Saturday, October 28, 2017

Central European Core Circle meetings

Alongside our monthly Skype meetings, we also try to meet twice a year in person. We met in April in Albania, and we decided then that I would host them in Banja Luka, Bosnia Herzegovina in the autumn. Jason is on sabbatical in the US, but the other 3 came along and we had a great time - Alket from Albania, Arlen from the US, serving in Romania and Florin from Romania: Florin and I are the co-conveners of the team.
The first whole morning we spent having Skype meetings with people from different locations across Central Europe. It was our annual Prayer Day for Central Europe, and we managed to meet up with people in 10 of the 16 countries and prayed together with them. It was so good to connect with so many of the over 200 YWAMers who are in Central Europe! Below is a photo of us with two locations in Greece and one in Macedonia:
The rest of the time we spent meeting mostly just us, but we did have one meeting with our now former convener, Yohanan, who Skyped in from Ireland: It was great to have him impart some of his wisdom before he goes on sabbatical to decide what he will be doing next.
We also got out and about in Banja Luka, so they could enjoy the city and see how beautiful it is: here we are at the Kastel Fortress:
It was good to see each other in person and not just on Skype, and it helps to be together so we can make important decisions and we also did a lot of organising for our Leadership Gathering which happens next spring!

- Belinda Chaplin
YWAM CE Co-Convener

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Central Europe DTS center

For those of you in YWAM, do you remember the first week of your DTS? What you felt and experienced as you spent your first days in a YWAM community; the excitement, adventure, and forming time that was? Or maybe for some it was uncomfortable and even though God worked in your life you didn’t walk away with the best experience. The DTS continues to be the gateway to our mission and a place where we see incredible fruit of people becoming and growing as disciples of Jesus! DTS students are a precious gift to us, a source of life and fresh vision as God speak through even the youngest recruit. DTS staff and leaders are in that way the gatekeepers of YWAM, in a key position to walk alongside of those who will join and lead this movement! 
The DTS resource team in Central Europe is committed to help train, equip, and be a resource for DTS in our area. We do this by helping to equip DTS staff and leaders through DTS Workshops or staff training, and by gathering DTS leaders to partner together and network across and outside of Central Europe. The team is made up of Mirjam and Chris in Serbia, Vane in Budapest, Steve in Macedonia, Jarod and Bexi in Croatia, and myself in Romania…along with some others who serve in different capacities. 
Together we can do more! That’s something we are seeing as God is leading locations to collaborate and strengthen partnerships across the region. This is especially helpful as our DTS’s are not large in numbers, and sometimes a small team will need extra staff. So God has provided: staff from Bulgaria and Slovakia to come to Budapest to staff, from Czech to Croatia to work with DTS, even a YWAM ship in Greece serving as a location for a DTS to operate, and more!

Testimonies from DTS’s in our region: 
From Tabytha from the DTS Circle Romania :
For the first time in many years we have a collaborative DTS between two ministries in Romania: ELS Ministries Cluj and YWAM Iasi. During this DTS I learned two important things: the power of partnership and the courage to take steps that require a greater faith in God! We can see the blessings of working together, of sharing resources from each location, and the richness of differing values and ideas. And the blessings of trusting God when we feel that our resources are not enough. Even as we’ve moved from place to place, and will do outreach in Cluj, Athens and Tanzania, God has been more than faithful to provide the resources needed!

From Andreja in Slovenia: 
As soon as I was introduced to YWAM, God began putting dreams in my heart about having YWAM in Slovenia. Those dreams were about pioneering YWAM in Slovenia and receiving teams. l started to pray and ask God what that would look like. I kept praying and a Bible verse came up that helped my heart trust in God: "Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God" (Jeremiah 11:4) ...  Fast-forward: I did my DTS in Kona and staffed one year there and then I came home to Slovenia, not knowing what I was going to do but still sensing that something with YWAM would happen in Slovenia.

