TOWNSVILLE, Australia — Nearly 100 participants from Youth With A Mission and other ministries convened here in July for the Ship Equipped Ministry gathering. Those in attendance listened to and shared outreach stories, strategies and ideas in an effort to collate best practices, listen to one another and to God.

The meeting served as a celebration of the growing fleet operated by YWAM staff worldwide. The mission now has two-dozen vessels on five continents and elders within the mission hope to expand that number to 40 across seven seas.

This Ship Equipped Ministries gathering was a time of renewed commitment to the interdependence between YWAM ships and the University of the Nations — or UofN — programs that train missionaries to be effective in the field. YWAM Ships Kona Director/CEO Brett Curtis, who attended the meeting, underscored the crucial nature of the ships-UofN collaboration which has been dubbed the “twin” strategy. It was initially developed by Loren Cunningham, YWAM’s co-founder, and outlined in his book “Is That Really You, God?”

“One twin, our vessels, has the capacity to carry volunteers to isolated places. The other twin, our university, has innovative outreach tools from its degree programs and up-skilling seminar courses each designed to disciple nations with a 100-year strategy of education,” Curtis said. “Where you see the twins engaged together there is tremendous favor and growth.”

At the meeting, attendees heard of increasing numbers of volunteers serving aboard YWAM vessels with teams for up to eight weeks. They are involved in ministries as diverse as serving refugees from Syria arriving in Greece to on-board day surgeries in Papua New Guinea. They also were briefed about the yachts doing Bible distribution in Micronesia and water projects across Fiji, among other initiatives.

“The acts of mercy are wide and varied,” Curtis said. “Each of them is very powerful with the deeds of compassion creating a shield around our workers, especially in settings such as Southeast Asia.”

Participants at this gathering also discussed issues of communication, crisis management, interfacing with governments and developing marine training to better meet future regulations as well as having various fleet-support offices mentoring and assisting new ministries coming online. Finally, they learned that two more vessels might be added to YWAM’s fleet in August.

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