By Carrie Lee Arant-Nguyen
Standing on the banks of a river, they were about to come into their inheritance. This was new territory, geographically and spiritually. This new territory would be full of promise, and require a greater level of faithfulness in the God who had led them so far. It was a place of great hope and great risk.
As they looked out over that new territory, God spoke again.
And Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.’ (Joshua 3:5)
The Lord told our base early this year that we were moving into a season of consecration. At about the same time, we were dealing with some consistently low student & participant numbers in our schools and programs. After facing many challenges and questions around these low numbers, by September our student count for the next SBS dropped significantly and this challenged us on whether the Lord wanted us to run this school or not. Looking at the events of the last year and many recent words from the Lord, we realized that God might be calling our entire base into a different focus for the next several months. Our community went into a time of prayer and fasting. We sought the Lord together, revisiting past words of God and praying about potential paths for the near and far future. Eventually we came to a point where it was clear that running a school was not inside of God’s plan for us this fall. But that was only one part of the picture; what did that mean practically, and how was God calling us to be faithful in the present, with the final months of 2019 and beyond?
And this word “consecration” surfaced again.
The reality is that God is calling our campus into another time of growth, a time of sharpening and refining our faith by being required to trust in him. It is a call to consecration, like the call seen above from Joshua- a time of preparation, refining, repentance, and renewal of commitment to God’s call upon us so that we can step into the times ahead. In Scripture, a time of consecration usually preceded a great move or revelation of God (Exodus 19-20, Joshua 3) or a time of being set apart for a certain work or act of worship (the priests for service in Exodus 29; the temple as God’s dwelling place in 1 Kings 9:3; Jesus’ time in the wilderness in preparation for ministry in Matthew 4; and many more). In everything He has spoken to our campus so far, the Lord is calling us to consecrate ourselves, individually and corporately, so we can be ready for the work He has set before us. And while we have a few steps with which we can move forward, we don’t know the entire path and still have some big decisions ahead of us.
In this pursuit, we ask for your prayers. Times of refinement are not easy.
Financially, we are having to trust the Lord for big things right now (for example, the big bills of heating our buildings in the fast-approaching Canadian winter). Relationally, we desire to grow in unity and in deeper relationships with one another. The different schedule is already opening up fresh opportunities to pour into local churches and our local community in a variety of ways, and we hope to develop these relationships even more than we have been able to in the past. Without funds to run a full kitchen with regular meals, the schedule has changed to offering lunch on Mondays and Fridays, with a potluck meal (bring what you can) on Tuesday nights and a $5 dinner (or, pay what you can) on Thursday nights. While we seek to preserve the practice of eating together in a different time, there now opens up new opportunities for generosity and creativity within these meals.
While we have a few steps like these to start with, the next few months will be full of learning curves and trusting in God for each next step. Again, we ask for your prayers, and we invite you to come along with us. This blog and the rest of our social media accounts will be featuring more and more stories about individuals and ministries at YWAM Turner Valley. Our hope is that you will be able to know us more and join us on this journey as we seek to follow God faithfully into new territory.
Whether you find yourself in similarly new territory or not, we hope that you can find comfort and encouragement in what is shared here, and ultimately in the presence of our Creator who guides us in all things.