Friday 26 October 2012

Being on the frontline

A lot of the work I do can be seen as one or two steps removed from the immediate ‘go forth and tell the world’. Yet God has clearly spoken to the team at AfriCom that we are on the frontline and for us not to see ourselves as a "back" or "supporting office". 

God is purposeful in his actions and he guides the work that we do as a family and that we do as a mission. Right now God is calling us to enter into a time of greater preparation when it comes to being prepared for eventualities which lead to trauma, such as kidnapping. It has been wonderful to spend a couple of days with some legends of the mission in South Africa and see how their humility and submission to Christ has led them to see areas of missing links in our armoury and a willingness to allow others to help change that. YWAM pioneered Member Care in Africa and is bringing it to the rest of the world. 

For many in the mission field, work focuses on a reactive response to a given situation. Take anti-trafficking work, for example, where they are stepping in to assist vulnerable people (mostly women and children) who have been exploited. There’s a past tense there. The big work that they have to do is bringing restoration, dignity and hope to people who have had their whole lives damaged by slavery. However, for us in the communications department, we often find ourselves working towards things that have not yet happened. As God leads us to prepare for eventualities, we do find ourselves hoping that such eventualities never actually happen, but know that God puts such preparation in place for a reason.

This week we’ve been learning how to deal with kidnapping scenarios, where if one of our members were to be kidnapped, what would we do? How would we react? And how to we limit or reduce the likelihood of death and/or serious injury?

It has been brought to our attention by highly trained professionals that YWAMers at a base level may not have an adequate awareness of such subjects, and, therefore, may be putting themselves at unnecessary risk.

For the past 50 years, YWAM missions have taken place across the globe. Campuses and bases have been established and we’ve seen great fruit. Statistically mission work falls into a very high risk area and the fact that very little trauma and incident has affected members across the continent of Africa is a testament to God’s amazing protection. However, it has been felt that this cover of protection is gradually lifting and God is calling us to be more aware and more prepared. More aware that the prince of darkness doesn’t want us to complete our mission and more aware that it was God’s protection and not our own abilities that has got us thus far.

Copyright © 2008
by James Dale Coldiron and Voice of the Watchman
This is a constant theme that has been coming up over the past few years: be aware and be prepared. There is a predicted growth of the mission over the next few years, but before that happens, we believe that God is putting in place measures to protect the value and purpose of YWAM in the African continent. We need not fear the Devil and his actions, but we need to be aware of his very real existence, so that we can adequately prepare ourselves physically and spiritually. Ephesians 6:10-18 talks about the Armour of God and it has been on our hearts for many years.

AfriCom – as the communications team for Africa – is part of the Field Service Team. This may be seen as a supporting role for missions. Yet God has told us that we are ‘on the front line’ for mission work. Gradually, the details of this position are being revealed to us and God is giving us the tools to be able to do the work he has prepared for us.

The challenge for us now is to work on getting ourselves prepared without allowing any sense of fear to enter in. Increased awareness can, if not managed correctly, lead to a crippling fear where we are unable to do the mission that God has called us to do. The only way we can be fearless in our work is if we yoke ourselves to Christ and have a deep understanding and knowledge that his blood was shed for us and that we do not act in our own strength but his.

When we know that, the preparation turns from fear into excitement as we look – not to our own fight – but rather to how Jesus will be standing for us to victory. 

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