CORE CIRCLE 

Our Core Leadership Circle is made up of 5 people who lead the Central European area. The team is convened by Florin and Belinda. The Core circle’s role includes the following madates: 

  • bringing together necessary people for specific purposes be it a meeting, one of our area gatherings, a specific project, etc
  • encouraging local function rather than top down function. For instance: in a crisis or in new initiatives, the Convener/Core Circle need to know, but may never touch the situation, allowing people closer to the situation to handle it where necessary
  • acting as a “switchboard operator”- directing needs to appropriate people who can help
  • making sure that key processes, projects, and outcomes are accomplished but doesn’t always do them themselves
  • to discern God’s voice together on behalf of the region and also to discern how to apply the words and insights that are being given from God from the Founder’s Circle and other Field and Global leadership bodies

 

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BELINDA CHAPLIN 

I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. I joined YWAM after completing a Business Degree, doing my Discipleship Training School in Muizenberg, Cape Town in 1996. I felt the Lord calling me to come to Bosnia for “just 2 years” in 2001, but felt led to stay on for 2 more after that and now have been living and working in Bosnia for over 15 years! I am sometimes considered more Bosnian than South African and enjoy using my God-given talents to serve a local church where I lead worship, teach English and lead various projects with vulnerable children. 

Since 2007 I have been on the Communication Team for YWAM Central Europe, helping to run our communications such as the newsletter, Facebook page and blog and leading the team since 2012. I have also served the region by helping to organise the staff gatherings from 2009. In 2013 I became the Coordinator for YWAM Bosnia Herzegovina. In 2014, we formed a circle: YWAM Bosnia Herzegovina with YWAM Croatia and YWAM Serbia and we get together every month on Skype to pray for each other and reconciliation in the region. We are also planning on having a mobile DTS in the 3 countries in 2018.  

I look forward to continuing to serve YWAM Central Europe by being a part of the leadership team and to keep challenging the YWAMers in Central Europe to stay more connected with each other and others outside the region through communication. 

If you want to find out even more about me, check out my blog

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FLORIN MIHALY 

My name is Florin Mihaly, I’m married with Laura and we have two sons: Sergiu (11) and Andrei (6). I am from Romania and my journey in YWAM started in 1999 with a deep conviction to change the world through missions. Of course, like any other YWAMer, I discovered through the DTS and joining as staff that God points the finger first of all to my inner world to be changed. In this context I discovered the importance of leading yourself to be able to achieve the call of God in your life.

Over the years, I have been part of the following experiences:  the YWAM Medias pioneering team, base leader of YWAM Medias and National YWAM Romania leader. Through these experiences, I realised that leadership development is key in moving YWAM forward. I am looking forward to seeing how God will use me in the Central European Core Circle, but also as I continue to work towards leadership development in the region. There are two other areas where I would like to continue to learn: Bible/ theology and worldview/philosophy.

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JASON HINTON 

I am from North Carolina, and did my DTS in Guatemala in 2001 right after finishing university.  During my DTS, God radically changed my life and called me to continue training in YWAM to be a full-time missionary.  Later in 2001, I did the School of the Bible in Texas, and there met my future wife, Tiffany.  We were married a year later and have been serving with YWAM every since!  

After a few years with YWAM in Texas and having our first daughter Samantha, we moved to Nicaragua in 2005 and helped pioneer and lead both the Bible School for the Nations and the School of the Bible in Spanish, among other things.  Our second daughter Aubrey was born in Nicaragua, and in November of 2008 God very clearly spoke to us that it was time to start our transition out of Latin America and pursue ministry in Greece!

This was “off the radar” for us, but we took our time to investigate YWAM’s history in Greece and what it would look like to re-pioneer.  Since 2009, we have been slowly building a team, taking outreach and networking trips to Greece, and fighting through Greece’s difficult visa requirements.  It has been a slow but fruitful process, and in the midst of this transition God added another daughter to our family in 2012, Annie.  

In 2014, we were invited to move to Budapest to join the Central European office and to continue to travel in and out of Greece, among other regional projects.  We have now lived in Budapest for two years, had our fourth child Noah in 2015, and are glad to report that two long-term teams are now planted in Greece, both in Athens and Thessaloniki. I serve from Budapest as the National Coordinator for Greece and we are looking forward to when God opens the doors for us to plant ourselves in Greece long-term.

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ALKET SAKO

I am from Albania. I was born in 1974, am married to a wonderful wife, Alma, and we have three blessed children Betesda, Jera and Ruel. I was saved in 1991, and in 1995 I did my DTS in Albania and from 1996 for 13 years I was pastoring a church in my hometown. In 2011 I did the Leadership Development Course in Spain, joined YWAM in 2011 and from April 2012 have been leading the national work of YWAM Albania. For three years we have been pioneering in the coastal city of Durres and on November 2015 were able to open a new base and bring together a team of 14 people from 10 nations.  

My heart’s desire is to see this base becoming a centre for training, equipping and sending out leaders and missions from among the new generation. The vision is to help the young people to be fired up in their God’s given call and walk alongside them as they take practical steps to fullfil it. But our vision goes beyond Albania, to the Balkans and we are walking that out by sending DTS teams as well as organising regional youth conferences. We love to help and encourage other YWAM teams in the region as well as to pioneer where YWAM hasn’t stepped in yet. My heart is discipleship, worship and teaching especially relating to leadership. I like sports, playing backgammon and reading historical books. 

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ARLEN STOTZFUS

I’m originally from the US, but live now in Cluj, Romania! I am married to Jette, who is from Holland, and together we have 3 girls: Anna-Sophie, Louisa and newborn, Evelina. (Ed: while we working on this edition of CE Conversations, Evelina was born on the 9th of September, so congrats to Arlen and Jette!

Jette and I both did our DTS in Perth, Australia in 2002 and joined staff there after that. We got to know each other while staffing DTS’s together (a great way to meet your future spouse!). During our time in Perth we lead numerous DTS’s and outreach teams, mostly to Asia and Africa.

In 2010 we moved from Australia to Holland where we worked with YWAM Heidebeek for 4 years before moving to Romania in 2014. Here in Romania we help to run YWAM Cluj, where we have DTS every year, a maternity home called the House of Joy, and focus on seeing Romanians rise up for the glory of God!

I also recently took on the role of DTS Coordinator for YWAM Central Europe. I have the privilege of serving DTS staff and leaders in the area, together with our DTS resource team. Our goal is to help equip DTS leaders to run quality training schools, and serve them in different ways, especially in the area of staff training and development. It’s so exciting to see how God is still using the DTS in Central Europe as a tool to grow young people in their walk with God, and see a new generation launched into missions and leadership!