Abba Ministries
Devotional Book from Abba Ministries

Abba Ministries
is a part of
Across International Ministries


Youth With A Mission


Daily Faith Builders
Around the World
Around the World cover

Devotional Readings for May

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

May 1

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God set the lonely in families.... Psalm 68:5-6

    We had given our five children and both sets of parents over to the Lord's keeping and set out to become missionaries in the
Philippines. We had no idea how God would use that relinquishment of our rights to be near our families.
   One Sunday, the pastor asked the congregation to turn to and pray for one another. I held out my hand to the young Filipina seated next to me and drew her close. I prayed fervently for God to meet her needs.
    When I finished she gazed up at me from her barely-five-foot stature and exclaimed, "I just sense a mother's love in you."
    From that beginning a lasting relationship grew that transcends all barriers. A loving Father brought us together.
    Orphaned at eight months, Jo-Jo was reared by an older sister, referred to as Aute in the Philippine culture.
    During our five-month tenure in this southernmost island of the
Philippines, Jo-Jo expressed her love for me in various ways. At times, she nearly overwhelmed me with her adoration. One day, she knelt beside my chair and proclaimed, "You are my very own Mommy!" After that, we privately we referred to her as "Mommy's girl.”
    Often I think of the Scripture verses in Mark 10:29,30, which speak of believers receiving up to one hundred times more than the children and family given up to follow Jesus. God has given back to us one hundred fold in this one young woman, whose needs have been met through a mother's love.
    Our God is faithful to His Word. Letters between Jo-Jo and me continue to reach across the sea to encourage one another.
Thank You for Your unique ways of recompensing us for the sacrifices we make to follow You.

Betty, an American, served on staff with YWAM-Hawaii, and now lives in
Florida, USA.

May 2

Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you Jeremiah 32:17 NIV.
    When I am speaking to a group and challenge them from this Bible verse in Jeremiah 32, the response is revealing. It usually goes like this: I will say, "Is there anything too hard for God?
    People from the audience respond with a hearty chorus--"No!"
    Then, I ask a second question. Is there anything to hard for God to do...through you?"
    Silence. A few grin, ducking their heads.
    That is the way it is for all of us, isn't it? As long as we keep the principles of God's Word at a nice, comfortable theoretical distance, we can believe it all. It's only when it comes to putting it into practice that we become disbelieving. Somehow, God gets smaller when we get involved.
    God is a great God, and He wants to be great through you.

Give me the faith in the situation, Father, that I feel when I'm worshiping You.

From Winning God's Way by Loren Cunningham with Janice Rogers. Copyright 1988 by Loren Cunningham. Published by YWAM Publishing,
Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from page 113]

May 3

Rise and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee, Acts 26:16.

    In our day-to-day activity it is easy to become so involved in our activity we forget our purpose is to know Him. It is in life's situations that Jesus comes and reveals Himself to us. The circumstances we find ourselves in are not coincidences. Rather they are opportunities to grow experientially in our understanding of His character and ways.
    Circumstances also expose our needs. He comes to that place of need and reveals Himself to us.

    In sorrow He comes as our Comforter.
    In our weakness He is our Strength.
    In temptation He is our Savior.
    In loneliness he is our Friend.
    In ignorance He is our Teacher.

    There have been times when I have been so concerned about a release of funds or solution to a problem I have missed the revelation of God's character He was wanting to show me. The solution is in Him. "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him... (I Peter 1:3).

Cheryl, an American, is pioneering children's ministries in
May 4

     Until 1989,
Albania was the world's only official atheist country. I had ministered next door, in Yugoslavia, where over a million ethnic Albanians live. But Americans were forbidden even to travel to Albania.
      I read about blood feuds and vengeance patterns common among Albanians and wondered, How can God change values and mentalities so deeply embedded in any culture? How can He ever teach an entire nation to forgive? 
November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and Communism tumbled. A YWAM team and seven other mission groups planned an evangelistic campaign to Albania's capital. We held Bible studies and discussions in a city park each morning. In the evenings, we sang and preached in a stadium.
     One who showed interest was Anastas. He told us that his sister, the gem of his family, had died at the hands of a man in
East Germany.
     For years Anastas was tormented, not only by his grief, but also by the impotence he felt because he couldn't travel to
East Germany to avenge her death. He needed to understand God's view toward responsibility.
    I explained that the Bible tells us to respond to injustice with love and forgiveness; that vengeance is to be left to God. Despite his culture's belief that it was his responsibility to avenge his sister's death, Anastas tearfully accepted the spiritual truths about God's forgiveness.
    Through Anastas’ life, I saw that God knows exactly how to go about changing an entire nation – one person at a time.

Sandy, an American, Slavic Ministries.
May 5

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold, Proverbs 3:13-14 NIV.

