Base Staff & Trust

Meet The YWAM Oxford Family

Meet our base leaders, base staff, and our trust. These are the folks who make up the YWAM Oxford family and keep the base going day-in and day-out. Get to know the family by reading their profiles below or come by the base for a cuppa, a chat and to see what God's up to.

Base Leaders & Staff

Mike and Fe Brown

Hello family, we are the Browns. Fe(as in Princess Fiona) and Mike(as in Shrek) along with our daughters Olivia(19) and Grace(17). We currently serve on base on the leadership team. We have a huge heart to create a safe feel of family on the base. If family and relationships has been a difficult experience for you or even if family has been great for you and you want continuity of that, we welcome you to our base family. We love to disciple people and work together with God to help you get a real revelation of your identity in him and his great love for you. From that place, we love to champion young people into sharing Gods love with others.
We have been involved in some way shape or form with YWAM since 1990 when we both were involved with Kings Kids. KK is a ministry of Youth With a Mission aimed at families and 6-18 year old young people. We met through Kings Kids and were married very soon after. We have been married now for 23 years.
In the time since, we have continued to be involved with Kings Kids on and off and have done somewhere in the range of 40 outreaches over the years. In more recent years, this has been leading the ministry in the South Island. After a number of encouragements from others, we finally did our DTS as a family in Kona, Hawaii in 2015.
We are Kiwis and Mike actually grew up in the main house on base before it was a YWAM base, so for us coming to serve here is literally a homecoming for us. We would love for this to be a homecoming for you also, somewhere you can feel completely free to be who God has created you to be.

Shane and Tara Jette

Shane and Tara & children Asher (9), Abigail (7), Josiah (5) and Johnny (3) currently serve as base staff. Tara is the registrar and Shane is involved in many areas including maintenance, the leadership team and filling in where needed. They met at YWAM Oxford in 2003 and were married in 2005. They’ve also been involved with many DTS schools over the years and pioneered a YWAM base in Dayton, Ohio for 7 years. After starting and running a business in Portland, Oregon for 4 years, they sold it and moved their family back to YWAM Oxford to work full-time in missions.

I (Tara) love living in Oxford again with our children. I did the Backpackers DTS here in 2003 and had my heart captured for the Lord and His people. I started saying “Yes!” to God and have never looked back. What a wild ride.

Being from Hawaii and Oregon, I love surfing, hiking, fishing, exploring, camping, etc. You can also find me eating sushi, going for a jog, soaking up the sun, getting lost in a good book, making new friends, cooking, gardening and going on adventures with my family.

I (Shane) met a lot of YWAMers while attending Bible College in Chicago, USA. They were passionate and really knew God’s character and I decided after meeting them to do a DTS. I started in Townsville, Australia, which was great but really love serving at YWAM Oxford. Oxford is one of the most beautiful and quaint little towns that I’ve been to. We love the people who come through the YWAM base as well as the people in the town.
We have a huge passion for discipling young people as well as international missions and community development. We have worked some in micro-lending programs and hope to do that more. We also love to love on and work with orphans. I love the power and joy of working in a team of like-minded believers who want to see God change our planet and individual lives.

In my spare time I love to watch and play sports, go hiking, take walks, play strategy games and spend quality time with my family and friends.

Valerie Smith

Kia Ora,

I’m Val and I was born and raised in Chicago in the USA. I love coffee, laughing, baking, and adventures with people. I came to Oxford in 2012 to do a Justice DTS. At the time I was searching for where God was calling me and my heart was broken for the people enslaved all over the world. My eyes had been opened to the brokenness in the world and I had nothing holding me to the States so off to New Zealand I went and I fell in love with this nation and the people here, but more importantly I fell more in love with Jesus.

My life was ruined for the ordinary during my DTS and I knew I wasn’t going to be going back to a 9 to 5 job. I came back to staff in 2013 and have never really looked back. God continues to stretch me, mold me and take me on this amazing journey of trusting and walking with Him. I’m now a part of our leadership team here at Oxford and will be pioneering the new DTS called Radical Love.

