The chapel on the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) campus in Harpenden has witnessed over 80 years of history. Once part of the National Children’s Home facility here, it is a place that has seen children come and go, growing up, creating memories, and moving on into adulthood.
Now a focal point of YWAM Harpenden’s missionary training centre, the chapel is a place where stories are shared, God is worshipped and the nations are prayed for. Within these stone walls people share their sorrows and joy, asking God for help and bearing witness to His response.
At the end of last week, the chapel was full once again, this time with teams of young people who had come to the end of a season of Olympic Outreach with YWAM’s Forever ministry. They had been staying in tents erected on the YWAM property, travelling into London every day to take part in outreach to the city. They filed into the chapel after an exciting and stretching week of working alongside churches and communities, and they shared their stories with one another.
Peter Prescott was the first to take the floor. He had gone to London not just to lead an outreach — he firmly believed he would see a long awaited revival begin. He recounted that he woke to his first morning in the city full of anticipation, saying “This is the day, revival will come!”Very quickly, Peter realised that things were not going to happen the way he expected. He and the team arrived to lead a meeting at a local church and were faced with a room full of rowdy children. Surely this is not how revival starts? he thought. After telling a Bible story and talking to the children, who had settled down somewhat, Peter and the team prayed that the group would experience the reality of God. It was then that one young boy — who had been restless and noisy throughout the evening — said he saw a man in a white suit. Another kid said, “Yeah! And he’s wearing a gold scarf and gold shoes.” It took a moment before Peter realised that the picture of Jesus they were describing mirrored the one in the book of Revelation, where Jesus is described with bronze feet, wearing a long white robe and gold sash. These children had been running and shouting in the church just moments before, and had only just begun their relationship with Jesus — but to them was given a vision of Jesus that few see. Peter had been expectant that revival would begin on this day. Although “Revival does not look the way you expect,” he commented, “it is starting to happen.”
Following Peter to the front of the chapel was Gary Lansdowne, who has been working with rock bands in the UK this Summer and reaching out to the people who came to hear the music. He has seen many people enjoy good music and meet God in the process. “Whatever God has you to do, just do it,” Gary said. “We don’t know what in the world is going to happen a lot of times. All you’re told to do is your share [of what’s God saying].”??Then Bjarte Buene took the stage. Together with his team-mate Andy, he has been prayer-walking his neighbourhood in Newcastle since September last year. Over this season they saw 15 people come to faith in Jesus. One visitor to their local prayer room said that over the span of one hour he saw 5 people walk in off the street and make a decision to follow Jesus.
As one by one these young people shared their mission stories, it was as if the walls of this old chapel were steeped in faith. The leader of the Forever outreach initiative, Yan Nichols, closed the evening by encouraging the participants: “You may have seen only a drop in the bucket as to the impact that has been made over this time. Rest assured, what has happened will leave a mark.”
Revival may not look the way we expect. But who’s to say that these chapel walls have not just been witness to its beginning?