Elders

Youth With A Mission Central Europe
"Taste of Central Europe"

OUR ELDERS

 

We are very grateful for this wonderful group of elders who all serve us in various ways with their wisdom and care for the people and teams in Central Europe.


AL AKIMOFF

We both started in YWAM as teenagers in 1964 /1966 in YWAM. We currently lead YWAM Slavic Ministries in Salem, Oregon. We still spend around half the year on the road, mostly in Eastern and Central Europe.

How are you connected with YWAM CE?
In 1973 we started YWAM Slavic Ministries as a ministry to reach out to that part of the world in discipleship and evangelism. Doors quickly opened all over Central Europe, particularly Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia. We trained teams and sent them out of our base in Austria.

What is on your heart for YWAM CE?
We continue to have a heart for Central Europe and particularly seeing new bases and ministries raised up. Our hearts are into apostolic pioneering and we want to see more training and releasing in that area.

What would you like to offer to our region?
We hope that our years of experience, relationships and love for these countries can be translated into encouragement, help and training for a whole new generation to be released all over Central Europe.


CAROLYNE AKIMOFF

Coming soon

elder
REINHARD

 

Reinhard, a native German, started his ministry in the area with his DTS outreach in 1988. While based in England, he was working with the School of Bible Interpretation, Bible smuggling to Central Europe in 1989, and various Bible seminars with local churches after the fall of the Iron Curtain. In 1993, Reinhard and his wife, Birgit, pioneered the YWAM ministry, “Timo Teams,” in Vienna, Austria, training and mentoring young people in the local churches in Romania. From 2000 to 2003, they pioneered the YWAM base in Medias, Romania. Reinhard served on the Romanian national leadership team between 1995 and 2004. From 2006 to 2014, they were involved in pioneering work in the Middle East before they moved back to Germany for family reasons. At that time, they were asked to serve as elders for the Central European area. Reinhard and Birgit have two adult children and are currently based in Cyprus.

 

Reinhard says, “from here, I love to serve with coaching, mentoring, and training. I am teaching on Biblical studies, worldview, leadership, missions. and various other topics. With my own experience in pioneering and leadership, I want to help you succeed in developing your team as well as your vision, strategy, and structure for your base and ministry.”

 

Elder
JOHNHESS

 

John Hess was born and raised in the Gallatin Valley of Montana. He attended Montana State University, majored in chemistry, and graduated in 1974. Although he was raised in a Christian home, he was deeply affected by his generation’s counter-culture. But just as pivotal was the Jesus Movement that swept the Western world. He came to know of YWAM through his university fellowship. He worked long enough to pay off his university loans and attended the 1975 Bozeman MT SOE .

John has worked with YWAM ever since, first leading an outreach team to university and high school campuses in the USA, an outreach team along the 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail in conjunction with America’s bi-centinnial, and attended the Montreal Olympic Games outreach in 1976 before moving to Hurlach. After co-leading the Hurlach SOE in 1978, he joined YWAM Slavic Ministries working out of Austria where, among other things, he was involved in the preparation and training work for the 1980 Operation Friendship outreach to the USSR.  

John became involved in Poland in 1980, helping spearhead our work with the Oasis renewal movement and evangelical youth. In 1982, he helped lead a fruitful work among Polish refugees in Austria. In 1983, he moved to Salem, OR to join Al Akimoff and the Slavic Ministries. In 1985 and 1986, he organized and led Slavic Training Schools in Salem and Finland. In 1988, John and his wife, Helen, got married, and a year later moved to Poland. They had the privilege of watching firsthand the collapse of communism in Central Europe, set up YWAM and the first DTS in the region, and hosted the YWAM ship Anastasis in Gdansk twice. 

Early in his YWAM life, John became fascinated with the work of Francis Schaeffer, and the world-view concept has shaped his approach to ministry ever since. God led them to be involved for almost 12 years in the world view school; first in Switzerland, and then wherever new schools were established, most recently in Cuba. From this sprang an involvement in presenting papers at academic symposiums and this, in turn, led to doctoral research into the social thought and epistemology of Michael Polanyi. He hopes this work can be of benefit to the whole region. 

John and Helen continue to live near Krakow, Poland. They have three grown children, Patrick, Brian, and Celina. 

