Thursday, December 18, 2014

Only kindness can beat hell | A testimony from Jordan

It’s the middle of the day. The temperature reaches 300 C and we try to fight with it cold water, but being Ramadan it’s forbidden by law to drink and eat on the street, you can get a fine or even go to jail for breaking this law, not because you make a cultural mistake, but if you break it intentionally then you pay the price.  We feel the heat stronger because we wear long trousers – it’s disrespectful to walk on the streets with shorts.

We took the food bags and with a young Syrian from the church we made our way to a Syrian family.  They are two minutes away from us. We met the husband at the street corner, he sells cotton candy trying to make some money to take care of his family. He leads us to their apartment, at the first floor, where we were greeted by his ten years son and his wife, a middle age woman full of life and chatty.

Our guide began talking with them, actually the first 5 minutes were congratulating each other. We got use to that, it’s a part of their culture to say good things about each other and to bless him and his house.

“Why have you come here?” I asked him. I seems a dumb question in that context, but actually I found out that it’s a very good question because they can say more easily what they been through. Why have we come here? We ran from war, the husband answer us. Before everything started I was a truck driver. We were doing pretty well, we had it all and we were a thankful family. Even when it started  we were doing pretty good, even if we were from Homs, the most affected city.  But things started to get worse. In the beginning there were only peaceful protests, after that it escalated in violent protests between the law enforcement and the protesters and later they began shooting people. The wounded didn’t give up and they formed an army, that’s how the whole thing became a war.

“How did you decide to leave Syria?” I asked him. “One day a few people came to our neighbourhood. They entered our neighbour's home, they got them out and beheaded them.”

“You saw that?” I asked them terrified. “Yes, we’ve seen it with our own eyes, it was that moment when we decided to leave Syria.  After many challenges and the journey we came here.”

“Will you go back?” I asked like curious child.

“NO” came a firm and quick response from the wife, “as long as the president is in power, NO, but even if he wasn’t, it wouldn’t be safe because there are many people with guns that could still do bad things.

Actually now is worse. In the beginning I knew that the fight was between the governmental forces and the free army, but with time many groups of soldiers appeared, now there are more than ten groups, nobody knows who is fighting who. That’s why it’s hard to make peace.”

“I think is great blessing to be let in a country as Jordan and be helped” I concluded. “Yes” came the answer “and Christians helped us a lot, more than others” We said goodbye, we left the bags of food and entrusted them in the hands of the Almighty.

How can someone who seen such things can still believe in kindness and love? Only if kindness and love touches him.

- Testimony from YWAM Romania
(names have deliberately been omitted for security reasons)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

God exists! God exists!

Twenty-five years ago, a revolution was bursting upon the world. An obsolete and inhumane Communist system began to crumble under the weight of its own lies. A generation has now grown into adulthood too young to remember the tense buildup to the euphoric scenes surrounding the breaching of the Berlin Wall, or the equally dramatic aftershocks that caused the liberation of Romania, the break-up of the Soviet Union, and eventually, the opening of Albania.

Over the past months we have been recalling some of the grassroot events which, seemingly uncoordinated, triggered unimagined outcomes. These include Lech Walesa’s trade union protest in Gdansk, the prayer and peace movement in Leipzig and other German cities, the pan-European picnic in Sopron, Hungary, the singing revolution in the Baltics along with the Baltic human chain, and the Timişoara rebellion in Romania. Many of these movements had specifically Christian origins.

Today I am on my way to Timişoara, meeting up with old friend and colleague. Al Akimoff, in Budapest. We will drive together across the Great Hungarian Plain to the Romanian border and Timişoara to take part in commemorations of the People’s Revolution which overthrew the Ceausescu tyranny in December 1989.

Five years ago when I last visited Timişoara, my YWAM colleague, Beatris Simion, took me down to the town square, where thousands of Romanians had knelt on the frozen street tiles, just days before Christmas, chanting together the Lord’s Prayer.

