Saturday, December 29, 2007

Discipleship Training School...creativity

Arts and Creativity… If you remember, the special focus of this discipleship training school has been on creativity and in November we had the opportunity to travel to the West of Romania to visit some local artist to see first hand how God is using creativity in their lives. We first visited a Romanian sculptor named Liviu Moran, and had the privelge of seeing his studio with all kinds of sculptures, finished and in progress. I was so inspired by his spiritual depth and how his art truly flowed out of his relationship with God. His art is now all over the world, reflecting the glory of God and a message of life coming out of death. He is currently working on a project that will bring some of his work to the States as well. You can learn more about Liviu at his website.

That same week, Heidi Schmidt, a musician and missionary from Colorado who has been serving in Romania for the past 7 years, came and shared with us her testimony and music. This was also such an encouraging experience to see how God is using her gifts and talents to shine his light and life in this world. She is making an impact in Romania through her music and has been invited to sing all over the country. Check out “Heidi Schmidt” on to see her sing. You can google her too but most of the articles are in Romanian!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Beginnings at YWAM Constanta!!!

Discipleship Training School- Oct. 2007

I am excited to share with you that Sunday night, Oct. 14th was the beginning of my second experience as a Discipleship Training Staff, and the start of a powerful adventure into the heart of God for our five new students from four different nations! This is our Discipleship Training School- three months of teaching on God's character, nature, heart for missions, etc. and 2 and a half months of practically applying all that has been learned by reaching our to the nations with the love of Jesus! Our students are: Chrissy, 19, from USA; Cosmina, 24, from Romania; Adin, 20, from Romania; Leo, 31, from Norway; and Peter, 18, from Canada. They are a great bunch of people and I am really enjoying getting to know them and have great expectations for the aweseom things God has in store for their lives!

In the classroom with Tony Hedricks

Our other great beginning here at YWAM Constanta, was the official grand opening of NEW WINE CAFE, our students/youth outreach ministry! God has been more than faithful to provide all that was needed to get the cafe up and running and our YWAM staff team really pulled together to get everything done by October 19th, opening night. The evening was kicked off with a live performance by our talented YWAM staff and student, Eugen Petcaru and Leo Chaparian. The evening was full with friends from YWAM, Campus Crusade for Christ with their friends, and young people coming in off the street. It was great to have so many people there, sharing together and having a good time. We are privileged to be the ONLY place in Constanta like this- a coffee house where students are wanted, welcomed and loved with the Love of God!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Training and Outreach in BUDAPEST, Hungary!!!

Hello Friends!

Two weeks ago I set out for Budapest, Hungary with my Discipleship Training Staff team from Constanta, Romania, for a week of training and evangelism. We joined up with the staff team from YWAM Budapest- enjoying sharing our experiences in working with discipleship schools, learning how to better work together as a team, and praying for God to move in our schools to reach the lost and see His Kingdom come in Budapest.

During our time in Budapest we also had the amazing blessing of reaching out to the city with the Catholic church. Two years of preparation had gone into this week long "City Mission" outreach to the people of Budapest and all over the city you could find Christians sharing the Gospel through music, art, preaching, scripture reading, liturgy, clowning, face painting, and conversation.

Our team from YWAM Constanta, and Terry Williams from YWAM Budapest had an awesome week working along-side "New Jerusalem" a charismatic Catholic church in Budapest. I was a butterfly for the week, painting kids faces and some adults too! Terry was the clown standing next to me in the picture to the left and we had a great time shining the love of Jesus on the people we met.

The rest of my team had many conversations with people about the Lord and we even met some Romanians that we could share with in Romanian! It was an awesome time of seeing how God moves when his people are in unity. Some people responded to altar calls that were given and a lot of precious seed was sown into the hearts of the people. Keep praying that the believers in Budapest will feel free to continue to share about our Saviour and the new life we have in him. God is moving in that city!!!

Thank you for being a part of what the Lord is doing in Eastern Europe through your prayers and finances!!! Stay tuned for more on what the Lord is doing in Romania :)

Monday, September 03, 2007

To the States and Back Again!

I was homein the States in June and July and had a great time. I was so blessed to be able to visit my grandparents and aunt, uncle and cousins in Florida, then went to Colorado to see another aunt and uncle and more cousins, and then went to Oregon with a side trip to California! Yeah I was all over the place but it was so good to catch up with people after being gone for almost 2 years! I wish I had more time to share about my time at home, but that will have to wait for the time being. I just want to catch you up really quickly on some of the recent happenings around here.

