Milenkovic family news – January 2013

prva zajednicka

Our dear friends,

Warm greetings from the Milenkovic family.

After a longer period of time we are writing to you with the news on what is happening with us. Sara and I have been back home since a few days ago. We are thankful to God that the family is reunited after a log time, together with the new member, Sofija Lena. The two months of our life in America passed, and how was it? It was good and hard and sad and joyful. There were many situations in which we could only pray to God to give us strength to endure, while thanking Him for bringing us to a place like St. Jude hospital. Sara had great care there, and other life conditions, and a possibility to keep enjoying the things that make a child’s life. We are thankful to our brothers and sisters there who made an effort, visited us and cared about us, making us feel at home as much as it was possible.

Because of the side effects Sara would sometimes feel very weak and exhausted, eating poorly, losing weight, but what she’d never lose was her cheerful spirit and courage to cope with everything. In these few months she has become a more mature person. It even seems that she took the hair loss easier than we did. Other than all of that, we tried to life lives as normally as possible. We would go to church regularly and meet many wonderful people. Sara enjoyed her Sunday school classes. We would go to the Zoo, shopping, watching cartoons and skyping with our family back home every day. We are staying home four weeks altogether, that is, until February 3, where Sara’s chemotherapy will start, which would last about 5 months. Sara is in a category of high-risk patients, which is why she was taking high dosages of radiation, and it is going to be the same with the chemotherapy.

Our battle with the cancer has only started. We believe God that He could end it today, but we trust that same God that He knows all our days and our future. We know that sometimes sufferings which seem so painful to us bring a purpose which is so much higher and more wonderful. How did God see His own Son’s pain and death? Could He have saved Him from the cross and death? Who can listen to a child’s cry and not respond to it, or watch His own child’s death, being able to stop it, and still not do it? It is God, because He knew that precisely this death would bring blessings to mankind through the millennia.

We pray every day that God would give us strength to trust Him even though we are sometimes overwhelmed by the feeling of helplessness and a desire for an instant solution. We will do everything that we can to provide the best care possible for Sara, but we know that it’s all in God’s authority and His hands

Today is Sara’s 9th birthday. We rejoice that God gave us Sara to have her through all these years and that she is with us. Sara bought a bracelet to her mother, on which it is engraved that every day is a gift from God. This is true for both her and me and all of us. If there are a few more days ahead of us to live, it is a gift from God, and if not, again, it is all from Him.

We would like to have Jaroslava, Jana and Lena join us in America at the end of February or the beginning of March. There are many things to arrange about visas, traveling, accommodation there. Please pray for all this to be possible so that we can all be together during this long and probably more difficult period for Sara.

Things at HUB are going great. Last semester finished and 5 students finished their one year long education at the school. The rest are continuing their education and in a few days only, a couple of other students will join them. A youth camp at HUB finished yesterday, where we were able to be their hosts. What a privilege it is to serve others! Thanks so much that you keep praying and supporting the ministry of HUB and the Bible school.

Thank you for praying faithfully for us as a family and for asking us about the news. Thanks to all those of you who sent us emails, letters, presents, greeting cards etc. So much care and love, from those we never even met. We usually were not able to respond and personally thank you for it, but we do thank you now wholeheartedly.

May God help us all in this New Year to have Him closer and more dear to us than ever.

Yours,

Sladjan and Jaroslava, with Sara, Jana and Lena

Milenković

Internet cafe open in Ruma!

Internet cafe in Ruma

After many weeks of hard work we resorated part of our church building in Ruma in order to open an internet cafe. As mentioned in our previous letters, church is situated near the three high schools, and we decided to start Internet cafe project in order to reach out to the youth in our city. This project gives us opportunity to testify to the young people about Jesus Christ and as a young, recently established church, we see evangelisation as one of our highest priorities.

 

 

 

The opening of the Internet cafe gave us a great opportunity to offer to the young people a lot more than a cup of coffee and use of computers. Currently, two married couples from our church work in the cafe. Hopefully, as Christians, we will be an example of Chirst love to the highschoolers.
In a pleasant atmosphere where many kind of coffe, tea, hot chocolate and different non alcoholic drinks are served, we will hold presentations and lectures to high school students about the different education possibilities after the high school but also lectures about Christianity.
This is pioneering work in our contry and we are both encouraged by the way our God is leading us and at the same time challenged by the newness of the project.
We would appreciate your prayers for God’s guidance on how to approach to the young people, to bring more young people, and provide all we need for a work of this cafe. Our prayer is that in the future ther will be many who will testify that they heard the good news of Jesus in our cafe.
 