I love walking alongside of people and challenging them in their walk with the Lord. I love seeing people step out in faith and boldness to share the gospel and love everyone. I love seeing people come to know their identity as sons and daughters and to know the authority that they can walk in because of who they are and to walk in freedom of being who God created to be. God is stirring my heart for worship and prayer and how to connect more with Him through those things to become more like Jesus and to gain more of a heart for the nations. I’m stoked to have you come and be a part of our family and can’t wait to get to know you!

Alec Kemper

Hello! My name is Alec and I hail from the beautiful Boring, Oregon (yes, that is the town I am from). I am a lover of hot drinks, reading, working outdoors, and all things Jesus. Over the years I have come to absolutely love the Bible and talking about it, so if you ever want to talk about anything theological, come and talk to me! Alongside of school staffing, I do whatever needs to be done around base. That usually falls under the umbrella of maintenance and groundskeeping. I love taking care of the land God gave us here in Oxford, and I am excited that you get to experience His beautifully creation as well.
I did my DTS here in Oxford in 2016. During my DTS, God completely changed my life and led me into a deeper relationship with Him. Through some closed and opened doors, God gave me the opportunity to return to YWAM Oxford in August of 2017. Since I have returned to Oxford, God has continued to take me deeper in my relationship with Him. One of the main reasons I returned to staff at YWAM Oxford is to help raise a generation of followers of Jesus who love and serve The Lord fearlessly. I am excited to see all that God is going to do in your life, and I look forward to meeting you all soon!

Benjamin Bryant

Howdy, my name is Ben, I am from Loveland Colorado. I have gone to church as long as I can remember but I did not really know what it meant to be a christian. I had a good friend do YWAM and through him I saw what it meant to be devoted to God and I knew that I wanted Jesus in my life like he was in his. I did my DTS strait after high school, July 2017 in Tauranga NZ at YWAM Furnace, I learned how much God acctualy loves me and that He had a calling for my life, so I decided to do an internship at the base. During the internship I felt God tell me to come be on staff at YWAM Oxford. I am super excited to see how God stretches and grows me in the upcoming months and I can't wait for all the fun he has in store.

Celeste Miller

Hi my name is Celeste Miller. I am from Oklahoma and come from a family of five. I have two sisters that are my best friends and my family is the reason I came to YWAM. I came to New Zealand in 2017. I did my DTS and staffed at a YWAM base in Tauranga which is a beautiful city on the North Island of New Zealand. In mid 2018 I felt the Lord tell to come to Oxford. Little did I know then that Oxford would become my home! One of my favorite things is making my home a place of rest, comfort, beauty, and safety for others. I love coffee, sunny days, and spending time with my friends and family!

I've always known I was called to missions. Even when I was a kid, I would pretend to be a missionary. I would pretend that I was taking the gospel to the hidden tribes of the Amazon, the isolated people of the Himalayas, and the lonely, hurting, and the broken. I am so thankful that the Lord has brought me to a place where my pretend can become a reality. God is so faithful to bring me in the right seasons to places where I can grow and thrive in the giftings and calling he has given me. Right now that place is at YWAM Oxford.

Dinushka Lourensz

Hey guys, my name is Dinushka and I just recently moved here to Oxford, New Zealand to join the YWAM family as base staff. I was born in Sri-Lanka but lived most of my life in Melbourne, Australia and have had a dream to come to NZ for many years.
Coming to YWAM Oxford for my DTS in March of 2018 was the first time I had travelled overseas on my own and while I was initially apprehensive, I was quickly welcomed into a warm, intentional, and supportive community. I did the Father’s Love Crossroads school which was a season of exponential growth and huge challenges. I’m certainly still growing in my understanding of God’s love and who He says I am, but I’m so much further along that journey thanks to the experiences I had here with Him. I had arrived here utterly broken by the disappointments and struggles of life but through the course of the school I encountered His redemptive power. When people say that God can redeem anything it’s the truth- that’s definitely what He did for me.
Soon after my DTS I returned to Oxford to part-time staff the Backpackers DTS and to also get married (April of 2019!!). I love getting the opportunity to invest into and bless people, as well as continue to be pushed out of my own comfort zone. When I’m not doing school stuff I help in the kitchen and I also look forward to using my extremely rusty piano skills for worship- it’s a work in progress.
In my down-time, I enjoy hiking, going for drives, creative writing, playing board games and going for coffees. I look forward to meeting you and hearing your story over a coffee some time too.