    Not every crisis is a crisis. We must continually ask God for wisdom to discern which people and situations need our attention and which don't. The important thing is to be open and free in our spirits to adjustments along the way as the Lord directs. A crisis may hold blessing for us as well. Someone explained that the Chinese character for the word crisis is made up of two parts: One is the symbol for danger, the other is the symbol for opportunity. An unexpected crisis can be an opportunity for growth. God wants us to be flexible and open.
    Change is a way of life--always has been and always will be. "Blessed is the man who has discovered there is nothing permanent in life but change." We should not become so stuck into a rut of time management that we miss the unexpected that God brings or that we miss being open to change.
    One particular way in which God brings the unexpected into our lives is in the form of people. People are more important than things. There is the schedule, there is the job that God has given us to do, but people should always come above these tasks. There are times when I have a list of priorities that God has given me for the day and someone comes along unexpectedly. My temptation might be to say, "What a bother."
   Often God has said to me, "Wait a minute. That person is more important than all those papers on your desk. In fact, I have brought this person here for a special purpose." At that point I realize I must lay aside my schedule, my papers and my plans and give my attention to this person. We must remain flexible within a Framework of planning.

From Where Will I Find the Time? by Sally McClung. Copyright 1989 by Sally McClung. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. Used by permission. [from pages 72-73]

May 6

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I, Psalm 61:2.

     The inner city of Amsterdam forms a hub of intrigue and delight. Tourists, refugees and pilgrims of every description make their way to this "Venice of the North." Its ethnic mixture is 44 major nationalities and countless subgroupings. This city of refuge has, for centuries, been the destination for those seeking a place where social and religious tolerance would triumph.
     Amsterdam was once a haven of refuge, founded on Christian principles. Now it was filled with prostitution, drug trafficking and addiction, and child pornography had found an ample breeding ground along these picturesque canals.
     Before joining YWAM, our family asked the Lord where we should live. We felt He said, "the heart of Amsterdam." With four young children my heart's cry was, "Lord, how can our children grow up to be normal people in the center of such degradation?"
     As I expressed my fear and apprehension to the Lord, the Holy Spirit brought peace and understanding. Only in the center of God's will is there true safety. With a deep assurance we knew God was with us. He would be our source of wisdom in raising our children. He is concerned about their well-being.
      My fears of raising children here are valid, but the Lord is asking me to look to Him. He gives us wisdom to nurture the children to be God-fearing, God-loving people.

Thank You, Father, for challenging me to commit what is so precious to me, my children, into Your care. I praise God for Your faithfulness.

Carolyn, an American married to a Dutchman, works on YWAM staff in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

May 7

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I, Psalm 61:2.

     The inner city of Amsterdam forms a hub of intrigue and delight. Tourists, refugees and pilgrims of every description make their way to this "Venice of the North." Its ethnic mixture is 44 major nationalities and countless subgroupings. This city of refuge has, for centuries, been the destination for those seeking a place where social and religious tolerance would triumph.
     Amsterdam was once a haven of refuge, founded on Christian principles. Now it was filled with prostitution, drug trafficking and addiction, and child pornography had found an ample breeding ground along these picturesque canals.
     Before joining YWAM, our family asked the Lord where we should live. We felt He said, "the heart of Amsterdam." With four young children my heart's cry was, "Lord, how can our children grow up to be normal people in the center of such degradation?"
     As I expressed my fear and apprehension to the Lord, the Holy Spirit brought peace and understanding. Only in the center of God's will is there true safety. With a deep assurance we knew God was with us. He would be our source of wisdom in raising our children. He is concerned about their well-being.
     My fears of raising children here are valid, but the Lord is asking me to look to Him. He gives us wisdom to nurture the children to be God-fearing, God-loving people.

Thank You, Father, for challenging me to commit what is so precious to me, my children, into Your care. I praise God for Your faithfulness.

Carolyn, an American married to a Dutchman, works on YWAM staff in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
May 8

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, Acts 3:19.

    In 1981, two Christians, one an Indian and the other a Chinese YWAMer, knocked at a devout young Hindu woman's door. After being invited in, they noticed idols everywhere. Undeterred, Sam Yeo Le Hok began sharing both his testimony and the Gospel. Sashikala, the young Hindu woman, was soon asking what she needed to do to receive salvation, and the two patiently explained her need to repent of sin and receive Christ as her Savior and Lord. Sashikala understood and was willing to pay the price to follow Jesus completely. Soon a bonfire raged in the backyard as the Hindu deities Shiva, Hanuman, Krishna, along with other idols, were burned.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian, warned of the dangers of offering cheap grace. He has this to say about the price God places on His grace:
   Such grace is costly because it cost a man his life, and it is grace because it gives him the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His son. "Ye are bought with a price," and what has cost God so much, cannot be cheap for us.
       In our witnessing, we must be careful not to compromise the Gospel message for the sake of increased numbers of converts. This can happen when we neglect to preach repentance. By watering down the Gospel, we can rob a prospective convert of the joy of sins forgiven.

Father help me to never forget what it cost You to bring me to Your love.

