Neighborhoods, Nations and the Next Generation!

3.21.2013

Taking it BACK!

Lent is supposed to be a season of reflection and giving something up so you can really focus on God in a deeper way. Acknowledging the sacrifice that he made for us when he allowed his own son to die a sinners death on the cross. Jesus tells us not to show it or tell people when we are fasting, that it is a joyful thing. The only evidence of our sacrifice should be the work that God does in and through us during that time.

For so many this has been lost. Mardi Gras a time originally meant to prepare and reflect before lent has become a time to celebrate the debauchery itself rather than celebrating that you are giving it up for God. And St. Patrick's day a day celebrating an amazing man of God who brought the gospel to Ireland, as well as being a break in lent as a recognition of the magnitude of what he did, is now nothing more than an excuse to be drunk before 9am and not considered an alcoholic. Oh yeah... and an excuse to have a parade.

We at ywam Pittsburgh decided this year we were going to take back St. Patrick's day! What better way to do that than a parade float? So we created a float depicting St. Patrick lighting a fire to attract the people of Ireland so he could then share the gospel with them. We passed out over 4000 tracks with the story of St Patrick and the message that he brought to Ireland so many years ago. The message that Jesus saves. That Jesus is the ONLY way, truth and life. After the parade we spent about 40 min sharing with people that were down town celebrating. It was a tough crowd but God is faithful and one person came to Christ, thousands more heard and saw. We hope that this will be a yearly tradition and that every year more people will hear and see and put their trust in God.

For more info on St Patrick and photos of the parade check out these sites ccel.org and stpatrickpittsburgh.com

2.06.2013

New Year’s update

 
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. --Psalm 96:3
 
This past week two of our teams came back from outreach, one from Belize and one from Colombia, both teams were on their DTS outreach in these countries. The Basketball DTS went to Belize and the Urban DTS to Colombia, both were there for 2 months. 
 
The Colombia team headed to the capital city Bogotá right after thanksgiving, after being in Bogotá for a week they traveled to a city called Cartagena on the coast of Colombia, and then after being there for two weeks they went back to Bogotá where they stayed for the remainder of the time. The team did evangelism every day through different events that they set up such as dances, drama and a picture questioner called Solarium. 
 
Doing evangelism every day calls for great stories of people giving their lives to Christ, one of those stories occurred when the team was working with a church in the south of Bogotá, there Jacqui Gala was sharing the Gospel with a group of people after having performed a drama. In her group was a young woman that immediately said that she wanted to give her life to Christ, Jacqui was baffled at her quick response, but she begun to share with Jacqui that earlier that morning she had a dream, in it her mother and her were being pulled down to hell but her mom was pulled up and went to heaven. There were animal like creatures that kept pulling her down and while all of this was happening she was reminded of things from her past, but she saw Jesus protecting her and pushing the creatures away. Then she woke up, she knew that when she saw the drama that God was speaking to her and giving her a warning that she needed to give her life to Him and so she did right then and there
 
The basketball team in Belize also had a great experience sharing with people and teaching basketball in schools throughout Belize, they also played against many elite Belizean teams. Josh Bandugla one of the team members was speaking with one of the basketball coaches, the coach shared with Josh that his ankle had been hurting for a long time and that his doctors told him that he had to undergo surgery because of it. Josh felt that he should pray for him and so he did. A couple of days later they met again and the coach told Josh that his ankle was completely healed and that he didn’t have to have the surgery because God healed him.
These trips were both great for staff and students and this week we are so excited to graduate our DTS’s after seeing these young people allow him to transform their hearts and minds to become true followers of Christ in that sharing with other people to further the Kingdome of God.

1.23.2013

Sally's Beauty Supply


So all last week we were on a promotional and ministry tour in The Lancaster and Philly area and it was amazing. We got to speak in Youth groups and community centers and we did facials, haircuts and more manicures than our hands could handle
There is 1 incident that sticks out to me in the midst of the chaos that became our week, that I really want to share with you.

It happened when me and another girl on the trip decided to run into Sally's "really quick" and grab some gloves in case we had to do pedicures the next day.
Now Sally's is one of those stores that I look at everything and most days walk out with just the thing that I came for so I grab my gloves and look around and just as I am about to get in line there is a woman trying to ask a question of the young girl behind the counter and no one is paying attention to her. So since she was asking a question about something I knew about I answered her. She then asked a few more questions and told us about herself as well.

By the end of this adventure I had told her how to remove her current gel manicure, what nail polish would last the longest and given her to formula for my hair color. We also got to pray for  her.

