Honoring the Life of Our Brother Allen Belton

It saddens our hearts to hear of the passing (Monday, September 26, 2022) of our brother, friend and mentor Rev. Allen A. Belton (1939-2022), a man, counselor and teacher who for many years taught us how to love, forgive, reconcile and build lasting friendships.

Since 2001 one ROM (Renewing Our Minds) generation after another of young people from many countries have been blessed by Allen’s radiating presence, listening ear, patience in counseling, and his faith in Jesus which he passed on to others with ease and so naturally. His teaching, singing, warm smile, humor and patient counseling has had only one purpose – to teach us to love God and embrace each other with all our hearts. 

Two things, among many, will every member of the ROM family of friends remember as long as we live. One was his missional message that “loved people love people”, and the other his personal message which he loved to remind us often about: “You know what? I love you. And, you know what else? You can’t do anything about it even if you try.” 

Today when I think of our brother and friend Allen Belton I remember the life statement of Paul the apostle:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2. Timothy 4:7.8. Two weeks ago, when we spoke the last time this side of eternity, in a simple way but true to Allen’s character he echoed the assurance of the apostle Paul. He said: “I know where I am going.”

Allen Belton genuinely loved people, and he loved his international ROM family of friends very much. His legacy will continue to live on in our hearts for as long as we live, and will last beyond this moment of temporary departure into and throughout the eternity. 

At this difficult time our prayers are with Allen’s wife Margaret, and his children and the entire family. May the Lord give you comfort, peace and strength which you need at this time.

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They Must Know the Truth

They Must Know the Truth, SALT Feature. Follow the summer 2022 journey of the SALT team in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. It mattered to our team that we not only deliver a meaningful and helpful content to the Ukrainian refugees, but that we also learn through the process how to serve and empathize better. 

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A Diagram of Hate, Camilla Bocaniala

Camilla Bocaniala speaks in Cluj-Napoca, România

A DIAGRAM OF HATE, An Honest Conversation about Hate and its Alternatives, Camilla Bocaniala, a SALT 2022 presentation, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, July 2022. Delivered also at the ROM – Renewing Our Minds 2022 Gathering, Trebinje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. SALT- Sustainable Action for Leadership and Truth is a multicultural truth and reconciliation initiative. We are dedicated to building a new generation of leaders via the model of leadership through service, as taught by the historical person of Jesus.

Camilla Bocaniala serves as the SALT Strategy Director. Camilla’s experience with applying and organizing ideas turns conceptual into an organized program. She makes sure that the various program ideas and elements flow purposefully and seamlessly. Camilla is emerging motivational speaker with a message that makes a difference. With her husband Liviu Bocaniala they represent a team of artists, and they are cofounders and leaders of a leadership development organization Polylogos Association. You would not want to miss her latest presentation

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Healing Through Hospitality

Violeta Altmann

HEALING THROUGH HOSPITALITY, Violeta Altmann, a SALT ( Sustainable Action for Leadership and Truth) 2022 presentation, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, July 2022.

Violeta Altmann delivered an opening message at the SALT 2022 Gathering in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Having become an adoptive mother Violeta has also experienced a new dimension of openness towards refugees.  At the beginning of her presentation Violeta shares a letter written by a Ukrainian refugee stationed in Romania: “You are a nation with a huge heart!.. Now we will carry our stories about such a great country as Romania through the generations!.. Romania will go down in history as a country that saved many children’s souls, and this was not done by aid funds, not by the government, but by you – the Romanian People… Thank you for everything you are doing for us!” Listen, watch, recommend. Read more

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Introducing SALT – Sustainable Action for Leadership and Truth

Dear Friends,

Let me introduce the SALT – Sustainable Action for Leadership and Truth initiative. 

SALT is a multicultural truth and reconciliation initiative. We are dedicated to building a new generation of leaders via the model of leadership through service, as taught by the historical person of Jesus. SALT focuses on Eastern and Central Europe as an ideologically segregated, ethnically and politically turbulent, but culturally and historically rich region.

