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Around the World

Devotional Readings for April

*Because many of the writers serve in secure
countries,  their full names are not listed.

April 1

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17) NIV.

    Early in 1985 a typhoon struck the lower islands of the Philippines. My wife, our two young daughters, and I went with a team to help the injured and homeless.
    We were accomplishing much in ministry areas, but I wasn't taking much time for my family. One day while communing with the Lord I felt impressed to take each of my daughters alone once a week for a date. The first week I had only 50 pesos (US$2.50).
    I pocketed the money, and six-years-old Rita and I walked to a cafe where I bought two ice cream cones--about 38 pesos. We sat together, licked ice cream and talked away the afternoon. When we got back homoe I dropped the change back into the jar.
    I planned to take four-year-old Mary to split a candy bar the next day – that’s all the remaining 12 pesos would buy. But when I reached into the jar, I again found 50 pesos. Mary and walked to the cafe and enjoyed ice cream together. Back home, I again dropped 12 pesos into the jar.
    We stayed four weeks on the island helping the typhoon victims. Each week I took my daughters out for a treat. Each time I dropped the change into the jar, and each time, there was more when I took it out later. God cares about things  like candy bars and ice cream cones too.
Thank You, Lord, that You love little girls as much as You love nations.

April 2

I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19 NIV).

    It had been five years since God spoke the words to her heart. "Go to Yeravan and tell them I love them." “Theresa” knew that Yeravan was in Armenia, but didn’t understand why God told her that. She didn't understand but determined to obey when God showed her the way.
    Theresa was now a member of a team going to Armenia. However, because of nationalistic demonstrations, the road to Yeravan was closed. All along the way the team watched as tourists were turned back. Guards also refused to let the team enter. The girl remembered something she thought was significant.
    "Please," Theresa begged, "let us go through. I saw a documentary on television about Yeravan saying its people are world-famous for their hospitality. Ever since then, it has been my life's ambition to meet those people. Please let us through."
    The officer relented.
    In the town, the Theresa talked to an Armenian woman on the street. She felt God wanted her to tell the woman the circumstances of the team's visit.
    Wide-eyed, the woman asked, "Are you a believer?"
    "So am I." She took the entire team to visit her small struggling fellowship of believers. They had despaired because of the upheaval in their country, wondering if God had forgotten them. They were emboldened after hearing of God's specific instructions to this special group to come to them. The congregation made a banner to carry in the nationalistic demonstration boldly proclaiming: "People of Armenia, this is not the way. Turn back to God. He has not forgotten us. He sent people to tell us He loves us. This is our only hope."
Thank You, God, that You know in advance the way to prepare Your children to help our brothers and sisters.

Sandra, an American, serves with YWAM’s Slavic Ministries.
April 3

    I was staying in a hotel overlooking the main square in Merakesh, the occult center of Morocco. Merakesh means "Meeting Place of the Dead." Each afternoon at three o'clock the square became a lively center of activity. Street venders, monkey grinders, artists, and tarot card readers, vied for their own space.
    I was watching these activities from the rooftop and praying for the city. " Lord , how can they be reached with the Gospel?" I prayed. "They're so entrenched in Islam and the occult."
    The weather had been hot and sunny. Suddenly at about four o'clock, the still, hot air was interrupted. I watched a twister enter the square, avoiding the people. It looked as though it would pass on without notice by those below me.
    Then, in an instant it turned around and went straight toward those with the tarot cards. The cards were swept up several hundred feet into the air.
    I was probably the only person who saw this phenomenon; the only one who knew the entire path of the twister. God had answered my cry. I had beheld a demonstration of God's ability to show Himself, His power and wonder.

Thank you, Lord, that you know how to reach into places where no one else can reach, the hearts of mankind.

Heather, from New Zealand.
April 4

He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves" (Luke 10:2-3 NIV).

    I remember an encounter I had with a member of a worldwide cult. During a door-to-door witnessing outreach in Seattle my partner and I walked up to a house and were met at the door by a square, balding man in his thirties. To our surprise, there was none of the usual "sales resistance." He eagerly ushered us in, offered us a seat and settled back to talk.
    My friend opened his Bible to begin, but first the man fired a question at us."
    "What do you think about the Trinity?"
    I shot a look at my partner. He gave me a little smile, for now we knew who we were dealing with. We asked him if he was in such-and-such a group, and he admitted proudly to being one of their local leaders.
    We settled back and got into serious debate. It was a great debate, and after an hour or two, I noticed the man was wilting. He was out-gunned. Finally, all his geniality disappeared. Angrily, he stood and asked us to leave.
    My friend and I walked down the street with our Bible, laughing and congratulating ourselves on how we had won over the well-honed argument skills of this cult leader.
    I remember that afternoon and drop my head in shame. I thought I had won, but I know I lost. That particular cult is known by its aggressive, arguing spirit. It is controlled by the spirit of religious controversy. Instead of meeting that spirit with the opposite one, humility, I had entered into it and embraced the same spirit. We had won the argument that day in Seattle but had left behind a man who was humiliated and further alienated from the Gospel.

