YWAM Global Leadership Forum Begins with Home Building
The first full day of YWAM’s 2011 Global Leadership Forum gathering began with the sound of power saws and hammers. Regional leaders and international coordinators were carrying sheets of plywood and dipping brushes into containers of paint. The 47 attendees, who had come from countries as far away as Zambia, South Korea and India, had dedicated their first day to building three homes for the poor in Tijuana, Mexico.
The night before, at an opening dinner, Sean Lambert, leader of YWAM’s Homes of Hope ministry, had explained how 3,800 people a month come to this border city looking for work. Many of them struggle to survive through the cold, rainy winter in shacks made of wooden pallets and bits of tin. In 21 years, YWAM’s Homes of Hope program has now built 3,500 homes for people like this.
At one building site, Alma shyly held her one-year-old baby and looked on with excitement as YWAMers clad in yellow tee shirts bustled around to build her new home. “I’m looking forward to having a safe place for my kids,” she said. “This is going to be my future.”
Why would YWAM’s senior leaders spend one whole day of their six-day annual meeting to pound nails together? Steve Goode, ambassador for YWAM mercy ministries, paused for a moment, hammer in hand, to answer this question. “Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by poverty, unless you just do one thing. Because when you do one thing together, I guarantee you that everybody who is doing this one thing is going to go do another thing. That’s multiplication.”
At the end of the day, as the sun set beyond the hills, Alma wiped a tear from her cheek as she received the keys to her new home. The paint was still wet on the red trim around her front door as she walked inside. She discovered a table set for four, a new stove, and a bed complete with a stuffed animal for her four-year-old son Angel.
To Alma and her family, Edwin Filles, from South Africa, said, “I think the blessing for me has been working together. What really touched me was how you got involved. And I think the most special was to share a meal with you. Muchas gracias!”
As the YWAM bus took the weary YWAM leaders up the hill, they passed two more homes standing where in the morning there had only been cement slabs.