SALT isn’t just an acronym for us. It’s life. Salt brings flavor, preserves and creates thirst. We strive to apply this metaphor to our program by introducing new perspectives from real life instead of theory and conjecture. In that way, we can prove the effectiveness of a broader world-view when applied to leadership scenarios.

We welcome you to meet our team and get us know a little bit better, as we are about to share some highlights of our mission in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine at this time. Let this video serve as an introduction. Also visit our website

Tihomir Kukolja, Director

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How Should We Pray for Ukraine?

After 100 days of brutal Russian aggression Andrew Nedelchev and Tihomir Kukolja are engaging in a tough, honest, vulnerable and timely conversation – HOW SHOULD WE PRAY FOR UKRAINE? Why are some Christians not recognizing evil when they see it? What does a Bonhoeffer moment mean to you in the light of the Russian aggression? Why are some Christian communities divided over the war in Ukraine, some even approving of the aggression? Watch, think, share with friends. Produced by Focus Conversation.

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DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK

Leadership Focus International presents a Focus Conversation

DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK

Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 7GMT

The Russian aggression against Ukraine has risen a threat to global democracy to a completely new level. One sovereign country has attacked another sovereign country in an act of unprovoked war, determined to crush its government and its people. 

An international group of panelists from Romania, Norway, Bulgaria, Ukraine, UK and the US, includes artists, social and community activists, mentors, political advisers and humanitarian activists. Panelists will analyze the current situation in Ukraine and the state of democracy in the world, and try to respond to questions such as: 

What are some of the main challenges facing democracy in Europe, US and the world today? What to expect when the social contract within and between nations that makes democracy possible gets violated? Is the aggression on Ukraine an attack on democracy also?  How come some Christians are denying the reality and gravity of aggression, and are gladly embracing authoritarian leaders and dictators? When we pray for peace in Ukraine how should we pray so that we do not trivialize the tragedy and suffering of the Ukrainian people even further? How to build a sound Christian response to the assaults on democracy?

Our panelists are – Anya Bazilo (Ukraine), Liviu Bocaniala (Romania), Camilla Bocaniala (Norway), Jyl Hall (US), Andrew Nedelchev (Bulgaria), and Heather Staff (UK). Moderator: Tihomir Kukolja. 

Watch now

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A Message from Ukraine, Day 10

Two Ukrainian sisters, Viktoriya and Iryna Kravchenko share their accounts of the first ten days of Russian aggression against Ukraine, and their trust in God amidst fear and uncertainty. Iryna said: “We were always expecting something to happen. We would go to the basement, and then after a while we would go out. At night it was horrible, and we couldn’t sleep. Maybe we managed to get some sleep for a  couple of hours.” Viktoriya said: “When we finally came to the railway station and it was overcrowded. We just didn’t believe we could get on that train. We went to the last carriage and it was overcrowded. So was the one in front. And finally we reached the first carriage and we managed to get in. God took care of us at every step.”  Interview recorded on Saturday, March 5, 2022.

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A Message from Kyiv, Day 7

Only a few hours ago (today) I had a privilege of speaking with a good friend via FaceTime.  Irene, who lives in Kyiv, in a moving account shares how her life has been changed in the first seven days of the Russian aggression on Ukraine. Desiring to remain true to her message no alternations have been applied to the content of her message. Irene has given her approval to share her message in its entirety. She said: “People need to know what we are facing.”

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Solidarity with Ukraine Protest in Houston

Standing in solidarity with Ukraine: As Ukraine is enduring its fourth night of deadly terror there is nothing that could justify the naked and shameless aggression orchestrated by Putin’s regime on the unsuspecting nation of Ukraine. No “what-about this or that” could give a human face to this act of naked aggression. Today I have joined a group of at least 500 citizens of Houston in a dignifying protest of solidarity with Ukraine that took place this cold and rainy afternoon in front of the Russian Consulate in Houston. 

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