Wednesday, May 17, 2017

English Classes

I am running two sets of English classes at the moment - with adults doing conversation (but that is no fun to take pictures of, although we do have a good time!) and with children. The children are cuter to take pictures of, so here you are:
There are about 20 kids and 4 volunteers, and each volunteer then works with a table group. We do games, exercises, colouring in, etc all around the tables. 
In the middle we have time to have some games and things altogether: Here is my little parachute which was a gift from a team - and we put it to good use. It is great for learning colours, numbers, instructions (up, down, round, etc). We also do other games and songs and just have a great time before heading back to our tables to carry on. 
Meanwhile the parents are kept busy with their own workshops - this one was on what behaviours should we allow children to get away with and which shouldn't ever be allowed... 
I have fun with both my classes, and seeing how the kids and the adults improve with each class is so rewarding!!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Leadership Training School Module 3

I missed Module 2 in January, which was in Holland, because I was in South Africa, but managed to catch it up on video. This time the week-long intensive was in Skien, Norway (actually pronounced Shay-en) which is also pretty close to Oslo, but from the airport it was almost 3 hours on the train. I was in the quiet car and had to take a picture:
We were in a former prison now turned YWAM base, and it was pretty cool!! They are not used to having over 130 people, but they did a fantastic job of hosting us all!!
One of the great things about this course is that you get to meet and connect with people from all over working all over Europe...I was in a room with a Kiwi who works in Greece, an American who works in Scotland and a Swiss girl who works in France.

I and the Kiwi, despite being the older ones in the room ended up on the top bunks, because the American is pregnant and the lovely Swiss girl had broken her back in December in a car accident... there was no ladder on the bed which made it tricky to get down. I managed to do it the first morning, but realised that I wouldn' t be able to do it on a regular basis... I talked to the YWAM base staff and... no problem, one of the Norwegian staff came and measured and the ladder was made and on the bed before I came back from lunch! love it!

This is the door to our "cell" - isn't it the coolest!!
 We were in lectures (with discussion around the table) most of the time. We had two great lecturers, Markus Steffan and Jim Stier. Markus is the President of the University of the Nations and Jim Stier (below) was previously President of Youth With A Mission. We had our lectures in a Methodist Church right next door to the prison.
 On the last night we had a wonderful meal together - we call it a Love Feast. Where we have lovely food and then share about how God has been working in our lives. We also sang a few hymns acappella which was great!
Afterwards we were treated to wonderful music by two fantastic Norwegian musicians in a 13th Century Church. It was so beautiful!
During this module we were given a big project that we had to complete, so now we are all busy working on that in our own time until the next Module in Krakow in June. So far it has been a fantastic experience to be a part of this Leadership Training School... we will finish with the 5th and final module in Kiev in August. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

YWAM Europe United | Family without borders

Last year in March we, the YWAM Europe leadership, started talking and dreaming about a huge YWAM Europe gathering along the theme of "Family without borders". The last big meeting was in 2007, so it was time. We were pretty certain it was supposed to happen in Albania, where we had hotels ready to give us a great deal (as it is off season), but there was no place for loads of people to meet - so the idea of the tent on the beach (which is owned by the hotels) was born... and it became a reality!
And 750 people from the YWAM Europe Family came along to make it all happen: I had the privilege of being one of the MC's for the first night, and actually started the whole shebang off!! If I had been clever, I would have got a photo of that - but you will have to make do with the crowd instead:
We spent 3 days meeting in the mornings and evenings and having afternoons "off" to gather in smaller groups. The downside of having so many people meant the meal queues (even with 3 places to line up) were pretty long - but I had some of my best catch-up/getting-to-know-you conversations in those lines, so it wasn't too bad.
In the afternoons, we had time to meet in smaller groups, or be a part of the many workshops or seminars that were offered. Central Europe had a meeting on one afternoon - and of course I don't have a picture of that. The 120 people from our area got together to share what is going on in our area - especially as we are going through a leadership transition... It was a great time of just being in the smaller family :)