In August 2016, I received three similar emails from YWAM Amsterdam, Norway and England, all from people I didn't know. They each found me on Facebook the same week (separately) and they all had the same questions. They had prayers and desires to see God moving in Slovenia. Out of that, we had our very first YWAM Gathering in Slovenia, in March, 2017. l was absolutely amazed at how God orchestrated everything, people responded to this gathering and came from all over Europe. I was encouraged by this momentum and realized that God prepared all of it and had been working in the hearts of others through my prayers. Because of the gathering in March an outreach team from YWAM Split, Croatia decided to come to serve in Slovenia for two months over the summer. lt was an absolute joy to receive them. Hopefully the first of many!  

I cannot fully explain just how joyful and fulfilling it was in trusting, waiting and obeying God, to then see the fulfillment of His word. God certainly prepared this team, way before I knew them. My encouragement to everyone is: keep trusting God for the dreams He has put on your heart. Whatever He started, He will finish. Trust at all times and wait for His perfect timing. He will provide for what He has called you to do and He will make Himself known.

Arlen Stoltzfus with Tabita Huluban and Andreja Klinc

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Costa Rica gathering

The theme for this year’s U of N gathering:
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”

A few questions to consider:
Do we primarily pray for the Kingdom to come or build the Kingdom? 
 Does Jesus’ prayer imply that the will of God is not being done on the earth?  
Who cares about the earth anyways if it will all be burned up in flames? 
 If the will of God is being done on heaven, what does that actually look like?  
Can we really expect that here on the earth?

It was a special privilege for me to be back in Latin America again among many good friends, as our family spent 6 years in this beautiful part of the world.  The gathering featured translation facilitating 5 languages:  English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and American sign language.  This created a very diverse and beautiful dynamic of worship, intercession, Bible study, discussion, and encouragement around the tables.  

We wrestled with questions like those above and many others in San José, Costa Rica at the bi-annual University of the Nations gathering.  Do you wrestle with questions like this personally, or among your family and friends?  Do your base and schools consider these questions, related to your training programs, evangelistic efforts, and mercy ministries?  Our keynote speaker Skye Jethani challenged us to dig into the Word to try to answer these questions, with the implication that our answers dictate our view of the future, and our view of the future dictates what we put our hands to today (more in his book Futureville).  

Alongside Skye’s teaching, we used the creative and provocative videos produced by The Bible Project to challenge our assumptions about the nature of the Kingdom and how man fits into God’s plan.  Most ministry either fits into an “evacuation model” (save souls in order to populate a heavenly kingdom while abandoning creation) or an “evolution model” (institute social programs to make the earth a better place while abandoning proclamation of the Gospel and discipleship aimed towards internal transformation).   Both models have a trace of the truth, but are not wholistic views of the eternal Kingdom God is building.  God has delegated authority to mankind to multiply the beauty and abundance of Eden into all the world, to disciple nations, and to prepare for the day when we will see King Jesus reigning on the earth.  

God led us into a time of dealing seriously with the implications of these 
foundational truths and respond appropriately:

How seriously have we taken our mandate to influence (not take over) the spheres with God’s truth?
How does this mandate change our attitude and approach to our daily work?
Do we operate from a divided secular/ sacred worldview that puts some jobs and ministries as more valuable than others?

To see a video recap of the gathering, click here

There is also an initiative to create online and distance learning that also offers U of N credits called  Extension Studies.  This is a very flexible and creative way to create virtual learning opportunities around a wide variety of topics, as well as offering structured staff training that also qualifies for U of N credits.   

As well, we were considering and praying about an appropriate response to the hurricanes that recently affected the Caribbean and USA and the two earthquakes in Mexico during our time together.  This brought up the very unique guidance of God related to the “twin ministries” U of N and YWAM Ships.  God led in very specific ways to re-position one of the YWAM ships currently based in the Pacific to the Caribbean to help the different expressions of the U of N better respond to the recent hurricanes and earthquakes.  See some amazing opportunities here.  