From Winning God's Way by Loren Cunningham with Janice Rogers. Copyright by Loren Cunningham Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 99-101]

April 5

How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14).

    I worked with YWAM’s Mercy Ship, m/v Good Samaritan, docked in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. One afternoon my partner and I walked to town. We were stopped by a young shoeshine boy. I often let him shine my shoes because it afforded me a captive audience for the Gospel.
    While Gary and I were witnessing, we were interrupted by Miguel, who seemed overly eager to talk to us. Pleased with the progress of my conversation with the boy, I grew impatient with Miguel. I tried to ignore him. "Si, si," I said to each of his questions.
    Gary stopped me. "No, Robert. This guy is trying to sell you a woman, and you keep saying "yes" to every word.
    Angrily, I turned and told him we were Christians and as such we do not do such things. As I rebuked him the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit stopped me. Tell him why. Tell him he is breaking the Father's heart.
    My message of condemnation quickly turned to the message of the weeping Shepherd, heart-broken over the condition of His sheep. To my amazement, the pimp, whom I was annoyed with and had discounted, began crying softly. When I asked if he wanted to be forgiven by God, he quickly said, "Yes."
    Right there he prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior.

O, God, never again will I doubt or limit Your ability to reach a hardened heart.

Robert, an American, serves on YWAM staff in Florida, USA.
April 6

See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut, Revelation (3:8) NIV.

    I was one of fourteen YWAMers from seven nations traveling overland to Calcutta, India. We divided into two groups of seven. The first groups would start the trip about a week before the other. I was in the second group.
    Stephanie, a young woman from South Africa, was in the first group. We had been told that she would not be allowed into the communist countries we needed to pass through. In fact, officials in the American consulate told us she would never be allowed into Afghanistan.
    After much prayer, and despite the warnings, we felt God wanted Stephanie to be part of the group, and they started the journey. We prayed each day for Stephanie, and received a phone call from Bulgaria: Stephanie had been allowed in. We continue to pray as we started traveling, though no further word reached us for another three weeks.
    During an intercession time one Friday evening we felt God leading us to pray for the first team’s entry into Afghanistan. This didn’t seem to make sense, because the schedule said that the team should already be in the country by then.  But we went ahead and prayed.
    Two weeks later when the two teams were reunited, they asked, "Where were you two Friday nights ago?"
    "We had been delayed, so we had only gotten to Tehran, Iran, they responded. The morning after we had prayed for them, God impressed the team leader to take Stephanie to apply for her Afghan visa. She asked for a ten-day transit visa. Instead, within ten minutes, she was awarded a one-month tourist visa.
    Stephanie was given several visa extensions in Afghanistan, doing medical relief work with the Afghan people.

Stephanie, South African, now works in Colombia.
April 7

Feed my sheep (John 21:17).

    Top chef, Brad Hansen, switched from preparing meals to preparing messages when God placed missions on his heart. The Australian turned his back on a well-paying career to join a volunteer group of young Christians who share their faith through open air drama and music.
    For four years, Hansen had studied to be a chef. After graduating from college, he worked at several top hotels and restaurants, and was cited in a national magazine article as one of the country's leading new young chefs. But in 1989, he decided to give it all up and join YWAM.
    Brad has traveled thousands of miles to three continents. His work has taken him from a women's high security prison in the United States, where he prayed with an inmate who had murdered her husband, to Moscow's famous Arbat walking street where he and his colleagues were filmed for Soviet television.
    "I realized that I could have stayed in industry and probably made quite a lot of money, but there was something inside me that was quite empty despite all the high living," Brad said.
    Following a six-month Bible training school, Brad moved to Holland to join the YWAM staff. Now Hansen works as a youth pastor to the young adult children of staff members in Amsterdam, a city famous for its liberal attitudes to sex and open drug use.
    Brad says, "Young people face real pressures growing up in this kind of an environment. I want to help them realize that they can stand against the trends, and make a difference in the world by serving God." Today, Brad is fulfilled by feeding God's lambs the Bread of Life.

Andy, an American, from Great Britain, directs the Press & Media Services Department of YWAM’s International Operations Office, and lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.
April 8

We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company (Psalm 55:16 NIV).

    Floyd and I have found it helpful to have little daily "debriefing" times. They don't need to be long, but they should be consistent. It helps us to stay in touch with one another. He tells me a little about his day--things he did, people he saw, points of interest to me--and I tell him about mine. It keeps us from piling up a big backlog of things we have not been able to tell each other. One of the systems we have used in our marriage is making little lists of things we want to be sure to tell one another. We usually can't talk right away, but we don't want to forget. We make a note of it and keep a running list of things to share when we do have the moments together to do that. This is a simple system that helps to ensure we don't forget to communicate the things we should.
    Timing is important in communication. Sensitive issues should not be discussed late at night when you are both tired--unless you are both late-night people. Plan a time earlier in the day for sharing these things. But if you have young children who are noisy and constantly demanding, clearly the evening is going to be the best time for you. But don't leave it until too late! We are not mind readers in our marriage, even though we may know one another well. Communication gives our partners the opportunity to see inside us. We create a "word-window" for them to see inside us. Taking the quantity of time that is needed for this type of communication brings that "quality" into our relationship that is so invaluable.