The last afternoon they also offered us an outing to a Roman amphitheatre - and a place where Paul could have possibly preached!
All week I roomed with 3 others, including my good friend Belinda, and here we are at the amphitheatre with our matching T-shirts (which is the logo for her shop in Ireland, "Good Craic"), We figure if we room together, we at least get to catch up in the mornings and evenings in the room - otherwise it is pretty hit and miss how much we see each other as there are so many people who we want to see!
 There was also a chance to meet up with people that we normally work with virtually - here is the Communication Team for Central Europe (along with some new recruits!) which I lead. Great bunch of people!
And then it was all over and time for the tent to come down... it was easier taking it down than putting it up, but not by much - as they had to figure out ways to fold it all up without getting sand in it! Luckily there were a LOT of willing hands to help...
 After the conference the leaders for Central Europe had meetings for two days - it was a good time of catching up and also for Yohanan (third from left) to pass on the baton to me and Florin (second from right) as the new leaders for this area. We also enjoyed the fancy place to meet - in the wedding hall up on the 6th floor!
Where you can get pictures of the sunset like this one... (the pics from the beach weren't bad either!)
Then it was time to say good bye and head back to Bosnia, after a great week at the beach with my "family"!

Friday, April 07, 2017

Book Club

We started the Book Club back up a month ago - and we had visits from two actors from the Children's Theatre who helped us have a great time:
We have carried on with our weekly visits - either at the library or here at the home. Our volunteers really love working with the kids each week! It is also great to see that there are lot of kids who have come through the book club and are too old for it now, but they want us to get books for them from the library each time we go... I love it!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Mini day-camp

On Saturday, 40 kids, 15 moms and 20 volunteers gathered together to have a fun mini-camp with the kids from our Sponsorship project and their moms. We started altogether and played one of my favourite games of all time - "Captain coming" and the kids loooooved it. We then divided into two groups... (there were supposed to be 3, but I had come down with a temperature the day before and felt horrible. Although I could help out, I felt I couldn't have 3 groups of high energy English classes to run. It mostly worked out ok despite the bigger groups of kids!

The one group did craft activities on an Easter theme:

The other group did a workshop on family and what it means to us. Many of the kids come from big families or single-parent homes, and so it was good to look at the different forms of family and how being from a "different" family isn't wrong, it is just different. 
The kids rotated between the two groups and had a snack time in between. The Moms were upstairs and had two activities: first Gaga did a presentation on organisation of free time activities for their children, which was very well received. She also explained about Brain gym. This is a form of exercise which helps to develop children's brains through physical activity (which you will see more on later!)
 And then Dijana led a decoupage workshop, which they loved!
We also stuck with the Easter theme, and did eggs!
The last 45 minutes we spent altogether downstairs. Gaga led a series of activities for the kids based on "Brain gym". We also had the Moms there so they could see what it involved!
 As you can see it is actually a LOT of fun!
To end off the Easter theme, we watched some videos showing exactly what happened on Easter.
And Ljilja closed us off by asking the kids if they understood what went on in the videos... and they did!
As you can see, it was a great day (despite me being under-the-weather) and we had a LOT of fun! We also had a LOT of help from volunteers - some of them older kids in the project, others who work with us in the Children's Home. It wouldn't have been possible to organise this without their help! We and the kids (and the moms!) are truly thankful that we do have such wonderful people who will give up their Saturdays to come and spend time helping out.

And it was good to be reminded of the true meaning of Easter: Hristos Vaskrse. Vaistinu Vaskrse! (Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed!)

Friday, March 31, 2017

European Leadership meetings

YWAM in Europe is made up of different areas, and I am one of the leaders for the Central European area. This is made up of 16 different countries from Poland to Greece and Czech to Moldova. It is a real privilege to help lead the 250 people in YWAM in my area.