Josiah Alexander

Hello there! My name is Josiah and I hail from beautiful Central Oregon.

I am the sixth of nine kids, yes the weather is nice up there. As long as I can remember the church was in my life, but around 8th grade I decided to make my faith my own.

I started climbing around sixteen, and through that passion God led me to the climbers DTS in 2016-2017, were God revealed to me what it meant to be a son.

Things you will find me doing: sitting in a coffee shop, hiking, climbing, playing a board game, playing guitar, or goofing around with my friends.

Luke Wahl

In 2015 I came to Oxford to do a Climbers DTS. At 18 years old I had no idea what God was going to do while I was on DTS. While I was a student God began to speak to me about coming back to staff in Oxford. When he first spoke about that I tried to run in the opposite direction because I had my own plan. Over time I began to be real with myself and realize that I wasn’t going to disobey God, so it was time to start entertaining the idea. After a few months of praying about it and God knocking down the walls and excuses I put up, I committed to coming back to staff. I now help lead the Climbers school during the September quarter and when I am not staffing the school, I work with maintenance and grounds. During the school seasons I love to see the transformation that God leads not only the students through, but the staff as well.

The way that Gods love gets ahold of people and transforms them from the inside out is incredible. I am so grateful that I get to be a part of that process for people as well as experience it for myself. During my time here in Oxford God has spoken a lot about a deep passion for bringing people into a deeper relationship with God, and through that loving to help speak life and love into people. One of the most incredible things is to see that physically change somebody’s outlook on life. Moving from a place of defense into a posture of openly loving everyone is what makes this so special.

Melissa Jones

I am currently at YWAM Oxford working as the Administrator and I also help out in worship. I love how God works through us in all spheres of society. I see God through His creativity. You will often find me capturing a beautiful scene on my camera or playing a new tune to praise Him on my guitar.
I really have a heart for young people including children, women, and so called outcasts of society such as the homeless.I have a heart to show all people hospitality and belonging in their identities as sons and daughters of Christ. So far being at Oxford has been encouraging because it's such a lovely family oriented environment with such amazing people. It has helped me grow a lot in my confidence and faith. I have also completed the School of Sonship in January of 2018; this really helped me to rest in the Father and further grow in finding my identity in Him.
I have a history of competitive alpine ski racing for New Zealand, which I retired from in 2014. Through that God really gave me a heart for people in such a high pressure environment, where it's almost impossible to measure up. It was a journey but I learned I didn't have to put that pressure on myself and that I was good enough as I was. I have also worked in a health shop and have a real passion for health in all aspects of life; not just physically but spiritually and emotionally too.
I believe New Zealand is such a special place...Look at how beautiful it is! People come here from all over the world so in a way it is like having the nations at your fingertips. We can reach so many different people groups right here on our doorstep!

Morgan Blankenship

Hello, my name is Morgan! I am 25, and I grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri in the States. I am the oldest of five kids, and I absolutely adore my family. My two younger brothers (Carsen – 17 & Gideon – 11) and two younger sisters (Kennedy – 22 & Avery – 14) and my lovely parents are some of my favourite people in the world. I have a heart for missions, the nations and discipleship and I found a home that houses all of those things here at YWAM Oxford.

