Thursday, April 6, 2017

New convener

In YWAM worldwide, we are moving from having one leader with a leadership team helping them to a shared leadership model. In Central Europe this means that we have been moving away from having a Director/Chairman with a leadership team (CELT) to having a Core Circle with a Convener who brings the Circle together (with the advice of a group of elders).

In Central Europe, the "Chairmanship" has ended and we now have a "convener" model, where we have two co-conveners who lead the core circle with advisory elders. The core circle then all help convene/lead the area of Central Europe. A reminder that at present, our core circle is made up of Florin Mihaly, Belinda Chaplin, Yohanan Rempt, Jason Hinton, Alket Sako and Arlen Stoltzfus. Our core circle elders are currently Helga Nuernburger and Wolfgang Jani.

After much prayer and processing with the core circle, Yohanan Rempt has felt led to step back from leadership in the Central Europe area. Through corporate prayer and seeking God as well as input from CE elders, the Core Circle, and the European Field, Florin Mihaly and Belinda Chaplin have been given the role of conveners of the core circle. Yohanan is starting the process of handing off his leadership role, and becoming more of a coach/advisor to Belinda and Florin as they co-convene the core circle.
We are looking forward to being together at YWAM Europe United in Albania- while we are there we will be publicly honoring Yohanan for his service to the CE area as chairman/ convener.

How will this affect individuals and operating locations in CE? 

Some things are changing:
  • there are more people involved in making decisions (an expansion of leadership)
  • there will not be a CE “office” any more physically; the mandate of the CE office will be broadened to include a more virtual group along with several circles - which are either formed (member care and communication) or in the process of forming (leadership development and others). In this way, we will continue to carry out the wonderful work that has taken place from this office for the last ten years.
  • the Director/Chairman previously took responsibility for many things - the Core Circle will increasingly direct more things back to the operating location/nation depending on the situation in order to increase the grassroots effectiveness of YWAM
  • the regional leader (which used to be called the Director or the Chairman) role will be held by the Core Circle as a group rather than an individual as we have done in the past  
  • our goal and desire is that more teams would be visited more frequently by someone from the Core Circle or one of our elders. With this expansion of leadership, there are now more people to do this. 
  • crisis and conflict will be dealt with either by the Core Circle or by a specialist or elder appropriate to the situation, with the hope that we will be able to engage with crises and conflicts as geographically and/or relationally “close” to the crisis or conflict as possible (ie. if there is a crisis in Romania, we would endeavor to find the most qualified people or person to respond in or near Romania. To find the most “qualified” person, we would take into account geographical proximity, skill, history, and relationships)
  • we will continue to develop more area circles - creating more opportunity to engage in ministry at an area level as well as local

But some things aren’t changing:
  • people will continue to be served in the Central European Area by the leadership and elders, locally, in their nation and at the area level
  • people are still committed to pursuing God and the Great Commission 
  • YWAM vision and values are not changing
  • people are still accountable for their actions through national and local structures as well as through the Core Circle as appropriate
  • we will continue to be responsible to our individual callings before God
  • CELG/CESG and other Area gatherings will continue to happen

We value your prayers for our leaders as they serve the region, especially during this transition time.  

-Belinda Chaplin
YWAM CE Co-convener

Thursday, March 30, 2017

It's time for Slovenia!

From the 18-21st of March, we organised an event called “It’s time for Slovenia” in Ljubljana: a mini-gathering of people from all over YWAM Europe interested in starting something in this nation. There were 22 adults (and 7 kids) from 12 different nations who came together to see how we could start something in YWAM in Slovenia. It was 2 days of praying for the nation and the people who are already working there in different organisations and also trying to see what and how we can work there in the future.

The team who was organising the event came together because everyone around about the same time were feeling God telling them “It is time for Slovenia”. it was such a privilege to work together with people from YWAM Grimerud in Norway, YWAM Amsterdam in Holland, and Andreja, the only known Slovenian YWAMer... Here we are: Andreas and Geir Edvin from Norway, Andreja, me, and Reinier from Holland. 

There was a media team from YWAM Amsterdam who came specifically to make videos to promote the idea of YWAM in Slovenia. Here is one of their videos:

While we were organising the event, we discovered by accident that our former European Director, Jeff Fountain, "just happened" to be there at the same time to promote his book about Europe's Christian roots, which had been translated into Slovenian. So, as part of the gathering, we held a special event called “Hope for Slovenia. Hope for Europe” with him as the main speaker, with local people attending as well.

Throughout the event, we clearly saw that it is time for Slovenia!!
Belinda Chaplin

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

God's miracle in Croatia

It's been a dream and vision for a long time to have a boat here on the water, using it as a tool for evangelism, discipleship training, reconciliation, leadership development, youth work and whatever and wherever else God calls us to. It's also a big part of what God is doing in YWAM international, as we became the 25th boat in the YWAM ship ministries around the
The boat came out of the water, was cleaned, repainted and the engine was serviced. Then the we sailed the boat on a 15-hour trip from the town of purchase to our home town. This all happened during our DTS last year.

The prayer we pray most often is, 'God, you are the focus and this boat is just the tool'. It's certainly been an adventure and we are excited for where God will continue to take us.

Jarod has already been part of regattas (races), we’ve used it for church groups and we took a trip to a nearby island to pray for and encourage a prayer group that meets there. We are now getting ready to use it for our DTS starting this weekend.

We named the boat 'St. Brendan' after an Irish Monk, ship builder and explorer from the 6th century who was known as 'Brendan the Navigator'. It is believed by some historians that he was eager to spread the Gospel to unknown lands, with the winds of the Holy Spirit in his sails. Here is the prayer of St.Brendan which we believe is so fitting for the vision of this boat.

