The call to be comfortable… It’s not a thing.
Well, my first couple of days in Serbia did not disappoint. We arrived Saturday afternoon in Belgrade. There was a moment coming through customs that we did not think we were going to make it with all of our baggage. I’ll spare you the details, but as the officers were speaking to each other in Serbian I started praying and simply said “oh Jesus can you please fix this?”. About that time the officer stuck his head out of the security box they were in and told us we were free to go!
Slobo is a vital part of Linking Partners and also our guide and translator for the trip. We were able to meeting up with him, and started loading up our bag for the 3-4 hour drive to Prokuplje. Since we brought 600 knitted hats with us, the trunk of our Chevy Aveo (in case you aren’t familiar, its a small car) filled up quickly. One large duffle bag ended up laying across Coty and I. These are not your standard duffle bags as they weighed 50 lbs and stretched the width of the car. I was not upset about this however, since just a short time before the possibility that we would not have had our baggage was very real!
On the plane from Chicago to Zurich I wasn’t able to sleep, so I spent some time reading my book. One of the chapters was specifically speaking on how as Christians we must let go of our own comfort in order to fully serve Christ. Specifically the book said, and I paraphrase, that God did not call us to be comfortable, He called us to go. Well, I will admit that about 1.5 hours into our drive to Prokuplje I was MUCH less fond of the duffle bag, but I was reminded of the passage in my book talking about comfort. If God was trying to send me a message, I heard it loud and clear!
On Sunday we spent the morning with Marijan and Caca (pronounced Satsa). They have a very large group of Roma children that come to their church building on Sunday morning. We were able to give the children hats knitted by our friends from home.
These hats are so needed by these children. If you’ll notice most of them only have light jackets to wear, but I will tell you it is quite cold here with highs in the 40’s and 50’s (and it will only get colder). This morning it was 0 degrees Celsius (that’s 32 degrees Farenheit), and it made me feel a little better knowing these children at least had warm heads! We are so grateful to the “knitting ladies” back home who spend their time making these hats for these precious little ones. And… once again God reminded me that the 50lb duffle bag on my lap for over 3 hours was being used directly to show His love to these sweet kiddos. Ok God, I hear you. The call the be comfortable… it’s not a thing.
The people here, however, are amazing and SO welcoming. They will do everything they can to make us feel comfortable. We spent the afternoon with Marjian and Caca talking about their ministry. Their desire to reach those who have not heard the gospel, along with their desire to make disciples for Jesus reminded me so much of the early church. All afternoon I could only think of Romans 10: 13-15 –
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Marjian and Caca, along with the leaders they are raising up, have beautiful feet.
Last night we attended church service, or Sunday meeting, at Marijan and Caca’s church. I did not understand a single word of the prayers or singing, but it didn’t matter. The reverence and passion in these people’s voices was so evident. Being here is a constant reminder to me how wide and how deep the love of our Father is.
Today we headed to Pirot where we will meet up with Marjian and Caca and attend one of the home churches that was started here by Marijan and the men he has mentored.
Tomorrow we will go into a Roma village to give out more hats, as well as continue to meet with men who are diligently working for the Lord.
So much has happened in just two days, I am excited to see what else the Lord has in store for us!