 

Elder
HELEN HESS

 

Helen grew up in Switzerland, studied in a business college, and worked in an international corporation before joining YWAM in 1981. She did her DTS in Canada, later an SOE in Germany, and then became staff. Helen met her husband, John, in Finland when she took a DTS team on outreach into the former Soviet Union and China.
They got married in 1988, and soon afterwards moved to Poland and pioneered YWAM there. They raised 3 children there in Krakow. Helen is currently involved in Kings Kids and in youth work in a local church. She loves coffee, white wine, a good netflix show, and is quite competitive in board games.

Elder
MIKE OMAN

Mike was born in England in 1947, and emigrated with his family to Zimbabwe in 1951.
Mike and Ros were married in December 1971, and have two children and five grandchildren.
They both had a dynamic encounter with the Lord in 1976, which transformed their nominal faith into a living relationship with Him, creating a desire to know Him more and serve Him fully.
In 1977, they birthed a youth ministry focused on discipleship and reconciliation with young people from all ethnic backgrounds and denominational persuasions at a time when their nation was experiencing great segregation, mistrust, and violence.
In 1979, having done their DTS in South Africa, Mike and Ros pioneered the first YWAM location in Zimbabwe in 1980, and a second one in 1984. From there, they released and gave oversight to small teams pioneering YWAM ministries in Moçambique, Zambia and Malawi.
Having served as Area Director for YWAM – South Central Africa, and on the Regional Leadership Team for Africa for a number of years, the Lord called them to Northern Ireland in 1991, and they established YWAM there in 1994, handing over the leadership in 2007.
Mike and Ros have spent the last 40 years in pioneering initiatives which have opened their hearts to experience ever-increasing depths of our awesome Father God’s love for us, and a growing understanding of His unwavering commitment to us.
His delight is to share our Father’s unconditional love and faithfulness in a way that releases this generation to confidently step out in radical obedience to His leading.
What Mike brings to the table is teaching on the Fatherheart of God, the challenges of pioneering, and to help with conflict resolution.


Lisa 

I live in New Jersey and have been with YWAM since 1992.

How are you connected with YWAM CE?

In 1995 I moved to Budapest, Hungary to work with Maureen Menard giving leadership to the first Collaborative DTS Project focused on the Balkans, Central Asia and Turkey. From 1998-2007 I helped to lead DTSs in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have been involved in pioneering new DTSs, teaching in schools, doing staff training and being involved with church planting.

What is on your heart for YWAM CE?

My heart for Central Europe is to see the DTSs serve one another and offer quality schools to the peoples of Central Europe as well as those outside of the region who have a heart to come to the DTSs there. I would also like to see YWAM’s relationship with the local church – both Protestant and Catholic be strengthened.

What would you like to offer to our region?

I want to be a support to those ministering in the region and to continue relationship with both staff and locals that I have had over the years. I am open to teaching, doing staff training, connecting with local groups, helping with retreats and/or serving in ways that will strengthen staff.


ROY JONES

Roy Jones joined YWAM just before his 40th birthday. Prior to that, he worked on the railway in London; among his responsibilities was organising the Queen of England’s train.

Roy and his family took their Crossroads DTS in 1995 at the Salem, Oregon Base in the USA, after which they joined YWAM Lausanne. Roy spent five years as Loren’s scheduling assistant, thereby, transitioning from the Queen’s train to the President – of YWAM’s – planes.

After fourteen happy years in Switzerland, Roy, his wife Shirley, and their daughter, Amy, moved to Rostrevor in Northern Ireland when YWAM was gifted the property there. Amy has Down’s Syndrome and, by this time, was a young adult. Irish culture was beneficial in developing Amy’s social skills.

Following four years in Restenäs, Sweden, the family returned to their original home in England to be close to their wider family. Roy and Shirley continue to serve YWAM full-time in various roles from there. They are coordinators for YWAM Associates in Europe and help to arrange inTouch camps in summer. Roy is on the editorial committee of the Europe Leaders Learning Community and works with the Author’s Training School with the UofN.

Having published a book: Perfect Timing – adventures of family, faith and finance* which relates God’s faithfulness and provision during the past quarter of a century, Roy has now turned to editing books for YWAMers.

He is first and foremost an administrator, but spends some of his time doing online mentoring and can’t wait for borders to reopen so that he can make pastoral visits. Roy and Shirley first met on a bus while she was smuggling Bibles into communist Bulgaria and they’ve loved the Central European region ever since.

The couple has two daughters and twin grandsons.

