdom and declare the good news of the Gospel in Athens!

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Outreach Team Update | Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Explorer’s

Outreach Team Update | Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Explorer’s

“Hey! Here’s what’s been going on in Southeast Asia the past week.

We’ve been able to do street evangelism, university evangelism, and some prison ministry as well. One day at the university, some of our team felt led to go to the back of the campus where they found a group of students talking to each other on the steps. Some spoke English and translated an introduction between the groups. Turns out they were taking a break from dance practice. We asked if we could watch what they were rehearsing but they were shy, so one of our students, M, said she would show them a dance if they showed her a dance. They agreed. So after they finished dancing, M put on Steffany Gretzinger’s Morning Song and danced for the students. The students were in awe, and clapped loudly at the end.  M then got to share with the students that she loves to dance because Jesus has set her free!

At the prison we had the opportunity to share about the meaning of Christmas! We broke up into small groups after to talk with the inmates. One of our students felt like there was someone in his group who was having strange dreams. A Hindu man admitted this was true and said he had had a dream a couple nights ago that he didn’t understand. He dreamed that he came to a big river where a voice told him to take off his clothes and cross the river. The voice also said that he would receive a new pair of clothes at the other side. In the dream, he didn’t think he could do it, but the voice said he would be with him and he could do it. So he took off his clothes, stepped out, and the river dried up in front of him so he could cross. One of our students felt that he had an interpretation for the dream, and told the man that God is with him and will be with him when he has to make a big decision, and that God will make him clean when he trusts in Him.”

 

“Hello from The Middle East!

We recently had the opportunity to go with a local pastor to an Indian work camp to do some ministry. When we arrived we lead worship with 20 men in a tiny room. A member of our team was then able to share his testimony as our pastor friend translated. He shared his testimony of coming from depression back to joy, from lust to purity. Then one of our students read out some words we had felt for them during intercession earlier that day. We shared that we felt that God was washing away depression, healing joint pain, and providing supernatural rest. Literally everyone in the room responded and came up to the front for prayer! They were so hungry to engage with what the Holy Spirit was doing. After our team laid hands on everyone, we asked if anyone felt something shift, or felt any pain leave their bodies after praying. Half of the room raised their hands! We praise You Jesus for bringing healing, and feeding Your hungry children. We praise You Jesus that even though not everyone one in the room was a believer, every one of them was hungry for YOU. Praise God!

This past Monday we were in a cab on the way back to our house and felt God say that the driver had back pain. After arriving and paying for the cab we asked him about it. He confirmed that he had had ongoing back pain for years. So we asked if it would be okay for us to pray and he said yes. After the second time of praying he said the pain had completely left! After this we were able to share about Jesus and how he had worked through us to heal his back.

Praise Him for what He is doing in the Middle East!”

 

“Hey Fam! [From the Explorer’s team]

We were recently able to work with a refugee program for Africans, which was an amazing opportunity to build relationships and also share the Gospel. As a team, we grew especially close to a few guys from Somalia. They said over and over that there was something different about us, the way we talked and loved God was different than anyone. We were able to share the full Gospel with them and explain what we believed. The guys on our team met with them for 6 hours and talked about God, answering all the questions they had concerning Christianity. The last night, we took them out on a Falukka (a 30 foot wooden sailboat) on the Nile, treated them to an Egyptian meal, and taught each other our cultural dances! It was a GREAT way to end our time in this nation – and a great way to show them God’s loving heart! We got to shake up their world and show them what it truly looks like to be a Christian. I think we got to share the gospel with at least 40 people, answer questions, we had about 5 coffee dates where we talked about Jesus in-depth, and we got to serve and encourage the persecuted church. We had high expectations for our time in this nation, and I can say that our expectations have been met!

 

We arrived at the next nation on our stop just this past Wednesday night. We got situated in our new living spaces, and went for a prayer walk around the neighborhood.  On Thursday, we were able to meet with our contact here and have an orientation, learning somewhat what we’ll be doing during our time here, as well as a little bit more regarding the situation with the Syrian refugees coming across the border. Pray for us for open doors to get inside the Syrian refugee camps! Shokran!”

