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Devotional Readings for October

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

October 1

Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours...Mark 11:24

  I moved and dusted this notebook many times. Part of my student work duty was to clean the prayer room in Building 2 at the University of the Nations campus in Hawaii. The notebook lay on a corner table by a lamp and a Bible. The room was small, but from the window one could see the sparkling blue ocean. The walls were lined with soft cushions and a worn carpet completed the furnishings.

  My curiosity caused me to pick up the notebook and glance through it. I was fascinated, so I sat on one of the lounge cushions and began reading. A journal--in many languages and handwriting.

  Some were dated back many months, others were more recent. The prayers were both general and global: for a country, a people group, or a nation's government. Others were specific and personal: for the safety of an outreach team heading for a difficult field; for a sick staff member; for needed funds to pay school fees; for the family of a leader away on a trip.

  I felt I was holding something almost sacred. In the weeks and months since these requests had been written, many had been answered. I had heard firsthand stories of God's intervention, His provision, His enablement.

  Reverently I returned the notebook to the table. I continued cleaning, but with a new awareness. This was truly holy ground, and the most important little room on base, because this was where God and His children loved and shared what was on their hearts.

 Father, help me to stand faithfully in the gap for others.

 Beverly, an American, is a Bible teacher. She leads YWAM Writer's Seminars and lives in the United States.

October 2

Never will I leave you: never will I forsake you.  Hebrews 13:5

 It was one of those crazy weekday nights. I rushed to the Parent-Teacher Fellowship (PTF) at the Christian School where my two girls go. On PTF nights, the children often do a small program in their classroom to demonstrate what they've been learning. It's a great way to keep up with what's happening.
  Except for one thing. These programs happen simul-
taneously in the different classrooms. Understandably, each of my girls wants me to be at her program. This causes me great concern since I want to be with each of them, too.
  This particular night, I really tried. First I checked with Rebekah's teacher, who said Rebekah would be on at the beginning. Then I ran down to Rachel's class. Her teacher told me Rachel would be doing her part toward the middle. Perfact!
  I returned to Rebekah's class for the program, but as I entered the classroom, Rebekah was just sitting down. I'd missed her! I then literally ran down the hall to Rachel's class, hoping I hadn't missed her, too. Gladly, I made it to her class with time left over to sit and reflect.
  I felt miserable! I'd done my best to juggle my time, but blew it...and failed Rebekah. I just couldn't be in two places at once.
  Then God reminded me that He is never at a loss with His children. He is not limited like we are. God's not in a panic, running up and down hallways trying to be in two places at the same time. On the contrary, God is totally relaxed while He's in every plae at the same time!

  Do you sometimes feel like God isn't with you? Well, maybe you can't feel Him, but rest assured, He's there! He is the perfect parent. Always with you. Never late. Filled with perfect love.

Melody, an American, directs Last Days MInistries in Lindale, Texas, USA.

October 3

The people living in darkness have seen a great light. Matthew 4:16

  Narayan Hittam Singh was a third generation Brahmin priest, Hinduism's highest caste. At the age of 19 he was living in North India and faced a bright future serving his people. Deep within his heart he sensed that there is only One true God. He felt he must know Him.

  After months of searching and prayer he saw a special star in the sky. He believed it was a supernatural sign. He followed the sign from his village to a solitary house. The old man who lived there was a convert from Islam to Jesus Christ. Narayan told the man of his desire for truth.

  When his family learned of Narayan's quest from something outside of Hinduism, they persecuted him. His father piled large stones on his body to force him to give up Jesus. Through each form of persecution Narayan found strength and courage in God. The Lord honored his refusal to comply by delivering him and providing encouragement to him.

  Finally Narayan escaped to Calcutta where he met other Christians. On several occasions while he was a student in a Discipleship Training School, Narayan was gripped by terrible nightmares in which his father was chasing him.

  After two years of Bible school he joined the staff of YWAM. After his wife became a Christian they were reunited.

  Father, reveal yourself to those who, like Narayan, are hungering after truth. Place Christians in their lives who can show them Your love. Make me aware of those that I might talk to today who are seeking truth.