This week, I went to England to get together with the different area leaders from all over Europe. We had 2 intense days of meeting together and praying for Europe, and it was a real privilege to be a part of this great group of people:
It wasn't all work and no play - we did have time to hang out and get to know each other better, and catch up with what is going on in our lives. We worked out that amongst the 14 of us, we actually came from 13 different countries* - a real YWAM bunch of leaders!

(*and if you count Scotland and England separately, then 14!)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's time for Slovenia

I got back to Bosnia from South Africa, and about a week later went to Ljubljana (about 4 hours drive away) for a mini-gathering of people from all over YWAM Europe. There were 22 adults (and 7 kids) from 12 different nations who came together to see how we could start something in YWAM in this nation. It was 2 days of praying for the nation and the people who are already working there in different organisations and also trying to see what and how we can work there in the future.

As part of my leadership role in YWAM Central Europe, I was part of the team who was organising the event - and it was such a privilege to work together with people from YWAM Grimerud in Norway, YWAM Amsterdam in Holland, and Andreja, the only known Slovenian YWAMer... Here we are: Andreas and Geir Edvin from Norway, Andreja, me, and Reinier from Holland.
There was a media team from YWAM Amsterdam who came specifically to make videos to promote the idea of YWAM in Slovenia. Here is one of their videos:

I am so glad that I could be a part of this event which included our former European Director, Jeff Fountain "just happening" to be there at the same time to promote his book about Europe's Christian roots, which had been translated into Slovenian. A highlight for me was singing together with everyone in the Ljubljana City Hall (you can see a clip in the video) - the acoustics were amazing, and our worship sounded so good, some of the locals and tourists started videoing us as well!

We clearly saw that it is time for Slovenia!!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bosnian Evening 2017

When I am in South Africa, I like to share a little bit of Bosnian food and culture (and talk a bit about what I am doing there) and this year was no different! On the 18th of February, we held the 9th Bosnian evening at my home church, Claremont Methodist.

This year I decided to make "Ćevapi"  (pronounced "chevapi")... They are skinless sausages and in Bosnia you just get them in a restaurant or buy them at the butcher to fry yourself, so making them from scratch was a bit of a challenge, but the Bosnians that came along to the evening said they were amazing! (so I obviously got it right!).

There was a great turnout of people: My official photographer, Keren, did a great job and got pictures of all of the tables so you can see them all. It was a mixture of church members, old friends, family and as I have already mentioned, Bosnians that live in Cape Town.

To kick off the evening, we had a great "sampler" plated by our great kitchen team: The little pita breads filled with ćevapi and šopska salad (made by my friend Kristi and I the day before). They did get more ćevapi later on!
I mixed the ćevapi meat mixture over two days to make sure it was all mixed well and the flavours blended together and then I spent the Saturday morning rolling the ćevapi with the aid of a ziplock bag like in this video... They were ably cooked on the night by my chefs Dave and Nils and yes, there were a lot, I may have over-catered! (or actually been a typical Bosnian, haha)
 Pat also helped cook, but I didn't get a pic of him, so here he is with his ultra-cute daughter Rose:
 Rose (pictured here with her mom, Tina) also enjoyed looking at all of my photo books:
As did other people, including my cousin's children (well at least one of them did!)
After eating our fill, it was time for me to do some sharing of what I do in Bosnia Herzegovina:
After the presentation, we all learnt to sing a song in Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian (it is "What a mighty God we serve"). It isn't often that you can learn to sing in 3 languages :)
Then it was time for the kitchen team (aka Mom and her Home group - thanks guys!) to swing into action for the desserts (all made by people from my church!!)
There are actually only two recipes represented here, but everyone made them a little differently :) And they were all YUMMY!!
Before the end of the evening, we had the Quiz, which was great fun. I didn't get a pic of the winning team (there were actually 4 who got all the questions right - I may have made the quiz a little easy! - so we had to do a tie-breaker question). I did get a pic of all the people who were there who are in my support group: They get together and pray for me once a month - there are a few people who are missing, and I am really blessed by all of them!!
As you can see it was a great evening and everyone had a wonderful time :) Thanks to everyone who made this evening possible!! 
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