Going to the Tough Places

YWAM Around the world in 50 Years

YWAM aims to send church planters to every people group by 2015

YWAMers have never been afraid to go to the tough places. And today they are seeing God do a breathtaking work among the millions who don’t know Jesus.

“We are on track to have a church-planting team among every people group by 2015,” predicts Gina Fadely, YWAM’s director of frontier missions. “Then the task to evangelize will fall to the indigenous churches.”

The face of frontier missions is changing dramatically, says Fadely, 49, who is based in Florida: “One of the greatest changes is seeing the mission field become the missions force.” 

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In the early 1990s, YWAM had 400 church planters working among the unreached. Today it has 2,300 missionaries, including more than 1,500 church planters. “Our dream is to see indigenous churches among every people group,” Fadely says. “The fastest way to see fruit is to go indigenous as quickly as possible.”

In the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, YWAMers are planting churches among 248 previously unreached people groups and seeing churches multiply in more than half these locations. Increasingly, native missionaries are a growing force, but there’s still room for missionaries from the U.S. and elsewhere, such as China. “If we’re not looking strategically at China as the biggest sending force in the future, we’re missing the mark,” Fadely observes.

More than half of YWAM’s frontier missionaries work among Muslims. In 1992, the ministry launched the 30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus, calling Christians to pray for the Islamic world during the month of Ramadan. Within a decade, more than 1 million participants were praying for Muslim peoples, with prayer booklets produced in 35 languages.

The global swell of intercessory prayer is unlocking doors in Islamic nations. Jesus is appearing in dreams to many Muslims, says a YWAM worker in the Middle East. Fadely adds: “Many young people in the Muslim world are dissatisfied with life, and they’re curious about Jesus. They’re using the Internet to explore faith, and that opens up huge potential for cross-cultural evangelism.”

Some 2,500 YWAMers took part in a Reconciliation Walk to express remorse for the way medieval Crusades—which were undertaken in the name of Christ—mistreated Muslims. Teams walked the entire 1,500-mile route from Europe to Jerusalem. In Turkey, which is 99 percent Muslim, people lined the streets to applaud them.

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