Sunday, July 10, 2016

CE Family Gathering | Generosity

During the Central European Gathering YWAM Croatia made the announcement that they had signed papers to buy the above boat that they would be able to use for discipleship and training. After 10 years of having a vision for boat ministry, Jarod and Bexi's God-given dream came true. Ship ministry has been a part of YWAM's vision since 1978 when Loren had the vision of twin ministries - ships and the University - which he writes about in his book "Is that really You, God?"

Loren and Darlene felt that we should take up an offering for the boat. People gave sacrificially and it was a fantastic display of generosity for what God is doing in Central Europe.

Later that day, YWAM Constanta shared about their vision to buy a building in downtown Constanta.
In an amazing display of generosity and obedience, the YWAM Croatia team felt led to give the cash portion of the offering to the efforts of YWAM Constanta. The pledges they would still keep for the boat, but God prompted them to give all of the cash to the building.

Once again we saw how God can multiply what we give to bless more than just one ministry. Now, we as Central Europe have bought into two properties - one on the Adriatic Coast and one on the Black Sea coast. These displays of generosity were an encouragement to us all to carry on being generous in our every day lives and see how God will multiply that! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

CE Family Gathing | Living the Kingdom together

KIDS :-) Life without them would be really boring. They’re always running, saying funny things, jumping, speaking straight forward what they see, expressing themselves in a totally different way than we adults do … Yet when we adults are trying to focus on "really important” things very often for us children can be an interruption due to their high level of energy and short attention span. Therefore very often we set up a separate special program for our kids so that we can focus in peace on some topics we believe only we can understand or may only be appropriate for adults. At times this is necessary yet often it is done simply out of comfort (for us or our children) or habit. It is true that it's a challenge to succeed in living the kingdom of God together. But still there is the question, how do our kids learn the most? Is it not the discipleship model we’ve learned in YWAM of “hear, see, and do?"

As King’s Kids Poland leaders we were really excited what God was doing in the CESG among us. He was clearly speaking and moving among us in a powerful way that was connecting us as a region. During one of the sessions we looked at each other with the same thought, “We are missing our kids in what God is doing among us! They also are part of our region and they need to be with us!” So the day when our friends from YWAM Croatia shared about their vision to purchase a boat, we knew that all kids should also be involved in what GOD is doing and feel included to learn and grow their own faith to see how God is Great for it is their inheritance also!

We were sure that God desired us to walk together in this boat process. God touched the KKI leaders from Romania as well and together we decided to meet with the DTS group leading the children’s sessions and share our heart with them to invite the kids to be partners and trust the Lord that He will as well speak to them! 

So there we were, a group of kids, adults, and our Heavenly Father getting to know each other first, then quieting our hearts in order to talk about the story of the boat. We all sat down before God and asked Him what do You want to tell us? How can we encourage this Croatian team and how can we bless those who trust You, God? It was one of the exciting and wonderful moments to listen to God in a multigenerational circle and see how the younger generation was so excited to head out on a adventure with Him. 

We were so encouraged to see how kids are open and were willing to share what God gave them about the boat! The next day we all gathered on the stage and worshiped God then shared a few things He showed us all. We are so happy that our little ones were part of the YWAM family and were able to share what God told them. The most touching part was when their hearts were blessing the boat crew and you could feel simple, truthful prayers coming from the bottom of their heart to bless and to proclaim “I’m a missionary too” . 

This experience confirmed to us and I hope to others that our kids are ready to be a part of something bigger than only the kids' program, (which is also necessary), but they are called to be the young Samuels, Esthers, Josiahs, and Marys of our time.  

We are so thankful, that we could be a part of this little puzzle in this big picture and learn together with our little brothers and sisters in Jesus. 

Greg and Erin Skrobarczyk
Kings Kids, YWAM Poland

Praying for the YWAM Croatia team and their new boat

Monday, July 4, 2016

CE Family Gathering | Testimonies

We had a wonderful time at our Central European Gathering at the end of May. We were so blessed to have Loren and Darlene Cunningham sharing at the staff gathering., as well as Sasha, from the Ukraine share at our leadership gathering. Click here for a more detailed report on what happened. 