“Help me to journey beyond the familiar 
and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.

Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm within me.
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now, are in Your hand.
Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
and somehow, make my obedience count for You.”

Thank you for all your interest and support for the boat. We've been able to pay for a place to keep the boat for this year, fix and implement all the bits and pieces needed to make it sea worthy and we've seen a good amount come in towards the loan we took out to buy the boat.
We have around 25,000 Euros still to raise and also around 500 euros monthly for the running costs, so please keep us in your prayers.

Bexi Graham, YWAM Croatia

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lessons of The Past In Our Walk With the Lord

In YWAM, we are keen on listening to the word of the Lord, right? We count it as a high value, don’t we? In fact, it tops the list of values regarded as something like our “constitution” as a movement in the place of theologies or rules & regulations. But how do we get it then, especially for us corporately?

Loren Cunningham in his books explains to us how (being a founder or apostle, respectively) he quite regularly went to people whom he considered to have spiritual insight and stayed with them. Often, as for example with Joy Dawson (“Walking in the Fear of the Lord”, “Intimacy with God”), he would then open the door for a prophet to speak to YWAM a certain message that often helped bring certain key things into the foundations of the mission. This was his way to put into practice a reality in the Kingdom of God: Apostles have a “first” place, then prophets do their ministry next to release groundbreaking things for God (cf. Eph 4: 11ff). then other gifts spring into action. So, as we are called in YWAM to “do new things in new ways”, we do well to make sure we understand the Lord’s actual word for that time and season as best as we can. Leaders labor quite a bit sometimes to bring good speakers to our conferences. They do well if they always look out also for those who can give us prophetic inspiration as a Mission-movement for that time.

Another source is to corporately pause and listen in order to hear God’s voice in our meetings and conferences. A fitting place to do that is obviously during worship times in big plenaries but also in smaller intercession groups. Now, the Lord does bless us and he gives us actually many words, but what do we do then with this?

Now, as Belinda Chaplin recently asked me to recall a certain impression I received during last year’s Central European gathering in Hungary, at first I drew a blank! I do get prophetic impressions, but often I have a hard time recall it because I don’t write it down or record it in some way. This can happen to all of us: we are too excited to take care of it in that moment. But let’s do this: make sure you find your own personal way of not forgetting what the Lord said – and do it! This, by the way, is also helpful when it comes to test such prophecies, which we should always do according to 1. Cor. 14:29. When you have put the content down somewhere in a diary, journal or mobile phone, you can always go back to it and see in what way it has later become relevant. Or: whether you did the thing you should have done with it.

Now, back to last year’s conference and the words we received then. It is a wonderful aspect of the gift of leading to also discern the spiritual value of a word or impression and then help the body to whom it is geared apply it in a meaningful way. Please, if you are a leader, have this in mind for a situation of prophetic activity: maybe you could serve by either coming behind a certain word and show the people how to apply it – or perhaps sort it out: we are called to discern and test everything and keep what is good. Train yourself in finding the sensitive words that minister in such a way!
The impression I had at the Central European gathering in Hungary last year was like this: in a first image I “saw” a portion of ground all full of weeds and nettles, grown very high. Then the picture changed and it was as if I was now in a barn like some farmhouses have. The ground with the nettles was now inside and free of the weeds and stingy nettles. And I felt the joy of re-discovering things of value that had been deposited and forgotten there. So, the call then was for us to look again what valuables from the Lord we might have stored away in our “barns”, forgotten, put aside. It appears that part of the Word of the Lord presently is what he has spoken or given to us already in the past!

Now, I once heard Darlene Cunningham speak about what to do when we have lost the sense that we hear the Word of the Lord to us. She talked about the story in 2. Kings 6 when Elisha made a lost axe-head flow up in the river at the spot where it was lost. So, in case we have lost the word of the Lord, we’re supposed to go back and check whether we have been obedient to the last word God gave us. Sometimes the Lord is silent because we didn’t want to act according to his last instruction or forgot it.

But what could this word about the past now mean for us as YWAM CE? I would like to point us toward one application (of many, perhaps) I feel it can have.

Some time ago Alina Weidell did a wonderful job for us all: she collected from different ministries active in Romania their “history” – that is, both how that ministry was started and built up as well as what emphasis and lessons the Lord gave them over time! You can obtain this collection from Heidi Kovacs and learn what God did and said to different ones of us in the past. To me this is a great treasure box and inspiration! And sometimes the lesson is as strikingly simple as that: endure the mosquitos in order to be taken seriously by the people you want to reach! A lesson I gathered from David Painting’s description of their beginnings. How about if as a ministry leader you write down “your” part of what happened – or identify a soul who would enjoy being the “Chronicler”?
Interestingly for YWAM Romania there is no central place it all started from and then filtered to the periphery. Yes, there was ministry in and out of Bucharest – but major centers were founded and flourished in the Western part of the country. All at the same time almost and all with unique “flavor” and zeal! As far as I can recall it was Jeff Fountain’s effort and merit (YWAM’s European leader at the time) to travel tirelessly to Romania and other places and work towards bringing all ministries into fellowship and correlation and then some cooperation!

May I suggest that teams get together and get familiar (again) with God’s history of their place, base or ministry? Why not invite your former leaders to share! And get acquainted also with the word of the Lord to others in YWAM of your country or CE, respectively. In YouTube you will also be able to find teachings of our founders and some mothers and fathers in the Lord. I recently listened to Loren speak on the Word of the Lord. I sure didn’t only enjoy the hairdos of the Seventies… Nothing is as enriching as listening to the lessons and the stories of those that went with the word of the Lord before us!

© Birgit Hämmerle, March 2017 

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