As well, check out the dates for YWAM Together 2018 and the 2019 U of N gathering!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Summer news from Poland

Hello, dear friends, 
In June - July we hosted a King's Kids team from El Paso, Texas. These young people helped us run a youth missions camp, here in Poland. Altogether we were 62, leaders and participants, Polish and Americans. We spent a week of training. Then we split into 3 smaller teams and went on outreaches to 3 different cities. One of the cities was Rzeszow where our family lives and our church hosted our team.

Before we got to Rzeszow, we prayed as a team for our time there. One little girl saw a vision of our group standing on a square and singing worship songs. One night, our schedule was changed and we felt that we needed to go outside and sing worship. As we arrived to this square (randomly picked), the little girl said it looked exactly like the place from her vision! That night we got to share about Jesus with 3 young people and they were open to continue contact. Also during that week a team of young people had a Kid's Klub and 5 kids gave their lives to the Lord, they shared about God's hope in an elderly home and the young missionaries also led a church service. Some shared deep and powerful testimonies. Our church leaders have shared that they were pleasantly surprised to see the youth serving God, at such a young age. Our heart and prayers is that our church catches the fire for getting to know God deeper and reaching out to community. There was a lot of planting and sowing in Rzeszow
We met with our pastor about follow up steps to reach out to the community and training missionary strategies. He supported the idea of introducing ‘Mission Bridge’, a shortened version of DTS, to the church. This will be a one-month meeting for people who desire to learn and practice reaching out to the community. We will meet one Saturday a month for times of worship, sharing and discussion, prayer, hearing God, sharing a meal together, reaching out to the city with debrief and for celebrating what the Lord has done. Our desire is for these meetings to gradually grow and to become more frequent and hopefully to have a whole missions camp in summer with an outreach in the nearby town. 
This is a completely new thing for us to organise and for the church people to participate in. Please, pray as we prepare and take off!

This summer, with great joy we've seen our two sons making steps in serving on their own. Sasha took the challenge of raising finances for the 2 camps he felt he should be part of. He experienced God's provision and we saw his face light up when he shared stories of evangelizing people on the streets. Tolik chose to help cook at missions camp, he did it with contentment and we've seen him really grow in his gift of serving. Thanks to your prayers and support so our family can do this!

Blessings, Roman and Tamara Statkiewich

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Praise, worship and spiritual warfare for the Roma in Europe

August 25th – 28th 2017 we convened the first time of intercessory prayer in Bulgaria for the Roma people in Europe. We had people from 5 countries – Bulgaria, Germany, Australia, USA, Serbia. There were more than 50 pastors and leaders of ministries among the Roma.

One of the most difficult things at this event was that not all Roma pastors from the Balkans managed to come. But I believe these activities will continue happening in the future.

The main points for intersession were:
1. To pray against unbelief in the European Roma, God to touch them for salvation.
2. Prayer against racism. Roma against Roma. Roma and other nations.
3. God to lead Roma out of religion and to lead us towards life with Jesus.
4. God to lift up faithful, humble and hearing God Roma servants in Europe.
5. Breaking the curse of occult and sorcery.
6. Prayer for blessing of all Roma leaders and pastors in Europe in all areas.
7. To pray for unity of the Roma Body of Christ with all nations.
8. Roma people to be blessing for the nations.
9. Breaking the curse of poverty.
10. Blessing and prosperity over the Roma in Europe.
11. God to prepare the hearts of the believing Roma for reconciliation with other nations.
12. Prayer for blessing of the Roma in Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia
and Herzegovina.
13. Lord, prepare us for Yourself.
14. The Holy Spirit to move mighty among the Roma in Europe for blessing, conviction and edification.
15. The power of the Holy Spirit to act with His gifts among the Roma.

It was a wonderful time of intercession and being before the Lord, pleading on behalf of the Roma people throughout Europe and especially in Bulgaria. We look forward to seeing what God will do in response to this time of unity and prayer. Please join with us as we continue to pray through these prayer points for the Roma of Europe. 

