Late this spring, our Communications Manager, Kaitlyn, had the opportunity to travel out to Colorado Springs, CO to attend the YWAM EMERGE Business Summit. If you’re not familiar with YWAM (Youth With A Mission), it is nothing short of a rising tide. Founded by Loren Cunningham and his wife, Darlene, the organization has existed since 1960 and now contains upwards of 18,000 workers and has a strong and growing presence internationally. YWAM is the decentralized parent organization to a number of other initiatives that have spawned off of its original vision to send youth out into the nations to share the Gospel.
Today, EMERGE exists as a division of YWAM, led by Josh Imhoff and Nick Schreifels. With a desire to act as catalysts pioneering change, EMERGE seeks to serve proven leaders in finding innovative solutions to reach the least reached. They’re passionate about international entrepreneurship & kingdom business, so it’s easy to see why they’re a natural partnership for us at RCE.
We applaud their recent efforts in aquaponics, a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. They’ve been able to successfully prototype and implement this method on their land in Colorado Springs, CO, which also hosts a beautiful ranch overlooking the Rockies.
They perform the aquaponics in a large greenhouse that now produces a thriving harvest of lettuce whereby, they’re able to sell at local markets and to many fine-dining restaurants, giving proof of a fruitful business concept. Prior to the business summit, EMERGE also led a training, specifically sharing insights and techniques on aquaponics.
All summit attendees were later encouraged in hearing from attendee, Pastor, and African business owner, Akinlabe Adekunle, who shared how revolutionary and transformational the aquaponics technology will be in his community. He shared an executive summary of the business plan he crafted throughout the week, which he plans to implement immediately upon his return to Nigeria. He also expressed his deep appreciation for the network of kingdom business leaders and entrepreneurs, saying it reminded him of his community-driven neighborhood in Africa and made him feel right at home.
Although hosted at the Colorado Springs Marriott, The 8th annual Emerge Business Summit concluded with a tour of the greenhouse property, a homegrown dinner, and a celebration of gratitude and appreciation. The EMERGE team treated all attendees to a salad made from their fresh produce, homemade sides, and some of the best farm-raised fried tilapia you can get your hands on!
The Ranch’s barn was decorated and adorned with style that only further exemplified the care, attention to details, and family atmosphere that EMERGE imparts on all who come in contact with it.
At the close of the final session and culmination of the conference, we were spoiled to walk out and witness a beautiful sunset that prevailed after a series of wild rain showers.
God is faithful and always in the details. He always shows up when we gather and He has surely called us all to a greater purpose. Sometimes we have these great big plans and then we feel like they fail at times. But just as we learned of aquaponics, what we see as waste, He sees as the soil for something greater to grow.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
We encourage you to check out YWAM Emerge for yourself, and even consider attending their 2017 Business Summit!