 Steve, an American, is Director for the India Sub-Continent.

October 4

The Holy Spirit...will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26 NIV).

   How do you start memorizing Scripture? Let me demonstrate. I memorized I Peter. I started at the beginning: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia." I repeated this phrase over and over until I could say it without looking at the page. Then I moved on to the next phrase: "Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit...." Again, I repeated this phrase until I could quote it without looking at the page.

  Then I strung all the phrases I had learned together, and recited verses, paragraphs and chapters until I was able to recite the whole book. This may seem tedious, but it's really not. It's like a snowball tumbling down a snow covered hill; once you start, your collection of memorized Scripture, and your love for the process of memorizing it, will keep growing.

  I would suggest you start in the following way. Start by learning your favorite Bible chapter (Psalm 23; I Corinthians 13; John 3; Romans 8). The fact that it is your favorite chapter gives you a head start in memorizing it. I would suggest avoiding Psalm 119 or anything in Leviticus as your favorite chapter (for obvious reasons), at least until you get started!

  At your most alert time of the day set aside 30 minutes to recite your favorite chapter from the translation of the Bible you like the best. You'll be amazed at how much of the chapter you've already committed to memory. Build on what you already know, and if need be, fill in any memory gaps. Continue to repeat the half hour each day, until you have the whole chapter memorized. You'll be amazed at what memorizing your first chapter does for your confidence.

 From Before You Hit the Wall by Danny Lehmann. Copyright 1991. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by Permission. [from pages 73-74]

October 5

God is not a man, that he should lie...Does he speak and then not act?, Numbers 23:19

  Midway through my outreach in Seoul, Korea, I found myself ensconced in an impossible situation. The airline accidentally canceled my return airline ticket. They reimbursed the $350.00, but said it was impossible to reinstate the ticket. God directed me to apply to escort orphans, and even instructed me to give my $350 to someone else who needed it.

  The next day I applied with the adoption  agency, but they had no flights available for Europe. As the weeks passed, I started getting anxious. My nonrenewable Korean visa would expire October 31.

  The people at the Holt Adoption Agency were understanding, but others kept saying the word "impossible." God buoyed my spirit with the verse in Psalms, "I will send you with the fatherless and orphans." He also directed me to Numbers 23:19, "God is not a man, that he should lie."

  One day God gave me a specific directive: "Phone the president of Holt." At the moment I phone, Mr. Tice was passing the receptionist at the six-story orphanage. I knew he was a Christian, so I told him my story. "It sounds like you've done all that's possible--but keep praying," he said kindly.

  Within minutes, the phone rang. Mr. Tice's secretary offered me a flight to Denmark on October 22. This was exactly what I felt God had told me to do.

  When I met Mr. Tice on October 22nd, he excitedly told me the details. While we were talking together on the phone, one of the three escorts scheduled for this flight had called and canceled. This was the only flight going to Europe before my visa expired. It was also the last moment the airline would allow my name to be exchanged for hers.

 Thank You, God, that no problem is too difficult for You.

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

October 6

Flee from sexual immorality...he who sins sexually sins against his own body, 1 Corinthians 6:18.

Anyone who gets sexually involved outside marriage is going to get hurt. God created us to give ourselves sexually in marriage to a life partner of the opposite sex. Violation of the way God intended us to live does not bring freedom but bondage, and not to tell others of this is unloving.

  Through many years of working with young people in Afghanistan and Amsterdam, I have had a number of opportunities to become friends with people who were ignorant of, or disobedient to, God's laws regarding sexual purity. I remember confronting one young couple about why it was wrong to live together outside of marriage. We talked about trust, and how that can only come with public commitment to an exclusive, lifelong relationship. We discussed God's plan for secure, happy families and how this can never be achieved without such commitment. The bond between them gradually dissolved as they honestly faced up to the selfish and superficial nature of their relationship.

  Today both of them are Christians, happily married to other people and actively serving the Lord. They often thank me for helping them face the sin in their lives. Hitting them over the head with the Bible wouldn't have worked, but sharing openly with them why God asks us to be totally committed to another person in marriage did. With God's help I achieved a balance of tenderness and directness that let them know I was deeply committed to them while challenging them about inconsistency in their lives. It is possible to uphold a biblical standard and be loving at the same time.

 Lord, help me to love my brother enough to confront him.

 From Father, Make Us One by Floyd McClung. Copyright by Floyd McClung. Published by Frontline Communications, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission. [from pages 26-27]

October 7

My god will nee all your needs, Philippians 4:19.

  I'm just plain disillusioned," I shared with my wife, Edie. "We owe over $4000 in staff fees and the kid's tuition, and we'll owe more with the new baby coming. It seems like God would provide for us as we serve Him. Do you suppose we should leave YWAM?   

  As we sought the Lord earnestly for guidance, no answers came immediately about the debts, but we sensed God's love and caring for us . We re-affirmed our commitment, and told the Lord we would rather be poor and know His presence, than rich and not know it. In addition, we made sure we were being good stewards of what money we did have, and continued to seek God's

 answer to our dilemma. One day I sensed the Lord gently reminding me that I had not kept a promise to teach in YWAM as I had done at home.

  "Lord, please forgive me. When I heard other speakers, I felt inadequate. I promise I'll speak at the next opportunity." 

  Shortly after that, a friend phoned and offered us a vacation on the mainland, with all expenses paid. We wondered about taking a vacation when we owed so much money.

Finally, we decided it would cost no more to go than to stay home.

  I phoned friends in cities where we expected to go and easily arranged speaking engagements. I knew God was giving me opportunities to be obedient.

  In the first church a woman touched by the message gave us a check for $3000. We soon had enough to cover our debt. The Lord used our financial problems to refocus on Him and His desires for us.

 Randy, an American, leads the King’s Mansion Discipleship Training School in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, USA

October 8

  My fiance seemed far more concerned than I that he couldn't afford an engagement ring. The night before he left for his DTS outreach, he held my hand and said, "I believe the Lord is a romantic God. I'm going to keep praying and looking for a ring for you."

  When he returned he told me that he'd spent hours in St. Thomas looking for the right ring, checking prices, and getting depressed. A teammate even offered to charge it to his credit card, but he didn't feel right about that. He returned empty-handed.

  He was discouraged, but I nearly forgot about my naked finger. We got busy helping lead a Musicians' Summer of Service outreach to Europe so I pushed the lack of a ring out of my mind.

  The day after we returned, my friend, Joan, approached with the answer. We had attended Discipleship Training School together four years earlier. Her husband had died seven years previously in a car accident leaving her alone to raise their two sons.

  She said she had been praying about the money for a ring for us. She was still wearing her own wedding ring when God spoke to her to give it to us. She cried, then took it off, knowing she would be in disobedience not to give it to us. She had thought that one day she would give it to one of her sons, so she discussed it with them first and they were in agreement. While she was telling this to us one of the boys said, "You need to do what God is telling you, Mom!"

  Today, I wear the ring proudly. It has more significance than any we could have paid for.

  Yes, God is romantic.

 Barb, an American, is serving in Montana.

October 9

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me, Psalm 66:18.

   I stood in the dark in my own backyard. The black sky matched my mood. I had been struggling with resentment. Now I couldn't sleep because guilt gnawed at my soul. "God, forgive me," I said one more time, but my own best efforts at repentance brought only the ashes of further failure. I knew what I should be feeling. I should be feeling love, and I should be extending forgiveness. But I had to admit the bitter truth: In spite of all my knowledge of right principle, I was failing at the simplest level of my Christian walk. I'd been hurt and disappointed by a friend, and I could not forgive.

  I suddenly saw the awesome truth. John Dawson had not become one bit better after all these years of Christian life. Staring at me from the grave was the same vain, selfish person who had come to the Cross so many years before. It's no use putting cosmetics on a corpse, teaching it a new behavior and a new vocabulary. No one knows how wicked he or she is until that person has truly tried to be righteous.