 

Thank you for following the journey of our DTS outreach teams! Keep watching our facebook and instagram to see more updates from our students and staff!

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Divine Encounters

Divine Encounters

Our January Encounter DTS students have been on outreach now for about one month! We currently have three teams out, the Explorer’s Outreach Team, Greece Team, and Turkey Team. We’ve received amazing testimonies from them of what God is doing around the world. Here’s a quick recap of what each team has been up to.

 

Greece Team

God’s been so good to us here in Greece. We were able to connect with a few YWAM teams to do joint street evangelism. Our team split up between a local hotel, hosting refugees and a nearby park. At the park we simply began worshiping and engaging in conversations with the crowd that began forming.

Through this we were able to share the Gospel to three refugee men and one of those men committed his life to Jesus! Glory to God! At the same time Jesus led us to three Pakistani believers, one of whom suffered from chronic headaches. We asked if we could pray for healing and he agreed. After praying four times he was completely healed! We rejoice over these divine encounters and would like to thank everyone back home for praying.

Explorer’s Team

Every day here in Greece has been full of excitement and purpose. The first day we arrived in Athens we split into pairs to walk the streets and pray for different people we felt the Holy Spirit lead us to. It was a great benefit to learn about the culture and layout of the city as well as the spiritual environment we now were walking in. We all felt like we needed to spend time together to pray and intercede for the city of Athens as well as spend time growing in unity and spending time together as the family of Christ.

The next day, we met up with the other Greece Team which was long overdue. It was so good to catch up with each other and speak life into one another. Not only that, but we were able to come together and evangelize two days in a row! We saw 2 people give their lives to Jesus as well as multiple healings and were able to just simply love people in the way they needed in that moment! It has been so good to just simply live for Christ and with Christ in every moment, little or big.

On our day off, we had the opportunity baptize two of our students Eli and Joylyn in the Mediterranean Sea! It was beautiful to come alongside the two of them and bear witness to the declaration of their faith and love for Jesus Christ!

 

Turkey Team

This last week was powerful! As we got more acquainted with our surroundings and the neighborhood that was around us we began to invest in relationships with different shop owners in the area. We noticed ourselves getting used to the neighborhood we’re in and have been able to build relationships with some of the shop owners here. We were able to meet a Christian couple from America who own a local coffee shop and we had the awesome opportunity to break bread with them and fellowship together. It was a real blessing to rest and refuel at their coffee shop after long days of pouring out. We also were able to befriend one of their employees and share Jesus’ light and love with her, as well as share the gospel with a worker at a nearby smoothie bar.

One day as two of us went out during a time of ministry, we saw a flower kiosk and felt drawn to talk to a woman there. After God provided a translator we found out that she had pain in her body, we laid our hands on her and Jesus released complete healing over her whole body! Later as we were worshiping by the sea we saw a woman with a broken ankle and immediately felt that we should talk to her and ask her if we could pray for her. As two of us did so, we were left amazed as God healed her ankle and the woman shared that she didn’t feel any pain!

Another day we went to the mall and three of us were able to talk to a saleswoman who told us that she didn’t really believe in anything and felt homeless. We were able to share the power of the Gospel with her and the woman was astonished at God’s timing in bringing them to her. She was really open to hear about Jesus and so our team asked if she wanted to receive Jesus as her Savior and she gave her life to Jesus right there on the spot! The team was able to pray the salvation prayer with her and as they did she received a powerful revelation of who Jesus is. As she was praying for forgiveness for sins the power of the Holy Spirit touched and confirmed it to her deep in her heart. She was aware of her salvation possibly causing problems in her family (due to her former Islamic faith) but she was consumed with the awareness that Jesus is Lord and that she is loved by the father. Hallelujah!

 

Check back soon for more testimonies from these awesome teams!