We also asked people to tell us what they felt God did at the gathering or what they have taken away and here is some of what they said: 
  • Hear God, obey Him, don't quit! Darlene's advice on how not to quit - wonderfully practical! Darlene's session on family in ministry was essential teaching that we should hear more often about. Keep rehearsing the words God has given you. It's ok to ask for confirmation of a word that is taking a long time to come to fulfillment. 
  • I was so challenged and inspired by Sasa, hearing what is happening just across our Eastern border in Ukraine. I never thought of looking East for resources and support before. "good ministry comes out of good community" advice on what to do when your location is in decline and the different phases of ministry (pioneer, building, etc) were super-helpful.
  • It was the first time that almost our complete team attended the gathering and it felt so good to experience the worship, input and fun together. It reminded us what we are connected to, who our family is and where our roots are (in the CE area and more importantly the history and words that have shaped YWAM international). One long term staff member who attended the CESG for the first time said "It's good to be reminded of why I like YWAM!"
  • It was such a great blessing to listen to Darlene, not only the teaching she gave full of encouragements and challenges, but also to see her inspiring passion and faith in fulfilling the dream God has given.
  • God reinforced STRONGLY my calling to be father-pastor to the younger YWAMers in my country, and He gave me new ideas about how to do this.
  • The vision of Loren with the Bible in every house in the world: I also want to be a part of that.
  • God increased my faith! To not just hear God and Obey, but to never give up and He is still working!
  • The Czechs, Slovaks and Poles are going to skype every month for prayer & support. Perhaps it will develop into working more closely together in the future. We will implement the Crisis Manual, Emergency Staff Info Sheet and Child Protection Policies in our locations. We will go through the Signpost messages as a staff and consider what they mean for us.
  • Encouragement from the Cunningham's : hearing God's voice, obey it and don't quit.
  • Recognize the stages where you are in your ministry and make the right shifting in God's timing by including others and giving space to other gifts to operate.
We hope these testimonies will give you a small taste of what God was doing during the gatherings and how we all went away encouraged and refreshed and able to continue in what He has for us in this region! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

YWAM Central Europe | Family Gathering

Every other year, we have a staff gathering for the YWAM staff in the Central European area, which is made up of 16 countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Slovakia. There are about 240 staff working in 14 of these countries and we always have a lot of fun coming together to be encouraged, network, exchange experiences and have a good time as a YWAM family.

For the third time we were in Vajta, Hungary at the Calvary Chapel Conference Centre and it is such a wonderful place:
We were privileged to have YWAM's founders, Loren and Darlene Cunningham as our keynote speakers. Even at 80 and 77, they are going strong! We really enjoyed hearing some of their experiences leading YWAM for 56 years and they really had something for everyone from Loren's visionary ideas to Darlene's practical "how to stay healthy" message.

We also had some fun things happen at the conference: like hearing about many new initiatives: including  one where dreams that have been in place for over 10 years are coming true for our friends in Croatia - they bought a boat to use for ministry there!
It was an all ages conference with almost 60 children attending. Here we have the children even praying for the different nations represented. We had great teams doing children's programs and all of the children had a wonderful time!
After such a great gathering, it was really hard to say goodbye to so many quality people from all over our region - so it isn't goodbye, but until we meet again :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Faith and Finances | YWAM CE Resource

In the wonderful world of finances we often find ourselves scratching our heads in and out of season trying to find answers to why our financial lives tend to have so many ups and downs.   The more stories I hear, the more I notice one thing missing, peace.

Finances tends to be the one thing we as Christ followers wish would just take care of itself. It tends to be the elephant in the room or the red headed step child of the Christian community. I believe that comes out of a place of many of us chasing freedom from the burden of finance rather than peace within operating in a healthy biblical way when it comes to finances.

This is not a step by step instructional program on how to operate financially rather a look into the word on how extreme seasons are financially and how to find peace within all seasons as God is working out his good and perfect plan for our lives. There are, however, a few given principles about finances that the word lays out pretty clearly.

