Thursday, February 2, 2017

The blessing of giving

A vision we had in our hearts for this Christmas was to go in four different places with gifts for poor children. It started small, but as we talked to people and gathered the shoe-boxes, we were amazed by the generosity of people and their open hearts. 

One of the places was Iasi and a village near Iasi where we gave shoe-boxes to small children from a very poor area. Being there was also an opportunity to spend time with the base leader in YWAM Iasi, as she is one of  the people we mentor in ministry. 

Another team from ELS Cluj when to visit the small YWAM team from Uzice, Serbia. It was such a blessing to spend time with Chris and Mirjam Klop and their children. We realize that Christmas really is and it should be a time to encourage others and poor your hearts in love.

One of the main focus area in our ministry is schools and kindergarten. We have found an amazing openness in Baciu, where we live. The teachers are really happy to receive teams from YWAM, so we took advantage and we also organize here an event before Christmas. We shared the story of Jesus and listen to carols from children.  

It was a complete blessing from God to be able to do all this, since we have been able to give, in total, 400 shoe-boxes in Baciu, Craiova, Republica Moldova, Serbia and Iasi.

By Florin Mihaly, ELS Ministries Cluj

YWAM United outreach in Athens

What an incredible day. We were out with some YWAMers and Tred who presented a great performance and shared the Gospel. Some great things happened. I was asked by one YWAMer to help him translate. In a matter of a few minutes we prayed for two people. One big guy who had a lower stomach pain and an older man whose back was hurting. 

We shared about Jesus and how He wants to show himself to them today. We prayed for them and they both received healing immediately! You should have seen their faces when they realised the pain was completely gone... They asked "who are you guys and how do you do these things?" We shared with them and one accepted Christ right there. 

I can not believe how this does not surprise me anymore... It's completely normal and I see it all the time. God is moving...And I am so humbled that He is allowing me to partner with Him in sharing His love at the streets...

by Timos Christoforidis

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Our Very Own Greek Crisis

The laid back mood was instantly shattered by the sight of broken glass 
from our hire car...

 YWAMers are known for being flexible: We are ready for anything and not 
afraid of the unknown or the unexpected. These are great skills to 
develop in the life we lead and they often open us up to see the 
miraculous hand of God at work. However, the following incident reminded 
me that life is wild enough without adding to the crazy by not preparing 
for those rare moments of crisis. Our CE Member Care Team have produced 
the Emergency Personal Data sheet for this very reason.

We had taken a trip to Greece to celebrate Steve's 50th birthday and 
were happily exploring Athens; seeing the ancient ruins, tasting the 
delicious food and enjoying in the warm Greek culture. Then it happened! 
Our hire car was broken into and my wallet (cash, bank cards, ID, 
driver’s license & insurance card) and Steve's passport were stolen. 
 From that point we were in full-on crisis mode; securing police 
reports, car hire claims and card cancellations; all of which would have 
been easier if we had made copies of the lost documents.

 It just so happened to be Thanksgiving weekend so the US embassy was 
closed: There was no way for Steve to get a passport in time to catch 
the flight home with me. To make matters worse, just after I left, Steve 
got really sick, missing his embassy appointment. Eventually he did 
recover enough to get a new passport and fly home a few days later. Then 
we waded through all the bureaucracy of replacing the stolen cards. It 
took over a month, but it’s all sorted now, AND we are working on 
getting copies of all our documents stashed away safely with our 
completed Emergency Personal Data sheet - just in case...

 The wonderful silver lining to this story is that the first day we were 
in Greece, I heard someone speaking with an American accent who looked 
familiar. It turned about to be Aaron Hoover of YWAM Athens. We were so 
blessed to join their Thanksgiving celebration later that week and meet 
the whole team. That in itself was a special birthday gift for Steve, 
but we had no idea how important it was to meet these people until 
later. When Steve got stranded, the Athens team kindly took him in. That 
same evening he got really sick, so they nursed him back to health and 
smoothed things out with the US embassy.

 God arranged for us to be well taken care of, even in a country that was 
unfamiliar and where (we thought) we didn't know anyone. God doesn't 
promise that things will never go wrong, but He promises to not abandon 
us when they do!

 By Jo Kilbry

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Shoeboxes in Cahul, Moldova

To me Christmas means hope and joy brought by God through Jesus to the world. It is the celebration that changed my life 15 years ago, when I decided to receive Him in my heart.
This Christmas, with the help of ELS Cluj team, we shared the message of Hope with 37 children and teenagers from Branza village and we broth joy giving them Christmas gifts. Most of them are coming from poor families with many needs and difficult situations. I was encouraged by a teenage mom when she told me that what we are doing is good and to not stop and then she asked me from where does this desire come,  to continue to serve and show love to these children and teens. I answered that it is the result of constant relationship with Jesus and als0 the teamwork.