Elder
SHIRLEY JONES

 

Shirley Jones is a long-term YWAMer who did her Crossroads DTS in Salem, Oregon in 1995.
Since then, she has served in YWAM ASSOCIATES with her husband, Roy, hosting camps in various countries across Europe.
While living in Switzerland between 1997 and 2010, she staffed DTS’s, SBS’s, as well as Counseling Schools and seminars.
Roy and Shirley helped pioneer a base in Ireland and also served on the leadership of Restenas in Sweden.
She is part of the Family Ministries network and represented the Family Resource Centre on the Core International Leadership Team of the University of the Nations between 2012 – 2018.
She now serves Family Ministries in their communication team.
Having completed a Member Care Course in Prod, Romania in November 2017, Shirley has since been part of the training team for the MCFC and online Practical Member Care Course.
She and Roy are presently based in the south of England where they live with their daughter, Amy. From here she ministers in YWAM as a Member Care provider.


WOLFGANG JANI

Wolfgang grew up in Switzerland until he hopped on a plane in 1987 to pursue his calling in missions, doing his DTS and joining staff with YWAM in Kona, HI, USA. He is married to Chris, from the USA (DTS in Cyprus in 1982). They currently live in Budapest, Hungary. Their three adult children work or study in the USA.

After staffing and leading DTS’s, together with a team, he pioneered a DTS and ministry team in southern Russia in 1992. Working with the international DTS Centre for 8-ish years, staffing the field-based LTS’ and an LDC, pioneering a DTS in Kyrgyzstan, were some other important seasons.

As a family, they lived in Bulgaria for 13 years, where he came alongside staff and leaders, forming a national leadership, restarting the DTS, and passing on national leadership in 2009. In 2010, they moved to Budapest, primarily for schooling reasons for their children. There, he continued to assist the Central European Leadership Team, and to develop coaching for mission leaders and co-founded the Foundational Coaching Skills Training in 2010.

His focus is to journey with leaders as they work through seasons of transition, process personal and work-related challenges, (re)discover who God made them to be, and what matters most for them to focus on in their calling. In 2020 he co-founded the FOCOS Platform: a collaborative network of cross-cultural coaches who offer coaching and coaching training to leaders in and outside of YWAM. When leaders are confident in how deeply God loves them and live from that place of grace, acceptance, and worthiness, they lead and empower others to be all God called them to. He enjoys connecting over a good meal, grill, or by the fire. After all, Jesus cooked breakfast… Because conversational spaces make change possible.

uofnHElGA NURENBERG

Helga was born in Germany, and is currently working as a nurse. She did her DTS 1989 in Heidebeek, and then her SOFM in 1991. From there, she went to Romania for outreach for one year.

Helga has now lived in Romania for 30 years. When she arrived in Romania, YWAM had not been established there yet. She served in the local ministries. First, she staffed the first DTS’s, as well as the SOFM in Constanta.

Then, she pioneered a DTS in Medias, a CDTS in Iasi, and led many outeaches to the Balkans. She pioneered the Restore Ministry Community developed among the Roma population.

Helga was a part of the NLT in Romania for more than 15 years. She also serves as staff in the ministry ICL counselling training in Romania. She has gone from pioneering to pioneering for many years.


EIVIND BYE

Eivind Bye is a tenured YWAMer who lives in Bergen, Norway with his wife, Wenche, of 44 years. They have 6 children and 13 grandchildren.
Their journey with YWAM started in 1988, a weekend for couples that changed their lives; in their family and with God! Since then, they have been involved with family ministry, first in their region, and in 2005 they established a family ministry in Romania.
Eivind and Wenche attended an F-DTS in 1998 in Wells, Minnesota, and an FMS in Hawaii 1999.
In 2015, they handed over the leadership for Family Ministry Romania to Daniela and Benni Simon and became a part of the leadership for FM Europe. Their main task has been to visit and support the local FM in countries in Europe, especially Central Europe.
Their heart is to see healthy families in this movement and to make sure that the young people have a good foundation for their marriages.
Eivind’s contribution as an elder for this region is his experience of how to live in faith for finances, and how to rely on God in daily life. His giftings include encouraging staff and leadership teams by visiting and praying for them. He is also available for support and advice when required.

Elder
ROGER D. Harch

Roger Harsh has been living in the Czech Republic for almost 30 years.
He has been married to his wife, Robin, for 25 years and they live in Prague. Together they have two children who are now in University.
Before moving to Central Europe, Roger was involved in a number of short term mission trips to Central and Eastern Europe, some of which involved smuggling Bibles. Roger has also ministered in South America, India, Northern Africa, and Russia. He frequently travels to Ukraine.
At this time, Roger is involved with empowering a local team through coaching and mentoring. He is also involved in the local church and several ministries in the Czech Republic.