She shared that many of her family members were dying and her children were not following the Lord and so neither were her grandchildren. She told us how lonely she felt because her family were all in Pittsburgh where we are from.

I think that God knows everything (duh right?) I also think that he knows the part of everything that we know and he wants to show us how to use those things. How to take every opportunity to help people and to share his love with them.

He knew that while on this trip we needed to know that he was behind us 100%. That we needed to know that despite how hard it is to explain that it is so simple and natural for us to do.

So many times when I try to explain that the outward beauty is important too, that women need to know that they were created beautiful all around not just "pretty on the inside" and not "just another pretty face" That they are beautiful I find myself nervous wondering what my audience thinks. I feel as though I am stumbling over my words and no one is understanding me.

But at Sally's talking to this woman hearing about her life and telling her our beauty tips I knew this is what I was created to do. When I told a group of youth group girls that they need to compliment each other, to tell each other "you are a beautiful woman of God" or "nice legs" I knew I was walking in the my calling.

See God knows the part of everything that I know. He wants to use that. He wants to show me more. He wants to take the part I know and speak through me with what he knows.

As we go into each new thing with this ministry I am constantly reminded that we are completely dependent on God and constantly realizing that, that is where he wants us to stay.

Whether we are doing manicures in someones home for a group of 4 or speaking in front of 40. Praying for a woman in Sally's or cutting hair at a woman's shelter he has called us to dependence and we need to stay there. No matter where we might go or what we might do we are first and foremost called to stay dependent on him.

11.15.2012

COLOMBIA AND BELIZE BOUND!

The time is almost near for the DTS outreach! We leave November 28th. for Colombia and the 29th for Belize. There are 5 staff and 11 students going to Colombia and 2 staff and 2 students going to Belize. 

We will be ministering right in the heart of Colombia, the capital, Bogota. Bogota is the largest city in Colombia and one of the biggest cities in Latin America. Diego Colmenares the DTS leader is from Bogota, so we are all excited to see him in his natural habitat. Our team has been working on dances, dramas, and worship, to share the gospel message on the streets and in local churches. We will be partnering with local churches to evangelize and build relationships. We also have a desire to do a children's program while we are there which is in the making. Prayerfully we are seeking God to see if we will have the opportunity to travel to another urban city north of Bogota, Cartagena. We would like to travel and share the love of Jesus Christ to more than one city. Pray for our hearts to be prepared for whatever the Lord has us do and that we would continue to glorifying Him! 

On November 29th a team of revivalists consisting of  2 staff (William Leroy Kuncher III, and Ethan Cieply) and 2 students (Jnuru Goodwin, and Josh Bandugla), will depart with high expectations and great faith in God to Belmopan, Belize. Belmopan became the capital of Belize in 1970, after Belize City (the former capital) was destroyed by hurricane Hattie.  Belize is located in Central America on the eastern coast, surrounded by Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.  

The mission and task at hand is to fulfill the great commission and leave the fragrance of Christ in this small yet pivotal nation.  The avenue by which they will present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to God's beloved people of Belize will be by the sport of Basketball.  This is the second year in a row we have had a basketball focused DTS, last year the DTS went to Liberia, West Africa and contained both William Kuncher and Ethan Cieply.  
While in Belize the team will run basketball camps each week with a new school.  On mondays they will  present the Gospel to them in between training and drills, then the rest of the week the team will disciple the kids in different topics of Christianity. The team will also be doing street evangelism, and one-on-one witnessing daily.  Some other opportunities they have include, preaching in churches, talking on a Christian radio station, and also helping maintain and serving at a local Christian coffee house.  Above all else, the teams heart and passion is to see people come to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior and daily that will be made the main objective! 

10.06.2012

Redemption Is Real

    “Wanna party?”
   
    It was an offer 20-year-old Bill Kuncher couldn’t refuse. It became his nightly ritual, filling himself with alcohol till he sloppily made it to whatever would be his bed that night. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to quit. Like many alcoholics, he had tried numerous times but failed after a day or two. On the nights he found his way to his own bed and fatigue wouldn’t consume him, Kuncher would read the Bible.
   
    One day while driving to a party, Kuncher just became sick. Sick of his ritual, sick of the beer, sick of the parties, sick of it all. He knew he couldn’t quit. At least, not on his own. He reached down to his radio to change the station and it landed on K-Love. He reached down again to change the station only it wouldn’t change. Moved by this phenomenon, Kuncher asked “God, what do you want?” He immediately say the letters DTS in his head.