From Bringin' 'Em Back Alive by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1987 by Danny Lehmann. Published by Whitaker House, Springdale, Pennsylvania. Used by permission. [from pages 67-68]
May 9

    Our team had been performing a pantomime drama in the Philippines. Now we had an opportunity to share at a large Catholic school. There was a special expectation in my heart as we prayed before ministering that day. "Lord, send Your power upon these teenagers as we preach Your Word and share that You're alive."
    Five boys gathered around me after the performance. Several days earlier we had visited a nearby village. Many people were healed during the service there. News about it had reached these boys who wanted to know more about the God who heals.
    One boy asked me if God could heal his sprained wrist. It had an unusual bump on it. He said he'd been unable to write for a week.
    "Let's ask God," I said. He was healed instantly. Holding up his hand he twirled it in amazement. "It's all better! he shouted. "It's all better." Even the bump had vanished.
    After witnessing this miracle the boys were all the more receptive to the call to follow the God who heals the sick and frees the bound.

Nancy, from Hong Kong, is part of a FEET team in Taiwan.
May 10

    The view of dead grass outside painfully reminded me of my circumstances. Our three-year-old daughter had a painful mouth infection; two other children and I had a stomach virus causing continuous, painful cramping and diarrhea. Despite this my husband and I were writing final exams for the Introduction to Biblical Counseling School we were attending.
    Added to this was the emotional trauma of living in a foreign country and dealing with a foreign language. The burden seemed too heavy to carry.
    "God," I cried. "I don't know how I can manage another moment. Please help!"
    Suddenly I heard someone singing, "Oh, Come, Let Us Adore Him." The song made me think about the charact of Jesus and His loving Father.
    It struck me like a lightening bolt: Jesus had been born in a barn. It was a dirty, smelling, lowly place that God chose to reveal His Son--a part of His very life.
    I realized it is in "barnyard" experiences that God chooses to reveal His life-changing truths.

Sharon, a Canadian, serves on staff in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
May 11

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, Philippians 4:13.

    We were going door-to-door in Texas. At 17-years-old and a little over five foot tall, I was happy to let my partner do the witnessing. Nick had some Bible college training; I was just out of high school. I was content to be the silent prayer partner, listening to Nick share Christ with those we met.
    As we approached yet another door, Nick said, "It's your turn."
    "No," I blurted. "I like what you're doing. I like doing the praying."
    Nick wasn't about to give in. "This is your door, Al. You take the lead."
    We'd arrived at the door. There was no time to argue. I watched a man inside approach the screen door. He silently stood just inside. His huge size made me shake. I couldn't get words to come out, just stutters. He finally stopped me.
    "Now, just calm down." He invited us inside to sit with him. "Okay, now tell me what's on your mind."
    I did calm down, and was able to share the gospel of Christ with him. He even helped me by encouraging me to talk and be calm. My weakness opened the way into this big man's heart.     We often think we must be strong in such areas to accomplish anything for God. The Apostle Paul says that it's in our weakness that we become strong. We need only trust Him.

Father, stop me when I think of my own weakness, and help me to remember Your strength.

Al, an American, directs Slovic Ministries.
May 12

    Cordoba, Argentina, is a proud and beautiful city. Much importance is given to position, possessions and appearance. We were Christians from over 20 nations, simply dressed, struggling with Spanish and carrying Gospel literature.
    As we prayed in small groups, the Holy Spirit revealed the same strategy to many minds. There is only one way to overcome a spirit of pride, through the humility of Jesus. We were discerning a principality attempting to rule the city in the pride of life, so we had to confront it in an opposite spirit with a strategy of personal humility.
    We formed small groups of about 30 people each, positioning ourselves all through the fashionable malls and streets. We knelt right there in the midst of the fashion parade. With our foreheads to the cobblestones, we prayed for a revelation of Jesus to come to the city.
    Breakthrough was immediate--in us and in the city. Large crowds of curious people gathered around each group. I remember vividly how Christ strengthened me when I set aside my dignity and knelt in the street. The intimidation of the enemy was broken along with our pride.
    All over downtown Cordoba, YWAM workers preached to attentive audiences and a harvest of souls began. These large street meetings went on for several weeks until our departure. Large numbers came forward publicly to indicate that they had turned to Christ.
    When at first we were greeted with chilling indifference, we could hear the enemy's accusation: "You are not cool enough." He followed with this temptation: "Don't demean yourself. Don't lose your dignity." He was appealing to our pride. Our response was to humble ourselves publicly.
    The enemy holds the nations in deception and accusation. When we minister in a given city we, too, are hindered by the spirits oppressing the people, until we discern the nature of the enemy's deception and "bind the strong man" by acting in the opposite spirit.

From Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson. Copyright 1989 by John Dawson. Published by Creation House. Used by permission. [from pages 19-20]
May 13

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me,  "Now, I have put my words in your mouth, Jeremiah 1:9 NIV.

