After covering approaching 1000kms around Serbia, meeting up with 18 Bible School graduates, delivering aid, sharing with children, helping to develop a children’s camp ground, visiting 2 churches and studying 1 John in 13 sessions… YU67 has landed back in London.
As well as helping in practical ways, sharing the Message of Jesus in words and action and gaining a unique insight into some of the situation in Serbia, we are returning changed, and inspired for the challenges that await us as we serve the Lord Jesus in our home towns…
Thank you for praying with us this week. To continue to receive news about what is happening in Serbia, simply stay subscribed to this blog…
We praise God for your partnership!
Today we were in Pancevo visiting some of the children near to the chemical works that were heavily bombed by NATO in 1999. Many of the children were effected by this terrible time.
Here are some photographs of the time of sport, music, communication and friendship that we enjoyed with these dear people.
For now we are all bedding down for a short sleep before we leave at 3am for the airport…
Good night from us all and thank you for your continued prayer.
Today we have been at the refugee centre in Avala on the south edge of Belgrade. As we arrived officials from the government had just left with the terrifying news that all of the refugees here had one month to move out or they would be moved to another camp possibly hundreds of miles from this one. Children are going to have to move schools, adults find new odd jobs… for some this feels like another forced evacuation similar to the one that they suffered in 1999 when they fled Kosovo.
As we do on each visit, we met together with all from the camp, exchanged greetings and caught up on each other’s news… Elenka – one of the Bible School team shared her story.
“I used to hate myself and the way that I am disabled. God, though, has shown me that He loves me and deliberately created me for a purpose…”
Elenka spoke of how, through Jesus Christ, we can experience relationship with God…
There was absolute silence as all hung on her every word and considered the impact of Jesus on her life. Riste – also from the Bible School team – then opened the Bible to speak about the Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at the well…
“Whoever believes in me… rivers of living water will flow from within them.” – John 7:38
For the next two hours, we gave out the aid we had brought, sat and chatted further in people’s rooms or played football with some of the children.
It has been a significant day and we pray on for these friends who are facing such an uncertain future.
Thank you for praying with us all…
As I write we are driving towards a refugee “camp” where around 100 refugees from Kosovo make their improvised homes. The “camp” is actually an old derelict psychiatric hospital that was recommissioned as temporary accommodation when these refugees flooded out of Kosovo in 1999. With every year that passes, the prospect of returning to their homes becomes increasingly remote.
We have been friends with these people for many years. Today as we spend time together we will be bringing aid with us and carefully distributing it personally. But more than this, we will be sharing about the Lord Jesus – God’s ultimate expression of Love to a broken, lost and hurting world.
On our journey, we are now passing ‘Slavija’ in the centre of Belgrade.
One of the Bible School graduates – Riste – will speak to the refugees and Elenka will explain how Jesus Christ has changed her life.
Pray that we would faithfully continue our friendships, serve in humility, and communicate clearly – through it all reflecting something of Jesus here.
Thank you for praying with us. Greetings from us all.
We are travelling east towards Belgrade after being encouraged by worshipping in Ruma near the Croatian border. This was a small church which reminded us of gatherings in homes in the times of Acts. (But nobody fell out of the window!)
Just as in the church in Belgrade this morning, we were overcome by how powerfully God is working to give life in all its fulness and freedom to those who trust in Jesus Christ.
Drago – who I last met when he was a Bible School student in 2004 – is leading a church with particular heart for drug users. Drago found freedom from drugs after his encounter with Jesus and his call from God is to point others to this Him.
Andy reminded us in his teaching from 1 John that we aren’t condemned by our past, but freed by Christ’s death for our sins. That’s the reason we could all join in so joyfully in Serbian and English singing “The greatest day in history, death is beaten you have rescued me …”
We know the reality of these words – ask any of us who spontaneously sang, praised, worshipped our way through 15 or 20 songs last night in the kitchen of the Bible School when we really should have been crashing out after an exhausting couple of days!
Anyway, now it’s pizza in Belgrade at 9.30 p.m. Then rest … or perhaps more songs together!!!
This morning, we visited a church in Belgrade. We sang with them and to them, chatted, enjoyed coffee and explored the next part of 1 John together. (3:11-18)
– Love, don’t hate;
– Love: proof of our transformation;
– Love defined: Jesus laid down His life for us…
What a wonderful welcome we received and even though we could not understand the earthly tongue we were able to share a very intimate time of fellowship. What a joy to meet brothers and sisters from around the world. We are truly blessed. We met a visiting team from Seattle and also from the Congo.
After a meal on a floating restaurant in Belgrade, we are driving due East to visit Drago and Jaroslava in Ruma. To read more about them, please click here: http://en.wordpress.com/tag/drago-and-jaroslava/
Today we are all suited and booted and off to two churches: one in Belgrade and one in Ruma.
The sun is shining and we are all lovely and clean despite the power cut! It looks set to be a good day.
We are currently on our way to Belgrade where we have been asked to sing some songs, I have voted for ‘Our God is a Great Big God’.
In Ruma we will double the size of Drago’s congregation and hopefully provide some encouragement.
We have a guitar on our bus so I’m hoping Andy will lead us in worship as we drive through the glorious Serbian countyside.
“In our time in Serbia so far, we have been privileged to meet a number of graduates of the Bible School, as well as their families. They are without exception fully devoted, highly amazing, inspiringly humble warriors of God.
“The work that is being done with children here is alive and growing, and appears to be making an impact in the lives of both the children and their families for the Gospel.
“We really got to see the servant hearts of the guys yesterday as ‘boss Jan’ and Dragan taught us how to build a road and sweated alongside us!
“As with everyone serving Jesus these families need our love and prayer to take on the immense task of reaching a lost world. I pray God will keep their eyes on him, give theme : strength and fill them with unbelievable joy.” 🙂
Right now we are finishing our work at the camp…
Floors are being laid, a fire of branches cut from trees that overhung the road we laid yesterday burns, rooms are being cleaned for a final time…
All of this work is punctuated by interviews with Bible School graduates who are coming and going. Jovica and Kaca shared about sharing about Jesus following the earthquake that hit their city (see older blog posts for more about this including videos). Jan and Ruzenka spoke about their next challenge as they move to a new city to plant a church there…
In half an hour we leave from here to head to the university city of Kragujevac. Here we will eat and explore Serbia’s fourth largest city before continuing north to Belgrade to the Bible School.
Thank you for praying for our safety and success for this stage of our journey. Amongst other things, we’ve laid a road that is about a quarter of a mile long, made thirty beds and laid flooring in eight rooms…
Here’s a photo of us this morning as we finished our next study in 1 John: