YWAM’s story in Kosovo started just right after the war in 1999. What started with a staff and leadership team of 3 grew up to a staff of around 10 members. For several years, Rachael and Matt Piercy, an American couple, led the base working along with some others who had come on outreach to Kosovo. Over the years it settled to a staff number of around 6 members. In the first year of YWAM Kosova at least 30 YWAM outreach teams and church group teams coming to serve in Kosovo were hosted.
In 2000, YWAM Kosova started an internet café which was one of the first internet cafés in the city and helped UN workers all around the world to communicate with their family members in Kosovo after the crisis. In this café computer classes, English classes, bible studies and several music nights were held. Moreover, YWAM operated in the children’s ward of hospitals, doing crafts with the kids and bringing hope into this depressive place, served in an orphanage and in a widow center, teaching the women crafts in order to be able to earn their own income. YWAM worked in cooperation with a lot of churches and organizations in Kosovo.
Furthermore, a 40-days discipleship training program modeled after a DTS was being held in summer, including a lecture phase with different teachers coming from Europe and a 2-weeks outreach phase in the cities and villages of Kosovo.
After 7 years, Rachael and Matt Piercy, settled back to the US, and Susi and Bill Burtness (Rachael’s parents) carried things on in Kosovo together with Fumi, a missionary from China.
In 2008, the first few students from Kosovo did their DTS in YWAM Kona, Hawaii, encouraged by a staff member of YWAM Kosova who was teaching as a professor at the University of Pristina. One of the students was Nesha Zhuja Ceka. After her DTS she came back to Kosovo and connected with YWAM Kosova. Eventually in 2010 the leadership of YWAM Kosova was handed over to her.
Every year 5 to 8 outreach teams were coming to Kosovo. Besides guiding them through their outreaches, Nesha tried to regain the trust of the local churches in Kosovo and build bridges between YWAM and the church. Furthermore, she took training on leadership and pioneering in YWAM Grimerud, Norway and they decided to follow up and help her in pioneering and leading the YWAM base in Kosovo.
After he had done his DTS in YWAM Grimerud 2012, Nik Ceka (Nesha’s husband) joined her working in YWAM Kosova.They became part of several ministries in the church, guided DTS teams through their outreach in Kosovo, coordinated their activities in local ministries, organized church prayer nights for the country, and did kids and youth ministries and outreaches in cafés and hospitals.
In 2017, Nesha and Nik left to serve in YWAM Norway and handed the leadership over to Nesha’s brother and his wife, Korab and Leda Zhuja, who are leading YWAM Kosova today.