    I have always trusted God to help me prepare my sermons. But never had I come across a situation as this one that occurred in India.
    My family and I were in the city of Bangalore. We were neither ministering in local churches nor accepting preaching assignments. This was to be a time of rest for us.
    One Sunday we decided to attend a church where the pastor was an acquaintance. The pastor spied me before the service began and asked me to give a ten minute testimony. I told him I hadn't come to speak, but to be refreshed by his message.
    He pleaded with me, "Just ten minutes."  Again, I refused. At his insistence I finally agreed to a ten minute account of the work of YWAM in India.
    When I was introduced he said, "It's so nice to have Tim Svaboda with us tonight. Tim is the Director of YWAM, Madras and he's come to deliver our sermon.
    Shocked and irritated I rose and walked slowly to the platform. When I passed the pastor he whispered, "You go ahead and give the message. I have to leave and go preach at another church."  Then he walked off the platform--and straight out the door.
    I closed my eyes and bowed my head. Never had I prayed so hard. I whispered, "God, I can't do this. But You can. If You don't speak through me, this is going to be a wasted 30 minutes for a lot of people."
    To this day I can't remember what I said. I wish someone had taped it. For afterwards people crowded around and said it was one of the best messages they had ever heard.

    Someone even said they could tell it had been prepared especially for this church.

Tim, an American, is National Director of YWAM, India.
May 14

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust, Psalm 91:2.

    My train ride was only five miles to the next sleepy South England village. The fare was small, but I had no funds left after purchase. The old conductor approaching my seat had also served as ticket master at the ancient station.
    I reached into my pocket for my ticket. Oh, no! It's not here. I searched other pockets. Nothing.
    I remembered the fines and embarrassment for those without a ticket and without money to purchase one. I looked around for a way of escape. There was none.
    What am I thinking?  I'm a Christian, supposed to be a man of integrity. I was shocked at myself for even considering a getaway. My only option as was to face up to the situation and take the consequences.
    I approached the guard as casually as I could, still searching my pockets in a last desperate effort to find what I already knew was not there.
    Without a word the guard reached out his hand and withdrew the ticket from the breast pocket of my blazer, canceled it and carried on.
    I stood there stunned with a mixture of relief and shame. I felt foolish for not checking that one last pocket--a pocket I seldom use.
    Who do I trust? I asked myself. Of course I failed. I relied on my own efforts. I forgot to pray.

I long to trust You with all that's within me, Jesus. Help me when I lean on my own understanding.

Stephen, is director of YWAM in South East England.

May 15

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shared his food with the poor, Proverbs 22:9.

    "Oh, God, put me in an impossible situation so I can prove You to the world!"  There I stood, with a thousand other zealous young YWAMers at the close of the Munich Olympic Games Outreach in 1972, responding to a challenge from Joy Dawson to let God use me to demonstrate His greatness.
    He took me up on my request!  Within a few months, I found myself trusting God for an airline ticket from Europe to Korea for a large international outreach we were planning for that nation. I needed about $1,000 for the ticket, injections, outreach fees, etc. I faithfully kept my list of itemized needs and prayed fervently for God to meet them.
    God provided from many sources. But every time I had nearly all the finances I needed, He would say, "Give some away." Never just a few dollars. It was always a big enough chunk that I had to rally my faith for another large amount.
    I sensed God saying, "Dawn, I don't care what your list of expenses dictates to you. I just want you to learn to listen to Me and obey, then trust Me to provide for your needs."
    God used that experience to break my bondage to money and release me to live in generosity and obedience to Him. He brought in all the finances and I flew with 80 others from London to Brussels to Baghdad, then to Bombay and Hong Kong, then on to Taipei and Seoul, Korea.

Dawn, is the International Coordinator for YWAM’s field-based Leadership Training Schools. She is also an assistant to Darlene Cunningham.

May 16

Whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe, Proverbs 29:25.

     My first foreign outreach with Youth With A Mission was in Jamaica. My father and I discussed the prospect of my going, and while he was behind my desire to go, he made it clear that it was not going to be my faith and his finances that got me there! (Later, as I grew in my faith, I saw how wise his counsel was.)
    After talking with my father, a phrase I'd heard came to mind, "If you do the possible, God will do the impossible." I set about raising as much money as I could. My friends and I collected used household items from friends and neighbors, and we had a garage sale. I took my old basketball trophies and tried to sell them but I quickly found out nobody wants secondhand trophies!
    As I did this, God began to release the finances I needed. From a bus depot in Texas I called my father who told me excitedly of a non-Christian relative who had just visited him. He had told the relative about my trip but made no mention of my financial needs since he had assumed the relative would not be interested in helping. But to his surprise the relative had offered to write a check for me. Neither of them knew how much I needed, so I was both surprised and excited when I found out that my relative's check covered my remaining travel costs and other expenses to the last penny.
    I learned firsthand that God will provide if we just step out in faith. I did not step out presumptuously. I knew God wanted me to attend that outreach, and I did my part as well, so his provision was indeed a confirmation to me of his will. The principle of doing the possible and trusting God for the impossible had become real to me.