Beatris, who sadly has since died in a car accident, was part of the crowd of 100,000 on December 20 shown in the photo, looking towards the Orthodox Cathedral. This square where the downfall of the dictator Ceausescu began, leading to his execution within a few dramatic days before the year’s end.
For several days on end, crowds converged on this square until, on Friday the 22nd, official word came through of the overthrow of the dictator. By this time, the crowd had grown to 150,000. When they heard the news, the people began to shout enthusiastically, “God exists! God exists!”

Rev Peter Dugulescu was addressing the crowd from a balcony on the Opera House at the opposite end of the square to the cathedral. When he invited the crowd to recite after him the Lord’s Prayer, they instinctively turned to face the cathedral, kneeling on the frozen ground.

The Baptist pastor recalled his surprise at the ‘strong religious accent after so many years of atheistic education’. ‘This shout, this hunger for God, burst out strongly several times that day–about five times–as they prayed together this prayer and shouted: “God exists!”’

The catalyst for the gathering of the crowds in the square was the stubborn resistance of a Hungarian Reformed pastor, Laszlo Tokes. Because he had spoken out against government policies and abuse of human rights, he was ordered to move out of town to an isolated village. He refused to go, so power to his house was cut off and his ration book was confiscated. Church members rallied to support and provision him, despite some being arrested and beaten. One was found murdered in the woods.

A court ordered his eviction by December 15, exactly twenty-five years ago today. As the date drew near, parishioners began a vigil outside his flat, refusing orders to move along. A human chain formed around the block, denying militia access.

News about the pending eviction spread from foreign radio broadcasts. By evening, the crowd had swelled to extend for several blocks, many students having joined the growing protest, Romanians and Hungarians together in a human chain. First they sang hymns, and then the banned revolutionary anthem, ‘Wake up, Romanian’. (After the 1989 revolution, it became the national anthem).

Crying "Down with Communism!", the crowd moved from Tokes’ apartment towards the city centre. Militia drove them back with water cannons which the crowd seized and threw into the river. Full-scale insurrection was now underway and demonstrations continued the next two days. The army fired into the crowds killing dozens, but after tens of thousands of factory workers joined the demonstrators, the army retreated. On December 20, 1989, Timişoara was declared the first free city of Romania.

Within two days, the revolution had spread across the country and Ceausescu found himself being booed down by a huge crowd outside his palace in Bucharest. He and his wife had to flee in a helicopter, only to be arrested, tried and executed.

An improbable and unplanned revolution had been triggered by a handful of brave, faithful church members standing in solidarity with their pastor.

Truly, God exists!
Till next week,                                        
Jeff Fountain

Jeff & Romkje Fountain are the initiators of the Schuman Centre, and are based in Heerde, the Netherlands, 100kms east of Amsterdam, where the Schuman Centre logistical office is located. Romkje was founder of YWAM The Netherlands and chairs the national board. Jeff was YWAM Europe director for 20 years, 1990-2009. Jeff chairs the annual Hope for Europe Round Table, while Romkje leads the Women in Leadership network.Jeff is author of Living as People of Hope, Deeply Rooted and other titles, and edits HOPE magazine. Jeff also writes weekly word, a weekly column on issues relating to Europe. 

This is the weekly word for December 15, 2014. Sign up for the weekly word here

Friday, November 21, 2014

YWAM Croatia | Sailing DTS

Spread the word! YWAM Croatia is running a sailing DTS next Spring!
We are excited to be running our first DTS on the coast of Croatia and would love for your help to get the word out.  We have a great staff team ready to jump in, a house ready to fill with people and some amazing speakers lined up.  All we need now are students and boats! No sailing experience necessary, just a willingness to have a go.  We will be living on land and using boats as much as we can to sail the Adriatic and reach out to those living on the numerous islands that sit off the coast.

Our application form is downloadable from our website 

Please feel free to pass on the details to anyone you might think would be interested!