When I bury things inside, remind me, Lord, to open myself to the love You've placed in my life.

From Where Will Find the Time? by Sally McClung. Copyright 1989 by Sally McClung. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene Oregon. Used by Permission. [from page 46]
April 9

The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"  (Matthew 25:40 NIV).

    I first noticed her when my friend and I came bounding down the gangway of the Mercy Ship m/v Anastasis for a late night walk. She shuffled on alone clutching a battered, old shopping bag. I noticed the large hump on her shoulder, and, peering closer, could see the painful lines the years had carved into her face.
    My heart went out to her. Sorrow and loneliness seemed etched into her creased face. Vacant eyes stared lifelessly at the ground. My heart prodded me to offer help, yet I ignored the nudge and continued on our walk. Once, I looked back to see her gazing up the steep gangway to the light shining behind the closed doors.    
    Later, my friend and I spied the same hunched figure shuffling toward us. My heart sank, and I began to weep. Although she passed within a few feet of us, I still resisted the urge to reach out. Instead, my friend and I prayed.
    The next morning my friend handed me a note. She had just read this old Quaker saying in her devotional: "What am I to do? I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good work, therefore, any kindness, or any service I can render to any soul, be man or animal, let me do it now. Let me not neglect or defer it, for I shall not pass this way again."
    My friend continued, "As I read this last night, I thought of the old woman trudging home in the dark. I know that I'm forgiven for my slow compassion, but still..."
    I often think of this old woman, too. And I know I missed out.

Lord, help me to be more responsive to the needs of those You place in my pathway.

Nancy, an American, works as Assistant to the Vice-President of Operations at the Mercy Ship Office in Lindale, Texas, USA.
April 10

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me (Psalm 138:3,7 NIV).

    We had several times of intercession in preparation for an outreach to the city of San Francisco. During one particularly good time of prayer my thoughts were directed to the above Bible passage.
    On the second day of the outreach we split into groups of four. Each group went to a different neighborhood to intercede for it. My group went to the Tenderloin, known for prostitution, gangs and drug abuse.
    In Bodecker Park we thought we would simply walk quickly through praying blessings on the people there. About halfway through the park a drunk man wound up like a baseball pitcher and threw a quart size whiskey bottle at me. As I stared at the glass at my feet he cursed me. Then he yelled, "I'm gonna kill ya, I'm gonna kill ya, I'm gonna kill ya."   
    The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. It was as though a blanket of fear had been spread over me. Then I remembered the Scripture, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble...,"
    As I remembered His Word, peace filled my heart. Backing away from the man, I shared the Scripture with our group. The Lord seemed to be saying, "Be bold."
    On through the park we walked, in the direction of the man. As we approached him his countenance changed. As we got closer he sat down peacefully and didn’t bother us any more.
    God showed me that spending time before Him is necessary. Then I can expect Him to take care of me in every situation.

Paul, an American, is on staff at YWAM-San Francisco, USA.
April 11

    While traveling down a busy highway, I wrestled with God over what He had asked me to do. My confused thoughts manufactured a special bargain for God, "Okay, Lord, if You really want me to do this, then give me a sign."
    I was stunned when I noticed a billboard with a huge picture of Jesus about 300 yards up the highway. After driving closer I realized the billboard was actually there. My heart froze as I saw the picture of Jesus knocking on a slammed door.
    The words of Scripture scrolled along the bottom of the billboard cutting deep into my pious heart: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
    Then I heard the Lord whisper powerfully to my spirit, "Son, the issue is not what I have asked you to do, but that you've pushed me right out of your heart."
    I quickly realized that this Scripture wasn't written to unbelievers, but to one of the seven churches John had addressed in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. They had pushed Jesus out, and gone on being religious. A "coup" had taken place! They were performing lip service, but their heart was far from Him.
    As I went on past the billboard tears flowed freely. I repented and invited the Master to rule my life again.
    God is a gentleman knocking on the door of our hearts. He enters only at our invitation, and longs to sup with us. Let's invite Jesus to dwell in our hearts forever, and let's keep an open policy.

Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.

    By the way, I haven't asked for a sign lately.

Dave, an American, serves in leadership in YWAM-Los Angeles, California, USA.
April 12

    Before a time of street evangelism in San Francisco we prayed for protection and peace. We asked God to lead us to those He wanted us to speak with.
    I noticed a girl who looked about 18-years-old sitting on the curb in front of a liquor store. She immediately jumped up, grabbed my arm, and said she just had to talk to me. I readily sensed she was not only drunk, but also gay and attracted to me. My first impulse was repulsion but our earlier prayers flashed to my mind.
    Silently I prayed about the alcohol and drugs clouding her brain, then against homosexuality. Almost immediately her countenance changed. I was shocked at how quickly God answered my prayer.
    Her name was Rocky. She shared many things with my friend and me. From her purse she pulled Buddhist chanting beads and mantra cards. After asking us to help her tear up the cards and break the beads she asked us to pray with her.
    After the prayer Rocky admitted her motives in the beginning were wrong. She said she now was no longer attracted to me.