   We wish you every blessing
        Best Regards
                                              
                                  Drago and Jaroslava Pejic

Sara’s prayer update

Belgrade, October 13, 2012

Dear friends, prayer supporters, brothers and sisters,

We are writing to you thankful in our hearts for your prayers for our daughter Sara and us. Here’s a short update on the current events.

Sara has had one surgery on Thursday, two days ago, which should make the main operation of the tumor removal safer. The next operation should take place next week. Since there are now a few wounds on her head from the operation, it is hard for her and it hurts.

Please pray that God would give her supernatural strength to fight with everything. She’s been handling all this with a lot of courage, but it happens, just as with us, that she goes through moments of sadness when it’s really hard for her because of everything. I am with Sara all the time, and Jaroslava is also there during the day-time.

We still don’t know for sure what kind of a tumor it is, and we won’t know either until the analysis of the tumor is done, which usually lasts up to two weeks after surgery. We are praying and hoping that the tumor is not malignant.

We are in God’s hands. Thank you for your prayers and for encouraging other people to pray for us as well.

Yours,

Sladjan, Jaroslava, Sara and Jana Milenkovic

13.10.2012.

 

Over 200 at the Annual Graduate Conference at HUB

Over last weekend 14-16 September, we had our sixteenth annual “Graduate Conference” at HUB.  It is incredible to hear what God has been doing through many of them…

Michael Green spoke extremely well about the letters to the seven churches in Revelation.  He brought challenge and encouragement to everyone.  Many shared how they were inspired, refreshed, challenged.  There were a massive number at the conference – around 190 adults as well as 50 children!

There are wonderful developments across the region amongst the graduates of the Bible School.

MISSION: VISION AND OWNERSHIP – Yet more graduates who returned to work as tent-makers in their home towns have become overwhelmed with the needs in other parts of the country and have moved into pioneering church-planting situations.

There are more and more bold, locally initiated and imagined evangelistic projects and there is also more finance coming into mission work from the local church.  There have always been examples of this but it seems to be increasingly the norm.  There is an increasing sense of the national church plunging out to reach those who do not yet know Christ.

UNITY AMONGST BELIEVERS – Sitting amongst those at the conference was a broader-than-ever cross-section of the Balkans.  The corporate worship times at HUB were led by an international group that included Slovaks, Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and Macedonians.  They are delighted by the unity they experience – not because of this conference but because of Christ.  It is wonderful to see many “barriers” removed and unity deepening.

We pray on for the Church of Jesus Christ in the Balkans!

The Latest News from the HUB Bible School in Belgrade

Sladjan and Jaroslava write:

Dear brothers and sisters, friends, prayer supporters,

Here is the latest news from HUB the Bible school as well as news about the events that we are preparing in this period.  There is also the information about the mission conference this September, for which we have an excellent teacher this year.

Please share this news with the people in your surrounding, your church and everyone who is interested.

God’s blessing,

– Sladjan and Jaroslava Milenkovic

Click here to read the bulletin: HUB Belgrade Bible School – Newsletter – May 2012. (1)

Students’ Stories…

Here are the last two stories in this series that we have been publishing since the Autumn.   Each of the students you have read about need your prayer as they continue to prepare for mission at the Bible School in Belgrade, Serbia. 


Mateja:

I heard about God when I was very small from my believing parents and experienced Him as my closest friend.  As I grew, whilst I was experiencing and more of His great love, I found big difficulties at school from those who didn’t understand my relationship with Him.  I used to “escape” to my room – the one safe place where I read the Bible religiously and understood the words but I didn’t put them into practice.

The great pressure and humiliation at school led me to fall into depression – I was full of bitterness and pain.  One Sunday, my father spoke the words of Jesus – to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us – I realised finally that Jesus had suffered for me.

