Sunday, November 27, 2016

Team Building in Budapest

On my way back from Norway, I went to Budapest for a team-building time with the YWAM Central European Leadership team. Since we formed in July, we have been meeting online on Skype, but we hadn't had any time together in the same place. We spent 3 days getting to know each other and how we can work together well. We were in meetings most of the day, but we did have one hour long "escape room" where we had to work out how to get out of the room. It was a medieval themed room, so we got to take some fun photos afterwards: (back row are Arlen and Jason, both from the US, Arlen lives in Romania and Jason in Hungary. Alket is from Albania, then me and Yohanan, who is from the US and Florin from Romania). Yes, it is me and 5 guys... we definitely need some more females on the team!
We do have at least one female advisor: Helga Nuernberger from Romania (originally from Germany) who is one of our "elders" (so not part of the actual team, but gives advice as needed). She joined us for some of the team-building time - see below photo. And Stephe Meyers came from Spain (he is the former leader for YWAM Europe) to run the team-building time. They joined us for the escape room, but just observed how we did things together and made comments afterwards...
It was long days, and tiring after long days also in Norway, but as I said to someone today, I am physically exhausted, but my soul is completely filled to overflowing! 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Leadership Training School Module 1

The organisation I work with, Youth with a Mission, usually runs schools on a 3-month modular basis, but for many leaders taking even 3 months out of their usual places is too much, so they decided to try something new here in Europe: a 10-month long, online school with 5 intensive week-long "modules" every other month in different places in Europe. The aim is to not only train leaders, but also give them opportunity to network together and be mentored by other leaders, and put into practice what they are learning while on the school through practical assignments. It sounded like a wonderful opportunity as I am more and more involved in leadership, and so I signed up!

The first module was in Norway, about an hour north of Oslo. And Norway greeted us with a lovely covering of snow... this was the pic from the plane as we landed:
It may have been cold outside, but with 120 participants, and wonderful teachers, the atmosphere inside was very warm! We were joined from Hawaii via skype by Darlene Cunningham, one of our co-founders. She wasn't able to join us in person because of health problems, but we still enjoyed our time with her (and pray for her recovery!):
Her husband, Loren, was with us for the week in person and he told us stories of YWAM's pioneering days and shared with us many of the lessons he has learned along the way:
One night his phone rang while he was teaching and he actually took the call to everyone's amazement... it was his little sister, Janice, and at first we were all a bit shocked that he had taken the call from her... until it turned out that she was involved in much of the pioneering of YWAM in Europe and shared stories of how things started here (and we quickly realised the phone call had been planned!!) It was great to hear them banter back and forth and when he reminded her about the time she was arrested in Afghanistan, quipped about how glad that wasn't him, saying "Here I am, Lord, send my sister"! Love it!
We had other guest speakers, including Alv Magnus and Andreas Nordli, who shared about their work in the nation of Norway. Alv was the pioneer and Andreas is the current leader.
 We had great times of worship and also prayer over nations of Europe (using a BIG map!)
 Most afternoons were spent with our "processing groups": As you can see, our group is pretty fun! We are from 6 different nations, including the Cook Islands, and it was great getting to know them.
Despite the busy schedule (breakfast started at 6.45 and our program went to 9pm, and I helped with breakfast prep so my days started at 6.15!), we did have time for some fun activities (aimed at building community!)... A bonfire in -10degs, with hot chocolate, marshmallows and sausages :)
And going to an ice-hockey game for the local club "Storhamar". The club gave us free tickets and organised their buses to bring us and take us back... so we of course cheered for them and I think we helped them onto victory! The game was in the CC Amfi which was built for the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics and used for figure skating. We had a lot of fun and I am so glad that I got to experience it! I even came back with a hoarse throat from screaming :)
I didn't get any pics of the hanging out over mealtimes (of which there were 4 a day!) and just getting to know awesome people from all across Europe. I look forward to continuing this 10-month journey of learning and discovery as we now work online and meet with our processing groups on Skype until the next module...

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Book Club - bigger than ever!

We started a few weeks ago, but I only remembered to get pictures tonight... So you can see how many people we have involved in the book club at the Children's Home. We now have almost 40 kids and about that many volunteers, so we are definitely the biggest we have ever been!
With so many volunteers, it actually works really well as we manage to calm the kids down and get things done, but it is still loud and crazy and so much fun!!
We actually have so many volunteers now that I have had to start turning people away which is a positive problem to have! 
We work through worksheets which help them to process what they have read in the books. Tonight we were working on a worksheet called "Svidjelo se, Ne Svidjelo se" (I like... I don't like) so they can say which parts of the book they like and which parts they don't like... these guys all had joke books (a big favourite!) and so on the "don't like" they said "NOTHING" :) 
I wanted to take more photos, but things are always crazy, so you will have to make do with these :) 
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