You're all powerful, Lord. Thank You for breaking the power of darkness in the hearts of those who cry out to You.

Elizabeth, an American, serves on staff of YWAM-San Francisco, USA.
April 13

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heep, (Psalm 113:7) NIV.

    I watched as a very thin, tired-looking mother quieted her baby while my husband preached to a small group of Mapuche Indians in southern Chile. It was her first time at one of our meetings. As Fernando talked about our loving God I wondered how she would respond.
    She put the baby to her breast. After only a few seconds he cried again. Her malnourished body just couldn't produce enough milk.
    Later she told me about her family. Her husband had been sick and out of work for several months. Their poverty made my "God loves you," seem shallow, yet she accepted my suggestion of prayer for her husband.
    Later Fernando visited the man at his hut. The man's chest heaved as his damaged lungs attempted to take in oxygen. "God can heal you right now," Fernando explained. "But first He wants to heal your soul." The family listened intently as he shared the Gospel. Together they prayed to invite Christ into their hearts. Then Fernando prayed for Juan's healing.
    Our rejoicing over their salvation was dampened by their extreme poverty. We wondered if God's love would remain real to them in the midst of such misery.
    The answer came quickly. The next day Fernando saw someone walking briskly toward him carrying a bag on his back. It was Juan, the man he had prayed for the day before. Juan joyfully explained that soon after Fernando left he suddenly felt better and was instantly healed. "Jesus is so powerful and so wonderful," he exclaimed. "Now I am walking to town to seek work to support my family. Next Sunday I will come to church to give testimony of how God healed me."
    Juan found a permanent job and kept his promise to be in church. Little by little, with God's help, they climbed out of the poverty that had swallowed them.

God, Your love is deeper than even the most overwhelming problems.

Carol Sue, an American married to a Chilean, works in evangelism and church planting among the Mapuche Indians of Chile.
April 14

    I was working with former bar-girls at the YWAM Base in the Philippines. I asked Michelle, one of the girls, to fetch water for us. She answered sharply that she wasn't feeling well. I questioned her to be sure she really was sick. I didn't require her to help; I just prayed for her.
    Later I found out she and another girl went to a friend's place and took drugs. I knew this was serious because the girls could band together and go back to their old lifestyle. Our base director told Michelle it was necessary for her to ask my forgiveness, but she refused.
    "Lord," I prayed silently that god would fight this spiritual bettle for me.
    The director encouraged Michelle to tell me how she felt. We waited, and waited. When she finally spoke it was about her own offense and disobedience!
    The words of Psalm 68:3 came to mind, "But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God, may they be happy and joyful" (NIV). My heart was rejoicing for I had seen the power of God bring victory.
    I told Michelle, "just as God doesn't expect us to do something we can't do, neither will we give you anything to do you can't do." We left the room arm in arm, friends again.

Pat, serves on staff in the Philippines.

April 15

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me…to comfort all who mourn, (Isaiah 61:1-2).

    Our team was visiting Shanghai University where we hoped to share Christ with students. Because many of the Chinese people are eager to practice English, it was easy to engage in conversation with them. On the lawn we sang and did a drama for a spontaneous crown of several hundred.
    My friend Nuala and I talked with a young man name Hang. After telling us he had no religion, Hang mentioned that one of his best friends had recently become a Christian.
    “I could see positive change in my friend,” said Hang. “Before this, he had no religion, no beliefs. Now he has joy and seems at peace. He’s been inviting me to visit his church.”
    Hang watched our drama, but later told us that several people close to him had died recently and that he had trouble accepting life’s suffering.
    Nuala told him about Jesus’ tears with Martha when her brother Lazarus died, and about her own husband’s recent death. Hang listened as she explained about the comfort God gives to His own.
    Hang asked many questions of members of our team. Before we left, he accepted a copy of the Gospel of Mark, saying, “Maybe I will become a Christian, too.”

Sally, an American, is involved in a worship and dance ministry at church of the Hills in Austin, Texas, USA.
April 16

    Several years ago I led a young man, Randy, to the Lord and brought him home to live in our community and be discipled. For more than a month we poured ourselves into him, teaching him the Bible and the ways of God. It seemed he was making good progress. Then one morning we awoke to find that Randy had left and, in the process, stolen our complete sound system!     I was discouraged greatly by Randy's departure. Although he wasn't the first of our converts to backslide, he was the one who most surprised us. Feeling that I was somehow responsible for Randy's lapse in faith, I soon wanted to give up. It seemed that so much of my labor had been in vain.
    In the midst of this turmoil, as I poured my heart out to God one day, I heard the voice of the Spirit whisper to my heart, "Danny, do you take the credit when you are able to lead someone to me?" 
    "No, Lord, You get all the glory from that," I quickly responded.
    "All right, then, don't take the blame when they backslide or reject the Gospel," was the Lord's reply.
    After this I discovered the following parable from Mark's Gospel and began to meditate on it.