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 pages 62-64]

May 17

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms, Deuteronomy 33:27.

    Directing a Discipleship Training School is always a challenge, but nothing could have prepared us for the excitement we experienced on the opening day of our July, 1990, school in Baguio City, Philippines.
    Everything was going according to plan when suddenly the earth was heaving and shaking with a major earthquake – (7.9 on the Richter scale). In less that one minute, our mile-high mountain city was completely cut off from the rest of the world. All roads leading in were closed by landslides.
    The airport runway had heaved and cracked--unusable. Telecommunication lines were down. We had no electricity and no water. Thousands of people lost their lives, and thousands more lost everything they had. It was a minute that changed our lives by rearranging our perspectives and priorities.
    It was dangerous to enter our house, as buildings were collapsing in the hundreds of nerve-rattling aftershocks. Life became an adventure in prayer and perseverance.
    Where would we find food for our "family" of 35 people?  Where would we find water, a place to sleep? What about sanitation?
    Every day we sent some of the fellows out to scout for food, with instructions to buy whatever they could find. We had some amazingly interesting meals in those first days! When our mealtime population grew to 50, time and again we saw God stretch what little we had and make it sufficient.
    Each evening we gathered in the dark on the driveway--our new meeting room, kitchen, dining room and bedroom. We sang praises to God for His miraculous protection and provision. We experienced an incredible sense of God's comfort and peace-giving presence.
    I hope never to repeat the experiences of those days. But I wouldn't trade them for anything. What a privilege to know and rely on our very real and powerful God.

Bobbie, a Canadian, and her husband are DTS directors and leaders in Baguio City, Philippines.
May 18

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? Amos 3:3 NIV.

    How easy it is to fall aside from that special call of God on each of our lives: "to be conformed to the likeness of His Son."
    Not only do I forget in the busyness of my daily activities that this is my destiny, but often I forget how much my destiny is woven into the destiny of others. If we find it hard to walk along side God for very long, it may be because deep down inside, we haven't agreed with His purpose and direction of our journey together.
    It is often easier to love the lost in Timbuku than to love the people right beside us. Yet often, loving the people dearest to us means we may need to change something in our heart or life. There might be an area that needs repentance or healing.
    God wants to create in us the image of His son. This is exactly opposite to what the devil has for us. He would like us not only to forget the King, but the purpose of the Kingdom, as well.
    If we are to be more like Jesus, we have to be careful not to get side tracked waiting for a vision or looking for a particular ministry. Jesus was people-oriented, not project-oriented. If we let God change us into the image of Jesus, He will daily open opportunities to manifest His love for the world through us. We need only make ourselves available.

Scott, an American, serves as a YWAM leader in Liberia.
May 19

I will instruct you and teach you in the way in which you should go: I will guide you with my eye, Psalm 32:8.

    Our time of evangelism in Ghana, West Africa was at an end. At the airport we had just been told our departure would be delayed 24-hours. No explanation was given.
    As we shared our disappointment, we discovered that each of us had felt God lead us to give away the last of our money. We had no funds to purchase even food or drink, much less shelter for the night.
    Soon after we prayed, an African man approached and said, "Go through security to the back of the luggage and ticket area."
    An armed guard blocked our way. The African said to him, "Let them through." Once inside we found ourselves in a restricted area. The African said, "Now is the right time. Tell the ticket officer you wish to see the supervisor."
    We explained our situation and the supervisor ordered the ticket officer to help us. However, as soon as the supervisor left, the officer refused to help.
    Again we prayed, and again the African reappeared. "Now is the right time," he said. "Ask the officer for your tickets."  Then he walked away.
    Now wait a minute! I thought. Every time I do what he says I get in trouble. But I went back to the ticket officer who for some reason did what I asked, though he didn't seem to want to.
    The African said, "Go back," we discovered we needed our passports stamped. The security officer searched our bags and found a letter which could have been detrimental to our cause, The African appeared by his side and the officer seemed not to see the letter.
     We didn't see the African again.
    As we flew toward England I pondered the amazing events. Who was the mysterious helpful African?

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares, Hebrews 13:2.

Stephen, is director of YWAM in South West England.

May 20

    I'd been speaking almost non-stop for weeks in the various provinces of South Africa. My throat was so sore I could hardly talk. Tonight I was to minister in Pietermaritzburg.
    How can I do it?  I wondered. My throat is so sore it feels like a pin cushion. Throat lozenges had not helped. Realizing only God could help me speak, I turned to Him in prayer. As I waited my turn to speak I wondered if the people would be able to hear me. When my turn came I stood up, determined to do my best.
    In the middle of my first sentence, my voice and throat returned to normal. I was so shocked I almost stopped speaking. My voice was strong and my throat felt fine. Thankful, I continued my message. God richly blessed the service as people came forward to make Jesus Lord of their lives.
    The next day I learned that my friend, David, had stayed home to pray. He had cried out, "Even if I have to get sick, please heal Ron's voice so Your Word can go forth this night."
    He was sick!  God had literally answered his request.

