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Stone Soup and Mary's Birthday - August 2023
“Once upon a time, there was a very intelligent and hungry rabbit.” This is the story Yrismar Paraguan, our YWAM leader in Venezuela, shared during our weekly YWAM University Ministries Circle conference call. Yris continued, “A selfish tiger grabbed all the food before the rabbit could. So the clever rabbit put a stone in a pot, built a fire, added water, and began stirring.” This was a familiar story; Mary and I led a home group we called Stone Soup. In her broken English, Yris was very excited to tell the story that explains her ministry philosophy.
“‘Yum,’ the rabbit said loud enough for the tiger to hear, ‘this soup smells good.’ Curious, the tiger asked, ‘What’s in the pot?’ The rabbit replied, ‘My delicious Stone Soup, but it needs some carrots, onions, and chicken.’” The tiger brought the ingredients, and they shared a meal together. Yris said, “This is how we work with very few resources. We get everyone involved. If everyone brings a cup of rice, we can feed many.”
My Friday mornings are open office hours for talking and praying with various YWAM Campus workers worldwide. Yris completed YWAM’s Discipleship Training Schools and a few other schools, including our School of University Ministries & Missions, before joining our Student Centre staff in Cartagena about 14 years ago. Since 2014, Yris has led YWAM in her home town of Puerto la Cruz in Venezuela. Her team has struggled, but God has continually revealed Himself through His word and miraculous provision.
Her team has led two DTSs and worked with students in six universities. “But then,” she explained, “the government closed due to Covid, and universities were destroyed.” She said, “That’s when God spoke, ‘Bible Poverty.’ So we have given away 1000 Bibles, walking with boxes.” (They have no car.) Yris just completed a summer camp called Vamos (GO!). Two Stockton University graduates, Chris & Rachel Lopez - who went with me to Chile as part of their DISCIPLE Course outreach last year - will be with Yris and her team in Venezuela during their DTS outreach beginning next month. Pray for Chris & Rachel. And please pray with Yris: for a car and housing so she and the three staff members on her team can move out of her family home. Yris says, “It’s good. But it’s not easy.” It’s an honor to work with Yrismar.
This Fall, we are kicking off a new Stone Soup-type gathering in our home and, eventually, a few others on college campuses. The aim is to teach Missional Living. We’ll meet around the table and share a weekly meal, beginning with Jewish, then Greek, Italian, N. European, Spanish, Indian, Chinese, and African cuisine. Our menu will follow the advance of the gospel around the world. Today, 80% of the church is from the global South, and most are women of color. Most of the people I work with are women, and most are not Caucasian, including university students right here in South Jersey.
We will follow Jesus’ style of discipleship. Jesus modeled a sojourner’s life. He lived on the periphery of worldly power. He had no place to lay his head. Jesus did not sit on a throne; He sat at a table with sinners. Jesus did not build an organization; He is building his Church. His power is revealed through worldly weakness and spiritual righteousness. It was His character that touched, restored, and built people up. It was “through the glory of the Father” that “Christ was raised from the dead” (Romans 6:4). God’s glory is His “goodness,” His “mercy,” and “compassion.” (Exo 33:1819) God is humble, and His character is represented in His Name.
We will eat simple meals because Jesus reveals his character by choosing the small things. The little boy with “five barley loaves and two small fish” (Matt 14:21) is a great example. God chooses to accomplish his mission through the poor, the neglected, and the despised things. He uses yeast (Matt 13:3), a mustard seed (Matt 17:20), “stone, cut without hands” (Dan. 2:34). God chooses to speak “not in the wind,...not in the earthquake; and…not in the fire.” God speaks through “a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12)
Mary & I pray for God’s richest and best blessings on you and your family as a new school year starts. We pray for your family gatherings around your table. Thank you for your prayers and support for what God has called us to do.
P.S. Please send a note to help celebrate Mary’s 60th birthday on Sept. 12th.
Consider supporting Yrismar at YWAM Puerto La Cruz in Venezuela. Pray for Yris, her team, housing, and a car. Pray and give any amount that the Lord indicates. We will make sure Yris gets your donation through our channels.
YWAM Puerto La Cruz - Venezuela
CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Pray for Chris and Rachel, who just married and are now in the DTS in Cartagena, Colombia. Chris and Rachel helped lead our first DISCIPLE Course on the Stockton Campus. They joined the missions team in Chile last summer and are embarking on the next level of missionary service with YWAM.
The Lopez family will be traveling to 4 different cities in Venezuela (TRUJILLO, CARACAS, MARACAIBO Y PUERTO LA CRUZ) to serve on an evangelism outreach. This will be their practical following their DTS lecture phase time in Cartagena, Colombia. They are excited to share God’s word and make change in a new nation!
Deadline Date: September 9th, 2023
Needs: $3,500 USD
For Justin, Nathan, and Rebecca to receive a fresh experience with Jesus.
For Mary's ministry of Transformational Prayer and for people to find emotional healing
For Mary's 60th birthday celebration.
For our ministry partners to be encouraged to adopt us as their missionaries for stewardship of God's resources.
Pray for students. God is pouring out His Holy Spirit at Stockton, Philadelphia, and Venezuela.
Pray for Yrismar, Chris & Rachel, and for the DTS outreach in Venezuela.
For the YWAM circle of University Ministries serving campuses around the world.