Monday, April 07, 2008

Back from Outreach!!!

Since my last update we have finished our two month outreach in Bosnia, returned to Romania after about 41 hours of traveling, spent a week debriefing and evaluating the entire school, and graduated our four students that completed the entire Discipleship Training School! So much has happened! It was such an encouragement to reflect on all that God accomplished during the outreach and the school, in and through our students and staff. We saw so much growth in the students, each one take big steps forward in their walks with the Lord and in life. Three of them have plans to continue in missions, one planning to return to Bosnia for a season, and the other two planning to do a counseling school to equip them for future ministry. One student will be attending university in the near future and our local student will continue on here in Constanta serving with us and through his own business. We look forward to see how God continues his work in each one and where he takes them in the future.

Special Graduation Dinner for our students at the local Turkish Restaurant. Yum!!!

Handing out DTS diplomas to the students! They made it through DTS...Yeah!!! :)

Peter and his DTS dimploma! What a guy! We will miss you Peppy!

Adin made me a diploma too for being his outreach leader! SO sweet!

Chrissy was my one-on-one for this school. We would meet together every week during the lecture phase to talk about what God was doing in her life and how things were going. She became a good friend and grew so much in this school. We are so proud of her! Good job my little mountain goat! :)

All of our wonderful students: Chrissy, Adin, Leo, Peter and Cosmina. Thank you guys for making this DTS possible! We are so excited for what the Lord has done in your lives and where is taking you!

Friendship in Bosnia

Spending time with my Bosnian Friends

Friendship was such a key theme during our time in Bosnia. We were blessed with so many opportunities to meet and get to know people, young and old, Christian and Muslim. Our desire was that through our relationships with people we would be able to communicate the love of Jesus and hope in Him and I am trusting that this was exactly what the Lord was doing through our team on this outreach. Bosnians are incredibly relational people. You can see this so easily by visiting one of Sarajevo’s many cafĂ©’s in the middle of the day. Cafes are packed, especially with young people, talking and sipping coffee for hours. It is not just going out for them. It’s a way of life and what better way is there to reach people in this kind of culture than to join them? In light of this, a good part of our time was spent with young people, hanging out, drinking coffee and talking, sharing, and hearing their stories.

Through talking with many of our friends, I have seen that they have an interest in spiritual things but fail to see the connection between the spiritual and the natural- how God really has anything to do with their day to day lives. They don’t understand that God wants to be our friend. It’s a blasphemous thought for many Muslims, but for us who know Him, it is life. God cares enough to know us. He is longing to spend time with us, to hear our stories and for us to listen to Him and all that he longs to tell us. Genuine friendship reflects His character and communicates volumes about His love. This is was my second time in Bosnia and again I am impressed with the fact that we must love people into the Kingdom and that our lives are our tools for Gospel message. God is using us to help people make this connection between the spiritual and the natural and to show them who He is and what He is like, and to invited them to their own relationship with Him.

Also we were blessed to be able to share with many Muslim children through our English Clubs on Saturdays and celebrated this with a carnival for them and those from the neighborhood. This was a great time of fun and blessing. We even had professional clowns making balloons and painting faces with us! My highlight was sing with the kids for their parents "Yes I love my Jesus deep down in my heart!" They loved this song and even though they may not understand completely, the words and the joy they experienced singing it are still the same and hopefully are watering the seeds that have been planted in their hearts and will bear fruit in time. It was a great carnival!

Thank you so much for being a part of our outreach in Bosnia through your prayers and giving! Please continue to pray for this amazing country and for the precious people there- that God will continue to work in our friends’ hearts, revealing Himself and working through His people as they share Jesus and His love with those around them J

Girls reaching out at the cafe

"All that is not the love of God has no meaning for me. I can truthfully say that I have no interest in anything but the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. If God wants it to, my life will be useful through my word and witness. If He wants it to, my life will bear fruit through my prayers and sacrifices. But the usefulness of my life is His concern, not mine. It would be indecent of me to worry about that."
- Dominique Voillaume
(From "The Signature of Jesus" by Brennan Manning)