Monday, July 30, 2012

Nothing without Him

Čao Čao!!

I think we left off Friday night, from the last post, so we will start with Saturday morning. We started our day with prayer as a group. This is a great way to work together as a team and stay on the same page spiritually. Then we headed to dubovo where we invited the entire village to the evangelical service that night. We split into 4 groups and conquered about 200 people. This was tiring and difficult since we couldn't talk to the people easily because the translation is awkward in a situation like this. It wa easier for them to just invite them then for us to say it in English just for them to translate back to Serbian. But we know that God uses everything for his glory so we can revel in that. Our weakness shows His strength, and that means He gets a lot of glory because we are nothing without Him.

We then rested a little bit and then came back to the place where we had the service. It was a parking lot on the edge of town and it was perfect! We sang with the choir from Marijans church and then heard a testimony from Boris who lives is north Serbia in novi sad. Then William preached to about 65 people the good news of Jesus. Several of these were really paying attention and sasa will follow up on these people and now they all know about sasa and his church. Great news!!

Sunday we began with morning worship at Marijan's church in prokuplje! Great time of worship together and then a sermon preached by William about giving God what we have no matter what we have and how he can then use us! Great times! We had lunch together then split up. Half went to dubovo the others to zitni Potok. In dubovo we had children's church first then a time of bible study led by Ed teaching about Christ calling the first disciples. Follow me, he said and they did, and so should we. Sasa is a humble servant of Christ, and needs prayer. He has nothing but still chooses to give his all to Christ!

Monday we headed to zitni Potok to invite people to an evangelism service that we would hold there this evening! We divided and conquered! We took the afternoon to rest and enjoy each other at a lake near the city. Some swam, some just talked, and then we all ate a picnic together. Great time of fellowship with brothers an sisters in Christ. We then held our service in an old theatre in the city. Over 100 people showed up and listened to a clear presentation of the gospel. They also know about a group that meets weekly and can get plugged in there If they decide to follow Christ!

Tomorrow we will hold a service geared toward addiction and the solution for the problem: JESUS!!
So please pray!!

Talk soon!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Remarkable Man

Hey everyone!! So we are back in Prokuplje after having traveled to Beograd yesterday. We had a really awesome time there meeting new people and we are all do glad we went!!
Yesterday we woke up at 5 am and got on a double decker bus to ride to Beograd. I was super excited to be on a bus like this and the view was awesome! The drive was about four hours and we met Jelena at the bus stop around 10:30. We then said goodbye to Kristina our translator who live in Novi Sad, two more hours north. Jelena is the assistant of a Christian ministry for university students. It is an inter varsity group called EUS and the director is Samuilo. This group meets every week and have things like church services, bible studies, and other events. We were all do excited to hear what God is doing through this group! They will be having a huge conference where Nick Vujicic will be speaking!! The proceeds go to the disabled children's hospital and many many other organizations are getting involved. Since EUS is controlling the group, they will be able to share the gospel freely and this is a huge Huge opportunity for people to come to know Christ! They will hold the conference in Beograd and Novi Sad. Keep this in your prayers because it is a huge opportunity for others to know Christ! Also prayer the group can sell the small room the meet in for bible studies so try can buy a place much closer to campus!

Jelena showed us around "New" Beograd and the Fortress. She is so awesome to have taken her time to do this!

This post is called "A Remarkable Man" because Jelena kept telling us Samuilo is a remarkable man before we met him. So when we met him, we knew exactly what she meant! He truly truly has a heart for people and most of all, people coming to know Christ. He is following Gods will to the best of his abilities and then some!! It was such and encouragement to meet this man of God. He is the busiest and most energetic person, and he is constantly meeting with people to disciple or share Christ. We met three university students, two who know Jesus and one who is agnostic.

The first was David, a student studying medicine and is from Kenya! The group of Africans he came with we're each promised a scholarship that none of them have received yet. Samuilo is trying to help him sort this out and to stay in Serbia. Samuilo knows God has a purpose for David here and is doing his best to keep him here! Pray for this please!

Then we went to our hostel, which was a dormitory on the campus that they rent as hostels while students are away. It was pretty cool being "back at school" for two days!

Then we met Jelena for some very VERY delicious fish soup!! (one of our favorites) Jelena is a really awesome woman too! She had a very hard childhood and she lived through the bombings in Serbia. She came to know Jesus when she was around 17-10. And has been serving God with the many talents he has given her!