We also visited the Single Mother Center from Cahul. There is a place where hardly you can see a smile and is a big need of Jesus and hope. Togeter with Ionela, my colleague, we broght a smile and wanted to reminf them that they are not forgotten by God, but he loves them and He is taking care of them.  Besides the gifts, we have given them and the love of Jesus that we could share, we have listened and encouraged them.

This is our mission every day to go and show love, bring hope and joy of Jesus in such places where there is great need.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

YWAM Bosnia | Christmas package distribution

In Banja Luka, in December, after weeks of practicing, running around getting everything organised, it was time to do "Cika Jovan i najbolji poklon" (Uncle John and the Greatest Gift) for our shoebox package distribution.

I wrote the story (with the help of some friends!) and it is about how Uncle John invites all the (naughty) children to come to his place and then tells them the story of Christmas (and that the greatest gift is actually Jesus!) through pictures... there is a bit of "magic" involved and it is pretty cute. You can watch it  on youtube (push the CC button for English subtitles).
Here you can also see the narrator, who tells a lot of the story...
After the plays, we sang a couple of Christmas carols (translated)...
And the most important part of the program is at the end... the Samaritan's Purse shoebox packages!!!
Then it is rinse and repeat... we can fit about 60-70 children in the church I work with and so to do the over 400 packages, we need to do quite a few plays and distributions. Also because we have such a lot of distributions, we have two groups of kid actors... here are the second group, and both groups did a FANTASTIC job... They are all kids we have worked with for years and it is so fun to see how God is using them now to reach other kids. We were so proud of them!!
And both groups loved singing carols with me :)
Some happy customers...

As you can see, we had a lot of fun with our Christmas play and handing out of shoebox packages... Seeing the smiles on the children's faces makes it all worthwhile!!

Belinda Chaplin
YWAM Banja Luka
Bosnia Herzegovina

Friday, January 6, 2017

Wonderful Christmas Event in Krakow, Poland

It all started with one homeless man, Franciszek, which I met at the shopping center Lidl. He collected the shopping carts to get some money. After a while I realized God has put that man into my path. We talked, I visited him at the shelter where he lived, I got to know the director, the psychologist and other staff. I met an amazing openness to serve there.

A year ago, we did our first outreach with Kings Kids and our local church in this shelter. We had families, kids, teenagers with us, a great mix of people. We were totally free to share the gospel with these men. Some of them gave their lives to Jesus. From this time on Franciszek regularly comes to our church, to all the other meetings and he also came to our Kings Kids family camp last summer. Last Sunday I saw him reaching out his hands and praying for healing for a sick man. God is wonderful.

Now to the Christmas event. We (my husband, me and our pastor) attended a year ago, their Christmas "wigilia" (in polish Christmas eve celebration). It was so empty, dull with no life. So, we prayed and asked if we could organize it this year and so we did. God blessed this evening in an amazing way. We had over 100 homeless man there, 40 people from our church who served them a meal and a senior gospel choir who sang with them carols.

Franciszek was in it all so happy and excited. Many of the man were deeply touched by the Love of Jesus, many cried.  We had families with kids there and the children went afterwards to the rooms of the very sick men. These men could not come, they have no legs, are blind etc. We went from bed to bed and gave these men presents.

Our thoughts and prayers for the future is to create a gospel choir with these men. They love to sing and move around. But again, it all started with one man and an obedient step to reach out to him.

By Helen Hess
YWAM Poland

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Christmas in Craiova, Romania

The last Christmas (2016) was a busy one for us. God has blessed us with open doors to serve here in Craiova.

As a base we have a DTS running in our base. We have 5 students, 4 of them are involved in all the DTS. 

As a base beginning with 15th of December we entered fully in serving the area we are in. We received shoe boxes from a church from Spain and from a church from Germany and from ELS ministries (YWAM Cluj ministry ). 

ELS ministry from YWAM Cluj, besides the packages they sent a team of young people (3 girls and 3 guys). Together with them we went to a children group in Oboga ( a nearby village ) and we had a children program, then on Sunday we went to a hospital for children with brain damage and blessed them as well. 

Another 2 points of serving were the gypsy children from Romanescu neighborhood and 30 children and 10 families from Valeni ( a village from this region). God helped us to reach with the Gospel approximately 100 children. 

Another event that we organized in this time was a Christmas concert at Filarmonica Craiova.   
The purpose was unity among churches and evangelism. God showed His grace and we 80 young people coming together from Brethren church, Baptist church, Pentecostal church and Orthodox Church. In the concert hall there were at least 200 people that didn't know Christ. They had the opportunity to hear a clear message of the Gospel. 

As a base it was a time of victory and challenge as well. Flory's grandpa died, Ema's mom also died and a church where the brother in law of Willy is serving went through a fire. God was with us every step of the way through the prayers of our ywam friends as well from the churches. God kept us united and He helped us walk in faithfulness.