Thanks for your help,
The YWAM Croatia team

Thursday, November 20, 2014

DTS Foundational Workshop

Here is a short update from our DTS Foundational Workshop in Cluj, Romania.
The DTS resource teams for Central and Western Europe came together to lead this event and it was particularly significant for us, as we have not had a DTS Foundational Workshop in Central Europe for a long time. We were excited to come alongside the DTS Leaders and Staff in our region, to equip and strengthen them and we look forward to running this workshop in CE regularly.
There was a good number of Staff and Leaders from Western and Central Europe that joined the Workshop and together we went deeper into understanding and grasping the foundations of the DTS and YWAM. It was such a rich time and wonderful week of learning together, going back to our roots and laying a good foundation for planning DTS’s. We also spent time getting to know each other, sharing ideas and discussing the problems we face as leaders and staff.

Topics discussed included; small groups, one on ones, intercession, classroom leadership, discipleship, leading outreaches and much more... Aside from great question, discussion, storytelling times, we had amazing worship and intercession, and we also had a chance to put some things we were learning into practice.

We finished the week with a beautifully decorated and prepared love feast, with great fellowship, food, encouragement & prayer for one another. We left the week feeling that God had accomplished so much in each one of us.

We need to mention that the YWAM Cluj made a huge effort in making us all feel welcomed and at home. They served us wholeheartedly throughout the week and gave so much to help us make this event happen. And of course, the food was wonderful, which made the week even better! We also want to give special thanks to Toni Bragg, who has played a big role in putting this event together.

It was such a success that Central and Western Europe have decided to run another DTS Foundational Workshop for both regions again next year. We believe that God is doing something beautiful by bringing CE and WE together and we want to continue the partnership.

So look out for NOVEMBER 2015!
Make room to come, and expect God to do great things!

Until then, if you need DTS Staff training or have any desire to be more equipped for your DTS, please feel free to contact our resource team. It is important to us that we give our staff and leaders good support and training to help them walk in their full potential.

The resource team are here to serve you and walk along side you.

Blessing to you all!
-Edyta :)
For the YWAM CE DTS Resource Team

Monday, November 17, 2014

Moldova DTS

On the 4th of November we finished the 3rd DTS here in Moldova! Looking back this was an amazing journey with God and with the Moldavian young people. First of all I celebrated deep in my heart the way how God was faithful to us again. We've seen Him providing teachers, places to rent, places to go on outreach, people to serve, money, food, safety and enough words to talk to people.
Then I stopped for few minutes to think for what else I am celebrating with our team? And actually this was powerful: It's a pattern around to start things and do not finish them because it's hard, because people don't understand each other and have conflicts or because there are much challenges on the way. So we celebrated a DTS that was finished and it was finished WELL! Did we have challenges? Oh, yeah! But they were meant to grow us as this was what we asked God to do in our lives during those 5 months.

That evening after Graduation when I came home I put my head on the pillow being so THANKFUL to my Jesus for His ministry in my life and in the lives of everybody who was involved in this DTS.
And the biggest joy of my heart, after the DTS, is Viorica (above) - she is our new staff! She was student on the DTS and then she decided to work with us. She is an open minded young girl who has a lot of dreams for young people and a deep hunger for God. So I am so privileged to walk with Vio on this path of discipleship and to open a door for her so she can serve God according to His plan for her life!

For all of you who prayed for us, encouraged and supported us financially we want to say "THANK YOU!!!!
In a few months the 4th DTS in Moldova is ready to start! If you want a DTS with a pioneering experience, please contact us on: or ywam(a) or dts.moldova(a)
- Virginia, co-leader of the DTS
YWAM Moldova

Sunday, November 9, 2014

25 years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall

To mark the fall of the Berlin Wall which happened 9 November 1989, a special edition of the Vista Magazine has featured articles by YWAM's Al Akimoff and Jeff Fountain. This was a significant event in our region, as it led to the fall of Communism and affected almost all of our member nations.