  "God, rescue me," I prayed. "Rescue me from myself." A familiar theme invaded my understanding: the Cross of Jesus, His life for mine, the indwelling Christ. Yes, I have always believed that Jesus lives within a believer. But that night in my despair I saw my total need for His life to be the only explanation for any victory of mine. That night I came back to the Cross. I experienced again His cleansing and forgiveness. The consequences of my sin had fallen upon the Lamb that was slain. The blood was again sprinkled on the doorposts of my heart. Instead of perfecting righteousness in me, He who is righteous was standing up within me and beginning to live His life.

 From Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson. Copyright 1989 by John Dawson. Published by Creation House. Used by permission. [from pages 188]

October 10

Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison...the world was not worthy of them, Hebrews 11:36, 38.

  In 1985 the nation of Nepal had severe laws against preaching the Gospel, converting someone to Christianity and water baptism. The nine outreach team members from five different nations used great care as they shared Christ with the Nepali people.

  As the YWAM team walked to a village to witness, some policemen arrested them and took them and their porters to jail. They were there for seven days not knowing whether anyone outside the village knew of their arrest. The police gave them only small amounts of food. In order to go to the bathroom they were chained together in pairs.

  During their trial they learned that if convicted they would serve three years in jail. They faced their biggest discouragement when false witnesses testified against them.

  Before the trial ended one of the Nepali porters escaped with instructions to go to Kathmandu and tell of the team's captivity. Not knowing where to look for help he approached a stranger. The man was an official with the United States Embassy and had just eaten lunch that day with some other YWAMers.

  Within hours a group from Kathmandu was on its way to West Nepal. They were able to arrange for the release of the team members and their porters.

  The team members had to report back to the village nearly every month for the next three years. At last a verdict of "not guilty" was declared for all.

 Strengthen the Nepali church, Lord, and the Christians that work among them. Change the hearts of government leaders to ease the laws against Christianity.

 Steve, an American, is Director for the India Sub-Continent.

October 11

Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised, Hebrews 6:12 NIV.

   Much has been said about the necessity of faith. Without it, God is not pleased. Little is said about perseverance, patience, endurance, and waiting. The Scriptural examples of men and women of faith exhibited this  important, additional element. God's formula for those who would inherit what He has promised is: 

Faith + Patience = Fulfillment of God's Word to us.

  It is one thing to have faith at a particular moment in time. Faith, however, is usually tested as time passes, without instant fulfillment of God's promise. Of Abraham it is written, "Without becoming weak in faith...with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform (Romans 4:19-21 NSB).

  As we look at God's character and Word, faith can grow in the face of disappointment, hurts, personal failure, change, satanic opposition, and the testings of God. Endurance that pleases God is not just gritting our teeth and holding out, but rather a joyful expectancy that God's goodness will yet be realized, even while there is no firm evidence. Faith is the "assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  If, like Moses, we endure, as seeing Him who is unseen, God is pleased and able to fulfill His Word to us.

  Abraham "having patiently waited, he obtained the promise," (Hebrews 6:15 NSB). May we be counted among those who inherit God's promises. Most of all, may God's desires and plans not be left unfulfilled because we did not endure in faith.

 I long for faith that looks always to You and Your faithfulness, Lord. Help me not to waver, but to be steadfast and firm in You.

 Jim, an American, directs YWAM's ministry in the Balkan area.

October 12

Foi by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you, Romans. 12:3.

  My first awareness of the deception of status and partiality occurred when I was 19-years-old. I accompanied my father to an annual pastor's conference. I felt very comfortable at the first meeting. I knew most of the pastors present. A number of them had stayed in our home over the years.

  After one of the evening services, we headed for a nearby restaurant which had become the unofficial place to congregate during the conference. As we sat together in the restaurant, my teenaged mind was confronted with a startling revelation.

  Pastors who had been so friendly when they were guests in our home now seemed barely civil toward my father. It took no genius to quickly recognize that the unfriendly pastors were generally those who pastored churches larger than the one my father pastored. These pastors, I'm sure unconsciously clustered together in cliques away from the others. The pastors of medium-sized churches also sat together in groups. I looked around the restaurant and could not see any pastors from the denomination's smaller churches.

