Driving down the main highway between Belgrade and Nis, we suddenly see a figure standing in the hard shoulder. He’s waving his arms as though trying to land a helicopter. As the bus flies pass, we catch a glimpse of the face of Jovica – graduate of the Bible School.
Moments later, his car is beside us and he signals through the window. We agree to pull over at the next service station…
Standing on the verge beside the coach, all of us listen as he is translated through the coach microphone. Kaca – his wife – stands beside him along with their children. We are amazed to hear that this is the day his family, after a lifetime of living in the relative comfort of the North, are taking the massive step of moving to the spiritually barren South to help to plant a church.
Jovica and Kaca – several years earlier – studied for a year at the Bible College. The course takes students through the whole of the Bible in a year and is very practical – our prayer is that through it, men and women will grow in their knowledge of God and be prepared by Him to reach their communities. (Read more about it at www.OakHall.org.uk on the links at the top of the pages…)
With deep emotion, Jovica and his family listen to our prayers for them all. Jovica, Kaca and the children seem deeply encouraged that God should arrange for this meeting. It is the one day that an Oak Hall coach is travelling down this road – it coincides with the one most momentous day that this family ventures to take this massive step of faith…
“God arranged this!”
As we drive on, we acknowledge God’s hand on this meeting – and our responsibility to pray for them…
Here in Banja Luka, the highlight has been to spend time with Sinisa.
Sinisa has been in this city since 1997 where he has been involved with humanitarian work and church planting.
Tonight Sinisa told all of us his story – the horror of civil war: parents arrested due to their ethnicity, his girlfriend one side of the lines, while he was separated on the other… friends were killed and with death seemingly inevitable he cried out to an unknown God, “If you are there…”
Then, a miraculous change of situation that released him to return to his family. He received humanitarian aid and heard a message of God’s Love shown through Jesus Christ. Questions, seeking… and finally a decision to bow before the One who is the King of Kings – Sinisa trusted his life to Jesus Christ.
After a time of being a part of a local church, Sinisa – now married to Olja – decided they should return to Bosnia to tell others about Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace. They studied at the Bible School and then left for Banja Luka.
We pray on for this key family.
In the morning we leave for Serbia.
Since graduating for the Bible School in Belgrade, Drago and Jaroslava have been planting a church in their town. They are supported primarily by their sister church in the next town about seven miles away but also through Oak Hall in Serbia.
We are very glad that we can share with you what is happening as we work on church-planting in our town of Ruma.
We consider it a big privilege, to be a part of what the Lord is doing here. Our desire is for all of us to be encouraged as we look at how Jesus Christ builds His church.”
A Story of one of the first to turn to Christ in our town…
My name is Nikola, and I am 72 years old. I am from Ruma. My mother and my parents in law used to go to church, but her and I didn’t. All of my life I wanted to turn to God but I kept putting the decision aside. And since I hadn’t made that decision, I gave in to the sinful life. When I grew old I couldn’t believe that God would forgive me the years of sinful life. In the beginning of 2009 I became seriously ill and spent two months in the hospital. The doctors weren’t optimistic regarding my recovery. Since my relatives were attending a church, the church regularly prayed for my salvation and physical recovery. While I was in the hospital the leader of the Church visited me and prayed for me. After several such visits and confession I felt God was calling me to pray and give Him my whole life. After this prayer everything became different. I felt immensely relieved and felt God’s care and forgiveness. Shortly afterwards my health became better and I came home. Through everything I had exsperienced I realised that the Lord Jesus Christ cared form my life and that it wasn’t the end. Six month later I decided to be baptized and become a member of the Church. I live my life in a completely different way, now. I enjoy going to church on Sundays and listening the Word of God that teaches, shapes and changes me. I am grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiving me the 72 years of my sinful life.
Jaroslava teaching children in Ruma
Before Drago and Jaroslava were married, Jaroslava worked for a number of years with Romi children in central Serbia with the excellent team of “Dete i Svet”. Now based in Ruma, a large element of her work is with children from some of the poorer communities around her. At a recent Christmas programme, 1000 attended an event they ran in the local sports stadium where they heard the Message of Jesus clearly shared…
Here in this photograph she is running one of the classes for these children.
Vision and the plans for the coming period:
- Strengthening the church and building up the believers
- Actively sharing the Message of Jesus in Ruma
- Looking for a bigger meeting place for the church