Youth STM 2019

Tuesday 27th August – Thursday 29th August

Our trip got extended! Jiaying says…

We all thought Tuesday would be the last day of our Youth STM 2019 but as it turns out, God had more in-store for us in Romania and blessed some of us with a couple more days… So on Tuesday morning we had our last devotion session, led by our leaders, reflecting on personal highlights from across the ten days and what we can do to make a positive change in our lives when we arrive back in the UK. We also had a light-hearted ‘awards’ ceremony, with nominations by Rachel, Martha and Ryan.

For the rest of the morning, we completed some last house duties, made ourselves a quick lunch (I never want to see another ham sandwich again) and got ready to leave. We headed out to Lidl, where our coach was due to pick us up, and the coach arrived earlier than we had expected. However, the coach journey itself took longer than we had planned, causing us to arrive at the airport in Bucharest with less than an hour before our flight.

The airport was already super busy because of cancelled flights by other airlines, so our check in desk was closed, and we weren’t able to board our flight! After a few hours of waiting at the airport for updates from our leaders who were trying their very best to find a way to get us all home safely, we came to the final solution which consisted of us splitting into smaller groups to fly to various places across Europe, including Serbia (where even is that?), Turkey (the country not the bird) and Poland, to transfer at various times before arriving back in the UK.

Some of us had to stay overnight at the airport (Michael, Ruben and Justin) to leave first as they had priority due to the sixth formers’ trip. Thankfully, for those who didn’t have an early morning flight in business class to Serbia, we found a place to stay in Bucharest through contacts of the YWAM staff back in Constanta. So, the remaining 9 of us climbed into a car to head back into central Bucharest to get some rest in a hall at the Refuge Center ministry house after an exhaustingly stressful day, stopping at a petrol station to stock up on water and snacks to fill our empty stomachs.

In the morning of the following day, Chris, Ria, Ollie, and Ryan left for the airport for their flights to Istanbul and Poland later in the day, leaving the Croydon gang (minus Rachael who flew by herself to Hong Kong to attend a funeral), to explore the city of Bucharest. Cath, a missionary in Bucharest, offered to show us around the city and so we walked to McDonald’s (they have cherry pies – mad!) to pick up lunch before catching a city tour bus. On the most part, the bus journey was enjoyable, with a nice breeze blowing on our sweaty faces on the top deck however there were more than a few bugs and the burning sun caused our legs to stick to the plastic seats. We visited Village Museum, where life-sized replicas of several different types of Romanian houses from the 18th and 19th century were on display, some of which you could go inside and take a look.

To end the day, we stopped by Starbucks to cool off (with a drink and free WiFi) and went to a supermarket to pick up some stuff for dinner; we made couscous with chicken and sweetcorn although we seemed to have gotten used to preparing 13 servings because there was a lot leftover. We spent our final morning at the Bucharest mall and tried some new things (liquid nitrogen burns your tongue, don’t try it…), before arriving safely at the airport for our final flight. We’re going on a trip in our favourite rocket ship.

And that wraps up our mission trip, thank you everyone for all the support and prayers throughout the 10 (12) days! Yes and to the rest of the team, I’m sure we’ll miss the 13 of us living under the same roof and all the happy memories we made. Looking forward to more adventures next year!

Vlog 3 – Team Hannah

Monday 26th August

Josh says:

Today was our last full day in Romania on YSTM19!!! We had finished with our outreach programme and had the privilege of relaxing and enjoying our last day together as a team.

In the morning we went to the YWAM base to worship and it was great to share in so much raw passion and awe for God. Next we had a bit of free time to spend at the shopping mall and we had a great time exploring and getting some good meals in us… SHAWARMA! 🙃🙃 It was Ria’s Birthday and we celebrated by eating cake and we all signed a bucket hat that we bought (Ria’s iconic look). HAPPY BIRTHDAY RIAAAA!!!

We then went to the beach in the evening and had an amazing time playing in the sea and getting some final photos of the beautiful sunset and the beach. We were all extremely tired by the end of the day but we really appreciated the time we had to bond even further. As our mission draws to a close I think I speak for all of us when I say that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to do ministry in Romania. Please pray that we have a safe journey back to England and that everything will go to plan. ✌️

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

Sunday 25th August

Justin says:

Hey again! For our devotion this morning, we learnt about “not focusing on your comforts” and the Jonah story 🐳. With that in mind we were prepared to enter to our last day with the Henri Coanda kids, filled to the brim with energy. After that Team Ollie (THE gReAtEST team of all time…) made a super early juicy succulent chicken and mayo sandwich for brunch for the team.

For our last time with Deeper Kids in the afternoon, we played a variety of games: chopsticks cereal hoops 🥢 (where they would have them to put as many hoops into another cup until it filled up), the dim sum game but with fruit, so we called it fruit salad, stuck in the mud and their favourite, Splat (although most of them say “splash”). We also shared sandwiches that we made for the kids. This was the perfect time to get to know more about them and to chill with them.

