Celebrating 30 Years as YWAM Perth
Upon entering our base facility during the week of March 7 – 11, we were greeted by the sound of 700 chattering, excited people all gathered together for one purpose: to give thanks to God for 30 years of His faithfulness towards YWAM Perth. We set aside that special time to celebrate and commemorate YWAM Perth’s 30 years with inspiring teachings, fun activities, delicious food, and meaningful fellowship. Through thick and thin, God’s grace and presence has been so evident, as told by various testimonies by our founders throughout the week.
Thirty years ago Peter and Shirley Brownhill, along with a few others, set out from the eastern side of Australia, with not much more than a vision and strong word of the Lord, to pioneer a YWAM base in Perth, Western Australia. And we are so glad that they did! The history of our mission base was recalled in detail by its pioneers to all of the Celebration’s attendees. It was such a privilege to learn about where we came from to seeing where we are now. And then hearing about vision and expectation for the future as strong (if not stronger) than when we first started out all those years ago.
Each morning of the week, we received teaching from members of YWAM Perth’s leadership team
Strong messages were brought on the topics of vision, commitment, wholeheartedness, holiness, and calling. During the first teaching session, staff members and students alike were given the opportunity to voice dreams that God has placed on their hearts in front of the entire gathering. A lineup of people of all ages and backgrounds came forward to speak out and share; a truly significant moment in solidifying the vision that God has imparted.
Often God gives us vision for something we are passionate about, but it takes a steady dedication to see it come to fruition.
A session was taught on the importance of commitment and how we cannot run on passion alone, but be people willing to show up every day in spite of challenging circumstances. Serving God wholeheartedly will drive us to commitment. We must not be divided or fickle in our walk with God and the purpose that He calls us to. As it says in 2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…”
What does being fully committed to God look like?
Holiness is the commitment to walk in right relationship with Christ; it is the desire to follow the Father for better or worse, in good times and bad. Holy, committed, willing hearts are what God searches for in seeing who He can entrust vision to.
Passion is the spark that ignites dreams, but commitment carries them to completion.
Tying together the week’s string of topics was Loren Cunningham, speaking to us via live video from Kona. He concluded his session with what was perhaps the most impressionable word, warning us “not to walk away from the call of God.” God has plans for our lives that include wonderful, exciting adventures. He places a calling upon each and every one of us to serve the greater purpose of His kingdom; allowing us the privilege to work with Him as He takes our hand in beautiful partnership.
Have you ever witnessed 700 people waiting in line for their cones at a single ice cream truck?
It happened right here at YWAM Perth! In addition to celebrating with teaching, of course we had to indulge a little with delicious food and sweet treats. As enjoyable as the ice cream and other sugary snacks were, nothing was sweeter than the fellowship and conversation had over meals together. Laughter spilled as stories were swapped; people retold memorable outreach experiences, each one more entertaining than the last. Different group activities were planned as well, providing heaps of fun for a mass amount of people. Among the activities was a community-wide scavenger hunt, water fights, relay challenges, and a good old game of YWAM Perth family feud.
Hearing how God lead and provided
Intermixed with teaching sessions, food, and games was the history of YWAM Perth as told by Peter and Shirley, along with other core founding members of the base.
One memorable story was when our administrative office had no paper and no money to buy paper (back before the age of the internet). This created difficulty in processing applications for Discipleship Training Schools and other various tasks that call for paper. Colleen Noblet, founding member and administrator at the time, remembers praying and asking God for His provision for this need.
At noon that same day, an elderly lady walked into the YWAM office and handed Colleen an envelope, explaining that the contents were for whatever they needed that day. Much to Colleen’s surprise, there was an amount of $1,000 inside! Praise God, their needs were met through the kindness of a complete stranger.
Though the base’s location has changed to different areas around Perth, its fundamental values have not.
Hearing from God and acting upon His word have been crucial to the sustainability of our mission. It is both humbling and inspiring to be a part of a mission with such rich history that points to God’s graciousness, passion, love, and endless commitment to His people. Standing on the shoulders of those that have gone before us, it is with great encouragement that we look towards the future and all of the wonderful things in store. Thank you Lord for 30 years; here’s to dreaming with Him for the next 30!
This article was published in the
July 2016 edition of Westcoast News.