Now I am back in Romania and for the past month our ministry team here at YWAM Constanta has been hosting outreach teams. We had a total of 8 teams, but I was only here for two of them- one from England and another mostly from South Korea. Its been great and they have really helped us with reaching out to some of the kids here in Constanta. We've been focusing on two poorer neighborhoods here in the city and it has been such a joy to bring life and hope to these communities through loving on the kids. It is one of my favorite things!!!

There are pictures of my time at home that you can see through my flickr link to the left and below you can see pictures of the kids outreaches we've been doing. I was also able last month to see one of the girls from our Day Center ministry get baptised! Praise God for the fruit he is bringing in the lives of the kids there! And also at the elderly people's ministry run by the local church I have been attending- Good New Church. (The older men in white below are from their ministry!) Thank you for your prayers and support! You guys are a part of this awesome work that the Lord is doing here in Constanta, Romania!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Friends in Sarajevo

Here are some dear friends we made while in Sarajevo! Don Stephens- working with YWAM Sarajevo, Veska from my team, Lorraine- my team, Ahmed- my adopted Bosnian Brother, Mario- my team, Aldin- Bosnian friend of Don's, and Alan who sounds like he could be American but is really Bosnian and really cool :)

Back in Constanta

Back in Constanta … Leah Lewis serving with YWAM Friends in Sarajevo
Hey all! I am back Constanta, Romania after an amazing, stretching and eye-opening outreach that I have to say was completely arranged by our good and loving Father in heaven. He put together my team in such a way that we had many different life-experiences to share and gifts to use in serving, and God met us up with just the right people so that we were a blessing, naturally through who we were. So thank you God for blessing us with so many awesome opportunities to love people and to serve, and thank you folks out there who have all contributed financially and through prayer to make this trip possible. It was awesome!

Our last month of outreach was spent in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia working with an American couple who have a community center called Nova Nada, “New Hope”. Through this community center and through friends we were able to build friendships with many different people- young people, older people, Muslims, Christians, and mentally and physically disabled people. These friendships have taught me so much about loving people into the Kingdom of God. The love that God put in our hearts for the people in Sarajevo is so strong and we are going to miss everyone there so much. We are praying that the seeds we sowed into each life will bear fruit in time and that the love we showed each one will remind them of the incredible love that God our Father has for them. Already we have had word that one of our dear friends there has accepted Jesus as his Savior!!!! May many more follow!

Back here in Constanta, we will be spending the week finishing up the Discipleship Training School with debriefing and evaluation on the school as a whole. As DTS staff I have been so blessed to see God grow the students in such an amazing way and to see their passion for serving God grow more and more. Please keep the students in your prayers and many of them are looking for their next step in life. Specifically I would like you to pray for Mario and Veska, the two Bulgarian students who were on outreach team. Pray for God’s provision for both of them and for his leading. These are two very special people and I am going to miss them so much!

As for me, I will be heading to AMERICA as soon as the school finishes! June 16th I will arrive in Florida to spend time with family and get some much needed rest. Then I am on to Denver for more family visiting and finally July 3rd I will be in my hometown, Ashland, Oregon until the 28th of July to reconnect with my church, friends and family there. The 12-15th of July I will be in Redding, CA visiting college friends. Please let me know if you want to meet up during my time home. I would love to see as many people as possible as it has been almost 2 years since I was last in the States!

Fundraising update…Praise God for his provision during outreach! The cost was much less than we expected and I still have enough money to finish the DTS and get me to the airport and on my way home. So far I have had two families decide to join my support team with their monthly support and this is such a blessing! Please pray for me as I seek out opportunities to share all that God is doing here in Constanta and in all of the Balkan while I am in the States. I am praying that God will continue to add to my support team and that together we will be able to make a difference in the lives of the people here in Constanta and in all of the Balkan- loving them into the Kingdom and helping them to grow into givers of hope and life. Please remember that you are a part what God is doing here. Through your prayers, encouragement, gifts and love, you are making a difference. Thank you so much!

Resident at Pazaric Home for the disabled in Bosnia orphanage website

YWAM Constanta Blog:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia!

Hey guys! This past month I have been on a crazy adventure, serving the Lord, learning soooooooo much and experiencing so many new things! As you know, I am leading a YWAM Discipleship Training School outreach team of three students: Mario from Bulgaria, Veska Also from Bulgaria and Lorraine from England. We started off in Sophia, Bulgaria where Mario and Veska are from. There we met with some of their friends and did some team prep. for our outreach. Then we had a change of plans and ended up going to Kratovo, Macedonia for a week where I had been for my DTS outreach last fall. It was so good to reconnect with people and to encourage the growing church there. We also met with two young guys, who gave their lives to Jesus just few days after we left Macedonia. It was so cool to see God working in their lives, showing them the truth. Macedonia was a huge blessing for us!

