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.

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 have had a part of a number of our DTS’ here, the Justice DTS, AW80 and I pioneered the Radical Love DTS in 2019. I’m now a part of our leadership team here at Oxford and help oversee all of the training that happens here.

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!

Luke Wahl

Hey there! I'm Luke, I'm pumped to be the Climbers DTS School Leader! I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado when I'm not in New Zealand. I love doing anything outside whether that's in the mountains or doing some sort of sport, I also love music and making things with my hands.

For as long as I can remember I've been going to church but I never really wanted to pursue God until I went to Guatemala when I was 15. From there I went back two more times. For me I felt something was missing, there had to be more to Christianity. I decided to do a DTS in 2015 and from then on my life has completely shifted. I learned I could actually do relationship with God our Father. It affected me so much I wanted to come back and do more with YWAM. I'm psyched for this season and what God is gonna do!

Celeste Miller

Hello! My name is Celeste Miller and I am from Oklahoma in the States (in case there was another one). I’ve lived in New Zealand now for about two years. I originally did my DTS on the North Island of New Zealand in a city called Tauranga at YWAM Furnace. I absolutely loved DTS and it gave me some of my closest friends!

After living in Tauranga for a year the Lord opened doors for me to come down to Oxford. I originally planned on being here for 3 months before returning to YWAM Furnace, but after a few weeks here I knew this was home! I love Oxford and the people here. I love my family, and the Lord has been so good to me giving me another family here!

A few of my favorite things are wildflowers, coffee, the movie Megamind, and National Parks! A few months ago, I spent a week traveling around the Western part of America and visiting as many National Parks (and friends) as I could! My all time favorite park is Zion National Park in Utah. It’s absolutely stunning and holds many dear memories. During that week is when I really got a love of pursuing beautiful things. And out of that, here I am with all of you, getting to pursue beauty in nature and beauty in who Jesus is! I’m so excited to get to know all of you!

Morgan Blankenship

Hello, my name is Morgan! I am 26, 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!

Alec Kemper

Hello everyone! My name is Alec, and I hail from the state of Oregon. I was raised in a small town called Boring... and yes that is the actual name of the town. I did my DTS here in Oxford in February 2016. During my DTS, God showed me what it truly looked like to live a life fully surrendered to Him. He made my heart come alive in new ways, and showed me how loved I am. I have been back on staff here in Oxford since August 2017, and it has been awesome. I love being apart of people's journeys, and seeing them fall more in love with God. I'm stoked for you to come and journey more with God and experience Him in new ways as He reveals more of Himself to you (by the way, it's worth it!).

Besides being a part of DTS' here, I help out at base which usually revolves around maintenance. I love working outdoors and just being outdoors in general. I am a lover of books, coffee and tea, math, and talking with people. I'm excited to be a part of your journey for a bit. I can't wait to get to know you, see you soon!

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 kitchen, hospitality and, maintenance departments and will be staffing the the Radical Love DTS for a second year. 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! I am super stoked to be your Backpackers School leader, welcome to Oxford! A few fun things you should know about me is that I'm 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 in 2015, 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. I'm super stoked for this season and can't wait to get to know each one of you!

Yolanda Borges

Hola! Mi gente! My name is Yolanda and I’m a Puerto Rican from New Jersey, USA. I love cooking, music, travel, photography, outdoors and everything Jesus. I also love animals, sometimes more than humans but not more than you… I’m passionate about worship, discipleship, people, and missions. Currently I’m learning how to play guitar and staffing the Radical Love DTS.

I did my DTS here in YWAM Oxford in 2015 with the Backpacker’s school. I originally chose to do a DTS because I wanted to travel with purpose, not realizing that God was giving me that and so much more. The time that I set apart for the Lord to live in a community with other believers not only deepened my relationship with Him but increased my desire to to know more about Him. Going on a DTS was the best decision I could have ever made for myself. It lead me to spend a few more years here in New Zealand and embark on the most incredible journey of my life so far. It’s an extraordinary thing to step away from the 9 to 5 and all the things that society may consider normal and chose to go on this wild adventure of knowing Him and making Him known. I’m in a place where I feel I can do anything as long as stay close to Him.

My desire is for others to experience what I have experienced and more which is continual growth, abundance, freedom, and unconditional love that only Jesus can give. I’m looking forward to meeting you.