For dinner with Team Ollie in charge, the team rest assured and knew we were cooking up some banging food 💥 and they couldn’t wait for it… burgers and chips 🍔🍟. Each burger was pan fried with precision by Chef Ruben, with bespoke orders freshly made in the kitchen, seasoned with expertly crafted salt and pepper by me 🙂 but also with the massive thanks for Jiaying and Martha for the amazing cuts of bread and measured to the nanometer toppings.

After the yummy dinner it was time for our evening session with the Henri Coanda kids where over 60+ of them joined in for our last exciting games and activities. It was a mini sports day competition, where each team would lead 2 stations around a multi purpose concrete playground, which the kids would rotate around in teams.From obstacle courses to planking competitions?! And skipping rope and egg and spoon race to face paint and bracelet making, the kids were running around jumping on people’s backs, hugging and having a great time. I could really feel God’s love towards each of the individuals (it’s from this that allows us to bridge that connection with the kids to find out more about Christ). We were also very lucky that Rachel Tang was able to help out in our face painting area from the speedy recovery being made 🙏.

I believe through all the games and activities we have broken that divide between those who believe they are outcasted of society as we attracted other adults and youth around us, whether it’s just giving a glimpse we definitely made an IMPACT! Please pray as we draw near to the end of our mission trip to keep our focus on God and our positivity levels up.

Saturday 24th August

Rachael Cheung says:

YAYYYYYYYYY TODAY WAS THE 7TH DAY OF OUR YSTMMM 👏👏 As always, we started our day off with some time of devotion. For devos we talked about any distractions we had and went on to praying for God to take these distractions away and focus our hearts towards Him.

After breakfast my team (WHICH IS THE BEST TEAM DESPITE WHAT RIA SAYS) made tuna mayo sandwiches for us and peanut butter jelly sandwiches for Deeper Kids 🥪 before we even got started I dropped our whole jar of mayonnaise on the ground which shattered the jar. Luccckkiiilllyyy, Justin RRAAAANNN ALLLLL THE WAY TO LIDL and back to get a new jar of mayonnaise. (THANK YOU JUSTIN) Even though we were under a lot of time pressure, our AMMMAZZINNGG TEAM managed to pull it off and we even made more sandwiches than we actually needed 😂

With Deeper Kids we started by playing A GREEEAATTT GAME OF EGG AND SPOON RACE which my team won OBVIOUSLY 💪🏻💪🏻 We then moved on to grog, which is a reeeaaalllyyyy funnnn game where we have to look for and assemble parts of a flashlight to defeat RUBEN THE MONSTER 😈 WE ALSO USED MARSHMALLOWS AND SPAGHETTI TO SEE which team could build the highest tower :):) after the deeper kids had lunch (the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), Team Ryan put on a GREEEATTT MODERN TAKE PLAY OF the good samaritan where I (the robber) led a bunch of the kids to tickle the traveller (Josh) to near death. I think the play was a success because all the kids LOVEEED tickling Josh 😂😂 Team Ryan also taught that we are all same on the inside because we are all loved by God by asking kids to identify the color of an m&m just by taste. We ended our session today with cat and mouse and also SPLAT which I COULDNT SEEM TO BEAT OLLIE AT 🙁

For dinnneeerrrr we had DDEEELIIICCIOUUSSS BURRITOS 🌯 THAT OUR TEAM MADE 😋😋 and after that we all went to the Henri Coanda community for our SECOND evening with them WOOHOOOOOO where my team were on face painting, and team Ryan were on crafts. The crafts were A MASSSIIVVEEE SUCCESS because they were ALL FINISHED in only one hour!! The craft that they planned was decorating cards with bible verses in Romanian. Some of the boys had Avengers characters face painted on them: Ollie (the Hulk), Michael (Spiderman), Justin (Ironman) by Martha, and Chris (Captain America) painted by Ollie. AND THEY LOOKED SSSSOOO COOOOOOLLLLLLLL 🤣🤣 Spending time with the Henri Coanda community was once again very rewarding and fun. We realised how important it is for us to have that time with them so that the YWAM team can build the relationships needed for God to make an IMPACT in their lives.

Please pray for Rachel Tang as she missed a step on the stairs this morning and twisted her ankle today, so she wasnt able to join us for an activities today. Pray that Rachel will recover quickly and will not be discouraged by this obstacle🙏🙏 Pray also that as it is nearing the end of our trip, more and more of us (including me) are getting a bit worn out and so pray that God will give us the strength that we need and that we will be reminded of our purpose and mission here in Romania. THANK YOU FOR PRAYYYINNNGGG ANDDDD REMEMBER TO KEEP UPDATED WITH OUR BLOGS :):):)) BBBYYEEEEEE 💛💛

Friday 23rd August

Ria says:

Wooo another day of YSTM!! We started off with morning devotion and spent time reflecting on why we are on mission and encouraging each other.

