Welcome

Thursday
Oct192006

Bad Days Happen Everywhere

Elise and I both had a bummer of a day. It happens and thankfully, not very often. Elise had a prayer group cancelled and only about half the normal number of ladies came to the house group.  Plus, she is struggling as a new believer she has worked with is falling away.  It isn't very fun to watch, listen to, or anything else.

 

My men’s group was the bright spot in an otherwise very frustrating day of working hard to accomplish next to nothing.
I drove all over looking for the right pipes to connect our new wood-burning stove to the chimney. Eight stores and several hours later I was ready for a nap;  actually, there were other things I was ready for but I won't mention those here.  It looks like I either have to drive to Austria (two and a half hours) for the right parts or go to a ‘limar’ (I have no idea what the English translation is but something like a metal worker but not exactly) and hire him to make them. It shouldn't be that hard, or so I thought.

In the midst of that, I paid bills. This is not as easy as you might think. I had to go to the post office, telephone office, and government bank in our city and the post office in another city. That would not be so bad except that every place had long, slow, really slow lines. Our organization has an empty house in Zagreb that I “manage” and one of our colleagues is in the States now, so I paid 22 bills today. It was a long day.

I have this great idea for a series of posts about straw men. However, I am too tired right now and it will take some thought. Maybe tomorrow morning I will get it started.  Hopefully, I will be a lot more positive as well.

Wednesday
Oct182006

Learning More About Missions

Because of your interest in the best-selling devotional, Voices of the Faithful, written by Beth Moore and more than 300 International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries, we at the IMB would like to invite you to stay updated on our authors and how you can pray for their work across the world.

With more than 280,000 books sold, many people are praying daily. You can see and hear an update to a story each month by going to the following link on the Voices of the Faithful Web site: http://www.voicesofthefaithful.com/your-voice.htm. Under Resources, you will see Devotion Updates. Click on the link. Hear how a worker in Northern Africa and the Middle East experienced tragedy in his own family after his Jan. 22 story was written. Find out how the Muslim chief in West Africa (Feb. 1) is responding, and discover the persecution the two new believers in South Asia are facing (March 16). You won’t want to miss the rest of the stories.

Tuesday
Oct172006

Abandoned or Cared For

Maria Tomislav Kristine and Tihomir.JPGYesterday afternoon three friends and I picked up a lady and drove to her home in a small village 30 minutes east of Zagreb. The purpose of our visit was to see what could be done to get the home ready for winter.

This woman, Maria (on the right), is the widow of a former pastor in the Baptist Union. He died suddenly of cancer this past July. The Baptist Union is doing all they can to help, for which I am so thankful. Still, heat and food are major concerns. Poverty is a daily reality for Maria who is recovering from surgery for cancer as well.

Normally in this culture, family could be counted on to step in the gap for a widow. The daughter, who lives in Zagreb, is doing all she can do. However, the problem is that the daughter lives in a 35 square meter house (this is around 300 square feet) with her husband and three children. Needless to say, 300 square feet and six people get a bit crowded no matter what culture you are in!

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view from the house

Maria and her husband bought a small “weekend” cottage east of Zagreb a couple of years ago. The house is made for summer, not winter. There is limited insulation, inadequate heating, and the windows have 3 mm thick glass. Maria does not want to be a burden to her daughter and wants to be able to live in this house.

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Our visit was on behalf of the men’s group who want to help. Pray for us to have wisdom in deciding what we can and can’t do. Our priority is to make sure freezing to death is not possible. That will take some work on the heating system, insulation, and windows and help with heating bills. We also want to make sure Maria has adequate food. More than anything we want her to know honor and respect for a life of service to the Lord. I will keep you updated on how this project goes. Winter is coming so the project will be done soon.

Monday
Oct162006

Thanksgiving in Slavonia (eastern Croatia)

Great worship service yesterday at the Radiceva Baptist Church. Lively worship and excellent preaching! What a blessing. The preacher yesterday was Drazen Glavas. He did a great job communicating the truths of Scripture. Pray for the new leaders among Croatian Baptists.

Yesterday I acted as the self-appointed keeper of the door during the worship service. I can still see and hear everything so remain a participant. I like greeting people as they come and go during the service. Four tourists from Malaysia came in the entry hallway during the singing time. A man and wife were shocked at how lively our “Baptists” were.

They are from a charismatic church in Malaysia and enjoyed worshipping with us for a few minutes. I had the chance to share the good news of Christ with their two friends who they had met during their European tour. As the couple left, they promised to keep up the testimony to these two who don’t yet have a relationship with Christ. We gave one another a hug before they went on their way, bidding one another farewell until heaven. The bond of Christ is amazing in its strength and speed.

Children Singing Slavonia Thanksgiving Oct 15 2006.jpg 

 

Harvest Thanksgiving Slavonia Oct 15 2006.jpg 

Following the worship service in Zagreb, I drove 150 miles with the two leaders of the Baptist Union of Croatia. We participated in a Thanksgiving service. The service was held in a village in Eastern Slavonia. I was very touched as people from several churches gathered to thank the Lord for his provision in their life. I am very humbled and honored to serve with the believers of Croatia.  The pictures above are from this service.  The top one is of the children and youth of the churches singing.  The second is part of the arrangement made for the service.  Everything is from a local garden or made in the kitchen.

Sunday
Oct152006

Fasting Invite and Prayer for Today

Our field leader has asked all of us in southeast Europe to have an emphasis on fasting for the next 40 days. The field we serve in is quite unresponsive at this time. The purpose of the fast is to ask God to change that.

If you are interested, you can fast one day of these forty or all of them or anything in-between. You can fast from everything but water or fast from one thing or come up with some sort of modified fast (a Daniel fast would be a Biblical example). Whatever you feel God would have, even if that is “just” an emphasis on prayer.

We want to invite you to participate with us. There are many ways of doing this but the primary thing is that we would ask you to pray for our people to become responsive to the gospel. We will be updating the blog every day and sending the email with requests each weekend. Thanks for your love and support not only of us but of the people of Croatia.

For Sunday, October 15:

1. Remember Radiceva Baptist Church in Zagreb today. They have begun a new branch in the last year and are very open to even more. There is a growing small group ministry through the church and they are excited about all that God has for them. Ask for effectiveness in reaching out. It is hard and response tends to take years. Ask God to work in people’s hearts to make them more responsive.

2. After the morning worship service at Radiceva, I will be traveling to eastern Slavonia, very near the Serbian border, with two Baptist Union leaders to participate in a Thanksgiving celebration of the churches in that region. The journey is quite long so ask for safety. Ask that our fellowship along the way would be encouraging and that we would be able to build up the churches of eastern Slavonia.