So is the Kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come (Mark 4:26-29 KJV).

    My responsibility is to plow, plant, water, and harvest the fruit when it is ripe. It is God's responsibility to ensure that the seed grows.

From Bringin' 'Em Back Alive by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1987 by Danny Lehmann. Published by Whitaker House, Springdale, Pennsylvania. Used by permission. [from pages 111-112]
April 17

I being in the way, the Lord led me,” (Genesis 24:2).

    Our group was to meet a church planting team in a city in Thailand, but our train to the nearest town was 24-hours late. No one was there to meet us, and no one spoke English. What could we do?
    We had a phone number for our contact but had no change to make a phone call. We went downtown for change. A voice behind us said, "What do you need?"  We were shocked to hear English spoken. There stood a Thai man, probably in his sixties, smiling at us.
    "We need change to make a telephone call."
    "I'll get it for you," he said. He handed our bills to a vendor and gave us the change. After counting it we turned to thank him, but he was gone.
    Previously we had been told to wait at the station and a couple would come. No one came. We prayed, "Lord, will You work a miracle for us?"
    We searched for a taxi. Again we heard the same voice. "Do you need a hotel room? I will help you." It was the Thai man who had helped before.
    "We need taxis to take us to a hotel in the city."
    "Follow me," he said.
    We followed him through several dark streets and came to a corner where two taxis were parked. The man made arrangements for us. When everyone was in the taxis a heart-warming cheer went up!  I said to a friend, "You know that was an angel, don't you?" 
    “Yes, I know." 
    What excitement and expectation we felt when we met the team the next day. God had worked a miracle! 

Sharon, an American, leads a worship team in Southern Thailand.
April 18

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NIV).

    An important aspect of timing and the will of God is waiting for God's opportunity. In college I played basketball. My team was especially eager one season to play against the University of Florida because one of their players was being considered as an All-American. We expected a tall and muscular player but to our surprise he wasn't. Indeed, from first appearances there seemed to be little that was remarkable about him. As the game commenced, I noticed that he wasn't even fast on his feet. But he possessed an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. If a team was moving one way and the ball bouncing another, he was right there where the ball was. His hands were up to catch the ball when they should be, and if it came bouncing to the floor he was there to pick it up.  It made him a great player. God wants us to be like that basketball player. He wants us to have the spiritual alertness that puts us in the right place at the right time when the Spirit is wanting to do something. As we seek His direction, we need to distinguish between the right thing to do and the right time to do it. God may put a plan or desire in our hearts, but we should not presume that means we do it immediately. God may be preparing our hearts, and we are to take plenty of time to think, discuss, and ponder what He is stirring in our hearts.

Father, forgive me for being more tuned to the world than to Your Holy Spirit.

From Wholehearted...Letting God Shape Your Whole Life by Floyd McClung. Copyright 1990 by Floyd McClung. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois. Used by permission. [from page 68]
April 19

Fear not: for I have...called thee by thy name; thou art mine... (Isaiah 43:1).

    I was house sitting for friends during a severe thunderstorm. The thunder clapped and lightening flashed through the house. Frisky, their dog, was so scared she jumped in my lap. I held her close and  talked soothingly to her until she stopped shaking and calmed down.
    At that moment, it seemed God spoke a comforting message to my heart: Just like you’re holding Frisky to comfort her, I hold you close to comfort you.
    This made me feel good, secure and cared for. Then I sensed God had more to say. But, at least Frisky is afraid of a real storm--real thunder, real lightening.
    Just then, as if to emphasize the point, lightening struck right outside the house. I felt that God was showing that I sometimes get just as scared with imaginary storms - the 'what if's,' and the uncertain future. God has promised to help me in real dangers – real water, real fire, real troubles. He could comfort and protect me, but I needed to learn to trust Him with imaginary storms.
    Although Frisky wasn't even my oun dog, I was trying as best I could to ease her discomfort. I felt god whisper, Do you think I would do less for you? It is you whom I love and have redeemed. Rest in My arms and do not fear for I am with you now and forever.
    Since that night, when I find myself beginning to travel into "what if" territory, I ask God to help me determine whether there is a real problem, and then how to deal with it.

Ralene, serves on staff at Twin Oaks Ranch, Lindale, Texas.
April 20

And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me, (Matthew 18:5).

