The History of Lausanne


The Lord led Loren and Darlene to begin YWAM’s schools in Lausanne in order that we might pick up some pf the mantles that had fallen to the ground here: hospitality, Christian university, nonformal education for sacrificial ministry exemplified in the school of Antoine Court, and teaching the nations. This 1989 video is an introduction to these domains.

One mistake; the original bishop’s residence was the smaller building seen toward the end of the video; the fortress seen at the beginning was built centuries later.

An omission: around the feet of the statue of Justice there are four human heads, representing the Pope, the king, the emperor, and the sultan. The statue was done by a French Huguenot refugee, to emphasize the truth that all people are under the Law and subject to judgement, and that the powerful are not exempt.

Tom Bloomer, Burtigny, July 2019


The early history of the Hotel du Golf

This is a memo written in October 7th, 1980. Tom Bloomer sent it to the base leadership team in Lausanne, Switzerland, after a conversation with the former owner of the Hotel, Mme André.

I thought you might like to know that in a conversation we had with Mme André a couple of days following M. Blanc’s death, she shared with us quite a bit about the early history of the hotel.

Some of these stories should perhaps be discounted a bit as particularly the personality details may not be 100% true. Also, Mme André’s memory for details is not what it used to be.

In any case, the hotel was built in 19O3 by a sausage butcher who had an inheritance from his mother. Apparently he was a man who was rather rude to his guests and it did not work out very well. After about 30 years the bank, Credit Foncier Vaudois, took over the hotel because he could not make the payments on the mortgage. This was in 1933-34 and the value of the hotel at that time was estimated at SFr. 80,000.

At this time they also completely redid the hotel. It was then that the running water was installed and Mme André said that everything was very well done. It ceased being a rustic type place and became more of an upscale type establishment.

Madame André arrived in 1934 to be the manager of the hotel. At that time she was Mme Cottier and she and her husband took over the place. In 1935 they built the garage. In this pre war period there were quite a number of distinguished visitors, some of whom still return here to visit the place and to see Mme André.

Back then the French franc was strong against the Swiss one, so there were Parisians, Americans and all kinds of guests. Many apparently came because the golf course nearby was one of the first ones in this part of Europe where you could play without having to be a member.

In 1948 the annex was rebuilt; it had been a chicken house and a laundry, but at this time the apartment and rooms were put in.

In 1957 Mme André bought the hotel with a mortgage from the Credit Foncier Vaudois, however she sold it just three years later in 1960 to Gaston & Trudy Hubert for 400,000 Swiss Francs. The Hubert’s redid it at this time, installing the indoor toilets. The rooms which are now toilets on the first and second floors used to be housing rooms. We rented the hotel from Mme Hubert in 1969, on condition that we take in the hotel guests who had already booked. Then we bought it from her a couple years later.

Mme André was in charge of the hotel for 36 years and lived in Room 1, which is at present the bathroom on the first floor to the left. She said, “A general always needs to be with his troops!” and I imagine she ran a pretty tight organization. Here is the list she gave me of the hotel staff as it existed in the 1930’s: 1 farmer, 1 secretary, I barman, 2 waiters, 1 chef, I assistant chef, and chamber maids hired from the area. She paid the princely wage of 5O centimes per hour to the maids (mostly farmer’s wives) and had the reputation of being able to get her money’s worth (however, we must remember of course the Swiss Franc was worth a lot more then than now, so it is difficult to compare these figures with those we know today).

Where we used to have the printing machine, and what is now our pantry now, used to be the ice storage place of the hotel. They would keep the ice down there during the summer because it was the coolest place, being under the stairs on the north side. Also, Mme André has complimented us on how the place has looked and said that many of her former clients when returning to see her have mentioned that the building looks really nice.

One American was there when both of his dogs died, and she gave him permission to bury them between the two linden trees in front of the main building. When he heard that we had bought the property, he immediately called her to make sure that their burial place wasn’t going to be disturbed.

When the plumbing system was upgraded a few years ago, trenches were dug through the front lawn and a thick layer of charcoal was plainly visible. So there used to be a large wooden building on the present site, which makes sense because it is on the corner of two very old roads. There is no record in the cantonal archives of what this building was.

