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YWAM Founder Loren Cunningham Passes Away: 'He Has Added One More Stamp to His Well-Worn Passport: HEAVEN!'

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Youth With A Mission founder and International Chancellor of YWAM's University of the Nations, Loren Cunningham, lost his battle to Stage 4 cancer on Friday. 

Cunningham's staff shared in a web statement, "Loren was the first person in history to travel to every sovereign nation on earth, all dependent countries, and more than 100 territories and islands for the sake of Christ and the Great Commission (Mark 16:15). Now he has added one more ‘stamp’ to his well-worn passport: HEAVEN!" 

Cunningham was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer back in March, which had spread to his lungs, bones, and lymphatic system. He was determined, however, to continue on with his ministerial efforts of serving the Lord and others until he was called home.  


Cunningham was the first known Christian missionary to reach every nation and country. He was well known for deregulating ministry by creating a platform through which young people could serve others globally within a short-term time period.  

He also facilitated numerous other ministerial efforts, including YWAM Olympic Outreaches, YWAM Ships, International Torch Run, Pray OMT, and Cardinal Points Prayer Days. 

In addition to his global ministerial efforts, founding of YWAM, and University of the Nations, Cunningham was also a well-published author. His books included Is That Really You, God?, Making Jesus Lord, The Book that Transforms Nations—the Power of the Bible to Change Any Country, Why Not Women?, Winning God's Way, and others. He also carried out a mission to end Bible poverty by translating the Bible into every language and making God's Word accessible to all. 

press release from University of the Nations shared its intent to keep carrying Cunningham's legacy forward, saying, “He dedicated his life to global missions, and Loren's legacy will continue to impact lives worldwide through the next generation of YWAM leaders committed to fulfilling the Great Commission." 

Cunningham is survived by his wife, Darlene, two children, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren. 

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Stacey Thoroughgood is an Associate News Producer for CBN News. Thoroughgood has worked at CBN since 2022 and specializes in written journalism. Her educational background is a blend of communication, politics, and government studies, which often she showcases through the content she develops for CBN News. Thoroughgood actively supports youth advocacy efforts and higher education accessibility within the Commonwealth of Virginia, has served as a Teaching Assistant at Regent University within the School of Divinity and School of Communication and the Arts, and alongside her service to CBN, is