Monday, May 31, 2010

YWAM’s 50th Anniversary: Eastern Africa 27 – 29 May 2010

Painted faces and oiled skin glowed in the late afternoon sunlight as feet stomped and drums beat to welcome Loren and Darlene Cunningham to Jinja, Uganda, for YWAM's 50th Anniversary celebrations. Africans consider it a great privilege to welcome honoured guests, and our brothers and sisters from all over Eastern Africa danced, sang and clapped with all of their hearts in welcome.

<---- The Busoga from Uganda swirled their hips in dizzying circles;

the Kenyans stomped their feet and clapped their hands; ---->

<---- and the Masai from Tanzania jumped straight up and down.

<------- Several young girls balanced stacks of clay pots on their heads, and led the Cunningham procession into the conference hall.

On stage, our team from YWAM Arua base opened the celebrations by dancing and singing about the unity in diversity that characterizes YWAM. Coming from the nations of Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, America, England and Australia, the Arua team built a bridge together to demonstrate their vision to be a bridge of healing to the nations. Then they crossed the bridge with flags of Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic, and called others to join them in reaching these nations for Jesus. A Masai brother crossed the bridge to the whoops and cheers of the audience. ------->

Over the next 2 days, Loren and Darlene shared many encouraging testimonies of God’s faithfulness right from the days of their childhood to the present moment. They encouraged us to be God-loyal: that no matter what happens around us, we should not give in to self-pity but should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and be loyal to Him, no matter what the cost. They challenged us to say “Yes!” to Jesus with radical obedience…even when we don’t know the extent of that commitment. And never to give up, no matter how hard things get…we should not negotiate in our commitment to hear and obey the King of kings.

<----- Darlene encouraged us to hang out with people who celebrate us, and commit to walk in unity. She also challenged us to be humble servant leaders…there is no other way to lead like Jesus than to submit ourselves to the will of the Father and seek His kingdom, not our own.

Loren updated us on the state of world missions and declared, “Jesus is winning!” We saw the growth of YWAM and the spread of Christianity. We also heard the heart cry of the Father for Africans to “Arise and Shine, for our time has come!” God has a place and a purpose for Africans in the Great Commission, and it is time to take up that calling and GO! ------->

<---- With that exhortation, we lined up to light our candles from the torches held by Loren (on the left) and Methode Kamanzi (Eastern Africa Regional Director, on the right in the white shirt).

With our candles held high, we agreed before the Lord to be part of taking the flame forward into the nations, to reach the unreached and disciple the nations. ----->

Finally, after all the Cunninghams had imparted into us, we were able to bless and honour them. We dressed them in the traditional style of the Rwandese,


and then the elders of YWAM East Africa presented them with traditional African gifts…a strong he-goat and a richly colored rooster. ----->

<----- Then the elders laid hands on this faithful couple, and prayed blessings over them.

We closed the event by committing ourselves to the Christian Magna Carta, and the Jubilee Covenant. Then we shared the Lord’s table together, and asked God to help us hear His voice, and follow Him with radical obedience wherever He leads.

It was a very special time, and we give thanks to the Lord for all He has done for us.