Then we went to another cafe to meet another university student named Nina. She came to know Jesus this past January and her faith is so strong and mature it is truly amazing! She is the only Christian in her family so pray her sister, mother, and father come to know Jesus too! Nina was super sweet an seemed like someone we would hang out with back home!! Also pray for her witness when she is at school because she said she doesn't have many friends ( I don't know why! She's awesome!) and she can be an amazing witness when she is at school!

Then we met Lisa and her two sons who live in Hawaii and Samuillo randomly met them in an elevator at some prayer conference, I think in the US. She also wants to get involved with our missions in Serbia!

Then we met Marija ( this was abut midnight haha) and she is an agnostic but is good friends with Samuilo. Their families are good friends but none of them are believers. Pray that they can really see a difference in the way Samiulo lives and they will come to Jesus through his witness!!

We then went to bed and woke around 8:30 to meet Jelena, Nina, and Lisa's two sons. They showed us around"Old" Beograd and then we left to meet the team at the Airport!

Then we all at a great lunch together and traveled back to Prokuplje and here we are now! Soon we will go over the plan for the week and then get some rest! Keep us in your prayers!! Thanks!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Calm before the storm

Yesterday and today have been slightly less busy than our first weeks. This is good for us because the team from FBC Sherwood will arrive here Friday and we will be going going going once they get here, so the rest is good for us. That being said please pray for the team because they will hit the ground running.
Yesterday Daniel shared coffee with two of the three gypsy leaders/presidents to talk about and plan for the evangelistic meetings and drug seminar here in prokuplje. In the afternoon we travelled to leskovac to meet with selem. We needed to get a stamp on some papers that gives us permission to have evangelical services. Since Selem's church is registered with the government he has the stamp we needed.
Today started with the daily prayer meeting at the church, then lunch then we were able to pour into one youth. His name is David and today he turned 16 so we took him shopping and got him a new pair of shoes, shirt and shorts. His father is without a job, so he wouldn't have got anything of we hadn't taken him, and he only has a few shirts and two jeans and one pair of shoes that are falling apart. So we were glad to help him and he was very appreciative. He plans to go to bible school when he finishes school, and he is a real leader in the church so please pray for him as his parents are pressuring him to start working, and they do not see he value of school or bible school.
This evening we went to choir practice since we will sing with them for the evangelical services. Then we took the youth out for ice cream. It is fun to hang out with them and try to encourage them to be real disciples, but the language barrier is getting frustrating, because although we have a translator it is impossible to translate everything all the time. So please pray that God will give us the right words to say and that He will use what we say in His ways! And that we can learn more Serbian and they more English . Tomorrow we travel to Belgrade to meet with Samuilo who works with the international church in Belgrade. He will give us a tour of the medical community there. His wife is a physician and we are very excited about this since both myself and Caitlin will be working in medicine. I want to see what medical missions could look like and how I could be involved! Then Friday the team comes and we all get to serve together! Pray for them, for us, and for God to use the services we have in a huge way!!

Your brother in Christ,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Najbolji Drugari

