YWAM Founder Loren Cunningham Diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer
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Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission and International Chancellor of YWAM's University of the Nations, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. But the 87-year-old global evangelist has no plans to slow down his ministry efforts.
The news was shared by Loren's wife Darlene in a Facebook post on Friday.
"Thank you so much for your prayers for Loren and his health. As you know, the doctors did a biopsy on some very slow-growing nodules in his lungs earlier this month, when they got large enough to biopsy. They turned out to be cancerous, which led us back to Honolulu for a full body scan on February 22nd," she wrote.
"The results from that scan have just come in, revealing that there is extensive cancer in Loren's lungs, bones, and lymph system (stage 4 cancer)," Darlene shared.
"One miracle is, the cancer cells have not spread to his brain. Another is that Loren is able to be quite active at this time!" she explained.
"We believe with all our hearts that these miracles are an answer to the prayers of the Saints. Everything about this case has been unusual. The oncologist said that usually, lesions in the lungs grow very quickly; Loren's have grown very slowly. We don't know whether that will be characteristic of the growth of the other lesions as well. But what we DO know is that he is in God's hands," she continued.
"We have already decided as a family to prioritize Loren's QUALITY of life over trying to extend the length of time, through chemo or other treatments that could reduce his energy and productiveness. He has Jesus, family, friends, and vision. Who could ask for more?" she wrote.
Andy Beach, Cunningham's former assistant said despite the diagnosis Loren continues to work on his ministry goal of getting the Bible orally into every mother tongue on earth.
"That passion fuels him every day, all day!" Beach told CBN News in an email.
Franklin Graham stopped by to see Loren and shared his visit to the YWAM campus in Kona, Hawaii on Facebook.
Loren's vision to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ began when he was a 20-year-old Bible college student. He was in the Bahamas on a singing tour. As Loren spent time in prayer, he was leaning back in his bed when he got a "mental movie." He "saw" waves on a map. These waves then turned into young people going into every continent and sharing the Gospel.
Four years later, in 1960, he started Youth With A Mission (YWAM). In 63+ years, YWAM has become one of the largest Christian mission movements in the world.
Loren believes that every Christian is a missionary and that there needs to be a "deregulation" of missions. In other words, the global Church needs to change the way we view and conduct missions. Missions can be done anywhere one is, even in the marketplace. Loren says when Christians do that then we will be able to finish the Great Commission.
His heart is to have the Bible in every home, believing God can and has used His Word and the principles of His Word to transform nations. In order for that to happen, the Scriptures need to be translated orally into every Mother Tongue as a response to Jesus' prayer "on earth as it is in heaven." In heaven, in Revelation 7:9, we see "a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb." Loren says that as we sow the Bible into more and more lives, we will see the worldviews of people and nations realigned – the Bible will change their thinking, their values, and their behavior.
Known as the "Six Million Mile Man," Cunningham is the first Christian missionary to travel to every nation and also the first to go to every dependent country (238) – plus more than 150 islands and territories (400+ geo-political areas) for the sake of the gospel.
YWAM reports it has more than 2,000 centers in 191 countries around the world. As of its 50th anniversary in 2010, YWAM had 30,000 full-time volunteers and reported that more than five million participants had served in its programs as students, short-term volunteers, and full-time staff. From that point, YWAM went "viral" and they decided to stop trying to keep a count. Now only God knows the numbers.
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