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The Great Harvest

The Great Harvest

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…'” (Matthew 9:37)

This last week, our team spent a lot of our ministry time at several refugee camps in Athens. As some of the YWAM United leaders visited a camp to request permission to host an event there this week, refugees came in and out, and about 90 percent of those who passed through recognized the leaders from the previous weekend’s event (the Jesus Film showing and meal). The refugees welcomed our leaders as guests in their home, and seeing the refugees’ positive response, a camp official granted permission to do the event just outside of the camp! In telling this story, one YWAM United leader spoke of the parallel with the story in Joshua 2, where Joshua and his men access Jericho because they know Rahab, who gives them a way into the city walls. Our relationships with people from last week’s events unlocked opportunities for us the next!

Early in the week, we visited the camp to meet the refugees there, playing soccer with the children and cleaning up a parking lot covered with broken glass and trash where many of the children play. On Thursday, we returned with about forty other YWAMers to spend the afternoon outside of the camp, again doing activities with the children, like soccer and art, as a way to draw a crowd for our main event.

Tred, a music and dance performance group from Northern California performed several pieces for the children and their families who gathered around the makeshift asphalt stage. Tred describes its performance as an act of spiritual warfare, dancing and drumming in worship to invite the presence of the Lord into a place. Tred’s final piece, they explained, was one of joy, and as the whole crowd joined them in clapping, you could sense a shift in the atmosphere that was more joyful and hopeful than when we had first arrived.

Many in this crowd and those we interacted with at the camp were children. As one of our leaders drew and colored with one little girl from the camp, she was able to share with her about Jesus’ love for the girl and parts of the gospel. The little girl then began to draw crosses with hearts around them!

We noticed that many of the children play in a way reflecting the violence that they have possibly witnessed. One boy in particular we encountered was harsh with the other children, pushing them away and trying to hack at them with tree branches. Although it would have been easier to walk away and leave him to play on his own, the Lord gave us His heart for him and kids like him. As we showed this little boy the love of Jesus, playing with him and even giving him a hug, his whole demeanor changed. He began to smile and even gave one of us some candy as a gift. Even when we do not preach the gospel in words, we carry the gospel and preach it through our actions reflecting the love of Christ.

One of our first days at the camp, some volunteers had met a little toddler boy who struggled to walk because of a serious wound in his leg. The doctors said his leg would likely have to be amputated. Many prayed for healing, aware of the situation–but also, many of us, even unaware of this little boy or his need, had been asking the Lord to heal many at the camp… Well the last time our volunteers saw the little boy this week, the boy’s wound was completely healed!!

On Friday, a majority of YWAM United, including some of our team, went to a major tourist and shopping area in central Athens, to do evangelism. Tred performed here and a large crowd gathered to watch. One of the guys on our team met a man who is homeless and was walking on crutches. He asked to pray for the man to be healed, and then the man asked for prayer for his heart to be healed! As our teammate shared the Gospel with him, the man realized his need for spiritual healing in addition to healing of his physical needs. Our teammate prayed for the man who was then able to dance and walk as he hadn’t been able to for over five years! The man also prayed to receive salvation!

We have a little over a week left in Greece, and we want to finish strong. Please continue praying for the new believers that have come into Christ’s Kingdom since we have been here in Greece. Pray that they would continue to heal physically, spiritually, emotionally, and that we would continue to see more people step into this new life and freedom as well!

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United Event

United Event

“Now, Lord . . . enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus” (Acts 4:29-30).

The Lord has heard our prayers and He is moving is Athens! This week our team joined with over 300 other YWAMers and volunteers to be the hands and feet of Jesus in Athens in an effort we are calling YWAM United. In our time so far we have witnessed the Lord work miracles and bring people to Him!

From Thursday to Saturday, YWAM United hosted six events for refugees where we welcomed them as our guests and shared the gospel with them. During the day, we presented the Jesus Film with tea and cookies, and a time of prayer ministry for people’s needs. In the evenings, we hosted a dinner and shared the gospel, followed by a time of testimonies and praying for healing.

