by YWAM Singapore founder, David Hall
YWAM Singapore Beginnings
'63 Loren &
Darlene Cunningham went on their around the world trip.
likely included in that. Who, what, where, for how long, etc. can still
be had from them - IF somebody takes the time to get it from them
before it's too late.
Good to hear from you. Lydia forwarded
your email. Glad to know there's
some interest in the history. Here's some background from my limited
Probably too detailed, but pick out what you think is
and Jannie Rogers led an "Around
team in '68... They spent about 2 or 3 months ministering in Indonesia,
then on to the Philippines, so they may have spent some time in
Tooley said, "Their goal was to challenge local young people to
get involved in sharing the gospel and as a result see YWAM start up in
various Asian countries, which is in fact what happened."
By 1970 Floyd
McClung took over the leadership of the "Around the World"
previously led by Jim & Jan Rogers. They stayed in Singapore for
two weeks early that year, but it was only for R&R, not
Six from that team went to Thailand, including David Cowie
normally credited as the founder of YWAM Thailand. Warren Fountain,
Jeff's older brother from Auckland NZ, was also part of that team. From
there they went
to India and Sri Lanka. The Dilaram ministry eventually started up...
Tooley had a team with him in Singapore in the middle of 1970
two months. He shares about YWAM in Singapore during those years:
"Among those on the team included a guy from
Wallis. We would work with one local church at a time for
two weeks, providing training and taking the local Christians out
witnessing door to door. We had as many as 100 out witnessing at a
time", Ross said.
during this time that we got to know Brother Goh Ewe Kheng
Church of Singapore, and also worked with that church. Margaret and
continued to develop a friendship with Brother Goh.
"Visas for Singapore were very difficult to get in
those days so we
made regular trips across the border into Malaysia as necessary. Debbie
Seaward, Mike Bare', David Wallis, Kel Steiner and a girl from
were among the team members at that time. Even Fred Seaward's wife,
speaks fluent Chinese, often joined us in our witnessing. From
Singapore the team went to the Philippines. David Wallis went on to PNG
and teamed up with Dean Sherman, Tom
Hallas and Kalafi Moala.
"From May '71 to May '72 we were back in Singapore,
though most of our
focus during that year was on Malaysia. But we did work with a number
of the Singaporean churches during that time, again it was primarily
providing some training in evangelism and taking them out witnessing
door to door. From there we went back to the Philippines and pioneered
the YWAM base there.
"Later in the '70's there was a couple working with Brother Goh's
Teo, under the name "Mission Group" with a focus on
developing a boat ministry. This was considered a YWAM ministry. But it
Wenge and Loren Cunningham
- with the help of
Kheng - got the YWAM name registered in 1973 when they thought
were going to get the Maori (a New Zealand ship)
and have it registered in S'pore.
it wasn't until the summer of 1980 that
establishing an ongoing YWAM
base IN Singapore became someone's priority.
just taken on the role of the YWAM
Pacific & Asia regional
director. There were only a few YWAM bases in the region at that
time (Australia, NZ,
Samoa, Japan, Micronesia, the Philippines, and more recently Thailand
and Hong Kong.)
But Kalafi went on to pioneer - or
the pioneering of - quite a few of the key bases in the Pacific &
Yeo and family
had gathered quite a few to attend a School of Evangelism
in Kona, Hawaii - that was the Spring of 1980. Lydia and
I were on
that school, serving as his assistants. A few months before the start
the SOE, over pizza late one night in Kona, he
invited Lydia and I to lead the first
DTS in Indonesia that summer, then "pioneer a YWAM base in Singapore"
after the Indonesian DTS lecture phase. So we prayed and felt it was
right to accept the challenge of his
had put an
interest and even a love for Singapore on
my heart as a youngster, though I really knew nothing about S'pore at
the time. And Lydia's parents were part of the Dutch culture in
Indonesia - before moving to Holland and then the States. Her father
spent time in Singapore's Changi prison when he was in
military and taken by the Japanese as a POW during WWII.
There were five outreach teams from that SOE. Tom &
Cindy Bauer led the outreach team in Singapore, working
the Church of Singapore.
I - and several others - led the first Indonesian DTS. It had 100
students from 12 tribes
around the country. At the same time there were also teams from that
SOE working in Jakarta, Surabya and Bali.
After the Indonesian DTS lecture phase
three other DTS staff (Joyce, Jana
and two of the
and Wilma Mandagi Beach)
joined us to help
pioneer a YWAM base in S'pore. Brother Goh
graciously let us stay in
the house he owned next door to his in Siglap. It was only 3 or 4
bedrooms, but we were often overflowing. (After we left he had the
house remodeled, going up another story.)
More than one key
Christian leader said they didn't think we would be
able to set up a permanent YWAM base and run YWAM schools in Singapore.
were also told we wouldn't likely get visas and we wouldn't be able to
our first child born there because of the government's policies at the
time. But I began the process, despite their caution, and started
making contacts and doing the
paper work for each of those areas - plus
the paper work to legally produce a publication. The same "mountain of
red tape" was
involved in getting government permission to put out a one page
newsletter as to put out the Straits
People prayed. We did the homework. God did "the
six months we had
(1) work visas, (2) government approval to run the YWAM training
courses, (3) gov. approval to put
out a publication of whatever size we wanted to
produce, AND (4) our first
baby - Jonathan
- was legally born in Singapore. Neville Wilson
Fiji & New Zealand) helped lead the first DTS in Singapore.