Indianna Korff

Hey everyone! My name is Indianna but I usually go by Indy and I’m from right here in little ol NZ. I’m originally from the North Island (Auckland, but we don’t talk about that) and I did my DTS in Tauranga, NZ in 2017.

One fun fact about me is that I had the amazing privilege of going to Nepal for my outreach where I backpacked through the Himalayas and got to paraglide off a mountain! Why I chose to staff the backpackers school is because I’m so passionate about God’s creation and seeing others link their own love of the outdoors to the one who Created it. I love seeing young people fall more in love with Jesus and grow into the men and women that God designed them to be and staffing a DTS is one of the best ways I have to do those things. My hope for you guys over these next few months is to see you all step further into the gifts God has given you and that you’ll each have a fire ignited in you for seeing others come to know Jesus. I can’t wait to meet you all!

Savannah Roop

Hey there! My name is Savannah and I’m originally from Colorado but spent the last 5 years in beautiful Coeur d’Aene, Idaho! I love being outside, doing anything from hiking to rock climbing to mountain biking. I love all things outdoors! Also, I love coffee (can’t forget that!). I’m a Lord of the Rings fan, so I have always wanted to travel to New Zealand, so being here makes my heart really happy!

I did the Backpackers DTS here at YWAM Oxford in 2018. So I had the opportunity to go to New Zealand and be able to share the Gospel with people here. It was such an amazing time of growth for me. I did things I never thought I would ever do, like preach a sermon or even just sharing what I believe with people from around the world. I then went home for two months, and came back for the 3 month Discipleship Bible School! I had read through the Bible before but this school really helped me understand the historical context and how God has always been the same throughout time. He is so loving and patient with us! Now I’m committed to staffing for the next two years and I’m so excited to see what God has in store for me in the future.

Cameron Mueller

My name is Cameron Mueller, I am 23 and married to Tori Mueller. I was born in Papua New Guinea, Live in west Michigan, did my DTS in Townsville Australia 2015/16, have staffed the 2017/18 climbers DTS. Tori and I have been in Michigan ever since but during our time in the states we heard a distinct calling to come back to Oxford as full time staff. So here we are again on the brink of a brand new adventure and I cannot wait to encounter God with you and see what He has in store for both of us. I pray this season will be on of challenge and victory for all of us. In the meantime God speed and God bless.

Tori Mueller

Hi guys! My name is Tori, and I am from Michigan. Fun fact about me: I am the only one in my family with red hair :o I did my DTS in Townsville, Australia in 2015 and my perspective of God was changed in such a positive way! I love being able to see others grow in their relationship with God and be empowered to do ministry in a tangible way. That is why I have chosen to be on staff here at Oxford for the next few years!

Taylor Phillips

Howdy/hello/hi! My name is Taylor Phillips and I’m from Houston, Texas. I graduated from the University of Texas (Hook 'em) with a degree that I don't use. I did the climbers DTS in 2018-2019, so I am back and ready to rock and roll. YWAM was never something I saw myself doing even as a student. But, somehow I was convinced to do a DTS and that is where I fell in love with missions, discipleship, and Jesus. I thought I would come back to help the people like me stuck in the religiosity of it all.

I grew up going to church, but God showed me through this DTS what it means to have a real relationship with Him and pursue Him on a daily basis, not just on Sunday. ITS AMAZING. I climb because it scares me. I like the feeling of overcoming that fear, even if it means shedding a few tears. Also it's fun and the people the sport attracts is a great group.

Fun facts about me are that every time I get asked what a fun fact is I suddenly feel like the most boring person ever. But, when I was in college I was on the mascot team where I was able to wear a banana costume and be the Pizza Hut mascot. Technically, I made TV. And ask anyone what my favorite holiday is for a bonus present under the tree from Santa. I can't wait to meet you if you're an incoming student!

Jordi Neufeld

Hey there! My name is Jordi! I am from BC in Canada (the best part of Canada)! I adore all things outdoors, climbing, hiking and hanging out with friends and family, as long as I’m outside I’m smiling! I had always known that I wanted to be a part of missions through the world, in the messiest parts that are starving for Jesus or in the daily life of loving the person in front of me. But I also knew that I needed discipleship, which brought me to YWAM! I came to Oxford in September to do the Climbers DTS in 2018. And before I even got here God was already beginning to show me the intimate way He loves me. Over DTS new revelations about God’s love and mercy exploded through my heart and because of that new revelation I began to learn how to love others from God’s heart not my own.