 

Divine Appointments

A few days prior to the event, some on our team were in the metro station when they ran into a man we had met in the refugee camp in Lesvos! This man, A, was a refugee and translator in the camp there. Now he is in Athens, and God provided a divine appointment that we should meet him again here! We invited him to attend the event and he came the first night. During the ministry time at the end of the evening, the man prayed to receive salvation!

Remember the Afghani families we shared about in our last update? We’d been praying for them and about the next step God had for us in reaching out to them. Preparing for street evangelism, a few of our team members went with some students from another base to pick up a guitar at that team’s apartment. Walking down the street, they crossed paths with the Afghani families and were able to invite them to this weekend’s event! Some of us were able to sit and have dinner with the family at the event and further share with them, while at the same time the families could hear the gospel message and testimonies others told.

Just to think of the opportunities that could have been missed, had a metro train been later or earlier, had a different street been taken… Of course, the Lord knew exactly where these people He loves would be and directed our steps to them. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord determines their steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

 

Testimonies of the Event

At the last night of the event, we met one refugee family of Iranian Christians. They had been Muslim before but had come to know Jesus in Iran. As we were praying for people, one woman in this family jumped onto the stage to share her testimony. She had seen Jesus in a dream and this had prompted her to seek to know Him. This woman encouraged the audience to seek to know Jesus too. By hosting this event, not only did we get to share our testimonies with people, but we created a place where refugees could share the hope of Jesus with other refugees!

Through these weekend events, we know of at least 15 people who accepted salvation through Jesus! Many also received prayer for pain or sickness and were healed! Words of knowledge were called out for people with tooth aches, digestive issues, hearing issues, and more, and people responded! As we prayed for them, we saw the Lord deliver people from their suffering of these issues.

We closed last night’s event in worship, and as we praised Jesus in song and dance, we noticed some of those we had prayed for dancing alongside us! People lingered in the presence of Jesus that we had the privilege of hosting and administering in the room.

The Lord spoke to us last week that the first week of YWAM United was to prepare us for even greater things that would follow. So much has happened in just this week, but God has even more in store than we can possibly imagine! We praise Him for the seeds He has planted and the privilege of sowing with Him.

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God’s Glory in Greece

God’s Glory in Greece

A few nights ago my team felt heavily that we were to go out and simply worship Jesus. So we went to a popular area for refugees to hangout and didn’t find anyone. It was raining and it was cold and late. In all honesty I just wanted to go to bed and call it an early night.

Yet we decided to go into the Metro and worship Jesus.

As we began it started really slow and people laughed and pointed at us as we worshipped, and I just wanted to give up and head home.

But there was a slight tug at my heart. I realized that the circumstances surrounding me were influencing the faith I carried and not vice versa. So I steeled myself and said regardless of whether I get kicked out or laughed at I want to give Jesus everything. We began to worship, and praise Jesus because He is so beautiful and for no other reason.

Suddenly people stopped and interacted with us. Suddenly the laughter ceased and the gazing began to center around our passionate affection for Jesus and not how “silly” we might look. We looked like people who were possessed by love. Not people seeking attention. After 25 minutes or so security asked us to leave. So we walked right outside and sat at a bench and continued worshipping Jesus. 

To our left were 3 men from Pakistan. They all had insanely difficult journeys to Athens. My team leader and I started talking to them about Jesus. We got a word of knowledge for lower back pain and for hopelessness and depression, so we asked first about the pain. The guy in the middle said he had a lot of pain in his back, so we prayed for his back and the pain left.

Then we spoke prophetically into the other man and prayed for hopelessness to be broken off of him. He told us he felt so much peace and relaxation. We got words of knowledge for the other man’s sisters and family in Pakistan and just saw that Jesus was protecting them.

It was awesome to see how Jesus moving in their lives was not dependent upon their belief in who He really was, but rather His goodness and kindness towards them.

We left them with a Bible and they left encouraged, healed and hopeful for the future.

It was an awesome moment to advance Jesus’ name and what He is really like to His children.

Radical worship and affection for Jesus is its own goal and end, but I have found that when you worship Him with zero agenda, He comes and His love pierces hearts and draws His children together in power. He is so good.

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