I did a Justice DTS as a student back in 2014. One of the biggest revelations I had from my DTS is that God is good, which in a harsh world can be a hard truth to grasp. After going home for a season I came back to staff a Justice DTS in 2016 and then a Justice/Around the World DTS in 2017. I just helped staff/lead an outreach for a Justice DTS at the Justice Reach YWAM base in Tauranga. My heart is to be the hands and feet of Jesus, moved by compassion to go into the world and love on those that others have cast aside. I'm now back home at Oxford and really looking forward to being a part of our family here!

Neil Nicholas

Yo, my name is Neil Nicholas from Bolivar, Missouri and, you're watching YWAM Oxford.
I grew up in a Christian family and felt a call to missions after a family missions trip to Mexico. I did my DTS at YWAM Furnace on the north island of New Zealand in 2017. It was a time of transformation, letting go of the past and beginning to walk into the plans God had for me. In this time, I learned about so many passions I never knew I had and most importantly how to serve a worthy God wholeheartedly. Shortly after, I did a leader’s internship offered at the same base, where I gained a heart for leading others. This brings us to the present, where I have been serving with YWAM Oxford since May 2018. I am part of the maintenance department and will be staffing the missions stream of the Radical Love DTS. I am excited to grow and be a part of others growth.
My favorite color is a dark-blue-grey. I enjoy playing tennis and going to the beach. I like doing things outdoors and also watching movies. And lastly, I love outreach (it's the best part).

I can’t wait to serve the Lord with y’all!

Rebecca Estenson

Hi, friends! My name is Rebecca and I'm from California, USA. I'm 24 and a lover of coffee and all things outdoors!

I did my DTS here at YWAM Oxford back in 2015 with the Backpacker's school. I chose to do a DTS because I hit a point in life where I felt purposeless and lost. I had no real identity, but I knew I loved Jesus. Even with that, I didn't know how to live it out. Coming to DTS, I didn't know what to expect, but God met me in ways I couldn't have even imagined. Through DTS I found freedom in my identity with God. He showed me that my heart for Him creates a life full of joy.

I chose to come back and staff the backpackers DTS because I wanted to help people come into the same place of freedom with God while exploring his beautiful creation. When I'm not staffing with DTS, I'll get to serve as base staff. I will be able to use my administrative gifts, helping run the office and behind the scenes work while the other DTS schools run, providing assistance to the other schools and guests. Serving in both ways gives me the opportunity to not only serve in a DTS but to help YWAM Oxford as a whole, coming full circle in support, love and community life. I'm super stoked for this season and can't wait to get to know each one of you in whatever role I serve in!

Trust Members

The YWAM Christchurch Inc. trust are a fine group of individuals who oversee the operations and financial aspects of the base. Not only do they provide basic oversight in the practical operations but they also provide spiritual wisdom, accountability, and love to spend time with students when they can.

Peter Brown

I grew up in Christchurch. Married to Christine in 1966 for 48 and a half years until her death in 2015. I have 6 children and 17 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. We always sought to follow God’s will and consequently we lived in Christian communities in Christchurch, Oxford and Havelock in the Marlborough sounds. Came to Oxford in 1976-1983 and bought the main house here at YWAM Oxford which at that time was called Providence. Came in contact with YWAM then when the “Anastasis” Ship came to NZ. We hosted the Toymaker and Son outreach team from the ship. Our heart was for people and we always had extras staying for many different reasons. As a consequence we often sent them on DTS’s and later in Havelock we pioneered Kings Kids in the South Island. At that stage in the 1990’s we became involved in the YWAM Trust here also. Our heart was to see young people come to know the Lord and be established in his ways by knowing God as our Heavenly Father and being equipped to follow him wherever he may lead. My heart is to see God’s work here in Oxford develop and grow.

Roger Philpott

My name is Roger Philpott. Married to Julie for 55 years, we have four adult children and eleven grandchildren and one great grandson. We appreciate the value of YWAM and its emphasis on young people and families. Two of our daughters have been in YWAM for a number of years and we joined in 1997 with a Crossroads DTS followed by a SBS.