-Radko Kratsov

YWAM Bulgaria

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

YWAM Romania Family Camp 2017

For many years now YWAM Romania has run a Family Camp every summer, focusing on strengthening Christian families in Romania and seeing parents and their children grow closer to each other and to God. Every year it seems to grow bigger, and this year was no exception with 36 families participating! The camp was already full almost four months before it started. Imagine 70 children and 70 adults together for a week in the mountains of rural Romania; singing songs, playing games, dancing together, receiving input, worshipping, swimming, eating, and lots more! 

With us to give input for the week was a wonderful couple from the US, George and Donna Snow. In the mornings they were teaching the adults and then spent almost every afternoon meeting couples, encouraging and praying for them. They are anointed in the area of ministering God’s Father heart and seeing people understand their identity. After one of the meetings with a couple in the afternoon, Donna said: “It would have been totally worth our while coming to Romania if it was only to meet with and pray for that family!”. We were so blessed to have them with us. For a couple that’s been married 59 years they really don’t act their age (especially when George went down the zip line hanging upside down with no hands)!

A highlight for many couples was the romantic evening. The couples came dressed up and were given a small package of things to have a picnic style date there on the camp ground while their kids were looked after. They got to sit on a blanket in the grass, look into each other’s eyes, enjoy a few snacks, and for some have meaningful conversation. Meanwhile for those of us watching the kids it was a bit of a different scene as we tried to entertain all 60 or so of them, many of whom were tired, and weren’t sure if they were ready to be away from their parents! But miraculously after 15 minutes of chaos a quiet and peace came over the kids as they engaged with the program. We were so thankful for our friends from Albania who came to help with the children’s program! The kids were doing skits, singing songs for each other, dancing, and even the teenagers did a skit which the smaller kids loved.

Of their experience one person wrote, “Through this camp I was really able to get closer to my spouse. The activities and games we did together with the whole family strengthened our relationships.” That’s always our prayer, as strong marriages make strong families. God designed it like that! Another family said, “This camp was a time where we were able to disconnect from other things and we could get closer to each other and God.”
In a time where it seems like the family unit is losing its significance in society, these camps are really meeting a felt need. We are looking forward to next summer and praying for more staff so we can hopefully run two of these camps! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Awakening Europe | Prague

My team and I moved to Prague from YWAM Brisbane, Australia, a few months ago to join YWAM in the Czech Republic. Over these months we were able attend meetings having to do with Awakening Europe. Awakening Europe is a movement, inspired by God to Awaken Europe through hosting conferences in cities the Lord is highlighting. In previous years, Awakenings have been held in Germany and Sweden. On the back of this year’s promo flyer were the words, translated from Czech:

It is time for a new reformation, one that unites us and does not divide us.

The Czech Republic is a nation with a rich history. Over 600 years ago a man named Jan Huss sparked the flames of The Reformation. Sadly now, through many religious battles and turmoil the nation has digressed to claiming themselves as predominantly atheist.

In the last week of June, different parts of the body of Christ came together from all over the world to join in this event. This included all denominations from Charismatics to Catholics from local, national and international churches including movements such as Bethel, IHOP, YWAM, YWAM Circuit Riders and many more.

The three days leading up to the conference, teams went out to strategic locations in the city to ‘flood’ Czechs and tourists a-like with the good news of the gospel and free tickets to the Awakening. During the event, those attending the conference were also encouraged to reach out to the city and had a time during the conference to do this.

I was able sign-up to help with these outreach teams. During one of the days, my team and I were on a tram going to our outreach location and took the opportunity to speak and pray for those around us. Through this time God healed a young woman’s knee and there were many witnesses who heard and saw what happened and were amazed by God’s power and the Joy of the Lord displayed through us.

During the conference not only did many surrender their lives to Christ but I believe there was a shift made: faith was released, desperation for the Holy Spirit was cultivated and orphans were set free and awakened into their identity as Sons and Daughters of the High King. We are living in a Kairos time in history where God is gently awakening the geographical heart of Europe.

Kassia Aebischer 
YWAM Prague