You can read the articles in the Vista Newsletter here
And there is an article on the BBC website about the role of prayer in bringing the wall down. 
Google also celebrated with a very well done Google Doodle

Where were you when the wall came down?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Faith and Conflict Experience | Bosnia and Herzegovina

After 18 months of planning and hard work, the 7-day long Bosnian Faith and Conflict Experience was held successfully in Banja Luka and Sarajevo, with a day trip to Srebrenica. Jointly organised by YWAM Ireland, YWAM Central Europe and YWAM Bosnia Herzegovina, it was a time of gaining insight into God's view of war, peace and reconciliation. There were just over 30 participants from 15 different nations, mostly working with YWAM, but also some others came along for the ride as well. And what a ride it was...
This is a conference that usually happens in Northern Ireland, run by YWAM Ireland and 4 of us from Central Europe (Carmelita Clarke, Yohanan and Rachel Rempt and Belinda Chaplin), attended one of the Northern Ireland versions of the conference last year in May (read more here). The main speaker was Jonny Clark, leader of YWAM Ireland, and it really was great to have input from him and his team from YWAM Ireland. It was also great to have the chance to give input from what I have learnt in living in Bosnia Herzegovina for almost 14 years... but I know that I am also still learning!

We were in lectures some of the time, but we also heard from local people, both in Banja Luka and in Sarajevo. For many this was a highlight - to hear from a local perspective about the war that happened here almost 20 years ago, as well as what is happening here in the area of peacebuilding. Below is Ceca, who works with a local NGO in Banja Luka, sharing on the different things they do in the area of reconciliation:
But it wasn't inside all of the time - both in Banja Luka and in Sarajevo we took a tour of the city. I did the Banja Luka tour, and below is Aida (in blue) doing the tour in Sarajevo: She did a fantastic job! Wrangling 30 people plus children is not easy!!
Below is most of the group in front of the library in Sarajevo. It really was a great group of people!
We had a great tour in Sarajevo and here is our speaker, Jonny, at the place where 100 years ago Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, and this led directly to the start of WWI:
And no tour of Sarajevo would be complete without cevapi with kajmak  :)
We also had a series of workshops with local believers in Sarajevo - here is Jonny speaking with Pastor Sasa doing the translating. Although we could have had more people, it was still great for those that did attend.
On the last day we took the long drive (and as we got lost, even longer...) to the memorial to the biggest massacre since WWII in Srebrenica. It was REALLY hard, but I am glad we did it. The memorial is poignant and the tour guide was excellent. He only told me in confidence that he had actually been there the day that men and boys as young as 13,14 were separated out, and only through some miracle did they think he was took young (even though he was also 13) and his life was spared...many others weren't so lucky.
All in all, even with some hard experiences, I think it was an amazing time for everyone involved, and we are already talking about having it again in two years time! It was an extremely exciting ride, and one that I will gladly do again: so...  see you in 2016??

-Belinda Chaplin
YWAM Bosnia Herzegovina

Friday, August 29, 2014

Albania | DTS

God is waiting on you to say YES! Don't put limits on God's plan for your life! Can you imagine your life marked for destiny that changes nations? Five months can change the rest of your life!
Dare to be a Disciple! 
 With the commitment to bless the Nations by preparing a new generation of leaders, co-workers and missionaries in God’s Kingdom according to 2Tim2/2, “Youth With a Mission”, YWAM Albania, would like to announce the next:   
 “Discipleship Training School”, DTS, on JANUARY 19th, 2015

DTS is one of the schools offered by YWAM’s University of Nations, designed as a full time residential training program, for students from different nations, who want to commit five months of their lives to know God more deeply and to learn how to make Him known.
This school has been running in Albania since 1993 aiming to challenge, encourage and train the students to cultivate a living personal relationship with God, to identify and grow in God’s gifts and call for them and to use those gifts while serving in the local church or in the mission field.

Starting date                January 19th, 2015
Ending date                 June 19th, 2015 
Focus:                          Leadership Development and Missions  
Location:                      Durres
Lecture phase              3 months
Outreach phase           2 months in the Balkan Region
School Fees                 1700 Euro
Languages:                  English and Albanian

Please contact us by email for further information: or mobile (+355) 069 40 30 674, 068 30 43 507 or check out our new webpage

In Christ
Alma and Alket Sako
DTS Albania Leaders

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian floods | Two stories from Serbia

At the YWAM Central European conference held in Vajta in May, an offering was taken up for the flood victims. YWAM Serbia and YWAM Bosnia Herzegovina split it between them, and they will both be using it to help people affected by the flooding directly.  You can see some of the stories from Bosnia Herzegovina here. Below are two stories from Serbia. Thank-you everyone for contributing to help these people in their time of need!

