Yesterday evening… candles flickering, lively chatter, warm embrace of old friends. The scene? – The packed chapel at YWAM’s Harpenden headquarters. One by one our friends Joyce, Dave, Terri, Dan, Jeanette, Johnny, Heather and Osana stood up to testify about what God had been doing in their lives during the last five months. They were the latest YWAM multi-national Crossroads team and were graduating: testifying, receiving their certification and being commissioned for the months and years that lie ahead. A group of us went down from Coventry; earlier in the year they had helped us in ESOL classes, attended our international Bible study and we had bonded well. It was wonderful to see them again.
“We’ve come to join!” said the young Iranian as he cheerfully burst into the tiny training room at the Coventry Jesus Centre followed by three other young guys. Somewhat startled, we women (six of us) looked up from our Bibles and hurriedly put out extra chairs for our unexpected arrivals. It was 2014.
It is an exciting time for the church, new people are coming and finding Jesus and the promise of Isaiah is once again fulfilled in our age:
“Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms.”
Let’s take a little journey into the past.
21st century, 20th, 19th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd… We’re turning the clock back and I’m paying a lightning visit to first-century Palestine. I’ve come to visit an unusual grouping – well, that’s an understatement – an extraordinary, raggle-taggle collection of people: the disciple band of Jesus of Nazareth. They’re sleeping under the stars tonight and they’re a right mixed bunch; there’s even some women here, that’s unusual, unheard of actually. I’m intrigued.