    I was part of an Outreach team in the Philippines working at Smokey Mountain, Manila's city dump. Thousands of poor people make their living and their home there. Like the other team members, I had children holding my hands and my clothing, while we sang, played games and laughed together.
    A nurse pointed out a six-year-old boy standing off by himself holding a dirty dinner roll. "He needs a miracle," she said. She explained that while on a public bus his mother jumped off, leaving the boy to fend for himself. Abandoned, he aimlessly walked the streets, hungry and homeless. He became thin and ill.
    A young mother living at the dump found him and brought him back to care for him. His stomach hurt too much to eat. It seemed he had decided the pain of death was less than the pain of life.
    The little boy didn't look up as I approached and sat beside him. I asked his name; he gave no response. A little boy ran up and called out, "His name is Randy."  With excitement I told him we shared the same name. Still no response. It was as though he had not heard me.
    Not knowing what else to say, I stood and reached to pick him up. His response took me by surprise. Still holding the dirty dinner roll, Randy quickly wrapped his feeble arms tightly around my neck.
    I cried as I held this child who was so close to death. For the first time I felt Jesus' heart for another person. I prayed for him, then called the rest of the team over to pray with me. I held Randy in my arms for the remainder of our time there. 
    As we left the dump, I looked back. Randy was eating the dirty dinner roll. He has continued to eat since, and to gain weight and health.

Thank you, Jesus, for that day that changed my life forever.

Randy, an American, is DTS Director of King's Mansion, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
April 21

You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, (Isaiah 62:6 NKJV).

    At an arts and crafts exhibit in China, I listened as a young man name Hu played beautiful classical piano. I asked if he knew any music by Tchaikovski. He played part of Swan Lake, followed by a symphony – all from memory. Then I asked if he knew any Christian music “about Yesu Dijo,” I said, using the Mandarin words.
    “My father, who believed in Yesu Dijo, died when I was young,” he answered.
    “Then Your father is in heaven with Shan Dei,” I assured him.
    “Yes,” he agreed. “During the Cultural Revolution we were not allowed any music, but before my father died, he taught me one song.” He began to play “Silent Night,” then stopped abruptly and said with distress, “But I can’t remember the words!”
    I sang them for him in English.
    Hu then pulled a yellowed songbook from the piano bench. “My father gave me this book and I hid it so it wouldn’t be destroyed by the officials,” he said, turning the pages. He opened the book and began to play “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
    “But I can’t read the words,” he said, pointing to the old-style Chinese characters.
    I told him, “I have a book which talks about this friend, Jesus, that is written in New Chinese.” His eyes lit up when I handed him a Bible. He grasped it eagerly, then quickly hid it in the piano bench. When I asked, “Hu, do you believe in Yesu Dijo?” he paused for a long time before answering.
    Then, with resolve, he replied, “Yes. Yes I do.” More than a response to my question, it seemed like a decision.
    I prayed quietly for Hu before I left. As Hu walked me to my bus, I told him, “Hu, God loves you very much.”
    “Yes,” he smiled and agreed.

Dawn, an American, is the International Coordinator for YWAM’s field-based Leadership Training Schools.
April 22

Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised, (Proverbs 31:30).

    When I was 15 years old I was very embarrassed by my grandmother's ankle-length skirts, which had long since gone out of style. Her clothes were black, and she seemed unaware that her thick cotton stockings wrinkled around her ankles.
    I was already uncomfortable about her disregard for matters of appearance when she came to visit us in our small Western Canadian town. But then she did something I'll never forget. Every spring, our high school organized a track and field. Other schools from around the countryside came to compete. The only place large enough to serve lunch to this crowd was the basement of our church. I was there with my school friends.
    Lunch was about to begin when my grandmother stopped got everyone’s attention, and ordered them to bow their heads for prayer.
    Grandma climbed onto one of the big tables in her long black skirt and wrinkled stockings and she held up her hands just like I always imagined Moses did.  She prayed a long prayer, thanking God for everything she could think of. I was uncomfortable before, imagine how completely distressed I was now. I wanted to disappear through the floor.
    Now, forty-five years later, I praise God for such a woman; for someone who thought first of pleasing God. She was willing to do what He told her to do. We need more people to stand up for what they believe, even on top of a table.
    My clothes, probably seem out of style to today's young people. My stockings are slipping around my ankles - at least symbolically. But I want to have the courage to stand for what I believe in ways that matter.

Lord, help me to stand firm in Your Name.

Carol, a United States citizen born in Canadia, teaches in the School of Biblical Studies in Lakeside, Montana, USA.
April 23

"But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself" (John 12:32).

    As we approached the coastline of the island of Roatan in Honduras, I called out over the rail of the ship, "Roatan, receive your King," Our team of 54 young people aboard the mercy ship m/v Anastasis was eager to bring them the Gospel.
    As our crew unloaded the mercy goods, a local missionary led the way down the muddy, unpaved road treading its ways through broken down shacks of tin and cardboard. Listless eyes stared at us. However smiles broke out when we told the people of our special message and the goods we had for them.
    The only open place for our performance was a patch of muddy ground outside a bar with rotting garbage and broken bottles littering the ground. The nauseating stench turned my stomach. Mangy dogs forged for rotting tidbits as we set up our puppet theater, drama props and portable sound system.
    A curious crowd gathered when we started singing and giving testimonies. The children loved our puppet show and drama. Adults showed little response. Our choreography called for us to kneel. How could we kneel in that garbage?  We made a last-minute change and had everone remain standing during the dance.
    At first, we carefully picked our way across our unusual stage, but soon our hearts were more set on lifting up Jesus than watching where we stepped. Halfway through I looked out on the sea of  beautiful, black faces. Tears were streaming down many cheeks.
    When the people were invited to repent of sin and receive Christ, the derelict of the village came forward and fell to his knees weeping. Others joined him one by one, and knelt in the garbage.
    Roatan had received the King! 