After Macedonia we went to Nis, Serbia where we had all kinds of opportunities to serve: in an orphanage for teenagers, at a public pre-school for gypsy kids, in a village with kids and young people where they have no church, visiting elderly ladies who needed encouragement, in the local churches, and visiting families! Lots of variety for just two and a half weeks of being there. It was so interesting to learn about Serbia and the issues they are dealing with. There is such a big need there for encouragement and hope...Pray for this nation!

And now we are are in Sarajevo, favorite place so far. The whole country is full of gorgeous mountains and green green trees!! The river Drina is the most amazing green blue color I have ever seen in a river! This place is really breath-taking. The great missionary couple we are working with here, Tom and Kristie Trowbridge drove us up into the mountains around the city and see where the 84 Olymplic games were held, (most all of the sites now destroyed from the war).

There is really too much to say about this place for this short update, but i can tell you that I am so glad God has brought our team here. Our prayer is to bring hope, life and light in Jesus to the people here and we need your prayers. We will be working with Tom and Kristie's ministry center, which reaches out through all kinds of creative activities: english classes, community nights, worship nights for seekers and more...with the intention of building relationships with people where we can share the hope of Jesus. A lot of missionaries here deal with division and so we need prayers for unity and love. This is a Muslim nation and in Sarajevo alone there are 150 mosques. A new one is built every month.

Our good friend from YWAM, Don Stevens lives here and has been introducing us to his friends, some, young muslim guys that are quickly becoming part of our team family. Pray for God to use us in this place and for him to continue to work in the lives of the people we met in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia.

For those of you interested in supporting me for this outreach I am still in need of about $800. You can send a check to His Hands Foundation, 1045 N. Main St., Ashland, OR 97520...Thank you so much for your prayers and support! Oh and keep in mind that I will be in the States June 16 through July 28th! Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Outreach to Bucharest

This past week was AMAZING! Last week, we traveled with our team of four to the capital of Romania where we had the opportunity to share our lives and love with some very special ladies at a girls home in a village outside of the city (the same place where I was with my DTS for a week), Teen Challenge- a ministry to young people living in the street and those struggling with addictions, Calvary Chapel's neighborhood kids outreach, Stepping Forward ministry to orphans, and the YWAM National Office. We had a very full week but were so encouraged to see God using us to bring his hope, life and love to everyone we met.

My team was made up of Sarah Buchkosky, my closest friend here in Romania (also from the States) and myself, leading, and two people who are greatly impacting my life: Veska and Mario from Bulgaria. These two grew up together in an orphanage and have powerful testimonies of God's grace and changing power. Their hearts for others are amazing and it was such a blessing to see them sharing with the people we ministered two. God has such amazing purposes and plans for these too and I am blessed to have them on my team again as we go to Bosnia and Serbia for our big outreach.
Please pray for us as we continue to grow in the Lord and in the gifts that God has given us. And praise God for using this past week in Bucharest!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Discipleship Training School

I LOVE DTS!!! It is such a blessing to be staff for the Discipleship Training School here in Constanta! We have just finished our fourth week and I can hardly believe it! We have a group of 6 students and 6 staff for this school and it is going very well. The students are sooo special, coming from Romania, Bulgaria, America and England! The youngest is 19 years and the oldest is 55 so it is quite a mix of people and cultures. It is amazing to see the Lord working in their lives, healing them and letting his truth soak deeper and deeper into their souls. It is really an honor to be here with them and to be an encouragement for them along the way.

And of course they are not the only ones being changed during this school. The Lord is touching my heart as well, encouraging me to use the gifts he has given me with boldness and to continue learning what is means to serve WITH him in ministry. I am so blessed to be here right now.

We are currently planning a week long outreach for the week of Feb.26 to March 3rd. We will be reaching out here in Romania and look forward to being a blessing wherever we go.

During the week days the students have been joining in with different local ministries reaching out to street people, older people, children at the Day Center, with the poor families and to the youth of Constanta through a film club held here at our base! So lot of great stuff is going on and we can really thank God for this. He is blessing us in so many ways and drawing us closer to him.

Thank you for praying for us during this time! And be blessed with the Love of the FATHER!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Christmas was Sensational!

With only a few days to bring things together, it was amazing to see how well things went for our Christmas Dinner with the street kids. God really blessed us with an amazing time with our friends from the street. We had 7 people serving and setting up and 12 people from the street come. It was much smaller than we had expected but with the amount of staff we had, it was perfect.

Our staff team was made up of two members of the YWAM street team: Therese from Norway and Dave from the U.S., Lorraine from England, who is a missionary serving her in Constanta through our local church “Good News Church”, Irina from Constanta, who used to translate for the street team, Cristi from Constanta, who helps out with the other street project in town and attends our church, and me and Leisl, my friend from home. Irina’s church opened their doors to us last minute, so in their small, but cozy church we had our dinner.

It was such a special time to share together, knowing that many of the kids would have sat all day on the street getting high had they not been invited to the dinner. We sang Christmas carols and ate Sarmale, the traditional Romanian Christmas meal. Dave shared about Jesus and his power to change our lives and talked for a long time afterwards with a teenage girl who we had never met before. She was really interested in what Dave was talking about and we hope to see her again to keep up the relationship and see her grow in knowing Jesus.

Thank you so much to those who donated money to make this dinner a reality! I hope this will become a new tradition here in Constanta and that it will grow! Thank you Lord for blessing our Christmas day!

Christmas Eve with Friends

Christmas Eve we spent the evening at my base leader’s home with his family, friends and some other YWAMers spending the holidays here in Constanta. It was so nice to be together with so many of us being so far from home and family. We ate the BEST traditional Norweigen Christmas food, as my base leader is Norweigen and so is another of our staff members. Such good food! I think next year I should go to Norway and get some more! J After dinner Andreas, their 8 year old son, read us the Christmas story from Luke in Romanian and we spent the rest of the evening enjoying each other’s company. A very nice Christmas Eve!

Visiting Families for Christmas

The Thursday before Christmas we had the opportunity to visit the poor families I had been visiting with the street team before DTS. Again it was wonderful to see the families after such a long time and to see the great job that, Dan, a Romanian YWAM staff member, is doing now leading this project to reach out to families in need (The project is actually now a church-planting effort, in cooperation with a local church here in Constanta- Good News Church). We took Christmas presents to the children and extra food to the parents, and sang a couple of Christmas carols, wishing them a Merry Christmas and inviting them to church on Christmas Eve. It was quite a marathon run, visiting nine families in one afternoon, but it was fun and hopefully we were a blessing!

Leisl's Visiting!!!

December 16th, my dear friend Leisl Wehmueller, my best friend from college, came to visit me for the holidays! It has been such a blessing spending time with her, catching up, sharing what God is doing in our lives and serving together through the different holiday events that have been going on. She has such an awesome heart to serve and it it sooo fun to be with her, even though she has been sick a lot! Thank you God for good friends! January 8th she will say “adios” and go back to Spain where she will be teaching English for the next year. Yeah Leisl!

Girls Home Close to Completion

Many of the guys at our base have been working very hard to finish up the renovations for our girls home. The construction is mostly complete and now we look forward to the addition of the kitchen furniture and appliances. Please keep praying for staff members as we are unable to make the home available until we have two more ladies who can stay with the girls a couple nights a week each. When we have a team of ladies together we will open the home with one of the girls who is now attending our Day Center. We will receive more girls into the home as our staff and facilities can accommodate them with the appropriate skills and services. Our desire is to provide emotional, spiritual, educational and vocational support for girls coming from abusive homes, helping them to succeed in life. My plan is to be one of the staff that will stay a couple of nights at the girls home every week. I will keep you posted on how things come along with this project!

Back on the Street!

My second week back in Constanta I had the chance to go out again with YWAM’s street team to visit my friends living on the streets. It was so great to see their reactions as they realized that I was actually back in Constanta, and also for me to realize how much they love and missed me while I was gone for DTS. It’s actually a pretty humbling realization. These people have so little, and yet they give so much love- to me- who in the grand scheme of things really doesn’t do much for them. It is my desire to give them value through loving them with God’s love, but at the same time they are giving so much value to my life by loving me. Yep, it’s pretty amazing.
"All that is not the love of God has no meaning for me. I can truthfully say that I have no interest in anything but the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. If God wants it to, my life will be useful through my word and witness. If He wants it to, my life will bear fruit through my prayers and sacrifices. But the usefulness of my life is His concern, not mine. It would be indecent of me to worry about that."
- Dominique Voillaume
(From "The Signature of Jesus" by Brennan Manning)