The difficulties continued but I saw that it actually was an honour to suffer for Jesus – that He could use me in the midst of this.  I had a joy as I continued.  Now I open the Bible – I don’t read mechanically…  knowledge isn’t what makes a difference alone: it is living out, putting into practice the truth that changes things.  I am now at the Bible School where I continue to learn to put into practice Jesus’ teaching…

 

Nenad:

I’m from Leskovac – South Serbia.  A few years ago I was an aggressive, hard man.  I looked for real freindship but didn’t find it – I felt overwhelmed by emptiness.  My father was an alcoholic.  I decided to commit suicide.

A woman came to my home and said, “Nenad, what are you doing?  She encouraged me, she said “This kind of action is not from God – it is from Satan.”  I sensed God working around me.  I began to cry and decided to turn away from my wrong habits.  But I quickly found myself in the middle of these wrong things again.

Finally I prayed, unable to resolve all of this by myself, “God – only You can keep me from this kind of life – only You can rescue me.  I cannot.”

I lived in the Romany part of our town where there was a group who loved Jesus.  I began to sense peace and God’s love.  I began to be a blessing to my community as I started to love those around me.

Once I was dead – now I’m alive in Jesus Christ!

Vladimir

Here, Vladimir – who has just graduated – shares his story.

I’m Vlada from a Slovak village called Padina in north Serbia and I have just graduated from the Bible School.

I first went to church when I was nine years old – my Mum started to go to church and I went with her.  On my tenth birthday, I said to everyone in the church that I wanted to follow Jesus.  When I was fourteen, just before I went to High School, I thought I would stop walking with Jesus but through nearly being involved in an accident that could have killed me and various other events, God showed me that He still had His hand on my life.  I began to more seriously read the Bible and to pray.  I felt challenged to admit before God and others that I was a sinner who needed God’s grace… I tried to seek peace with those who lived around me and to seek God’s touch in my life.  I began to experience God’s Word living in and changing me.

I finished my year at the Bible School at Christmas time following what has been a year of growth for me.  Some of the best times have been taking my notes from lectures in the day and in the early evening finding a quiet space to go through them and reflect on them alone.

Pray for Vladimir as he begins to serve in Padina…

Students’ Stories

Hearing the stories of the students of the Bible School is a great encouragement and often a challenge.  Here is Amir’s story followed by Snezana’s – we will send more over the next week…

Amir:

I’m from a Muslim Romany background – my home town is Bosnia.  I heard about Jesus in 2005 when my middle brother – who had heard about Jesus through his wife – sent me on a camp.  The camp was by a lake and there I heard good teaching – I was really impressed too by the way that I heard people worshipping.  On the last night of that camp, they asked, “Who wants to trust Jesus to be their Saviour?”  I said that I did.

Four months later I was baptised and two days after that, my oldest brother died of a heart attack.  I found this a great challenge to my faith but I have learned to trust Him through those hard times and the good times.  I am here at the Bible School to study God’s Word – I am enjoying getting to know others here.  I want to be open for God to use me as He chooses.

 

Snezana

I am 19 years old.  When I was 3, my father became very ill.  When I reached 6 years old, it became clear that he had cancer.  Half of my extended family are followers of Jesus Christ and they wanted to pray for my dad and because of their caring concern, my mum started to go to church.  Near the end of his life, my father was declared clinically dead and my mother prayed that he would live just a little longer so she could prepare for him to go.  One month later, he died.  But in this time he too had trusted Jesus.

My mother looked after me.  When I reached 12 years old, I was on a camp, I dreamed about my father.  I also sensed God’s preparedness to complete and fill me.  I gave my life to Him on this camp and was baptised shortly afterwards.

I pray that with this that life God has given me, I would serve God and be a blessing to others.  I particularly love to work with children.

Two years ago, I came to the Bible School to help to look after children during a conference.  I was so impressed by what I saw that I began to pray that I would be able to one day come to study here.  Almost all of my church is praying for me as I study here and I feel that it’s definitely God’s will that I am here.  It’s been a great blessing so far.

One of the Bible School team, Marijana, taught me when I was 7 years old on a Christian camp.  It is great to be now in the Bible School with her involved in the team.

Last week was the 12th anniversary of my father’s death, I pray for God to take away my brokenness and to have that sense that God is my father.  I have a great peace that I will meet my earthly father again one day with Jesus.

As I look at the future and the mission fields of my town on the Croatian border, I am greatly encouraged by this verse

“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”