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


Friday, July 18, 2014

5 cities | final report


 5 cities was started because the CE leadership realized that there were a lot of places in CE that showed "signs of life". As a region we wanted to be able to create a context from which we could see the places that had these signs of life move from some life to more life.

The initial goal of the 5 cities was to be a concrete way to express the needs and opportunities of our region in such a way that people could engage with the needs and partner with us. Furthermore we wanted to:

-support the existing teams and individuals in these locations

-establish new works and deeper roots for these bases

-see further transformation in the teams, cultures and locations in the 5 cities

-continue to create a model of how we can invite partnerships into pioneering contexts

So now, 2 years later, and after the 5 Cities Project is officially ended, here is what happened.

Joys:


Every team moved forward in its goals and mission.

Teams grew: 3 people joined the Krakow team, one couple joined Prague, one person joined Pristina (with more potentially on the way) and Pristina began to move forward as a full-time ministry location, Sarajevo will be planted in the beginning of June (come pray them in with us in September in Sarajevo!), the Greece team has seen a lot of great stuff happen on the ground even though the team leaders continue to be denied Greek visas to live in Greece.

Many short term outreach teams came into several of the 5 cities from Eastern, Western and Central European regions. These included a lot of DTS teams (maybe 30?), several second level schools (maybe 6) and several other teams (we established a 5 year partnership with "just go" which is the missions wing of Soul Survivor UK). We also saw several people come on vision trips to see if they could partner longer term or move to these locations to join our existing works or start their own.

We were able to share about the great things happening in our region all over Europe and see many people respond by wanting to partner longer term or even move to the region!

We were able to tell the stories we have heard about the heroes we have working in our region.

We saw a lot of new partnerships with Western, Northern, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, including a 10 years partnership between Norway and Pristina, and several other committed partnerships between other locations and our teams in the 5 Cities.

We were able to build A LOT of awareness about what YWAM looks like in our region and put YWAM Central Europe on peoples' minds.

Difficulties:


Greek team still not able to get all of their visas (they are still a committed team though even through this difficulty, 3 of the team will most likely move there by the end of the year).

Several members of the Krakow team's commitments expired and they have left, so we will need to continue to see people be released into Krakow.

All of these teams still need more people to fulfill their callings and visions.

Lessons learned:


- it is hard to build momentum to recruit with a very small team or one couple. They often need additional support and partnerships to help them gain momentum.

- every location has such different strengths, challenges, needs and opportunities. All have different timelines to see those needs fulfilled.

- we all need support, and we need to be able to draw that support from God and others, and also from reflecting on our own needs and development as leaders so we can best serve those we lead.

Hopes going forward:


I believe that we have identified a sustainable process for identifying, describing, and publicizing our needs as a region that can be multiplied and used throughout YWAM (identify concrete needs and opportunities, describe them in such a way that invites and gives space for people to act and help provide solutions and support from wherever they are).

It is hard to develop YWAM in urban contexts, it is more expensive, more distracting, and more difficult to build community, it is also where most of the population of the world is, or is moving into. Regardless of the challenges, we must continue to figure out how we can engage with the cities in our region and around the world to fulfill our call to the "alls" and "everys".

Finally, thanks so much for your many kinds of support and encouragement as we have engaged in this project. We continue to pray blessings and life over our region and we believe that God has set up this time for great things to happen!

- Yohanan Rempt