  Status is such a blind spot for us of the evangelical church in the western world. We castigate, and rightfully so, the inescapable caste systems of India. Yet our own culture wraps its capitulation to status around us in such subtle ways that we deny its reality and its hold on our thinking.

 From Through the Dust...Breaking Leadership Stereotypes by Denny Gunderson. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle,
. Used by Permission. [from pages 62-63]

October 13

Be very careful then, how you live...making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, Ephesians 5:15-16

  "What brings you to Sri Lank?" the bank manager asked.
  "I'm traveling with a group of Christians sharing our message," I replied. Then as naturally as possible, I went on. "Are you interested in spiritual matters?" He answered something about church, and I started searching for a way to make clear to him that, by itself, his church background was not enough to assure salvation. Suddenly I had an inspiration. "Would you say, the, that you're a friend of God's?"
  I was quite unprepared for his response. Right there in the bank, this otherwise emotionless banker raised both hands and exclaimed, "I would give anything in the world to be God's friend and have peace of mind!"
  I knew he should be interested in the Gospel, yet he didn't seem interested. When our business was finished, I hated to just leave. He had opened his heart to me. Shouldn't I ask if I could see him again? I decided to take the plunge.
  The result was an invitation to his home for dinner; then in a subsequent meeting, he submitted his life to Christ. Later, he told me that at the time he met me, he was being cheated financially, and this had filled him with despair. Now Christ had given him the peace that he'd craved.
  Melville has walked with the Lord for 23 years and has enthuasiastically witnessed at home and abroad. How wonderful that the turning of a purely mundane conversation to a spiritual one resulted in his coming to Christ!

Ross Tooley, a New Zealander, serves at large on the staff of the College of Christian Ministries of University of the Nation, Kona, Hawaii, USA

Adapted from We Cannot But Tell, by Ross Tooley, revised edition. Copyright, 1993 by Ross Tooley. Published by YWAM Publishing, Seattle, Washington. Used by permission [from pages 13-16].

October 14

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seeks first his kingdom and his righteiousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:32, 33

  After two years on board the m/v Anastasis, I transferred to Mercy Ships' port office in San Pedro, California. After several months in Los Angeles without a car, I wrote on the prayer request sheet of a supporting church that I was praying for a car.

  Three months later, I received the first answer to my prayer - a check for $25 from a man I'd never heard of "to help you with your need for a car" A few days later, another man I'd never heard of, Paul Wojtkowski, called and said, "My wife and I feel the Lord wants us to support you. If that means helping you buy a car, we'd like to do that." He and his wife were interested in Mercy Ships and wanted to learn more about the ministry. They invited me for Sunday dinner, and mentioned that their neighbor was selling a little red car for $600.

  During dinner, we talked about missions and life on board the m/v Anastasis.  Then we looked at his neighbor's 1978 Honda Accord. It had over 130,000 miles on it, but had a rebuilt engine. The man reduced the price to $500, and Paul bought the car for me.

  I set out to raise the deposit for the insurance, Paul did some minor repairs on the car, and his brother paid the registration fee. Two weeks later, Paul handed me the keys, and I drove off in the answer to my prayer. After many faithful miles of service, the car has required minimal repairs and has taken me from California to Mercy Ships' new Port Office in Texas.

  The Wojtkowskis not only provided the car, but also supported me for the next year and helped with unexpected medical bills. The family eventually attended a Discipleship Training School on board the m/v Anastasis. God truly is faithful to provide.

Lucy, an American, is on staff with Mercy Ships' Home Office in Lindale, Texas, USA.

