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TEN partners gather in Sofia, Bulgaria for the Refresh Conference

TEN Partners at the 2024 Refresh Conference

TEN Partners at the 2024 Refresh Conference

TEN ran our partner conference in Sofia, Bulgaria from 16-18 April. We had nearly 120 people from 12 different nations in attendance. Here James Vaughton, our CEO, reports on our time together.

Watch the main conference talks below, or on YouTube here.


Refresh TEN Partner Conference Day 1: James Vaughton – Refreshing our relationship with Jesus.

James Vaughton, CEO at TEN, speaking on Luke 10:38-42 and the story of Mary and Martha. Choose one thing. Intimacy with Christ.

Many meetings…

Partners and UK delegates arrived Monday 15th April to one of two hotels that TEN had booked out in their entirety, close to the Renewal Conference Centre in Sofia Bulgaria. It was a wonderful time of many meetings and lovely to hear stories of people bumping into each other at airports and petrol stations on their way. The first evening was a time of meeting new connections and old acquaintances. For many partners this is a rare opportunity to spend some quality time with their spouse and friends with time to socialise. One couple from Moldova had chosen to drive together to make the most of this time they had as a couple!

The conference gets going…

The conference kicked off in earnest the following morning. We gathered together to worship, hear from God’s word and spend time together. James, TEN CEO, spoke from Luke 10 on the first morning on ‘Refreshing our relationship with God’. For him, it was an amazing privilege to share from God’s word with leaders of NGOs, churches and groups of churches from across the region. It was wonderful to see the new faces of partners recently joined with TEN as well as those who have been connected for many years. Following the first morning the Beginning of Life team led the whole conference through the Myers-Briggs personality tool. They presented it in such a creative way, hopefully helping everyone understand both themselves and others a little better. Following further seminars everyone gathered for lunch. Such pauses in the day; coffee break, lunch and evening meal were great fellowship opportunities.

During the first afternoon Beginning of Life delivered a speed networking event, no easy task with all those languages! We were all put into groups around tables and played a game that encouraged us to share our dreams, name 20 different countries and other such things as tools to get to know each other better and enable conversation. It was great to hear the laughter and hubbub around the room.

The first evening saw Erion Cuni, a church planter and leader from Albania, sharing powerfully and passionately on the call to be radical followers of Jesus.

Volunteers with the delegate packs
Volunteers with the delegate packs
Didi Oprenova speaking at the conference
Didi Oprenova speaking at the conference
Ivan Petrov & Lucy Reid
Ivan Petrov & Lucy Reid

Raising leaders and cultural dances

Day two of the conference saw folk coming together again for teaching and seminars in the morning. Artur Krasniqi, pastor and leader of Fellowship of the Lord’s People in Prishtina, Kosovo challenged the conference to be the free people of God. Speaking from Exodus he asked us whether we allow this world to limit what God can do through each one of us. Seminars in the morning focused on raising leaders. Those who spoke shared experience, practice and theological perspective on how to raise leaders among women, young people and Roma communities.

Afternoons had been intentionally planned to be quiet, with no seminars. It meant partners could enjoy time with friends and / or spouses, wander around the beautiful and historic city of Sofia or just relax. I spoke to several delegates who valued this time so much. These leaders often work dawn ‘til dusk serving their communities and churches.

The Wednesday evening was the much-anticipated Cultural Evening. Lucy (TEN team member) and Ivan (A partner from N. Macedonia) hosted the event. Partners from different countries and a selection of the UK delegates shared facts and figures, sweet treats, tourism films, songs and even dances (involving audience participation) from their various nations. It was great fun and hopefully we all went away with just a little more appreciation for one another’s differences.

The final day…

Thursday morning Beni Micle, from Constanta in Romania shared from the Road to Emmaus story in Luke’s Gospel. Encouraging us that, as we head back to our respective places of ministry, we need to refresh our vision of Christ and his calling. Further seminars followed, subjects included, creation care, managing change and writing business plans, amongst other topics.

Following an organised afternoon tour of Sofia for about 60 people led by Didi Oprenova, pastor at Sofia Baptist Church and longtime partner with TEN, we gathered for our final evening meeting. This was a wonderful time of worship, celebration and inspiration. Ami Stavrou, led us in worship of God so sensitively, as she had done all week. Vera Kuranji inspired us with her ‘recipe’ for keeping going so as to finish well and then Tedi Oprenov led our communion together. The high point of the evening was as Ami led us in ‘The Blessing’ where everyone in the room was encouraged to go and bless others at the conference.

It was a great end to a fantastic conference.


Now’s here’s the thing. With any conference it is often the stuff that happens between the main meetings, the unplanned meetings and connections made, that make a conference. Refresh was no different. It was brilliant to hear of folk praying for one another, sharing encouraging words and scripture or just enjoying time with others. It was good to hear of and see new connections being made across the region. Leaders from different countries wanting to connect with someone from another nation, one church wanting to support another, within the region. There are now several new potential UK church partnerships. TEN had brought three young people from the UK with us to help serve. They quietly and diligently served so well. It was lovely at one point to see two of the young people praying for one of the UK delegates! I heard of good times of laughter and relaxation, a sense of being refreshed by God and by being with others serving God. Feedback has been very positive with most saying the conference was excellent and a genuine refreshment. We pray so.

Thank you again for your interest in and prayers for our conference and do have a listen to the talks.

By James Vaughton, CEO at TEN

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