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.
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.
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.
- 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