My team (best team, as everyone says…) was in charge of cooking today and for lunch we made egg and ham sandwiches and made some peng pasta bolognese. Today was very exciting because we met the Henri Coanda Roma kids for the first time. We spent time preparing lots of fun activities for them and spent the first session in the afternoon with Deeper Kids (a group who already know a bit about the gospel). When we met them we played many games with them such as capture the flag and afterwards gave them a Bible lesson by acting out David & Goliath, with some of the kids helping David (Rachael) by throwing stones (ping pong balls) at Goliath (Justin on Ruben’s shoulders).

After that, we went back to prepare for the programme open to all kids in the Henri Coanda community. When we first arrived it was quite overwhelming and interesting to see the social housing and the people who live in the neighbourhood. For the craft activity the kids were told the story of Jonah and then decorated a whale on a peg which opens up with Jonah within. Meanwhile, some played hockey and some ran the face painting station which ended up filling up the place with dozens of spidermen. I’m not sure if it’s their favourite superhero or just the only one they know how to say. It was a lot more tiring the other days because we spent the whole day with different groups of energetic kids.

I’m looking forward to spending the last days spreading God’s love to the Henri Coanda community and bonding with the children 💛💛


Vlog 2 – Team Ollie

Thursday 22nd August

Ruben says:

Another day in the life of YSTM! 😁 Today was our ‘rest day’ as we have been very busy since we arrived… so we had a lie in 😆 We all woke up fresh and ready to start the day with devotion so we headed towards the local park. Our devotion time, led by Team Hannah, was very positive and was a lovely start to our day.

We then headed back to our house and chatted with Monica (a YWAM member) about the sessions we will be having with the kids in Henri Coanda. Later, Team Ollie (best team😋) made sandwiches which we took to the local park to have a picnic. We then split off into guys and girls and we had deep conversations with our leaders. The time we shared together was such a blessing because we were able to talk about both our joys and our struggles of life in detail with each other and in the presence of God.

We also gave thanks for all those who received their GCSE results, Chris, Martha, Ria and Rachel. They did amazingly well and we are so proud of them, well done guys!😆😆👌🏽 After that, we walked over to the beach and picked out a nice spot. Unfortunately for me, I forgot to pack my swimming trunks🤦🏽‍ so I wasn’t able to go in the water 😅, so instead I just chilled on the sunbeds with some of the girls while some of the others went for a swim. Ria and some others made an incredible sandcastle with everything from towers to an outer wall and a moat… and then a child jumped on it! 😂

Afterwards, the leaders decided to treat us with McDonalds for dinner… and believe it or not we definitely experienced an interesting cultural lesson there 😅 Some of us wanted an apple pie, but when we ordered it, we were given a bottle of water… It was only later we realised that the word for ‘water’ in Romanian is ‘apâ’ which sounds a lot like ‘apple’! 😂

Going into the second half of our trip, we’re ready to share God’s love with the lovely kids of Henri Coanda. 🙏🏽❤

Wednesday 21st August

Michael says:

It’s my first time being here in Romania and so far it has been amazing to see how people here worship God. We started off the day with devotion in the park by the lake, worshipping God and writing encouragements for each other inspired by God’s word. We were back on budget lunch and my team, Team Hannah, prepared ham and cheese sandwiches for everyone.

Today was our third and final day hanging out with King’s Kids Youth Group before the second half of our trip where we’ll be reaching out to Roma community children. It was amazing to get to know a mix of other teenagers and learn things about each other and how God has affected us in different ways. Since they served us traditional Romanian food yesterday, we decided to serve them some of our “traditional” Chinese food… boi mein 👌👌👌 so we played the noodle race (one person sits with noodles in front of them and someone else puts their arms under theirs and feeds them the noodles with chopsticks) for our icebreaker and it was bare funny as some of the the King’s Kids did not know how to use chopsticks.

We then worshipped God with music led by Ryan and Ruben 🤙. The whole room was filled with energy and passion when singing praise🙏🙏🙏. After worship myself and Rachel Tang shared our testimonies. It wasn’t my team’s turn to share but during yesterday’s prayers somebody gave me an image of being on a rocky boat when a big wave hit. I later realised that this was just like some issues I’d been facing before Easter this year when God really hit me and I decided to get baptised. So I felt like God was prompting me to share for the first time about what happened, and during the testimony it got a bit emotional as we were both talking about areas of our lives that were very sensitive. One of the King’s Kids also shared her testimony about another one of God’s miracles that happened in her life and it was very touching. That time, followed by prayer, really gave us all a fresh understanding of the power of Christ.

