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!)

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