Hey guys!
            I hope that you are all having a great summer; I know thatwe are! I am learning and growing a lot just by being here, and I hope that allof y’all are also learning and growing in Christ wherever you!
            I’mpretty sure that we left off on Saturday, so I will start there. Saturdaymorning, we drove to Zitni Potak where we had the Children’s Bible School. Wehad over 45 kids! All of the children walk to the building where we held theBible School, so it was a huge encouragement that so many children came back!We sang songs with them (Daniel, Bethany, and I are finally able to rememberthe songs in Serbian), Bethany told the story of the original sin and the storyof Cain and Able (Kristina translated), we had a quiz, and then we played agame! It was a lot of fun just to play with the kids, and it was veryencouraging to see them be so interested in the stories. After that, we packedup and drove back to Prokuplje, where we were greeted by the lovely Slavica,who had prepared our favorite meal, stuffed peppers! We were very hungry, sothis was especially wonderful! Saturday night, we had another children’s classat Marijan’s church! They have one every Saturday, and it was great to see allof the familiar faces! Marian told them the story about the Gospel and we sangsome songs together! We learned after it was over that one of the older girls(about 13-14) had gone to all of the children’s homes to bring them to thechurch! They have a lot of youth who are very committed to the church and it isvery encouraging to see their love for Christ and their servant’s attitudes.Please pray that they would continue to grow, not only in service, but also intheir love for Christ and their seeking to know more about Him.
            Sundaywas particularly busy; we started the day in Zitni Potak for our last day ofthe children’s Bible school. We ran into a snag quickly, however; the buildingthat we were meeting in was no longer available! There was going to be awedding there, and we were not allowed to be there in the morning. We weren’tsure if we would still be able to have the Bible school that day, but God provideda place! We decided to meet in the front yard of one of the church members, butwe still weren’t sure if many of the children would show up, since they alreadywalk to the building, and this place was twice as far to walk. When we pulledup to the house, 40 kids were already there! God definitely showed up in a hugeway, and we were able to finish the Bible school just as strongly as when westarted! We pray that the community would come to see the church there in apositive light, and that God would work through the members there to spread HisName throughout the entire village!
            Sundayafternoon, we drove back to Dubovo to hold their weekly children’s Sundayschool class, and we were immediately greeted by Peki, who ran around incircles singing “Caity, Betty, najbolji drugari!!“ (which means "Caity, Betty, best friends!") He is very energetic andsilly, but when it’s time to have the lesson, he sits quietly and paysattention.
After we sang and had a lesson, we hopped back into the car, andwent immediately to church, where Sasa (the pastor of the church in Dubovo)preached about the Truth. We as Christians need to be in tune to the Truth ofGod’s Word, and we are to hold tight to and not swerve from what He says. AsChristians, the Truth sets us free to live a life that is pleasing to God!
            Thismorning we attended the daily prayer meeting, and at 8 we went on a home visit.We visited the older couple that started the church that Marijan is now thepastor at! They used to hold the services in their own home, which theycontinue to use however God guides them. They said that God gave them theirhome, so they open it up to anyone who needs it. The older man is in poorhealth, and we ask you to pray that God would continue to use him, and that hewould have the strength to continue to seek God and do His will.
            Pleasepray that we would continue to have opportunities to show Christ’s love, andthat we would encourage and build up the church here.

Thank you for all of your support,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Busy Bees!

Hey everyone! So we have been super super busy and haven't really had time to write another post lately. We have accomplished so much here and God is seriously working not only in Prokuplje but also in Dobovo and Zitni Potok!
Wednesday was our last day to have children's bible school in Dubovo. Caitlin told the story of Enoch and Noah's ark, and she did a great job! Slavica says the children enjoyed this so much that they wear their name tags all day long and walk around Dubovo singing the songs we taught them! Also, the last time there was any children's ministry in Dubovo, sixteen children accepted Christ in their hearts! Sasa has done so much in Dubovo that it's just so evident that God is using him and his family. The president of the gypsy community in Dubovo likes what happened at children's bible school that he ha offered a building in the center of the town to be used as a church. This is really awesome because Sasa does not have a good place to have church. He has been using the cellar under his house that is probably 10x10 ft and the ceiling is very low. People will not come because this room is not comfortable. But, he needs our help! The building that is being offered is not finished and it will cost $3,000 to finish it. So keep this in your prayers, and if you feel led by God to give, by all means do so! I know that his church would grow exponentially if they had this building!
Thursday had our daily prayer meeting at the church. Then we prepared for the children's bible school in Zitni Potok all day, and then we had church at 7:00. We came back to Marijan's again to finish preparations (keep their church in your prayers as they continue to do an amazing work for the Kingdom!)
Today we woke up very early and met at the church for prayer at 7:30. Then we picked up some supplies we needed for the bible school and headed to Zitni Potok. It's a long and hard drive by the way! The roads are so small and twist and turn through the mountains. The view is magnificent by the way! We made it there and set up while others went out to invite people. We were blown away by how many people came!! We had close to sixty children and almost 20 adults (mostly the children's parents). We are so so excited about this! It went very well and we could just see the excitement on the children's faces!! It is so so exciting to be working here!
A lot of allergies and sickness have been going around between us and Marijan's and Slavica. Pray for our rest and energy! Today we had a long and very much needed afternoon of rest!
Again, thank you for everything you all have done for us and have prayed for us! -Beth

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Dubovo We Go!

Hello guys and galls!

We have been so busy everyday since we arrived, and becauseof that we have not been able to post as much as we’d like to, but weappreciate all of you who keep up with us and pray for us!!