Whatever was there before, I believe it was a place of unanswered prayers . . . because that would be the reason that the Lord sent Loren and Darlene to that spot to start out first YWAM training center.

Why Geneva? Why Now?

On Tuesday, 18 June 2019 I gave this short message to the delegates at a seminar in Geneva on alleviating poverty. They are in government and business mostly, and are seeing to learn how to influence the writing of good laws for their nations. The title I was given: ”Why Geneva? Why Now?”

P.S. My walking tour of the history of Geneva is on YouTube in 7 episodes.

A Biblical View of Work


If we look at the Bible, the very first way God reveals himself in the first verse of the first chapter of the first book, (that would be Genesis 1:1, as the SBS people have figured out by now) God is working!
Where do we get this idea that work is literally a punishment?

A message given in November 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland. With translation into Mandarin, and available with English subtitles.

The Haywagon Story

I realize it’s a bit long, but if you’ve never heard this it’s worth the read. The beam I’m holding, below,is the last remaining piece of the haywagon.

Since it’s a perfect example of the death-of-the-vision principle, it’s a resurrection tale as well.

In early 1974 Loren was in prayer at the Lausanne base, and received what seemed like an unusual word from God: to pray for a farm. Unusual, because farms in Switzerland were virtually impossible to come by; they are almost always family-owned, passed down through the generations and very rarely ever sold. Without any possibilities in sight, Loren nevertheless held fast to what he believed God had told him.

Then he heard that all the equipment of the farm across the road from the YWAM base was going to be auctioned off. The Lord spoke again: “Go to the auction, and buy some farm equipment; because I’m going to give you a farm.” In obedience, Loren took a step of faith and bought a milk can, a roll of barbed wire, and an old, run-down hay wagon. The last item would prove to be more than simply symbolic.

One of the young Swiss staff members at the Lausanne base saw the hay wagon being pulled into the base parking lot. She was shocked to learn that Loren had paid 1,000 Swiss francs for it (as were several other staff). The next weekend she told her parents about Loren’s word about the hay wagon, the ridiculous price paid for it, and the word about receiving a farm in Switzerland. Her father listened with great interest, because he was on the board of a certain orphanage in a village called Burtigny! It was none other than La Maison. He approached the other board members, informing them that YWAM was praying for a farm and asked if they would consider the organisation as a possible candidate. This began a lengthy five-year process, during which the orphanage director repeatedly rejected the pastor’s proposal.

Loren left Switzerland in late 1974 to begin the Kona base in Hawaii, then Joe P. left Lausanne for Kona in 1976. But the francophone staff at the Lausanne base were convinced that the property and its farm was God’s provision and continued to press forward in prayer over the next years.

To make a long story short, the property was turned completely over to YWAM in 1979. It was debt-free, the freezers were full of food, and there was money in the bank. The property included a large central building, a fully-functioning small farm, a large professionally-equipped garden, a carpentry shop, a garage, a stone bread oven, several apartments, four barns, 18 Swiss cows, and their cowbells.

Four young Swiss couples left the Lausanne base and moved to Burtigny in November 1979. They held their first DTS there in 1980 and from the outset had a clear vision to see the training up of francophone youth into missions. YWAM Burtigny has strong links to French-speaking Africa. In keeping with the strong social legacy of the orphanage, the base also took to heart its call to Mercy Ministries on the local front. They took care of the aging staff who had faithfully worked in the orphanage, set up a counseling centre, worked in programs for the restoration of drug users and held regular Summers of Service and ministries with local churches.

The buildings were run down (the school wing was actually condemned), and we have been doing non-stop renovations ever since 1980, some quite extensive. YWAM has used the now modernized former orphanage as a training centre for short- and long-term missionaries, and by the time of the centennial of the buildings in 1999 we had trained as many young people as the number of orphans who had been sheltered here during the 80-year life of the orphanage.

Here’s the point: that small, seemingly insignificant step of faith (in reality a step of obedience) of Loren’s buying the hay wagon was the thing the Lord used to put us in touch with the board member who became our link to the orphanage director. And that first investment of 1,000 Swiss francs has been multiplied many thousands of times over. God is good!