In the first week of September 1996, Richard and Kara Thompson and their children moved to Las Vegas. One year earlier the Lord had begun to speak to them about moving there from Amsterdam. With them was a team of four other adults, and their first task was to conduct an extensive survey of all of the Las Vegas valley pastors and churches. Having a greater understanding of the needs of the city the following ministries were established.
1996 - 1999
Lost World Rescue, a youth training and inner-city outreach for Las Vegas churches was established in 1997 and is still operating today. Over fifty local groups have been trained and mobilized to do outreach primarily in the inner city.
In 1998 YWAM Las Vegas established the Street Cafe in partnership with churches around the city. By the time it closed in 2004, the Street Cafe had provided over 150,000 meals to the homeless.
1999 - 2003
In 1999 launched its Mission Adventures program. A one week training and outreach in Las Vegas for youth groups from all over North America and beyond. Hosted throughout the year. Over 2000 youth have been mobilized to come to Las Vegas in community outreach.
International Mission Adventures Outreaches, established 2002-present: An overseas version of Mission Adventures.
Winds Of Change (formerly LuminoCity) 1999-2005: An outreach to the estimated 15,000+ prostitutes in Las Vegas.
Discipleship Training Schools, established 2000-present: Three month lecture phase to train and equip youth, mobilizing them into missions with a two-to-three month cross-cultural international outreach. Over 100 students have gone through our Discipleship Training School (the core course of a degree with the University of the Nations – the YWAM University with 30,000 students per year in campuses across 100 nations). These Las Vegas students have worked on community outreach projects in 17 countries. Most recently in the slums of Jakarta, Indonesia and in the past such places as tsunami affected areas of Sri Lanka and inner city immigrants in Paris and Berlin.
X-Alt (King’s Kids), established 2001-2008: Children learning about and displaying God’s love through performing arts, sports and community service projects.
From 2001-2007 up to seven after school Bible clubs were held weekly in four middle schools and three high schools – serving sometimes up to 1500 kids per week.
Hang Time established 2002-2005: An after-school homework club for neighborhood kids – ages from elementary through high school. Up to 120 kids came on a regular basis up to 4 times a week in three different locations in the city.
2003 - 2007
Project Igal, 2003-2004: A performing-arts ministry.
YWAM Clothing, 2002-2004: Production of YWAM clothing for fundraising and promotional purposes.
The Point, established 2003-present: A Filipino community church.
The WISE School, 2004: A secondary school of more intensive missions training with credit from the University of the Nations. Five students trained in Las Vegas with a two month outreach in Hungary and the UK.
RescueNet, established 2004-present: An international, rapid-deployment disaster response team. Trained 27 YWAM members in disaster mitigation skills including emergency medical, disaster counseling, search and rescue, and refugee reception. Two of those trainees have joined full-time staff locally and are ready to deploy globally at a moment’s notice. For example in December 2004 we deployed into the Philippines in response to Typhoon devastated areas and in November 2005 to Pakistan in response to the earthquakes.
One of our staff trained with and joined a local trauma counseling team (TIP).
Purchase of the Beach House, moved in April 2006. This was our first purchased property. A big house that is zoned commercial and residential – we accommodated staff and students here for small schools and housed our main offices.
Foster Connect, established 2006-present: Developed to minister to the broad needs of the 3,000 Foster Children in Clark County annually. Connecting volunteers to opportunities, families to resources and families to families. Practically and spiritually supported 18 foster families; have mobilized 24 families to take foster children into their homes and over 100 foster children have received positive benefit from Foster Connect to date.
We have launched a new YWAM center from Las Vegas with seventeen staff at Pismo Beach/Central Coast California and are currently developing other locations around the world.
2007 - Present
School Of Apostolic Pioneering (SOAP), established 2007-present: A brand new school pioneered for the University of the Nations and launched in Las Vegas – to equip students to encourage and launch new YWAM Ministries and Bases around the world. Trained 9 students and staff in Las Vegas in 2007 and 15 students and staff in Kanpur, N. India in 2008.
The Anthill Project, established 2007-present: an educational development project targeting schools in war-torn West Africa.
Purchase of “The Pier”, purchased December 2007: A missionary training base and office hub for YWAM Las Vegas and a local church and ministry partnership providing social services for low and middle income clients. With a projected launch date of September 2008, a $482,000 grant was supplied by the City of Las Vegas to help realize this project.
We have launched and/or assisted in bringing leadership to various networks in our city. Through these we have promoted unity and developed partnerships with, for example, African-American church leaders, Filipino church leaders, the Christian Ministries Network, the Youth Pastors Network and the Global Missions Network.
We have seen over 3,500 people make commitments to Christ in Las Vegas and the 35 nations in which we have ministered.