As we expected, our time at the YWAM DNA Infusion Leaders’ Meeting in Townsville was one that has marked our year and elegantly divided it into a ‘before’ and ‘after’.
We thoroughly enjoyed being in the presence of so many cultures and languages, with their various expressions in worship and storytelling. There is so much richness in this diversity, so much to learn if you keep your heart open (and don’t do a Michal). For example, I had no idea that potted plants make very amusing and cheerful banner substitutes (wish I had a picture of that to show you!).
It has been observed that organisations that stay true to their original vision are the ones that last. Although YWAM’s founders prefer the description ‘mission movement’ rather than organisation, there must be a certain amount of structure, albeit decentralised. International gatherings such as the DNA, therefore, are where leaders come together to review the foundational principles, listen to the key stories that have shaped YWAM over the decades and take steps in moving forward according to God’s word.
Despite never seeing ourselves as life-long YWAMers, it was a great learning experience to sit in the midst of countless years of collective mission experience and wisdom. We received teaching on topics as diverse as worldview, biblical covenants and generosity. We heard honest tales about successes and failures, stories to inspire (miracles, humility and courage), and stories that serve as stark warnings (pride, dependence on finances, institutionalisation).
There were many unforgettable one-liners:
- Trust God or die (my favourite)
- Build altars not towers
- The gifts you don’t have are also part of God’s design
- Sensitive to culture but obedient to truth
- If you don’t know God’s generosity, you don’t know God
- Listen, obey and don’t quit
It was so encouraging to experience the thriving Townsville base, how well it is organised and how the staff excelled at welcoming all 300 conference delegates.
We were also shown around the YWAM PNG medical ship which serves Papua New Guinea in primary care, dentistry and ophthalmology. Dani, being passionate about the ethics of medical volunteering, met with the medical ship manager to talk through some ideas and ask questions about medical mercy projects within YWAM e.g. how can the different ministries better connect and help one another work to high standards?
In terms of RescueNet, we made the most of every opportunity to promote the mission and expand its network. We had numerous meetings with potential contacts around the world and also hosted several afternoon sessions where we described and demonstrated aspects of our work.
Returning to Canberra held the risk of being a bit of an anti-climax, but some friends blessed us with the use of their home for a few weeks. Being a step removed from base life and having the comfort of our own home made it easy to mentally linger a bit on all the words, hope and joy of the previous fortnight.