Tuesday, October 12, 2010

YWAM Romania National Conference

In September our base hosted YWAM Romania’s National Conference. I now have a whole new appreciation for those who organize conferences and events! J But it was really wonderful to serve YWAM Romania staff and to have these days together here in Constanta. We had a special time of sharing and saying goodbye to our very dear friend and National leader Beatrice Simion who died in August two weeks after a terrible car accident. It was a really emotional time but so good to share it together with so many who were impacted by her life.

The conference speaker was a man from Germany who encouraged us to embrace the “Jesus anointing” of Isaiah 61 and to continue to reach out to the broken and needy that Jesus loves so much and longs to restore. It was a great and very needed message to hear! We also had a time of prayer for new ministry initiatives. I was really encouraged to receive prayer for Kids Club and whatever God has in mind for the future with kids ministry.

These national event are always such a blessing and bring such a sense of family as we seek the Lord together. In October we will have a special prayer meeting to seek God for a national vision for YWAM Romania. I can't wait to see how God moves as He unites His people more and more...

Another blessing that came from having the conference in Constanta was having our friends from the cafe ministry join us. I could see that God used the speaker's words to confirm what He is doing in many of their lives. I am so glad they were able to be blessed in this way through the conference. Keep praying for God to raise up His people from Romania to go to the lost! They are truly called to be a light to the nations!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Please pray :)

"Ask of God, not deliverance from your pains, but strength to bear resolutely, for the love of Him, all that he should please, and as long as He shall please. Such prayers, indeed, are a little hard to nature, but most acceptable to God, and sweet to those that love Him. Love sweetens pains; and when one loves God, one... suffers for His sake with joy and courage."

I'm sorry I can't remember where I read this quote but I had it written down on a piece of paper and I wanted to share it. Please pray for this family we know that is still living on the streets. The Child Protection has done nothing and the baby is now sick. The weather is getting colder and we need to continue to pray for action- either that the mother will take the room the has been offered to her or that the Child Protection will place the children in foster families. Please, please pray for action. And for protection for the kids. Its been such a long time waiting for something to happen. There has been good news and possibilities for the older girls but for the small ones we continue to pray. Thank you!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I like it! See the beauty all around!

These days I am learning about faithfulness and perseverance. There have been a lot of situations going on in my life and in ministry that just haven't come to final resolution and I am having to learn to live in the tension of "waiting". But as I wait on the Lord, I am finding that there are so many wonderful things to enjoy, and as I choose daily to see the beauty all around me, in all of the routine or the uncertainty, my perspective starts to change and life becomes much more lovely. I am also challenged to accept and learn to "like" the things that are frustrating for me. And the miracle of it all is that its not just positive thinking because I know that I have a God who does indeed work all things together for good, and uses trials and hard things to produce good fruit in my heart and life. Even in the unknown, even in the waiting times, He is working out His plan. So I need to learn to trust Him and enjoy the ride :)
Romans 8:28, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, James 1:2-4

Beautiful picture of the old Casino here in Constanta (Photo by Michelle Pritzl)

Our beautiful Black Sea (Photo by Michelle Pritzl)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

YWAM Conferences in Timisoara, Romania

This April our whole base traveled about 14 hours across the beautiful country of Romania to attend two YWAM conferences in the famous city of Timisoara.  Timisoara was the birth place of the revolution in 1989 that resulted in the fall of Communism here in Romania.  It is a beautiful city, rich with culture and history.  
The first conference we attended was a training week called EQUIP, organized and run by Youth With A Mission's University of the Nations.  The goal of the week was to equip YWAM staff with the skills and spiritual direction to continue to bear fruit in all our ministries across Central Europe.  During the week I attended two training seminars: one on how to run a dynamic Discipleship Training School, and one on ministering to Children at Risk.  Both were very helpful for me, especially the one on Children at Risk as I have had no formal training in this area and yet I have been working with Children at Risk for 4 1/2 years now!  Better late than never I guess ;)

The overarching theme of EQUIP was "digging wells" which symbolized our need to seek God for new ways to minister here in Central Europe.  Many ministries have been started and stopped in the region for all kinds of reasons and we spent the week thinking and praying over these things and listening to the Lord for new direction.  It was an inspiring week for me but it didn't stop there. After EQUIP we had our second conference to celebrate YWAM's 50th anniversary!
I absolutely love YWAM gatherings!  They are the kind of meetings that make you want to stay in YWAM and in missions. Being together with other missionaries from around the region you realize that you aren't alone.  We are just a small part of something amazing that God is doing in the world and when we come together to seek Him this is so much more evident.  For me these gatherings are also like one big family reunion!  I am so blessed to have gotten to know so many people working with YWAM in our region and it is so encouraging to be able to spend time together once a year at these events.  
During the 50th Anniversary we were able to look back on the past 50 years of YWAM history. Al Akimoff, one the very first YWAM missionaries, shared stories about the passion for Jesus that YWAMers first had.  They weren't afraid to smuggle Bibles into closed countries, they spent time in jails, they loved the lost so much that they were ready to leave everything to share the Gospel with them.  Al also shared where many of our YWAM traditions came from, like living in community and where "Love Feasts" began.  For me these stories were sooo inspiring and for all of us, I think they challenged our hearts to go back to our First Love, Jesus, and fan into flame our passion for Him and for the lost.  It was so good!

We also had some powerful times of worship and celebration, thanking the Lord for all He has done in our lives and in our mission for the past 50 years. This whole year is our Jubilee year! Let's celebrate!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kids Club Praise!

Praise the Lord, oh my soul and all that is with in me praise His holy name! His greatness no one can fathom!