Nebojša & Dragica from Požega

Nebojša and his wife Dragica are refugees from Kosovo who moved into Serbia after the Albanian forces leveled the entire village they used to live in. They live in Požega near a river that rose 5 meters in 4 hours in the middle of the night with no warning. Nebojša said that he just had enough time to go and warn his sleeping neighbors and carry them and one lady to safety before the water was too high to go back. Below is Nebojša with Chris from YWAM Serbia:
He told us in tears that this is the second time in his life that everything has been destroyed and he has had to start again from nothing. While his neighbors are promised new houses from the Serbian government, as a refugee from Kosovo, he is given nothing. Since the flooding happened he has been working hard with little bits that he has been given to build a new house before the winter sets in.
We gave him a gift to buy a door for one room of his house so that he can finish that one room (above) to keep warm for his wife and himself in the winter.

Please continue to keep this and other families affected by the floods in your prayers, especially as more rain keeps falling, causing flash floods and destroying more homes all over the country.

A farming family in Bajina Bašta

The second story is about a farmer's family living along a little river in Bajina Bašta which is located near the river Drina. On the other side of the river you will find the Republic of Srpska, one of the two entities that make up Bosnia Heryegovina. The family Matić exists of father Nebojša, mother Ljiljana and their daughters Nevena, Angelina, son Čedomir and grandma Olga.
They received us in their home and while we were drinking a cup of strong home-made coffee, they told their story about the recent flood.
Nebojša is a former professional basketball player who invested all his money in a farm along the little river (above). He had pigs and chickens and quite a bit of machinery in the barn. Suddenly (overnight) the little peaceful river changed into an everything-destroying-wild-big river. It wiped the whole barn away, completely up to the outside wall of their house(below).
They want to start the farm all over again, which will cost about 40.000 euro. They asked us if we could help them with this. This was way beyond our ability, but we said we could help them with some money to make their outside wall of their house disaster ”proof”. They were encouraged by this. We said goodbye, happy that we could help them at least a little bit, but at the same time we feel overwhelmed by their need. Can you continue to pray for this family.

- Andrew Vaughan and Chris Klop
YWAM Serbia

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A New Initiative | 5 + 2 = 12

As the 5 Cities Initiative was coming to an end, God spoke to the Central European Leadership Team that we should have a new regional initiative. He spoke to us through the story of the small boy offering his 5 loaves and 2 fishes to the Lord who then multiplied it, a child bringing what he had, starting with a little, yet everyone was reached with what they needed.  The twelve baskets show the fruit of multiplication.

The "5" will be locations that already exist as a YWAM location where we feel God is saying its time to see them expand beyond where they are now, the 5 locations are not yet confirmed.  The "2"  will be the counties where we do not yet have a YWAM presence.  All 5 locations will be in the Balkans as we felt God is wanted to put an emphasis on it at this time.

What will it do?

5 Loaves:

Support the 5 through an individual process in each context to define measurable, communicable goals. From these goals, unique projects are developed, Which lead to:

* thriving growth

* transformation of local contexts and beyond

* multiplication of vision, scope, impact, personnel

* invitation for others to engage with in mutual partnerships with these locations

2 fishes: (Slovenia, Montenegro)

Building lasting awareness through

* intercession

* education

* invitation

* strategic initiatives

To establish adoptive partnerships and permanent teams.

We will be sharing more information about this new initiate in the near future.