Sunday we travelled to a town south of us, Leskovac, tovisit the pastor of the largest evangelical church in all of Serbia. It is madeup of a circus tent that has been framed up with plywood and such on the insideand chairs from an old theater. It seats 500+ people and Selam, the pastor there,says they are averaging about 400-500 people weekly. He showed us theirchildrens bible school which was going on while we were there, and where theyhave Sunday school. We talked with him, and he is going to let us use his 9passenger van for when “the team” gets here. He also told us of his need for asleep apnea machine that he needs and cannot afford. It would cost him around3,000 EU. So please keep this in your prayers.

Sunday evening we went to church here in Prokuplje. By the way, this was the hottest day yet, 106 degrees, in a 12ft by 20ft closed room containing 20 hot bodies. Needless to say we sweat. But the presence of God was there with us as we know that when we gather in His name, He is there. He showed up. We sang in Serbian and Roma and then in English, and it was amazing.

Monday morning we were greeted with a cold front. Clearly an answer to prayer!! The high temperature today was 84! Hallelujah!! We used the morning to finish preparing materials for the three day vbs in Dubovo. Then headed that way in early afternoon to invite the village’s children. Who drove you mayask, well his name is Daniel. Driving for the first time here in Serbia!

When it was time to start the vbs 36 children had signed in!wow! What a blessing from God. Sasa, the pastor in Dubovo, was worried that the kids may not come because of the recent persecution he has encountered. He had a children’s day a few weeks ago and he had every Roma child from the city but after this happened the leaders of the Orthodox church called him for a meeting. They began telling the parents of the children that it was a cult and not to bring their children there. So praise be to God for answering our, and their prayers for the children to come, and hear stories about Christ’s love for us and to sing praises to The creator God!

Keep praying please!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Last Children's Day in Prokuplje!

Hey everyone!

So things are going very well hereis Prokuplje! We are very excited to be here, and can definitely see Godworking in these people’s live! Last night, we attended the youth meeting,where Bethany and I spoke. We talked about spiritual growth and the importancereading your Bible and spending time with God. The youth responded with a lotof questions, and we were able to explain about how to make time for a quiettime, the prayerful mindset that it should be approached from, allowing it tochange you, and about not keeping what you learn to yourself, but sharing itwith other Christians to help them also grow.
            Iwas reminded while studying for the lesson that it is not something that we dofor ourselves, but it is God who works in us to give us the desire and strengthto seek Him (Philippians 2:13.) He alone is our source of strength, and we areto look to Him for everything that we do! It’s easy sometimes to try to doeverything on our own, but when we try to rely on ourselves, not only is Godnot glorified, but we will never be able to accomplish half of the things thatGod would have had we just given everything over to Him!
After we finished teaching, weworshiped, and it was very powerful. We sang songs that we knew in both Serbianand English, and praising God in both languages was so beautiful; everyone wassinging from his/her hearts, and the result was an amazing time of worship!
After we worshiped, we got pizzasfor the youth and hung out with them for a while (our limited knowledge ofSerbian made for some very funny conversations!) Talking with the youth is soencouraging, and they have such servant’s hearts! The youth have a key to thechurch that they pass around so that they can help Marijan and Slavica(pronounced “mar-ee-on” and “slaw-veet-sah” (“j” is a “y” sound, and “c” is a“ts” sound)) and they frequently go to the church before or after service toprepare and clean the building. The youth have been an incredibly wonderfulhelp with the children’s meetings, also. They are at the building with us early,setting up the chairs and tables, and they stay late with us to clean up thebuilding every day!
Today was our last day of thechildren’s meetings in Prokuplje, and we ended with a craft and awards forcoming. It was so much fun to play with the little kids and talk to the olderones. There was a lot of “Cait! Cait!”, “Bethany! Bethany!”, and “Daniel!Daniel!” as they tried to get our attention, and lots of hand signals andbroken Serbian followed in trying to understand what they needed; we had a lotof laughs, though, and were able to communicate what we needed to (with thehelp of a couple youth who speak English and a lot of pointing.)
Tomorrow we will have church, andMonday we will go to Dubovo to begin another round of kid’s camps! We are soexcited to see what God has been doing, both in our lives and the lives of thepeople around us. Please pray that we would be open to what He would have usdo, and that He would continue to work in amazing ways! We are picking up Serbianmuch faster than last year, but it’s a slow process, nonetheless! Please prayfor understanding and patience as we continue on this incredible journey!
In Christ’s love,