Jesus, You understood because You suffered. Because of Your suffering I was healed of my sin.

Ron, an American, is director of YWAM’s Revive America Project, and lives in Washington State, USA.
May 21

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and his children shall have refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death, Proverbs 14:26-27 NASB.

    When I teach on evangelism, I like to ask "Do you feel like witnessing on the streets tonight?" Usually, only a small percentage raises their hands, so I continue, "What if I guarantee that tonight each one of you will lead the first person you approach to the Lord--how many would feel like it then?" Almost without fail, every hand will shoot up. Everyone wants themselves and their message to be accepted. No one relishes being put down, ignored, or looked upon as a fool.
    The key to handling rejection is making sure we are getting all the acceptance we need from the Father and not looking for it in the world. By its very nature, evangelism means we are uninvited people taking an uncomfortable message to a Christ-rejecting world where many will refuse it. The glorious good news is, however, that some will accept it if we go out fearlessly, trusting that the perfect love of Jesus will cast out fear.
    If we look to the Lord for our acceptance, placing our identity in Him and standing in awe of who He is, then the snare of the fear of man will fall away.

Stop me short, Lord, when I place more concern on what others think than what You think.

From Bringin' 'Em Back Alive by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1987 by Danny Lehmann. Published by Whitaker House, Springdale, Pennsylvania. Used by permission. [from pages 76-77]
May 22

Everywhere, and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians 4:12,13 NKJV.

    My purpose in life is to bring the love of Jesus to the unreached and to meet the needs of the nations. The nature of my work, raising fish, deals specifically with feeding the hungry. The hunger I experienced at one time was essential to help me understand and identify with those who are hungry.
    I was very ill for 20 days with chronic diarrhea. Many tests were done, but the results were negative. Meanwhile, the physicians put me on a one day fast with only water, juice, Jello and clear broths. The cause of the diarrhea was never found. We assume I picked up a water parasite from working with fish at our experimental pond.
    My wife was quite concerned over my situation because I continued to lose weight during this time. God was gracious, though, as I lost only a few pounds. God also gave me an extra dose of strength to be able to continue working a normal eight hour day. Through my time of weakness, God showed me I needed to completely rely upon His strength and to do nothing  without calling on Him.
    Our enemy, Satan, would have enjoyed using this area of attack to discourage me and cause me to stumble. However, it really doesn't matter what physical state I'm in; I will serve the Lord with all my mind, heart, and spirit. As long as I have breath I will praise the Lord and make Him known!  I can say I enjoyed His comfort and peace in the midst of the storm.

Bernie, an American, leads the AquaCulture Technology School at the University of the Nations, Kona, Hawaii USA.
May 23

    In 1940, I heard about the Lillian Trasher Orphanage in Assuit, Egypt. This single woman went out with nothing and began to take in orphans until, finally, she had the responsibility for up to 2,000 orphans and widows.
    Miss Trasher sent a representative to share at the church where I was pastoring in El Centro, California. When we heard of the pitiful needs and what this woman was doing, I gave generously, as did many others in my denomination.
    When Miss Trasher made her final trip to the United States, I had the privilege of having this great woman visit our churches. Over the years, I watched the orphanage grow; the Lord’s hand was obviously on this work.
    In 1979, I contracted some kind of ailment while in China. Just when I thought I had it licked, it came back again. I battled it for a year. Because I had picked up the bug overseas, my doctor was at a loss as to how to treat it. I decided to look for a specialist.
    When I arrived at the clinic for my appointment, I noticed that I would be seeing Doctor Habib. In the Arabic world, is as common as Smith or Jones in the States. I guessed I would be seeing an Egyptian doctor.
    “Doctor, you wouldn’t happen to be from Egypt, would you?” I asked when we met.
    “Why, yes, I am. Why do you ask?” he replied. I told him I had traveled in Egypt, and asked if he had heard of the orphanage.
    I sure have. In fact, I lived in it for a while during my childhood.” While he examined me, we exchanged memories of Miss Trasher and her work.
    Forty years before, I cast my bread on the waters; it came back to me from one of the orphans I had helped. Through the skill of Dr. Habib, I was cured of the ailment which I had battled for a year.

T.C. Cunningham, an American, represents missions and missionaries internationally. He is also the father of YWAM’s Founder and President, Loren Cunningham.