We spent eleven years at YWAM Oxford leading the Biblical Core Course. We also pioneered a BCC in England at the “Kings Lodge” base. We want to see the Oxford base continue to train and send people of all ages to spread the Good News of Jesus.

Carolyn Chisholm

Hi, my name is Carolyn and I live in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Background... From soon after YWAM began in New Zealand, my late husband Tim and I have been involved in a variety of ways. We took our five children to Kona in 1983 to attend a Crossroads DTS expecting to go in to long term missions. However God led us back to NZ and to Christchurch where Tim continued to serve as an Anglican vicar. I trained as a social worker working with children and families in need as well as serving at our church in pastoral care.

Ministry wise I'm a jack-of-all-trades. Currently I mentor students attending Bible College from Grace Vineyard Church, the church I attend. Over the years in YWAM I have cooked, gardened, taught, staffed DTS's and in 2009 I pioneered and led the Father's Love CDTS at Oxford for a number of years before handing it to the current leaders. I have been privileged to do a number of short term mission trips both overseas and in NZ.

I love to paint, grow fresh fruit and vegetables, hike, and currently I attend Te Reo Maori lessons. I also love spending time with family which now includes 12 amazing grandchildren (every grandmother knows how amazing their grandchildren are!!)

My greatest passion is to journey with people as they experience Father God's love for them and explore the freedom found in living as His sons and daughters.

Barry and Judi Inch

Coming soon...

Paulo Moreira

I grew up in Brazil - family of 5. Occasionally I went to a local Catholic Church but when I was 12 my family starting going to a Presbyterian Church in which we got baptised. I remember during the Summer, to attend Sunday School we would walk 4km to church in 38\40 C temperatures just to arrive on time at midday.

At the age of 15 I lost my mother, she was only 43 years of age, but we continue to go to the church. On that year my older brother move to another state for a better job and about 2 years later my sister got married. I went to stay with my dad for a couple of years, then he, like my brother, moved away to find a job. At that point I moved in with my uncle and aunty plus their 6 kids and Grandma as well. I stayed with them until I completed my studies, then I followed in my brother and father's footsteps, moved out of state and got a job working for the Brazilian government. After about 6 years in this job God called me to YWAM.

I did my DTS at a base in the center of Brazil and from there I moved South where YWAM was just opening a new base. From there we sent Ywamers to Uruguay and for a time I led teams there too. It wasn't long before we decided to open a base in Uruguay that had Summer Schools and evangelism training and not long after that we started our first DTS schools.

I spent 10 years in Ywam Brazil, 18 months in Uruguay and 5 and half years at the base in Oxford. I did a few Schools here, I went to Bangladesh for our outreach and now I am part of the YWAM Oxford Trust.

I believe God called me to to be an intercessor and I have a passion for loving and helping people. I love studying God's character and how He manifests Himself in Nature.

My hobbies include: collecting coins, bank notes and stamps from all nations.

Noah Cremisino

Son of the One. Graphic artist. Web designer. Illustrator. Thinker. Reader. Good-food-eater. Bikes. Hikes. Waterfall hunter. Guac maker. Wood whittler. Schemer. Dreamer. Broken-thing-fixer. Jesus follower. Box-breaker. Dad. Husband. Lifestyle missionary.

I was born in California, grew up in Colorado and received a call from God to New Zealand at the age of 21. Nine years after hearing this call (in 2010) my wife and I got the "Go" word and so we off-loaded most of our personal belongings and boarded a one-way flight to Christchurch. Through trials and blessings a-plenty we've pursued the heart of God for this city, seeking to put hands and feet to the vision God has for Christchurch and for the nation of Aotearoa. It is our great hope and desire that His Kingdom will come powerfully and saturate every corner of New Zealand society.

It's a huge privilege to serve with YWAM Oxford. God knew what He was doing when He knit us in with this family and blessed us with an amazing community of mission-minded, God-submitted, Jesus-loving people to surround ourselves with. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve the base in various ways and am greatly humbled and honored to be part of this incredible group of wise leaders known as the YWAM Oxford trust.

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