Fay, a New Zealander, serves on staff with YWAM in Hawaii.
April 24

Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as thy  possession, (Psalm 2:8 NASB).

    At a School of Missions in Oregon, I was challenged to work with preschoolers who had no opportunity for an education. Then, for six months I worked with such children in Guatemala while learning Spanish and getting practical training. Upon returning to Oregon I continued to hear the still small voice of God saying, Mary, what about the children?
    "Yes, Lord, I'm willing to go, and You promised to supply my needs, so I'm waiting." A friend told me she would pray for my desire. Later she showed me an advertisement asking for one hundred people to teach English as a second language and another person to set up a preschool in Uzbekistan, a former republic in Soviet Central Asia.
    Then I broke my left foot in three places! Lord, I know I heard you clearly, but how am I going to go without money...and with a broken foot?
    A month later I received a fax inviting me to set up a preschool in Uzbekistan. Joy filled my soul! The Lord blessed me with gifts of money, but only enough to pay for my medical bills.
    Some Christian friends wanted to be a part in my ministry, so they took me shopping for new clothes and a suitcase. Then they paid part of my airfare. I wept tears of joy. Through the mail I received a letter from my church promising to pay the rest of my expenses.
    God was faithful to meet every need I had in order to follow His call on my life.

Thank you, Lord, for using friends to send a teacher to Your children.

Written by Mary.
April 25

    Dr. C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general of the United States, has distinguished himself as a godly man and a servant of people. In three decades of service at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital, Dr. Koop treated over 100,000 pediatric patients, many of them small enough to hold in one hand. Koop pioneered many techniques for saving the lives of malformed and premature babies. He treated countless numbers of deformed infants that other physicians wouldn't touch. One of his patients, who needed 37 facial and abdominal surgeries to correct birth defects, is now a university graduate. Another patient, for whom Dr. Koop fashioned a new esophagus out of a section of colon, went on to become a pediatric surgeon.
    As surgeon general, Dr. Koop became America's family doctor. Though his career was surrounded by controversy, Dr. Koop came to be respected as a man of great integrity. "To a jaded general public hungry for integrity in their leaders, Koop became a genuine folk hero." Though Koop was often the bearer of bad news about cancer and AIDS, the public trusted him because they knew he was concerned for their health.
    Sacrificial service, as exemplified by Dr. Koop, comes against the pleasure-oriented, self-indulgent spirit of the age that permeates our society. I talk to pastors all over the nation who cannot motivate their people to sacrificial service. Many Christians insist, "My time, my money, and my energy are mine to use as I please. What right does my pastor have to tell me what to do?" They are caught up in the spirit of the age. They have adopted the attitude of the world. Holiness in a fallen world doesn't mean that we retreat to the desert of selfishness. It means that we go into the world to bring the gospel of peace to those who so desperately need it.

From Holiness and the Spirit of the Age by Floyd McClung. Copyright 1990 by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. Used by permission. [from page 171-172]
April 26

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me,” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

    It was a cold, rainy February day at the hotel [in Greece near the mercy ship m/v Anastasis] when we were called together for an unexpected meeting. [My husband, Captain] Ben had been busy all morning with the port authorities. Although we hadn't had a chance to speak, I knew something big was about to happen. Already, we had been encouraged by the news that The Anastasis was going to be taken out of the "graveyard." She would be moved to Salamis Island, Thirty minutes from us by car, to a shipyard there.
    One month later, on March 8th, 1982, two surveyors of Lloyds Register of Shipping, London, came on board to determine our ship's seaworthiness. We all held our breath but after a day of intensive inspection, The Anastasis was certified for sailing! The ship was ready but we had no money for fuel.
    Three long months of waiting in Salamis Bay passed. Finally one morning, Don Stephens, the ship's director, called us together for an unexpected meeting. He explained that Ben had something of great importance to share with us.
    Ben strode to the front. Always in control of himself, I watched as my Ben struggled to speak for a moment. His eyes brimmed with tears as he began. "An oilman in America is giving us our fuel for sailing."
    There had been so many nearlys, almosts, and not quites, and now we were really going to sail. When we had finally given up, the Lord had come through. When we were at our weakest, He had become strong on our behalf.

From Anchor in the Storm by Helen Applegate with Renee Taft. Copyright 1988 by Helen Applegate. Published by Frontline Communications, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 132-134]
April 27

He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him, (2 Samuel 22:31).