May 24

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves, Romans 15:1 NASB

    There was a couple on my staff whom I treated as acquaintances. I didn't appear to have a lot in common with them, so my wife and I only mixed with them on a casual social basis. There were times when other members of the ministry tried to tell me the couple was having some problems, but I was too busy and decided to "let sleeping dogs lie."
    It wasn't until the couple left the ministry abruptly and filed for divorce that I realized the gravity and seriousness of my mistake. I had not taken the time to involve myself in their lives. I really didn't know the couple beyond the social veneer of casual visits. As their leader, I had accepted them, but had never challenged them. And in practicing the one without the other, I had failed them as their leader.
    That which distinguishes biblically appropriate acceptance from unconcerned tolerance is compas- sion. Compassion, which literally means "to feel pain jointly," is the quality which allows one person to enter into the felt needs of another. It is a deep inner desire to identify with someone else in order to be a compassionate channel of healing to them.
    Tolerance, on the other hand, is passive acquies- cence, or a state of non-involvement. It is an outward attempt to give credibility to a heart that is inwardly unconcerned. It is sad but true that many in the Church today are tolerated, but few are properly accepted.

Denny Gunderson, an American, serves as North American Direcor for YWAM, and lives in Seattle, Washington, USA.

From Through the Dust...Breaking Leadership Stereotypes by Denny Gunderson. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by Permission. [from pages 50-51]
May 25

His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, Lamentations 3:22,23.

    About two hundred DTS students from various countries gathered for an outreach in Athens, Greece. Before dawn one morning I walked up the hill and watched the sunrise over the Aegean Sea. Aware I was walking near the place where the Apostle Paul walked, I sat down to read what he had written. I was having good fellowship with the Lord; feeling so close to Him. I sang to Him a new song which included the words, "I'll go anywhere for you."
    Suddenly I stopped. Do I really mean that? I asked the Lord?
    Following this outreach some of my classmates would be going to refugee camps in Thailand. This was a dangerous work, war was a short distance away on the border. Would I do that? Would I go to a war zone?
    God's Spirit reminded me that His mercies are new every morning. I sensed Him saying, "The same strength you are feeling as you fellowship with me is the strength I can give every morning. Wherever you travel the sun is going to rise, and my mercies are going to be new every morning. I'm going to be with you."

Wherever You lead me, You are going to be with me to give strength, I only need to take the time to fellowship with You.

Karen, an American, leads Musicians in Missions, and lives in New Mexico, USA.
May 26

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you, Matthew 6:33.

    "I've just been asking God to allow us to take our children to Disneyland in Los Angeles," said my husband Alan. "We've had three hard working years with no real vacation. I think God wants to reward us."
    I winced. That was a lot to ask. We needed money to return to New Zealand for five months before joining YWAM's first Mercy Ship in Venice, Italy. What WAS he thinking of?
    I knew God is generous. Our children had seen God answer prayer for our needs, but not for a big treat! I started getting excited too.
    At family prayer time Alan told the family what he had been praying. The children cheered. "How much would it cost, Dad?"
    "We have $300, and will need $3,000. I've been reading about seed-faith. The principle is to give out of your need and God multiplies the gift. For example if you need corn to eat you plant a kernel and God produces an ear of corn. I wonder if we're to do that."
    We prayed and agreed. Alan got the cash and promptly divided it among us. "You can pray about who is to get the gift," he explained. The children's faces were glowing with enthusiasm. They bolted out the door with their treasure in hand.
    Within two weeks we had received the $3,000! Not only did we have our most memorable family vacation, but each time we spent some of that money we remembered God had given it to us to enjoy.

Fay, serves on staff of U. of N., Kona, Hawaii.
May 27

Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world, I John 4:4.

    People were sleeping on the floor with suitcases piled everywhere. The train was obviously over-booked. Nothing satisfied them. And hate was in their eyes and voices.
      We had begun a national tour of Spain with a King's Kids team (children and teenagers) on a crowded train, I was eagerly anticipating a good night's sleep. At midnight, however, I heard a pounding on the door. Two security guards, speaking angrily in Spanish, motioned to the luggage car and pointed to our team's luggage. It had to go.
    In my limited Spanish I offered to move it. The train was slowing for a middle-of-the-night stop. The guards apparently intended to dump our luggage at the next platform! A crowd gathered in the corridor. As the train slowed, a guard grabbed my suitcase. Silently  I prayed fervently, "Don't let them take our things. We must have our luggage. And if I get off  with it the team won't be able to find me later.
    I threw myself on the luggage and began a tug-of-war with the guard. "The luggage is staying!" I declared emphatically. The crowd was yelling at the guards to leave me alone. As we tussled with a heavy suitcase, one  security guard pulled his night-stick to hit me. I braced for the impact.
    A young Dutch girl stuck her head between mine and the angry guard. Talking a mile-a-minute she diverted his attention. Soon the train began to move away from the station. Our luggage was safe.
    Eventually the guards settled down and ordered us to stack our luggage in our compartments. Prayer and God's intervention had saved the day.

Ron, an American, is director of YWAM’s Revive America Project, and lives in Washington State, USA.
May 28

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go, Joshua 1:9 NIV.