October 15

In all that has ha[ppened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully. Nehemiah 9:33

  I was rocking our first baby and idly singing, "Your father's gone hoo, boo hoo, boo hoo."
  Suddenly my spirit heard, "Is this what you want your child to grow up with?"
  I gasped. "No Lord, I don't." I felt God speak to me about the privilege of being married to a man of God, and the joy of releasing him to be all that God wants him to be. I wanted my child to grow up viewing our missionary life as a privilgege.
  I believe in the justice of God. One particular separation had been especially difficult. There were many pastoral problems to deal with, and Loren was away longer than usual. I stood at the kitchen sink where I'd just finished washing the dishes.
  "Well God," I said. "This has been a particularly difficult situation. Loren will be home tomorrow, and I just want to tell You that I'm looking for a little of Your justice." I went on with my duties. It wasn't a big cry. Just chatting with God.
  About two months later, Loren and I were given a beautiful 27-foot trailer. I had thought God would provide a little trailer for our traveling, but this was gorgeous. The children had a separate little room with bunk beds. We had a room with a big bed. It was as though it was tailor-made for us. In my joy I said, "God, this is wonderful. I never expected anything like this."
  Clear as a bell I heard in my heart, "Darlene, remember the conversation at the kitchen sink? This is part of My justice for you. I'm going to make it that much nicer for you and Loren and the children when you can be together."

Darlene Cunningham, an American, is the YWAM International Director of Training. The wife of YWAM's Founder, Loren Cunningham, she also helped found YWAM. Loren and Darlene live in Kona, Hawaii, USA.

October 16

For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. John 3:34 SASB

  I wasn't sure what to do with my hands except wipe the sweat off them, but I wished I could grab the butterflies in my stomach. I was about to walk onto a stage before 1,800 students at the University of Centeral American in El Savador.
  The students, El Salvador's brightest, were attending this rally to raise money for the refugees of the civil war. Since I'd come to El Salvador with YWAM's mobile team to minister to the refugees, I was given an opportunity to speak. I didn't like speaking in public, and all I knew to share was my testimony. 
  "A few years ago, " I told them, "I was a student of astronomy at the University of Arizona.
  "I was shy and had few friends. I wanted to spend my life in an observatory, away from people. And though I had everything I wanted - a car, money, a good education - I was unhappy. I had the whole world ahead of me...but I needed answers.
  "Looking in my telescope, I saw a decaying universe. Looking around me, I saw a decaying world. I looked in the Bible, and it said, 'The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.'
  "I'm not here to represent my country," I told them. "I am a citizen of another Kingdom, one that will last forever. Peace will only come to this country, and this world, when we give up ourselves and our nations, and serve Jesus Christ."
  I looked at the intent faces. Many were comunists, hostile to anything American, but they listened and applauded. Somehow I had brought the right message for the right audience.
  So many times I have felt like a fish out of water, and have wondered why God called me into missions when I had so little to offer. That day, I learned that God had given me a message and had prepared poeple to here it.

Jim, an American, is the editor of YWAM's Personal Prayer Diary, and is an editor with YWAM Publishing in Lindale, Texas, USA.

October 17

But God chose the foollish things of the that no one may boast before him. 1 Corinthians 1:27, 29

  Our team members asked God for creative ways to share Christ in China. One of the unique methods He gave us, we now refer to as "group photo evangelism."
  Tourists are expected to take pictures when visiting significant historical sites. So we clustered before the walled city of Shanghai, Dr. Sun Yat Sen's mausoleum, and even the Imperial Palace, waiting for our designated team photographer to snap shots with our various assortment of Canons and Pentaxes. While posing we would break into joyful singing. Sometimes we'd even do a brief drama presentation.
  Naturally our singing attracted the attention of people nearby, and soon a curious crowd had gathered to watch the peculiar sight. But the time our photographer, who was never in a hurry, finally took the last shot, there were usually other tourists, or even local Chinese, eager to engage in conversaton. We saw this normal tourist custom as one of God's methods to communicate the Gospel in a country closed to open evangelism.
  Sometimes it feels strange doing something odd to attract attention in a public place. Yet it was equally odd for Peter and John to heal the lame man at the temple gate and for the apostle Paul to stand on Mars Hill and talk about the unknown God. God wants to use our circumstances for His purposes. We need only to be willing.