The first year was quite a
struggle. Our first Christmas
there was the most difficult we've ever experienced. Yet we treasure it
in our hearts. We struggled financially. But God was faithful!
from Tauranga in front of the
YWAM Singapore base on Fidelio St.
with some key Christian leaders. We were essentially blacklisted by
the influential leaders. Some rumors, half truths and other
(relating to K's divorce and their interpretation of some YWAM teachings they heard
about from other parts of the
world) were circulating among Christian leaders.
One key pastor wanted to use us to help pioneer one of his new branches
and talked to Kalafi
before we got there about our team doing that. I knew
that would close the
many other fine churches if we only focused on working with just one
church. And the team was not comfortable with that pastor's
he was very disappointed that we didn't jump in to
help him with that project. And
that closed some doors and led to misunderstanding among some key
YWAM staff meeting,
circa Christmas '81
Black, Dave Hall, Frank Gobal, Sam Yeo, Georganne, Jana, Lydia
Kalafi had given
clear marching orders to "just focus on evangelism". So
I didn't do what I had done in places I had previously pioneered:
at developing strong relationships with key Christian leaders.
After realizing the almost fatal mistake of taking his instructions too
literally, I was encouraged to focus on some key relationships. That
really paid off.
After the first year Kalafi and
some additional team
members and with their assistance we rented
the large house on Fidelio Street in Opera Estates (pictured above).
Kalafi and I went
together to meet face to face with several key
Christian leaders to
sort out the misunderstanding. These leaders were very gracious and
helped sort out the misunderstandings.
Gobel and Robin Disque
joined me in forming a
leadership team. We
got involved with the Evangelical Fellowship
of Singapore, some inter-church projects, and
the doors started to open to preach and
various churches. During our third year in Singapore - 1982 - we were
ministering in 22 churches, youth groups and camps a month. We couldn't accept
all the invitations. So God
really turned things around. I really enjoyed
that part of the ministry in Singapore - as well as just about every
Picture: Harvest Journal
mini-magazine, number three
We stayed involved in personal
evangelism (downtown, selected high-rise neighborhoods and the
district). And we started going to some ships one day a week. A number
Lord from various nations through that Seaman's
Ministry. The Upper
Room meetings were impacting many lives each
Thursday night. We ministered periodically at Teen
Challenge and other ministries
as well as in some of the prisons and work-place & home
fellowships. We were distributing Christian books and YWAM
mini-magazine we started had a circulation of 10,000 with some churches
asking for more than twice as many as we could provide. And the door
to expand the 32 to 48 page quarterly into Malaysia and beyond.
A side note: Over a decade later -
just before we moved from Hawaii to New Zealand - I met a Chinese girl
from Penang, Malaysia in Hawaii. When she heard my name, she got
excited and said: You're the reason
I'm in missions today. She went on to explain how she got a
copy of the Harvest Journal
in Penang and went to the DTS in Sinapore as a result of the ad for the
DTS in the magazine. She actually arrived in S'pore the day after we
left in '83. After her DTS she spent a number of years as a missionary
in Taiwan and was taking a course at the University of the Nations in Kona
in preparation of spending the rest of her life as a missionary in
China. Thank you Lord for letting me meet her and see some of the fruit
of the Harvest Journal.
We hosted some YWAM
teams from Hawaii, New Zealand and
Australia in cooperation with various Singapore churches, provided
the legal covering
and housing for the start of a couple other ministries, including Bethany
Fellowship and Gospel
Recordings, sponsored some seminars with speakers
Sherman, and sent
outreach teams to Indonesia,
Malaysia, Thailand, and
that helped produce some key Christian leaders
during those early years *.
I got an email a few days ago from
those students I had lost track of. He has been living in Europe
for many years and God is using him to reach many of his work-mates
with the Gospel. That has resulted in a strong home-fellowship and he's
sending some of them to
do a DTS in
left) went to help
pioneer YWAM in India, Rosalind
(pictured right) Joyce and
others went to Taiwan and China...
director was one of those
students. Wendy from
India was another. She's making her
only in India but Internationally through the GLT (YWAM Global
Leadership Team) and other projects. Sami Liu
oversite to much of what YWAMers are doing in central Asia in Fronteer Missions. Gary
& Carol Lang continue to touch lives for the Lord through
their involvement in the IT industry in other countries. Yeo Lei Hok
top picture), who
came to the Lord through our friendship
evangelism, is still very involved with
family in a good Singaporian church. Others are serving on the pastoral
staff of mega-churches in Singapore and Malaysia.
By the end of 1982 we had a very
team of over 40
YWAM staff. In the spring of '83 we turned the
work over to
you and Matt
bring more of a focus through the FEET ministry and
take YWAM S'pore up to a new
level. And you did! Thank you both !!!
[ Lydia, Jonathan and I went back to Hawaii
and served in various
capacities for the next thirteen years with the developing University
of the Nations on the Big Island, before making our move to New
Zealand. And the
rest - as they say - is history. ]
We appreciated the informative background of the early beginnings of
YWAM Singapore. Much of it we had known, but some things were new and
helped me get a better perspective of the sequence of events, too.
During the nearly 3 years we lived there ('88-'91), I enjoyed and felt
honored to carry on your heart and vision, Dave, for building closer
relationships with the pastors, churches and community leaders. I'm
sure Matt was
doing that too. Although I
served on the [YWAM S'pore] Council and Patti was very active on Base,
we were both
off island a lot ministering throughout the region.
But, you and Lydia left a very significant legacy in Singapore that
many, many are grateful for. I hope that whatever Celia is
with your historical review, will provide some special and long-overdue
recognition that you both deserve for your years of service and
sacrifice there. Proud & Thankful for you guys...
* Some names have been
left out for