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  • Daniel Secrist

YWAM or YWHAM? JCUM or JuCUM?

I have been asked to explain why in Spain our mission is pronounced and written as JCUM (Hoe-ta-coom) but in the rest of the Hispanic world it is known as JuCUM (Who-coom).


I’m possibly the last person living who knows the answer to this pressing question, so here goes! The mission was founded by Loren Cunningham and he called it Youth With A Mission. (The acronym “YWAM” is pronounced Why-WHAM). It was awkward but who wants to argue with the founder?


Wedge Alman was the face of YWAM in South and Central America and traveled for decades around the continent preaching and leading schools and evangelism efforts. He had decided early on that JuCUM was an easier way to say it in Spanish, so all Latin America was trained to say it thusly.

Daniel with a YWAM team in Spain, 1973


I didn’t know this, so when I went to Spain with the first permanent YWAM team in 1971, I simply took the English equivalent (Y-WAM) and shifted it to Spanish: the acronym for Juventud Con Una Misión is J-CUM. So how do you pronounce that in Spanish? Simple, just like it was done in English: J-CUM or JOTA-cum. And that’s how it happened.


Years later I was quite surprised when Latin American Ywammers began arriving in Spain calling it JuCUM.


Well, Spain is always different anyway, so it just seemed to fit the whole cultural picture. After many years of calling it JCUM all over Spain, our name was known. Why change it now? We stuck with JCUM.


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