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

October 18

Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

  It was love at first sight. As MIchelle and I spent time together, we discovered we had a great deal in common. On the first day that we talked about our feelings for one another, we prayed, and the line that I will always remember was, "Lord, whatever happens, please preserve our friendship."
  In the weeks that followed, we grew closer together, loving one another's company, discovering 101 ways to date on a YWAM budget. Several people commented to me that we made a wonderful couple, and we even began to discuss the possibilities of marriage.
  It's hard to pinpoint where the first cracks appeared, and by the time we noticed what was happening, our relationship was plummeting in an uncontrollable nose dive. Inevitably, there was a lot of pain, anger, and qustioning. We asked, "God, what's happening? Where did we go wrong."
  As we had to deal with the reality of living and working at the same ministry center, we both clung to that first prayer, "Lord, preserve this friendship."
  Slowly the healing came as forgiveness, grace, and understanding were expressed and received. I learned in a whole new way what it was to be forgiven, as well as the true meaning of love: Ii is to prefer another and to die to one's own desires. As the flames of our romantic love died, I develped a deeper love for Michelle, a love not born of this earth.
  Michelle has moved on from the YWAM base now, but we still see each other from time to time. We are both secure in the knowledge that there is nothing more than friendship between us, and yet that friendship is stronger than when we were dating...because of answered prayer and a revelation of true love.

Trevlor, an Australian, works i the art and editorial departments at Last Days Ministries, Linddale, Texas, USA.

October 19

"For I know the plans I have for  you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

  I met Cynthia while caring for a sick team member on an outreach in Madras, India. I had taken my ill colleague to a missionary medical facility where Cynthia, another American, was also awaiting treatment.
  We struck up a conversation, and Cynthia told me she was seeking spiritual truth. She had been befriended by a guru, who was instructing her in Hinduism. I told her that there is only one God: Jesus. She listened politely, but explained that she was in the process of converting to Hinduism.
  When Cythia left to be examined, I prayed silently for her, asking God to give me the words which would pierce her heart. I felt impressed with the above scripture from Jeremiah.
  When Cynthia returned to get her medicine and say goodbye, I shared the verse with her. Her eyes grew wide, but she didn't say much. She just left. I never expected to see her again: Madras is a huge city.
  The next day, I felt impressed to return to town with some of the others on our team. As I waited for them outside the store, I heard someone calling my name. It was Cynthia!
  As we talked, Cynthia's story tumbled out. Her mother had told her about Jesus, but a painful experience in church had alienated her. We shared lunch that day, and I told her more about Christ's personal, planning love.
  Cynthia started weeping. She was afraid of being hurt again and had felt thatGod had forsaken her. I reminded her that God loved her so much that He sent His Son to die for her. He also sent me halfway around the world to tell her about His great love.
  With tears of joy, Cynthia accepted the Lord. She later returned home, having found the truth she'd been seeking.

Theresa is a member of an evangelism team in India

October 20

May the God of peace...equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.... Hebrews 13:20-21.

  One of the most freeing truths the Bible teaches is that God provides everything we need to do His will and to please Him. Many years of my life were spent attempting to appease God through working hard and staying busy serving. I failed to grasp the simplicity of what truly brings joy to His heart.
  If you seem to be always striving, yet never quite achieving that sense that He is pleased, then perhaps you also have missed this simple truth. His greatest joy is for you to know the joy that He has over you, and also that "you can indeed be pleasing to HIm."
  Most of my life I tried too hard, believing that my praise was never pure enough nor my service worthy enough. My prayers began with, "Lord, forgive me," because I was sure that I had grieved Him in some way. What a freedom came when I began to understand that my repentant response to His correction when I sinned was pleasing to Him. Because of His sacrifice, it was as if I'd chosen not to sin in the first place.
  I have learned that obedience, praise, and faithfulness in the small things, love for my wife and son, brokenness over sin, and indeed, awareness of His joy and love for me are what please him. He is faithfully at work in you to produce the character that He desires. He is very pleased to call you His own.

Jim, an American missionary in the German-speaking world since 1976, serves in the area of praise and worship and the creative arts.October 21

Guide me with your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5

 October 21

  After four years of running a bed and breakfast inn I longed to have a home just for our family. After discussion and prayer, my husband and I decided to sell.

     Thus in the early spring of l987, we began house hunting. We looked at both property and houses, trying to decide whether to build or buy. Nothing seemed right.

