When a miracle-making God told YWAM: “I will provide”
Joseph Chean for YWAM // June 13, 2019, 11:03 am
Photo of apartments in Geylang by Carol Neuschul on Flickr.
When Loren Cunningham founded Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in 1960, he knew that God desired YWAM-ers to lead a life that fully relies on Him for financial provision.
Through the decades and across nations, YWAM-ers have given of their time and talents to God in missions without expecting any financial gain, and because of that, amazing testimonies of God’s provision abound.
This journey of faith is one that YWAM Singapore has walked as well.
A home and a mountain of debt
For 15 years (1980–1995), YWAM Singapore moved from place to place, without a home to call our own.
The vision for Asia was clear and big, but so was the housing debt.
Then in 1996, out of obedience to the Lord’s leading, close friends of YWAM Singapore purchased a building at 4 Geylang Lorong 9 in our name, as a permanent home. Nestled in the darkest part of Singapore – Geylang – this home was to be a place where potential missionaries are trained, refreshed and sent into all of Asia.
The vision for Asia was clear and big, but so was the housing debt – a total of S$4 million (S$3m bank loan and S$1m interest-free loan). When the 1997 Asia financial crisis hit unexpectedly, the loan that was planned to be cleared in five years soon became an insurmountable mountain.
All financial commitments made to YWAM Singapore could not be fulfilled as most of our donors were badly affected.
But God provided one businessman, who carried us sacrificially for the following two years, despite his own financial difficulty.
By the year 2000, YWAM Singapore began carrying her own load.
The lean years were truly years that taught us to remain generous despite having little.
For the next 13 years, it seemed like finances were trickling in like droplets of water. We never knew when the next donation would come or if we could pay the loan next month. Often we were left with only S$5,000 in our bank account, but every single time we rallied together in prayer, an unexpected gift would come our way and tide us over.
The Lord was assuring us: “Trust me. Keep doing My work. You’ll be fine.”
With that, we continued to obey God’s call faithfully and diligently – training, evangelising, discipling, and serving the churches, young people, and those in the marketplace. The lean years were truly years that taught us to remain generous despite having little.
That continued in 2010 when God called us to serve the street ladies, homeless, youths in the prisons, unreached people groups without medical care, and people hit by disasters.
As we served and gave more of ourselves, God remained faithful.
His miracles, His story
Then in 2012, God said to us: “Because you care for the poor, I will care for you. Pay attention to the debt.”
What followed was breakthrough after breakthrough, miracle after miracle of God’s provision.
“Because you care for the poor, I will care for you. Pay attention to the debt.”
In response to God’s word about the debt, over 60 missionaries from YWAM Singapore, all with their own personal finances to raise, gave sacrificially and raised a total of S$70,000.
Meanwhile, a church found out that YWAM Singapore was carrying a bank loan of S$1.25 million at a whopping 6.95% interest, and assisted us to refinance that amount with a bank at a much lower interest rate of 2.5%.
The church then donated the entire amount needed to cover that interest!
We continued to see generosity extended to us from all avenues.
A friend gave a seed gift of S$1,000. A couple gave their year’s bonus of S$100,000. On August 9, 2014 (the start of our National Jubilee), the person who loaned us S$1 million, interest-free, in 1997 cancelled our remaining debt of S$690,000! Friends and churches also continued to give generously.
Our faith journey of dependence on God’s provision is His story, for His work, for His glory.
Within two years, YWAM Singapore became debt-free on October 31, 2015!
After 13 lean years of testing, being absolutely stretched in our dependence on God, He finally brought a miraculous breakthrough.
YWAM Singapore belongs to God, and we are called to live our lives according to His ways. We are merely His stewards, entrusted with the responsibility to carry the vision and dreams in God’s heart, to embody His presence to a world that is lost.
Therefore our faith journey of dependence on God’s provision is His story, for His work, for His glory.
This story was first published in Youth With A Mission‘s annual FACES magazine in 2016 and is republished with permission.