    Two thousand drunken bikers watched as we performed the mime production of "Tale of Two Kingdoms."  Bikers hurled abuse at our team. Some staggered to do their own dance. We knew we were not wanted there, but God had told us to do it, so we stayed.
    One biker shoved his way onto the performance area and began to strip. One of our leaders tried to speak but was drowned out by the crowd.
    A big biker wrenched the microphone from the leader's hand, pointed to the girls and said, "I say, let's grab these Christian virgins down here, and show them what life is all about!"
    We quickly escorted the girls onto the bus. While some of our guys guarded the girls the leaders began to pack things away. A biker came over and said, "What you guys did took guts. What is it you were trying to tell us? Jim shared the Gospel with him.
    Meanwhile, God spoke to my heart, Go ahead and witness to them, two by two. For the rest of the afternoon we mixed with small bunches of bikers who listened to the Gospel! Even the girls moved through this once hostile crowd, knowing that something had changed and they were now perfectly safe.
    Although we came close to missing this work of God's Spirit, He was faithful. Our battle was not against the bikers but against the powers of darkness that ruled over them.
God used prayer, praise and the declaration of the Gospel to render the powers helpless.

When I face difficulties and persecution, Father, help me to remember not to fear, because You are with me wherever I go.

David, an Australian, serves as base director for YWAM Albury, New South Wales, Australila.
May 29

    I was a new Christian, in New Delhi, India, on my first outreach. My team was performing a pantomime about Jesus on the lawn of Delhi University.
    When we came to the part about the Crucifixion, the students suddenly became hostile. Pelting us with rocks and trash, they shouted angry words. We continued to present the visual picture of God's love.
    I continued going through the motions of the drama, but inside, I was angry with the students. How can they laugh at Jesus' death when He died for them? They're laughing at Jesus, mocking my Lord!
    I whispered to one of my friends in exasperation, "I can't believe this. It feels like we're at the actual Crucifixion." She nodded in agreement. As the garbage continued to hit us in the face she whispered, "And to think that Jesus said, 'Forgive them, they know not what they do.'"
    Realization poured over me as I thought about how Jesus must have felt dying on the Cross, then speaking those words. A new understanding of God's heart for the lost brought me to tears. My bitterness changed to forgiveness. It was a lesson I will never forget.

Thank You, Lord, for glimpses of Your heart. Help me to remember to see others through Your eyes of love.

Nancy, an American, is the director of the Far East Evangelism Teams in Hong Kong.
May 30

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful, John 15:2 NIV.

    Some years ago, I went to Israel to work on a kibbutz. My job was mainly to pick oranges. One day I was sent to help two gardeners prune trees. I followed them with tar to seal the cuts they made. Tar keeps insects from entering the wood and damaging it, and prevents infection. It also prevents the sap from bleeding out.
    I was amazed at the amount of wood the gardeners cut off the trees, leaving them looking naked. One of the gardeners explained, "If there are too many branches, the energy of the tree goes to produce foliage instead of fruit. In order to get as many good quality apples as possible we remove unnecessary wood." He also explained that through pruning the tree it is conformed to the desired shape.
    As I walked behind the gardeners sealing the wounded trees, God spoke to me. He was working in my life in a similar way, removing everything that hindered me from bearing fruit. Even though it meant some of my beautiful "foliage" had to go, God's plan for me was fruitfulness, that the Father may be glorified.
    Where He made cuts, He gently sealed the wounds with His Holy Spirit, preventing the entrance of evil. By pruning, He rendered me closer to the likeness of Jesus.

Thank You, Father, for the great love and tenderness You show as You work in my life. I willingly submit to Your pruning.

Gitta, a German, has a teaching ministry in Germany.
May 31

    We hadn't been with YWAM in Japan for very long when my husband, Martin, suddenly became ill. Within two weeks, he was paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors immediately operated to halt any further damage and transferred him to a second hospital. He was then moved to a rehabilitation facility.
    Japanese hospitals require 24-hour family care. Even though a friend flew in from Texas to help care for Martin, my presence was still required.
    Our children and home were almost a seven-hour drive from the hospital. This forced us to make two difficult decisions: let the house go so I could live near the hospital, and send the children back to family in the States.
    We decided to take the children to visit Martin before they left. The trip was important to the children. It would be more than four months before the children would see their dad again.
    The cost of the train travel, food and lodging for the a week-end visit was nearly $700, or 100,000 Japanese yen. We had planned to leave for the hospital on Saturday and return on Monday. By Wednesday morning we still had no money. We prayed fervently for God's provision.
    At noon on Wednesday, Alma, a missionary friend from a neighboring town, burst in our front door waving an envelope and shouting that she had the money for our trip. The envelope held 100,000 yen.
    Our family never met the woman who gave us the money. She'd given it to Alma who knew exactly what it was meant for.

Jennifer , an American, served on staff of the Crossroads Discipleship Training School in Kona, Hawaii, USA.