  In May, YWAM's Mercy Ship the MV/Anastasis docked in Sacramento. We took our daughters, Kari and Kristen, to tour the ship. I listened to the guide describe the ministry of the ship. I was surprised to feel again a long-buried desire to work in missions.

  "I think I could do this," I said excitedly. My husband's eyes grew wide with surprise. He knew my desire to have a home of our own.

  His own interest was growing though, despite our first disappointment with missions. Years before, we had served a short time with YWAM. Family and friends had promised financial support, but it never came. After seven months we left, disillusioned with God and with faith missions.

  God's love continued working in us. During the following 12 years we grew in our understanding of Him. He worked on our doubts and hurts. In the process we realized it had been our choice to work in missions, not one made after prayer and seeking God's will. Now, with fresh vision, we sought God's desire.

  It took 15 months of prayer and preparation before we decided to enter a school especially for those in mid-life, called Crossroads Discipleship Training School.

  As we shared our plans with others, money came effortlessly for school fees and its subsequent cross-cultural outreach! This time, we knew God was leading our family and those who would back us with their prayers and financial support.

 Sandi, an American, works as manager of the bookstore at YWAM’s University of the Nations campus in Kona, Hawaii, USA.

October 22

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43: 19 RSV

  We had to leave India every six months, then reenter under new visas. After several years and much prayer, we went to the local immigration office to plead for a long-term permit. The form asked why we were in India. I couldn't write "missionary work." When six months passed with no answer, I got worried. I was directed to another immigration office 70 kilometers away.
  "Where does your mother live?" the officer asked. Puzzled, I answered, "Chicago."
  Throwing the paper at me, he demanded, "Then why did you write this?" Following th the words, 'to continue doing volunteer work,' in the same color ink and in my handwriting, I read, "and to live with my mother." I couldn't believe it.
  "I didn't write that," I protested. He stared at me accusingly. He took a large rubber stamp, slammed it on my paper and thrust it at me. In bold black print I read, "We find no reason to object to the foreigner seeking residence in India."
  I had tried to tell them the truth. I decided that if they wanted me to stay in India with a mother I did not have there, it was their problem.
  I learned later that piece of paper was shuffled from office to office for the next four years seeking official approval. All that time we freely stayed in India. We were warned, however, that if we left the country, we might not be allowed to reenter. this was fine with us. We went about our work with zest.
  Eventually, a family emergency arose and we had to leave India. When we returned, we submitted a fresh application with tremendous trepidation. This time they immediately accepted our application granting us long-term residency, and didn't ask a thing about my family. We could live in India indefinitely, and we wouldn't even have to live with my mother.

Tim, an American, is National Director of YWAM in India.

October 23

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be gien to him. James 1:5

  While Loren and I were expecting Karen, our first child, I thought through our needs. We're called to be a traveling family. We wanted our children to be a part of the team and to enjoy being a missionary family. I also didn't want to have frequent separations from them, or to have to leave them with baby sitters. As I sought God's wisdom, He gave me strategies that worked well for us.
  I bought child-sized sleeping bags and pillows, and sewed the children's names on them. Karen and David each had small backpacks for their personal things. By keeping these with us, the children could be at my feet wherever I was sitting, whether at a cathedral in England, the back of a tent in Germany, or at a YWAM meeting. They were able to participate in the worship time, then go to sleep.
  Our mobile lifestyle could have resulted in no routine for the children. So I established a routine within the lifestyle we had. I knew that most children go to bed at about 8:00, so no matter where they were, ours did, too. They got their rest, but were not left out of our lives.
  During most of our early years, all four of us slept in one room, often a different room every week or two. To provide a sense of permanence, I bought suitcases with lids that lift up, not suitcases which split in the middle and lay flat. Inside the lid I attached pictures of family members back home, and sometimes pictures the children drew themselves. With their own bed and pillow and the bag of toys, they only had to open their suitcase wherever they were to be in "their bedroom" within the bigger room they shared with us.

Darlene Cunningham, an American, is the YWAM International Director of Training. The wife of YWAM's President, Loren Cunningham, she also helped found Youth With A Mission. Loren and Darlene live in Kona, Hawaii, USA.