Ultimately the goal of our lives financially should be that we never allow our hearts to submit to having finances Lord over us, but that our financial lives would be an expression of what happens when our Lord reigns in our lives.

Kip Copeland
-YWAM Sarajevo

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Crisis Intervention Part 2 | YWAM CE Resource

For Crisis Intervention Part 1 go here

Crisis situations represent a powerful traumatic event which may trigger a severe emotional reaction, so that the usual balance between thinking and emotions is disturbed, the usual coping mechanisms fail and signs for dysfunction become apparent.

It has been shown that a rapid intervention after such a traumatic stress experience alleviates the psychological impact of such an event and greatly facilitates the resilience of a person. This is why it is vitally important to have a crisis intervention plan in place in your team or at your base. People are psychologically also more resilient, if they undergo some training prior to some possible incident. For instance, if I understand the dynamics of kidnapping I will be much better prepared to deal with the emotional stress of such an event and show appropriate responses which may even decide over life or death.

Crisis intervention is an active, short-term and supportive helping process with the goal to lessen the crisis response (trauma) in victims of a crisis situation. It basically serves as a psychological first aid. Therefore, it does not replace a possibly needed psychotherapy or counseling. It is important to note that it does not deal with the event itself (like police, firefighters, rescue teams etc.) but with the emotional response of people.

Crisis intervention must be simple, brief, practical, close and immediate. This means, first of all, that it should take place within 12 hours but no later than 72 hours of the incident. If a whole group is affected it should take place within 1-10 days after the event. In order to achieve such a short response time, we need to work on a better framework on all levels in YWAM, so that we have enough trained people who can deal with crisis situations effectively and are available on short notice. An intervention will typically last about one hour. Simple steps are followed which provide clarity and structure to the process which is very important in a chaotic situation.

- Reinhard Hämmerle

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crisis Intervention Part 1 | YWAM CE Resource

As we all go about God’s work, we should not worry about our future, right? Isn’t it true that as we seek God’s kingdom first, God will take care of all our needs and protect us from all evil?

There is a fine line between trusting God for our future and well-being and being presumptuous about God’s protection and care for us. Maybe this is why we do not consider possible crisis situations and how to prepare for those all that much in YWAM. However, in this real world accidents, crimes like rape, car-jacking or kidnappings, political unrest and natural disasters do happen. So if we take a realistic view on things, we should expect that some such crisis situation might cross our paths at some point in our lives and ministry. The better we are prepared to handle such a situation the quicker and more effectively we can deal with such an incident. This is even more important when we travel and work in countries which have a high rate of such incidents or are undergoing some form of crisis.

Of course, the different scenarios mentioned above take some different approaches and ways for ourselves to get prepared. However, as a first step I want to mention maybe the most basic way to be prepared. This is a personal data sheet which should include the following:

1.       Photo

2.       Personal data: Name, Date of Birth, Place of birth, Address, Telephone numbers, email-address, social network accounts, languages

3.       Copy of your passport, personal identification & driving license

4.       Personal description: size, eye and hair color, eye glasses, hearing aids,

5.       Health issues & current prescriptions

6.       IMSI/ IMEI number of your mobile phone

7.       Bank account number, bank and credit card numbers

8.       Contact persons: family members, close relatives & friends, colleagues

9.       Social security number/ID number

10.   Insurance policies & numbers

11.   Questions only you will be able to answer

12.   Audio recording (about 1 min in length)

13.   DNA-probe in a clean envelope (e.g. hair together with its root)

14.   Contact number of your embassy

15.   If applicable, vehicle registration documents with identification number and number plate

You should have this data sheet in a safe place back home together with the originals and/or copies of all important papers (especially, your personal identification, passport, driving license, birth certificate, marriage certificate, will, power of attorney, insurance papers). Keep copies of all important documents with a trusted contact person.

For our staff and students especially as they go on outreaches, we must be sure that there is access to such personal data.  It is certainly a consideration to have these data sheets in our files. However, as they contain sensitive information we need to make sure that they are stored safely and with clearly restricted access.

- Reinhard Hämmerle