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!!!