    My mind was screaming, A grenade? Someone threw a grenade?  No! Surely not a grenade where Metrey lives. Scenes of  destruction flashed through my mind. I fought back tears when I learned about my friend whose small bamboo house in Khmer had been the target of the explosion the night before. Metrey’s small bamboo house would be devastated!
    I met Metrey upon my arrival at Site II, a Khmer refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border. This beautiful Christian woman was a medic in my clinic and often helped me translate and direct the weekly Bible study. I considered her my closest Khmer friend.
     Now I cried out to God, Please, God, not Metrey or her family. Haven't they been through so much! I fought to listen to my director's explanantion.      "The injured  were taken to Kao-Idang camp for surgery. Metrey and her husband are fine." I was relieved, but had to go see for myself, so hurried to her house.
    When I saw my friend standing in her doorway, tears of joy filled my eyes. She was unhurt! She  took me through the house to see the one small room which had been damaged. I saw the blood-stained bamboo bed and the shrapnel holes in the walls. In a household of five adults and two children only one man was hurt.
    Outside, we found shrapnel in several directions, indicating a strong blast that should have injured the entire family. As tears formed in her eyes, Metrey said, "God put His hands over us."

Miriam, a Canadian, is a nurse on a medical team at the Thai-Cambodian border.
April 28

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, (Psalm 23:4 NIV).

    It was my first trip into what seemed like hell on earth. The foul stench of rotting garbage and human waste was inescapable.
    This landscape of death was home to some 10,000 men, women and children living a squalid existence in Manila's garbage dump. We stood outside a shack where a family was grieving. They had no means to pay for a burial. I wondered how our long-term team could face these conditions day after day.
    A small naked boy stood smiling at me. He was filthy. He thrust his filthy hand toward me in friendship. I dodged his approaching hand and looked away in shame.
    My mind searched frantically for solace from my screaming conscience, but found none. Cold steel penetrated my heart. What would Jesus do? I wondered. But I knew.
    I forced my eyes back to the little boy and stretched out a tentative hand. He took it as a hungry dog would snatch a scrap of meat. As I lay my hands on his dirty, scabbed head, I prayed a short prayer of blessing. God filled my heart with love and compassion.
    Then it hit me! This little boy cared more about love than his surroundings. As I grasped this truth I understood the key to my co-workers' ability to cope day after day. They walked with the Father and He provided all the grace they needed, even to smile in the face of death.

Rick, serves with YWAM at the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. 

April 29

    My friend and I were part of a group of 5,000 YWAMers walking the streets of Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympic Games. We were excited about sharing our faith.
    As we walked down the street I saw some money on the sidewalk, and bent to pick it up. Just then,  I noticed a young man was headed for it. As I unfolded the money, the three of us froze - it was a one hundred dollar bill! 
    The young man fumed, "I could have used that money! I'm out of work and living in my car. I'm on my way to donate blood so I can eat." I glanced at my friend, and could tell he was thing the same thing I was.
    “Can we buy you something to eat? We’d really like to help you out.”
    During the meal, this young man poured his heart out to us. It seemed he was grateful to find someone who cared enough to listen.
    "I came to L.A. to make a new start after my marriage and my job went sour. Now I have nothing!  What's there to live for?”
    We shared with him how Christ had made the difference in our lives, tears streamed down his cheeks. He was eager to respond, and openly prayed to make Jesus the Lord of his life.
    After prayer, he asked if he could join us in our witnessing. So the rest of the day, he shared his new faith with others on the street. That evening, we took him shopping, using the hundred-dollar bill to buy him some new clothes.
    The money was quickly gone, but our new friend found a treasure that will last for eternity – friendship with God.

Thank You, Father, for divine appointments.

Ron, an American, is director of YWAM’s Revive American Project, and lives in Washington State, USA.
April 30

He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, (Psalm 91:11 NIV).

    It was a clear desert night. We gazed out the restaurant window at the endless stream of lights. Holiday weekend traffic thundered by on a California freeway.
    "Where's Matthew?" asked my wife, Julie.
    "He went to the bathroom with David," Paul said.
    A few minutes later my oldest son David returned, but the youngest, Matthew, two and one-half years old, was missing. We searched the restaurant. We searched the parking lot. After searching a nearby shopping center we became desperate. Our greatest fear was that he would stumble onto the freeway or the busy streets, all unfenced, on three sides of the restaurant.
    I was searching the steep slope in the edge of the freeway when I found him. He was sitting in the dark, just a few feet from the speeding line of cars and trucks. "Hi, Matthew," I said, trying not to reveal the panic in my voice.
    "Hi, Dad," he said. "The man tied my feet up so I sat down." "What man?" I said.
    "A nice man," said Matthew. "See, my feet are all tied up." I could see nothing on his little feet, but he acted as though he could not move them. And indeed he could not move them until I reached down and caught him into my arms. `
    "Thank God for His angels!" I shouted into the night.

From Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson. Copyright 1989 by John Dawson. Published by Creation House. Used by permission. [from pages 145-146]