YWAM York update Summer 2021

Hi friends, we hope your summer has been going well! This year has been amazing for us in so many ways and we wanted to take the opportunity to share what has been happening so that you can celebrate and pray along with us. As many of you know, we moved here in November of last year and had to learn pretty quickly how to be creative with ministry in the middle of a pandemic and lockdowns. As spring came along and the lockdowns ended, things began opening little by little. So this summer when everything opened up, we found ourselves ready to go!

How Our Summer Has Gone

As ready as we were to start our ministry though, we didn’t realise all the opportunities the Lord was going to give us to minister to people in this time.

We love that we get to show hospitality to people, and as soon as the restrictions lifted, we began spending more time with people. Sometimes it was for dinner, a worship night, for church on the days when we weren’t meeting in person, or even just for a cup of tea. It is one of the most practical ways we have to love others, and we love doing it.

We were also invited to join a camp called York Christian Youth Holiday. It usually takes place as a residential camp in Scotland, but because of everything that has happened with Covid, it was shortened to two days and was held as a daytime event close to York. We were invited to lead some of the workshops, but the truth is that we are American, and we love ourselves a good summer camp, so we got really involved. We love youth, and we were so excited for this amazing opportunity to serve them while also spending so much time with them. We can’t wait to do it again!

We also ran a holiday club with some of the younger children in our community. We started it during the last half term holiday, and it went well, but it was also our first attempt and we saw different areas in which we could improve. Last week, we held another holiday club with longer hours and more activities for the kids. One really cool thing that happened was that we had one young girl in both of our holiday club weeks who gets really overwhelmed and acts out. The first time it happened, we honestly weren’t sure what to do, but this time we began to take her aside, not to punish her, but to have her help us and give her opportunities to help others. The change was dramatic! She did really well the rest of the week, and we are so excited to get to see her at our next holiday club. What a blessing it is for us to get to walk with her as she grows up!

Our final event of the summer is an outreach event with Radiant in London called Arise. It takes place in London for ten days, and we will be ministering in all the different areas of the city. We are excited to see what God will do in London over the ten days - and we invite you to pray for it along with us! Please pray for all of the people we will be encountering in the streets, and please also pray for us as we all hit the streets of London together! Our desire is for the people that we encounter to experience God’s love through us. We know that God has hidden treasure in London, and we are determined to seek it out.

The Practical Bits

With everything that is happening in our ministry, it can be quite easy for us to forget to share about the practical things that are happening!

One of the first things on this list of practicalities is our building. When we first moved here, we inherited an amazing community centre, and along with it, the debt that remained to be payed on it - around £28,500. We applied for a grant, and over the course of the last 8 months, we have received nearly £19,000 towards the debt. Now we have less than £10,000 to pay, and we know without a doubt that it had absolutely nothing to do with us - it is all God! We hope that this encourages you not to lose hope in your circumstances. We serve a God who provides, and He gives generously.

We are also moving forward in our plans to update our building. One of the greatest blessings we have had in this area has been the outreach teams that have come to help us from London Radiant. They have continued to send people our direction, and because of that, almost our entire ground floor now has a new coat of paint and is looking pristine and beautiful. What a blessing to have people come and work alongside us, investing in our ministry and building an environment of family in the process. We are so grateful for it!

What Comes Next

As we walk forward and begin to build on the foundations laid in our first year in York, we are excited to invite others to join us. We are hoping to open our first DTS (Discipleship Training School) for the York base in 2022 and we can’t wait to see who the Lord is going to bring here to minister with us!

In addition to our holiday clubs, have plans to begin a popup game night for the youth in our community. One of the things that we really enjoy and can find common ground with many people on is our love of games, so we are going to open up the community centre for a night of pizza and different types of games.

As always, we are spending our days with the youth and children in our community - through the holiday club and hanging out with them throughout the summer, we have seen many of these relationships grow and flourish. We have even gotten to introduce some of them to prayer and worship!

Finally, we are also still working with our community through our different arts. We stepped out in faith last year as we started different workshops for each of our different art ministries. And while we are restructuring what that might look like this year, we are still planning on using our community centre as a space where different artists can come and create together.

We want to thank each of you for not only taking the time to read this, but for walking with us through this journey. We are a family, and we love getting to share what is happening here with our family. Would you continue to pray for us as we move forward into this coming season?

We also want to invite you to come to York! We have a space for outreach teams that includes a fully working kitchen, toilets and a shower. The amazing thing about our city is that there always something happening and it is a fantastic place to do outreach. We also love when people come just to visit us, so if you want to come for holiday or even just a day trip, please let us know! Our home is open to you and we hope to see you soon.