    Kuncher gave his life to the Lord when he was four-years-old but never knew what it truly meant. It was just some words he said to a guy who lived in the sky. He also grew up attending YWAM Pittsburgh's youth camp Joshua Generation. Even with this background, he eventually walked away from God. Making the decision to attend Pittsburgh’s DTS was a big move of God. Applying and showing up was a miracle.

    Kuncher came to the DTS on September 6th, 2010 fresh from the party scene, filled with pride, with his back towards God. Slowly, he began to open himself up to the Lord. On September 29th, just 3 weeks after DTS began, Kuncher was spending his daily time with Jesus when suddenly he saw a man’s face with a tear running down. When the tear hit the ground, it instantly evaporated. He knew he must be someplace extremely hot. Suddenly he was in a tunnel. It was dark and red. Cobwebs hung from the roof. On each side of the tunnel were doors in the shape of half circles with rusted doorknobs and rusted old-fashioned key holes. Kuncher bent down to look inside the hole, but the thick, inky darkness refused to let him see. He felt a presence with him, but couldn’t see anyone, so Kuncher kept walking to the end of the tunnel. Back and forth he walked, three times, continually ending up and the room in the end of the tunnel. Through this, Kuncher couldn’t hear a thing. Through all this, fear was never able to grasp him.
   
    Later that day in worship, he heard God speak once again. “[Bill,] do you remember when you were little and ask me where you would be if I wasn’t with you?”
    “Yes,” said Kuncher.
    “The room kept stopping at was the room where you would have been tortured for all of eternity,” God replied.
   
    Kuncher reached out to YWAM staff member, Diego Colmenares. He told Colmenares his vision and waited for a response. In that moment, God gave Colmenares divine insight into Kuncher’s vision. He told Kuncher that the presence he felt was Jesus walking with him. The reason he couldn’t hear anything was because Jesus had his hands over his ears.
    October 10th, 2010 at Word of Life Church in Monroeville, PA. Kuncher gave his life to Jesus.

    Kuncher has always loved basketball but since dedicating his life to the Lord, he has made it his ministry. He knows he is called to continue his sports ministry for a while yet, and he is looking forward to it. “Any basketball player can play together and walk away with a connection without even knowing each others names. It doesn’t matter if you are good or bad, the connection is still there,” Kuncher said.

    God has also placed a love for Russia in Kuncher’s heart. During his DTS, while on outreach in Liberia, West Africa, Russia kept popping up in Kuncher's mind, no matter how hard he tried to suppress it. In the fall of 2012, the staff of YWAM Pittsburgh went and saw Heidi Baker speak. During the conference she spoke out about a vision she was receiving. She say keys that belonged to countries being given away. A stranger had his hand laying on Kuncher and instantly Kuncher saw a skeleton key with RUSSIA written on it. He then gave it to God for his will to be done.

    It has been an adventure, Kuncher's 22 years of life. Filled with humility and and generosity, Kuncher acts as a light in a world of darkness. His testimony has helped changed the hearts of many, and he will continue to rock the world for Jesus till his end.

Yinz just gotta love Jesus!

Mari Bauman

8.24.2012

Fruit of the service

Their parents told them not to talk to strangers, but they didn't listen. It's a good thing too because if they had, Landon might have never have given his life to Jesus.

YWAM Pittsburgh staff members partnered with Lifestone Church that day to help them share of the love of Jesus on the Southside of Pittsburgh. YWAMer's Diego Colmenares and Ethan Cieply spotted a young man and they decided to talk to him. It was a conversation that would change many lives.

"The many was friendly and honest," Colmenares said."He told us that he grew up in a Christian home but he was walking away from God at that time."

The words God spoke through Colmenares and Cieply then touched the man's heart and he expressed his interest in attending Church and talking more with Colmenares and Cieply. He gave them his contact information and they went their seperate ways. Though not for long.

Soon after, they reconnected. The many attended church and began learning the basics of Christianity. 

"He is still learning from Church, conversations, and a bible study he attends at [Lifestone]. He got baptized too."

Because YWAMer's often travel around the world sharing the gospel, they do not always get to see the fruit of the service first hand, so experiences like these are precious. They not only encourage the new Christian, but also those that are able to watch them grow. 

"It's awesome to see him with a genuine hunger for God and a desire to have Christian and good friendships around him. It encourages me to keep going with evangelism but at the same time to care for people, to be in the process of a new christian, in other words, discipleship," said Colmenares.

Colmenares and Cieply continued to talk with him and are now good friends. The man is very honest with his struggles and the stuff he is dealing with. It is proof that "people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." -Matthew 4:16

Love on!

-Mari Bauman