After spending a short time back at home God called me back to Oxford to expand my heart and to serve here on base! I got to do the DBS and fell deeply in love with God’s living Word. Now I have the privilege to serve in the kitchen and in hospitality, I get to help make this place home for all guests and students! I am stoked to serve God by serving people!

Anna Martin

Hey everyone! My name is Anna and I am from a small town in Alaska. You could say I’m mildly passionate about coffee, coasters, and people! I grew up in a crazy big loving family- and I am all about making family wherever I go!

I did the Radical Love DTS in February 2019 and stayed on base to serve afterwords. DTS was absolutely amazing for me! I came with high expectations to grow in my relationship with God, and He completely blew me away. I grew so much in finding my worth and identity in Him! Along with all of the growth I was welcomed by a new family here. The staff quickly became my family and really made it feel like home.

I am currently serving on base but will be staffing the Radical Love DTS in January 2020. I’m stoked to meet you all and journey alongside you as God transforms your life just like He did with mine.

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.

Livia Simmons

Hey, I’m Livia, and I come from Lake Tahoe in the great state of Northern California! I’ve been a nomad for most of my adult life, living in Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, England, Ireland, and Tahoe. Travel has been my lifelong passion, but over the last decade, I started feeling like my cycle of work and travel was pretty empty. I started asking God to dream new dreams for me…and He did!

God led me to Oxford in 2018 for the Father’s Love Crossroads DTS, and completely changed my heart. For the first time, I knew what it meant to be in relationship with Him. I was amazed by the transformations He worked in my heart and mind, as well as in my fellow students. There isn’t anything more beautiful than experiencing His love as it blesses and changes us, and the people around us! It is a privilege to be part of the family in Oxford, and share what God is doing here in this season.

New Zealand is fabulous, and reminds me a lot of my beloved home in the mountains (only with more coastline and sheep!) The people and the culture are truly wonderful; what a gift to spend time in this country! I am passionate about relationship; I love getting to know people, hearing their stories and sharing their journey. My heart is for prayer and deepening relationship with God, and the miraculous story of discipleship as His love captures us and makes us new.

I am a big fan of anything outdoors, sunlight on water, watching full moonrises, snuggling up with a book, the magic of words and language, delicious food, long road trips, swimming in lakes, songs of praise, laughing real hard, and meeting new people!

Autumn Mcdonald

Hey guys! My name is Autumn, and I am from Ontario, Canada eh? I've grown up in the church my whole life, but it was more of an obligation because my dad was the youth pastor. I decided to do a DTS in September 2018 and it completely changed my perspective on God. I now know Him as my Father who loves me and I know my identity in Him. I am forever grateful to YWAM and more grateful to staff here as well. Stay Sweet.

Max & MiCaela Grzelak

Aye, what’s up guys! We are Max & MiCaela!
We both grew up in the suburbs of Chicago (shoutout Chance) and we have been together ever since our junior year of high school!
Max is very passionate about the outdoors, chasing after his dreams, good food, sustainability (all types) and doing life with people very authentically. Some things in life that give him life are running, plants/gardening, surfing, intentional conversations, trekking and the boys.
MiCaela’s favorite things to do in life are talking about dreams, hiking, camping, making quality coffee, and being creative through photography, watercolor, and graphic design. Her favorite drinks are coffee, matcha, and kombucha. Her favorite food are donuts and pasta!

MiCaela did her DTS in Newcastle, Australia and Max did the Backpackers DTS here in Oxford, both in 2015 at the same time. This was a time in our relationship where we really handed each other over to God and decided to put our relationship with Him first, before one another. We were very blessed by that decision and continue to pursue keeping Jesus as our number one, both individually and in our marriage.
After our DTS we spent a little over 2 years back in the states which included moving to Boulder, Colorado, getting married in Rocky Mountain National Park and putting down some roots for ourselves. We’ve come here to New Zealand from a very dope community of friends & family back in the states so we really have a passion for cultivating good community around us and doing life with people in wild capacities.

We have been on staff here since August of 2018 and it has been an incredible adventure! Our time serving has been spent developing and running the communications department here, where we honor and steward those interested in going on the adventure that is DTS, as well as make YWAM Oxford known through media and marketing! It has been so fun and exciting to be apart of the incredible, massive story God continues to write in this place. We’d love for you to come and get a taste of the beautiful land, people and culture that is here in Aotearoa.

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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