-Carmelita Clarke

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bosnia, Serbian and Croatian floods | Two stories from Bosnia

It has been two months since the disastrous flooding hit these three countries and so many people lost everything that they have been working for their whole lives. Below is a map of the area that was flooded - after a super storm brought down what would usually be the average monthly rainfall per day for 3 days:
At least 40 people lost their lives, hundreds of thousands were displaced, and millions of people lost everything. Below is a picture - taken in Banja Luka, Bosnia - of everything being thrown out as it is no longer usable (in the city the flood water included sewage). The flood is a reminder where we should invest the most - in things that will last for eternity!
At the YWAM Central European conference held in Vajta in May, an offering was taken up for the flood victims. YWAM Serbia and YWAM Bosnia Herzegovina split it between them, and they will both be using it to help people affected by the flooding directly.

In Banja Luka, Bosnia, in cooperation with the local church, the money was used to give directly to affected families in the Banja Luka area. Over 2000 houses were flooded in Banja Luka, and we have tried to find those people who have no other way of rebuilding. Then we take them to buy the building materials or furniture which they decide that they want. It is a way to build relationships, as well as give them a little time-out in the midst of all their hardship. This process ensures that the help goes directly to those who need it, for what they need the most.

So far, over 25 families have been helped, either by the donations given through the conference, or from other sources, and the aim is to help up to 50 families.

Here are two stories about those that have been helped so far:

Mrs Katica
Katica is a 71-year-old woman who shocked us by telling us, "If I had known what was going to happen I would have kill myself before this disaster". As a widow, she lives by herself and her neighbours saved her life by getting her out of the house because she was sleeping when it started flooding. It happened during the night and the water came very quickly and very unexpectedly.

Her biggest wish was a bed to sleep on. She couldn't believe it when we told her that we will take her to the store so she can choose the bed and she asked if she can buy a red bed (below right with Katica and local church worker, Ljilja) just to have something colourful in her house because she had to throw everything out. She was sleeping on a sunbed someone had leant to her (below left).

Tešanović family:
Words can't explain what a difficult life this family has. Grandpa and grandma (who just had a stroke) live with their disabled 24-year-old granddaughter and take care of her day and night. Their only wish was to remodel one room for this girl and buy a new bed for her which you did.

In the picture you can see two wonderful guys from YWAM Davos helping us to put the bed up. They were part of a team who helped us a lot while they were in Banja Luka for 3 weeks.


Please continue to pray for these three countries - there is still a long way to go with the rebuilding!

-Belinda Chaplin
YWAM Bosnia Herzegovina

A New Season | Carmelita Clarke

     A while ago I started to sense God wanted to move us from the season we’re in now to a new season in this journey we’ve been on in our region.  Our counties have gone from closed communist nations to mostly ones that are now part of NATO & the EU.  We’ve gone from seeing someone like Al and others risking imprisonment by smuggling Bibles into places like Romania, to now, where we see Romanian YWAMer’s going out as missionaries to countries such as India.  And so, I felt God saying there’s to be a new season to keep us moving on the journey to see things grow and continue to develop.
 What are some of the changes I’ve seen on this journey?

    We have been going through a time of consolidation.  9 yrs. ago when I took on this role, the region was in two parts, the North Central and the South, the Balkans.  Part of what I needed to do was to bring these two parts together and make one whole region.  As we are aware naturally speaking, we have a divided region and we also had a devision in our YWAM geographical region here too.  Also, we didn’t have someone on the ground overseeing things for a long time and when I took things on from Jeff, he was overseeing the region from that very western part of the region, Holland!
    We needed further consolidation because as someone described it at back then, “It was like the Wild West here” with many different ideas of what YWAM was, and what it should look like, and many of those ideas where actually not who we were at all as a mission; there was a lot of very unlike YWAMness around which needed to be addressed.  As well, most of our locations had the flavour of the YWAM location that planted them rather than their own indigenous flavour, which made it harder for locations to relate to one another.
    A big part of consolidating things meant I had to make myself known to the different locations and to understand the many different situations that make up our richly complex region.  Yes, I was challenged when I looked at all the different elements that needed to be addressed, knowing it would be a slow journey to move us towards change, we also needed to see things grow and see a region built that was going to be stronger and more united.  I can report we are no longer where we were back then.
    Some of the growth areas that I see are:-
    -A much stronger connection between the locations, both within nations as well as those across boarders. 
    -A better understanding of our shared YWAM values. 
    -New locations being pioneered, places like Cheb & Trogir for example.
    -And there’s a greater desire to see new things started generally
    -More connection to the wider YWAM world
    -And a more united region
    The strong vision I’ve had to see us more connected, united and growing, I believe has put us in a good position to move into this next season of our development as a region.

