YWAM Huambo in Angola have focused their efforts on three locations in their nation where the tribes are so remote, so inaccessible, that the government has not yet made plans to address such basic human rights as literacy and primary education.
The Kamakoyo region of Angola is one of those locations, and is home to several tribes who scrape a living from an inhospitable landscape. A small team began working among different people groups in the area and found that they were responsive to the message of the gospel and have already seen a fellowship of believers start.
Kubio (pronounced Ko-boy) is a young African YWAMer who joins others from around the world for an aptly named Kick-Off outreach. These YWAM teams from every corner of the world will soon be on their way to the tip of Africa with the aim of reaching out to international soccer fans who will gather in their thousands to support their teams. The goal is for sports teams, churches, youth groups, and other organizations to unite to bring hope to the people of Africa through all sorts of ministry. The long-term vision is to see partnerships formed with churches across the country through sports.
We returned with our next Discipleship Training School (DTS) a few months later, and found much more than we had expected. The locals informed us this group was a violent gang whose members were addicted to alcohol and drugs. Many warned us not to go to this dangerous place; one person even said, “Those people are monsters, they are covered in tattoos, sleep in the filth, eat garbage, drink poison and do not die!”
The suburb of Puerto Madryn used to be known for its graffiti, drugs and crime. Citizens were afraid to venture outside their houses and drug dealers had just as much control as the police. YWAM staff began to pray. They interceded for the area and began to work with the youth, starting football clubs and going door to door, asking the neighborhood what would draw them from their homes.
YWAM teams worked with one another, with other Christian organizations and with social concern groups to bring their vision for radical hospitality to the city.
Under the umbrella of More Than Gold, an organisation dedicated to bringing Christians together for effective ministry during the Olympic games, more than 200 YWAM members provided prayer, hot chocolate, performances and thought-provoking messages.
The statistics are staggering. In the Pacific region, PNG has the highest rate of HIV; it is estimated that by 2015, one in six will be infected. There are approximately 32 dentists in the whole country. In some rural areas, one in seven women will die during childbirth.
How can a few young people help a nation with so much need? YWAM Australia has been given an opportunity to make a difference. Last year, Marine Reach New Zealand felt that they were to give one of their medical ships, the MV Pacific Link, to their neighbours, YWAM Australia. The Pacific Link, equipped with an operating theatre on board, is part of YWAM’s Marine Reach ministry that has been serving the Pacific Region since 1991, offering health services to remote island communities where medical help would not have otherwise been accessible.
Overcoming huge challenges and after months of preparation, a multinational group from YWAM Argentina managed to reach the 6,962 meter summit of the Aconcagua - the highest peak on the American continent.
Climber Trudy Cooper said "We were ten people with two guides, so we were called the Twelve Apostles and people recognized us because of the cross we carried with us. We made an impact in this "city of 4 months", as they called the Plaza de Mulas base camp.” The guides told the director of the team’s home base in YWAM Mendoza that never in all their years of experience, had they had a team that worked so well together.
YWAM have many staff working in the city. All of them are safe, according to local leaders Ansel Pronk and Anne Abok. YWAM staff in Nigeria, many from the Jos area itself, are traumatised by events. Whilst no YWAMers have been killed in the violence, friends and loved ones have been lost. Many people have been displaced by the crisis and are living in hastily built camps run by the Red Cross. The needs there are overwhelming and YWAM has been helping to provide relief aid and clothing.
Thacker and his team prayed. They learned there were not many Christians working to help the blind and they felt God challenging them to take on that task. The Bible occasionally uses the metaphor of our spiritual eyes being opened to show how truth can be revealed; the team in Chhattisgarh knew they were not called to open the physical eyes of the blind, but were called to share spiritual truths: their vision for vision.