Tony gave us some encouraging words for the rest of the mission trip and then each youth group took turns to pray over one another, so it was great to be a blessing to one another. Then we learned some traditional Romanian dance… which was very interesting 🤙 and we had pizza for dinner and really enjoyed having fellowship with these teenagers who we’ve only known for a few days.

Tuesday 20th August

Rachel Tang says:

I’m so glad to be back for another year, serving with a new team and new faces. Since we previously joined the YWAM community worship, today we started off with our first team devotion on the theme of peace. Team Ryan (the best team) prepared lunch consisting of breadcrumbed lemon chicken wraps, which enlightened everyone’s stomachs 🙂 

This was the second day of meeting with King’s Kids which is led by a couple called Tony and Ionela. After spending yesterday bonding with them through a number of games, today we started the session with worship, which I’m sure touched everyone’s hearts as we were all filled with the Holy Spirit. The amount of enthusiasm and joy that filled the room inspired us to sing louder and with all our hearts. 

Ruben and Justin shared their testimonies and encouragement alongside a guy called Giuniet. The courage and love of God in each of them truly showed the works of our all powerful, all loving God and that he protects and provides in all circumstances. Their way of teaching and learning more about God is very different from our ways back at home. We prayed for prophetic words and images from God, to speak to one another as a blessing and to build each other up. We finished with traditional Romanian food prepared by King’s Kids, which many of us think is the best meal so far, and then we made our way home to hang out and prepare for tomorrow. 

Praying for those at home and also asking for prayer as the team looks ahead to 7 more days here. Thank you for keeping up with us!

VLOG 1 – Team Ryan

Monday 19th august

Martha says:

It’s an honour to be back in Constanta, Romania again as a returning member from 2K18 YSTM🎉 I am proud to say that we have a great bunch of individuals working together and forming our new team!

In the morning, we rushed out of the YWAM summer team house to join the worship service at their base, singing and praising God. I would say the best and most stressful memory of the day was when SOMEONE lost Ollie’s bank card whilst my team was shopping for dinner. We even prayed around the supermarket, and praise the Lord our prayers were heard, the card was found, Amen! In the late afternoon, we reunited with the lovely and welcoming King’s Kids local youth group in the park and played many and many games like Pizza Box fencing and shaving foam+Cheerios (*inspired by YEC 2019) The kings kids also ended up leading a few games and it was a fun time to get to know each other better. We returned to the summer house where my team, Team Ollie prepped and cooked for 23 and had delicious pesto pasta together, yummmmm.

After a busy day we eventually arrived at the home of Hazel and Titus, our supported missionary couple. We were given the task of helping them move out of their apartment, which was very tiring but rewarding as we accomplished this as a team, and got ice lollies 🙂

I thank God that he is always looking out for us, and constantly listening to our prayers. I pray that he will continue to give us strength mentally and physically to spread his love to the Roma community and to be able to overcome any obstacles as a team. Thank you to those who have been supporting us, please keep praying for our team and YWAM Constanta.

Sunday 18th august

Christopher says:

One year on from our memorable YSTM18, it was time to embark back to Romania (Constanta) for YSTM19, with our newly assembled youth team. With a slow Saturday morning meet at Heathrow, we made our way to Bucharest, and then on to Constanta by coach. We arrived past midnight at one of the YWAM bases after our exhausting journey and were all feeling slightly hungry, but thankfully Ollie brought out pot noodles for us all to eat. Similar to last year, the close living quarters instantly posed to us our first challenge, however due to our tiredness we all went to sleep like babies.

On Sunday, it was our orientation day where we spent time settling in to our new conditions. Some of our team started off by going shopping for lunch and then later on Louisa (our missionary friend from CCiL) came to give us a taste of the local area. We managed to see the old town port, historic casino and even catch an ice cream break. Unsurprisingly Ryan dropped his. To cool off the day and refocus on our mission trip, we went around the community for a prayer walk and plan for the week ahead. Tomorrow we will be going to YWAM Worship and meeting the King’s Kids Youth Group.

We’re grateful for how God has been showing his love for us and working within our team to endure any hurdles we’ve had so far. Thanks again to everyone who has been praying for us! We’ll be posting daily updates here from different team members, and some vlogs (video blogs) too!

Saturday 17th August

Welcome to our team blog!

Our team of 10 youths and 3 leaders is now here in Constanta, Romania. Over the next 10 days we’ll be working with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), where our church supports Louisa Cheung as well as Hazel & Titus Short.

We’ll be spending a few days with King’s Kids Youth Group, having games, fellowship and sharing with the teenagers, followed by a few days of reaching out to the Roma community known as ‘Henri Coanda’, with activities and Bible lessons for a group of the children and sports and crafts open to all.

Thanks for praying with us! We’ll be posting daily updates here from different team members, and some vlogs (video blogs) too!