What has God been saying about this coming new Season?
    - There is to be more of a focus on personal responsibility

    - Its to strengthen the grassroots, where most of our ministry happens.
    -See more national structures in nations where there is nothing yet

    -A new emphasis on self leadership meaning - “me taking responsibility for my own development, which in tern sees the context I minister in improve”. 

A big part of this new season will be to see a new Structure developed for the region, this is still very much in progress through discussions, talking to individuals, & praying.  What I do know though, is it will be based on regionally focused circles.  The CELT will stay in place at this time but as things progress there will be a new leadership structure that will replace it, because this will happen over time, there will be continuity as we move forward with things.  Probably to start with, it wont make much difference to you where you are, but over time it should facilitate more things happening at the grass roots level.

The Central European office will continue to serve and resource the region.

So where do I fit into this new structure?

At the beginning of 2013 God spoke clearly to me that my time as regional leader was coming to an end, and that I should step down at the end of 2014.  So I’m stepping down in December.  I have known that I will step down for a while but even so, it has taken a long time for me to accept and get used to the idea.  It was not an easy thought for me, I feel very strongly connected to all of you, even if I don’t know you personally, God has put a love in my heart for who you are and what you do.  I had no idea who God wanted to take on this regional role after me and I certainly didn’t know what I would do next.  At that time I didn’t have a lot of answers but I knew at least I should start praying about this transition God wanted and to start talking with the European Leadership Team as well as the CELT about this news.  But it was clear I was not to lead us into this new developmental season.  My season had been a season of consolidation.

The process has been quite a journey for me as God had to lead me to see more of what he wanted for the new season after me, and I have now shared that with you.  It has not been a straightforward time.  But as I started to see it was to be the beginning of a new season and that God had lots more for the region, I began to get more excited about it.

The role that I have now, is called, the Regional Leader, that will change.  The new role is to be a Chairman's role as it seeks to make a flatter structure to serve the region through facilitating regional circles.  It will carry the same authority that my role does now but will look different, especially as the chairman's role widens out into a larger team.

Some of the qualities that the new Chairman will need are:
-The ability to relate to people where they are
-To bring people along with him into something bigger
-To be sensitive & understanding to what YWAM’ers are doing & want to achieve in their different locations
-To be a strategic thinker
-And be someone who listens to God and can appropriately apply what God is saying.
-Has strong international connections and can keep our growing connectedness to the international
-Be visionary & can follow through on implementation
    So who has these qualities & will take us into this new phase of growth & development?  Well its someone that hasn’t been in the region as long as some of you, although he has lived here twice before and has continually carried these nations in his heart.  He has shown in the time that he’s been here that he has a big heart for these nations and has the qualities I have just mentioned.  Yohanan Rempt (pictured with me below) will be the one taking on the Chairman’s role for the next two years.  He will lead the region though a process that will take us into the new structure. 

I want to commend Yohanan to you. Yohanan is absolutely the right person to take on this role, he is a man who listens to God and will put God first in all things.  He gives himself fully to all he does and I know that for those of you that might not know him yet, you will discover very soon after meeting him that he is wise, warm, Godly and a gracious leader.  The CELT, & The European leadership team and I believe he is the right person before God to lead us at this time.
Over the next few months I will transition more and more out of my role as Yohanan transitions into the new Chairman’s role. 

One last thing - Thank you:

I want to say thank you to all of you for the 

involvement in my life over these years, 

a leader has the privileged of serving those he leads 

& I have had the privilege of serving you.  

Certainly I have had some of the best times of my life here

 and also some very sad times, as well as challenging ones too, 

but it has also been the richest time of my life 

and I have had the privilege of spending it among you.

What will I do next?  I don’t know yet...

- Carmelita