Posts tagged ‘YWAM’

August 3, 2015

Packing for Switzerland

by Rod Smith

When I arrived in Geneva – Switzerland (there are others) yesterday, I stepped of the United flight from Dulles wearing Nate Smith’s school shoes. I wore Thulani Smith’s white Butler University bulldog shirt and my yellow hat.

In my DPHS (readers from Durban will know what DPHS is) carryon bag – a treasured gift from Richard Neave – I had Coates’ “Between The World and Me” which I have already read but still can’t put it down and “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri.

I also brought my (new) red sunglasses and my (new-to-me) red shoes.

Then, it thrilled me to peer out the porthole as we rolled to the gate to see it was raining quite steadily. This meant I could wear (not slung over my shoulder) one of my favorite gifts – my Swaziland jacket commissioned by Bernadette Fourie.

Some other things in my bag?

A pocket New Testament from the welcome desk at Kevin Driver’s church in Banff, the beautiful fountain pen my brother gave me for my birthday, and a plastic model of the human brain.

In my wallet there are two four-leaf clovers laminated beautifully. These are gifts from my friend Jim Cannull. No – I am not superstitious – but several years ago he found the clovers and went to FedEx and laminated them for ME.

Every piece of all this is intentional.

I could tell you exactly why I put it all together and how I put things together for each trip. I will not go into that detail now – although I will be glad to answer specific questions.

Essentially I do this it is because it is NEVER just another week of speaking.

On Monday morning I have the unique, singular joy and unmerited privilege to stand before a class of young men and women (in their 20s and 30s) from several nations (mostly Chinese) and representing very diverse cultures.

I need all these artifacts and symbols and playful pieces of clothing and equipment, not for them, but to enhance my courage to empower all the students to live great and robust and intentional and international lives of meaning and significance.

I need these things to remind me that I come from a community, an international community of men and women who love me. I come from sons who love me. I come from a brother and a sister and immediate and extended family who love me and would do anything for me. I carry a plastic brain to remind me to use the front parts of the real one in my head. I wear a Swazi jacket to be an outward symbol of the Enchanting Continent of my birth.

I wear my yellow hat because it’s Yellow Hat Month and I am going to wear it when a hat is necessary and as long as I can find it – I lose stuff.

I wear my son’s shoes so I can learn to walk in them.

And, beginning on Monday morning (in Lausanne) I am going to tell every last one of the students whom I will then teach for several hours each day that he or she is stunningly beautiful, uniquely talented, and absolutely loved by a Benevolent God and that not a single one of them should put up with a single minute of disregard or ill manners from any person ever (and I’ll add strongly and graphically that I don’t care who it is).

I’ll also teach them Family Therapy 101.

February 5, 2010

Rudi Lack – my first taste of YWAM

by Rod Smith

Rudi Lack is one of my heroes...

I had just re-ignited my relationship with a church in the early 1970s, maybe ’73 or ’74, when my pastor (Charles Gordon) announced a visiting preacher was coming to Durban who needed somewhere to stay for about 10 days. With my parents being in Europe, and our house empty, I volunteered.

YWAM’s Rudi Lack (who died this past week) arrived and his faith, determination, charisma, good-humor, and desire to know and love the nations of the world, hit me like a ton of bricks. He was my very first YWAMMER.


1. Watched himself on our TV (very new to South Africa at that time) being interviewed on a show I seem to remember was called Crossroads. This was much to the amusement of our maid who had hardly ever seen TV let alone had she been in the same room as someone who was “on” it.

2. Having just completed a tour from an Asian country, he was lugging the largest “portable” radio/tape/speaker system I had ever seen and gave me the freedom to use it. When the batteries (eight of them) ran down I replaced them. I recall bagging them in a little brown paper sack and putting them in the trash. Then I retrieved them from the trash – and then, I questioned the wisdom of saving old and used and already-replaced batteries and placed them once again in the trash. That night when Rudi returned from his day of activities and the trash was already gone, Rudi asked where the “used” batteries were. Rudi announced that I’d disposed of his 8 rechargeable-cell batteries. “Did God not give you a ‘check’ in your spirit? Did you not hesitate and wonder why?” Rudi asked. I recounted what had occurred and he playfully scolded me for not listening. It took days (and a great deal of my cash) to find replacement rechargeable batteries – the existence of which, prior to Rudi’s visit, I was unaware. I am still trying to hear the “check” in my spirit (about much more than re-chargeable batteries) and think of Rudi every time.

3. While visiting, Rudi wanted prayer cards made for every country in the world. He knew exactly what he wanted and how much God had told him to spend. I drove him all over Durban from printer to printer for at least three days until we found a man who knew exactly what Rudi wanted and quoted the price that was exactly what Rudi had heard from God. I recall my annoynace hearing Rudi reject a printer who wanted to do the same job for less money.

4. Seated for our first breakfast in my home, I decided that since this man of God was at my table, I’d better pray over our meal. Closing my eyes, I invited Rudi to join me: “For what we are about to receive, may The Lord ….” I nervously began, only to feel Rudi looking at me and not participating in my great act of faith. “Brother,” he said interrupting me, “Do you want to pray or not?” Rudi proceeded to take a folded map of the world from his shirt pocket, laid it out on the table, and “prayed up a storm” for the World God so loved. I think this was my first ever occasion to hear someone pray for anything or anyone other than his or her own needs.

5. When Rudi preached at my church I responded to the prayer for my “tent pegs to be enlarged” (whatever that meant to me at the time) for my “boundaries to be enlarged” (again, whatever that meant) – and, when I saw Rudi, when I ran into him quite by chance, several times in subsequent years in Kona, Hawaii and in Mangere, New Zealand, when I myself was on teaching and preaching trips, I’d remind him of those days at my home and how indeed I believed our prayers had been answered.

“Keep telling me about it,” he’d say, “Of course, I remember it all……”

Rest in peace Rudi, or shall I say, do whatever you want in heaven, just allow others to rest, if you can! Thanks for those few treasured days in my boyhood home, where you showed up and showed me what passion for people and for the world really looks like.