Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Uzice

Some of our friends from Sombor came to visit us and helped us to put on a huge Thanksgiving dinner for our Serbian friends! It was an amazing night and they loved the food! Some of it was a bit strange for Serbians but they still liked it :) We shared about Thanksgiving as a time of coming together and thanking God for His goodness to us.

Spending time with kids at the orphanage

Singing "Baby Shark"- this was their favorite song! :)

Thursday nights we had two hours to spend with the kids at a local orphanage. We had a great time singing songs, playing games and doing creative projects. The kids were so sweet! Many of them have learning disabilities or other kinds of disabilities. It was so good to love them, encourage them and spend time with them in a fun and creative way.

Making friendship bracelets!

Musical chairs is always a big hit!

Concerts at Cafe in Uzice

Our team had a great opportunity to put on two concerts at a local cafe as an outreach event. While some of us played music the rest of the team talked with people who came to watch us play. Both nights were great!

Uzice, Serbia

Beautiful city of Uzice in the South of Serbia. This is the view from an old fortress right outside the city. We came here to pray for the city.

The city has about 60,000 people in it but it feels even smaller because it is so easy to meet people and get to know them. The people here are so open and friendly. Such big hearts!

This is the river that runs through the city. In this picture it is rainy but most of our days in Uzice were beautiful and sunny!

This is the "Orange House". This is the house that the YWAM missionaries here bought for teams to stay in. It is about 10 minutes drive from the center of Uzice. It is a beautiful home and has been a big blessing for our team.

This is some of our team waiting for the mysterious bus. I say mysterious because we never really knew when it would come!

Sombor, Serbia

Our first week in Sombor was so special! Our team ran an English Club and cafe ministry almost every night so we were able to build some great friendships with the people who came, many who had had no previous contact with the church. The cafe is in the bottom of the church building so it was ideal for introducing people to the church and to invite them for church a couple days before we left. There we were able to do a powerful drama called "Lifehouse" and to share a testimony, song and encouragement from the word. We also ran a kids club while the kids had a break from school. It was a busy first week but so encouraging. The best news came the day we left, that one of the guys we had been sharing with prayed to recieve the Lord in his life in a personal way. That was a huge encouragement for our team and for the church we were serving with. We made such good friends in Sombor that five of them came to visit us at the end of our trip in the south of Serbia! Thank you God for a great experience in Sombor!

Kids club at church in Sombor, Serbia

English Club and Conversation at church cafe

Our team, missionaries from the church and Serbian young people giving us a tearful goodbye as we head out for the South of Serbia.

Serbia outreach and lessons for life

Finally I am posting something about our outreach to Serbia! We are leaving in just three days but its never too late to post some pictures highlighting our time here. We have been amazed by the beauty of this country and the openness and friendliness of the people. We have met so many wonderful people and have enjoyed sharing our lives and faith with them and pray that the Lord will grow the seeds that have been planted in their hearts and that they will spring up to eternal life in Jesus. We have served in three different locations here in Serbia and also took a short trip to Bosnia to visit and pray at war memorials in Sarajevo and Srebrenica. Our trip has been full of challenges and blessings and as our outreach comes to a close I realize that the work has only begun and that so much more will come from our time here, not only in the lives of the people here but also in our hearts and lives as God has stretched and grown our team in many ways.

Personally God has shown me so much about humility, brokenness and the radical power of what Jesus chose to do in going to the cross. This world is so broken and fragmented, each person choosing what side he will be on and what he will fight for. In this area of the world, where for centuries there has been a cycle of killing and oppression, the only way out is through the humility and brokenness of the Cross. When the Jews were waiting for the Messiah to come they had hoped he would come with a sword to bring vindication for the Jews who were suffering under the oppression of the Roman Empire. But instead he came humbly as a suffering servant and telling us to love our enemies. He had every right to destroy His enemies but he choose to love them, to give his life for them, to forgive them- it is His broken body that brings real peace to the nations. His example is the only way to healing and new life...

Our prayer here in Serbia is that the real Jesus would be seen clearly. Not the Jesus that is associated with the killing of Muslims in Bosnia or the Jesus of an irrelevant and ancient faith of the past, but Jesus the Lamb that was slain for the salvation of the world. The humble, suffering and serving King who died to make peace between us and the Father and us and one another. Jesus prayed that we would be one even as He and the Father are one. It is still his heart. He died for this and I pray that this will become reality in our lives and in Serbia and the surrounding Balkan nations. May His healing come to the nations and to our hearts as we walk in His steps. God give us grace and mercy to make this a reality in our lives.

May we all see the real Jesus and see how He is the way to peace for every nation and every life.
"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)