Kids Club last summer
This update is a testimony to God's faithfulness. I have been reaching out with YWAM teams in a poor neighborhood here in Constanta for about three years. We went there a few times every summer to share with the kids Bible stories, songs, games and crafts. It was clear that the Lord had given us an open door to reaching out to these kids that had few adults investing in them and even fewer Christians. When the Discipleship Training School started last summer I asked if I could invite some of the students to join me every week for Kids Club in this neighborhood. This was the first time we went regularly and I ended up being joined by 5-7 students every week! The students loved the kids so much and God used them to get Kid Club going in a wonderful way.

What to do next without a team???
After the DTS I wanted to continue the kids club but was a little concerned on who would be coming with me. All our wonderful students had gone home and I wasn't sure how to go on from there. I had a couple from YWAM Norway pray for me and they asked specifically that the Lord would provide two or three people with whom I could form a team and together we would be able to work together to reach out to this neighborhood. Well to be honest, I appreciated the prayer but didn't have too much expectation of how God would answer their prayers. All glory to God because He, in His faithfulness had something wonderful in mind!

God provides!!!
I can't remember but it could have been the next week that a couple from another YWAM base here in Romania came to our base to visit. They had been out of the country and were seeking God for what to do next. They have been trained by YWAM for kids ministry and worked with gyspy kids in Sighisoara for years. After their first visit to Kids Club they could see immediately what we were lacking and how we could improve the club and said that they would be willing to help me! Without any delay, the Lord has done exactly as we prayed, two more people to form a team with! They will be here for three months- enough time to lay a strong foundation for the ministry and for me to learn all I can from them. God is faithful!

Tony and Ionela
The couple's name is Tony and Ionela. They are a wonderful blessing to work with and to have as a new addition for our YWAM community. They are also helping with the other children's ministries at the base as well as serving practically in different areas! God is faithful! Not only are Tony and Ionela on the kids club team but we have also been joined by one of the DTS students who is from Constanta, George, and three other friends from Constanta, Irina, Ticu and Rebecca! The Lord provided even more than two or three but five! And others are willing to come and join us too from time to time!

A room to meet in
Another praise is that we have gone to the school where we hold Kids Club in the court yard and spoken with the director about using one of their rooms to meet in during the colder months. He was very open, saying that if it was for the kids then we had to do it! This Tuesday we will go to speak with him more and present an official request from YWAM. Pray for our meeting with him to go well and that we will indeed receive a room where we can hold the club. Since January we have continued to hold the club outside which has many challenges!

Connected with one of the teachers
I was also so excited when I found out that three of the kids that come to club are in the class of another Christian girl whom I know from Campus Crusade. Two of these children we have been praying for specifically because of their difficult behavior. It is no accident that our friend is their teacher and that we are reaching out to them at the same time. I believe that God is setting up something wonderful for their lives and I am so encouraged to see God's sovereign hand bringing it all together!

Pray with us!!!
Please join us in prayer for the lives of these little ones to be touched and changed. Pray that they will come to know Jesus and to become lights in their families. And pray for our team to know how to show Jesus to them through our words, actions and prayers.

Thanks so much for reading!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wrapping up in Serbia

On our last night in Serbia we invited all the friends we had made in Serbia to a local tea house to spend some last moments together and to say goodbye. We had so many young people show up! It was awesome to see all the friendships the Lord had provided for us during our time in Uzice. These young people were so open for relationships and I believe hungry for truth and to know God more. Pray for the young people in Serbia to come to know the fullness of life in relationship with Jesus!

This was a young guy I met while visiting an art school in Uzice. We were handing out flyers for our concerts and I ended up talking to this guy for quite a while about art. He was amazingly talented and showed me some of his work. Unfortunately I didn't see him again while we were in Uzice, except for that final night at the tea house. He just happened to be there also so I was so glad to see him one last time!

Beta, from Romania who is serving on the YWAM Uzice team, and two of the girls from our English Club. Such sweet girls!

Honorary Freedom Fighter membership cards! This is the gang that many of the kids are in that supports the local football team. A few of the guys we met and spent time with are leaders of the group. Peter has a great heart to see the young people using their influence for good and not for violence. We are praying for him to be used to influence his peers and to be protected from those who do not appreciate his desire for non-violence.

Sharing stories, life and testimonies.

These kids were great! If only we had more time to hang out with them! It was sad to say goodbye!

My pastor from Constanta came with Rune our base leader to see the work in Uzice and to pick up our team and bring us back to Romania. Here the guys are having great discussions with Peter about faith and life.

Our final High School English Club! These young people were amazing and it was clear that they loved having us with them. Unfortunately just as we start to know them more its time to go! I hope I will be able to see some of them again some day and continue the relationships. The YWAM team in Uzice will continue to put on English Club every week. Soon they will have another DTS team from Cluj, Romania to help them as well!

This was our last sports day with the kids from the orphanage! We are glad that the YWAM team in Uzice will continue to meet with them weekly. They are really special kids!

One day we planned to bless Uzice by cleaning up the garbage at their main tourist site, an old fortress overlooking the city. But by the time we were ready to go it was pouring rain! So just a few of us went out that day to pick up garbage- but we had a great time! And these two precious kids were the best helpers. The boy is Benny, the son of the pastor in Sombor that we worked with, and the girl is Ivanica, who has been coming to the church activities regularly. They both came to visit us for Thanksgiving and they are great kids. I loved hanging out with them.

So much garbage!!! But we cleaned up most of it! And the kids had a great time finding all kinds of things in the mess! :)
"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)