Sretan Nova Godina od Hrvatska!
Happy New Year from Croatia! I pray this letter finds you well in the New Year. I am excited to see all the Lord will do in it. Thank you to all those who sent Christmas wishes and gifts. I pray your Christmas season was filled with many wonderful blessings.
The months of November and December sped by for us here in Croatia. I wrapped up the 2nd level language class in mid-November, but it was not without some trials as I failed the final exam. However, God blessed, and with much prayer and study, I was able to pass the makeup exam the next week. Rather than continuing to the next level right away, I made the decision after some prayerful consideration to take a break from the formal classes, during the holidays, and focus on really practicing what I had learned in the first 2 levels. Along with this practice I was also able to do three library readings in November. I had so much fun with the kids and it was definitely the highlight of the month. I feel like I learned more vocabulary during those three library readings than I did in the entire two months of language class! I am praising the Lord for the opportunity to continue reading at the library in the New Year.
It was interesting spending the Christmas season in a new culture. Christmas is a big deal here in Croatia. They have a huge Christmas market in the Center of Zagreb with booths that are filled with traditional Croatian food, drinks, and gifts to buy. There are decorations, lights, music, and an ice-skating rink. It is incredible to experience and a sight to see. The city streets are filled with people enjoying all the Christmas Market has to offer.
On the first night of the Christmas Market, a group of us from the church went out to give away Bibles. There were so many people around and I thought surely, we would give away a great many Bibles. Sadly, however, like in the States people have forgotten the reason we celebrate Christmas. Many people were not interested in receiving a free gift: the gift of God’s Word. For the first time in my life, I had someone spit on me all because I offered them a Bible. I stood there in shock and sorrow as the person walked away!
In that moment I had a better understanding of John 15:20-21 “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” My heart broke for this individual who has chosen to reject knowing our wonderful Saviour. Yet, the night was not completely filled with rejection. I was chased down the street by some young girls who saw the Free Bible sign I was wearing. It was a tremendous blessing to give each of them a Bible and to see their smiles when they learned the Bibles truly were free . (The Catholic Church charges for everything). Another young lady said, “This night just keeps getting better and better, I just got a free Bible!” Between the two Christmas Market outreach days this season, we gave away just over 200 Bibles and numerous Christmas tracts.
Please continue to pray with us for the seed that was sown and for the souls of those who received it.
In addition to the Bible distributions, I have also had the opportunity to witness to some individuals. Please pray for Mirka. Mirka came to the church a few times before Covid. At the beginning of November, she started coming again to Wednesday night services. We have started meeting twice a week; she is wanting help with her English and has helped me some with my Croatian. But this has also opened the doors for me to witness to her. She grew up Catholic but is not practicing anymore. She is religious but does not truly understand the difference between religion and a true relationship with Jesus Christ. Please pray that as I continue to share the love of Christ with Mirka she will come to know Jesus in a personal way.
I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that God is trying to get ahold of Jurica. He was my Uber driver the Friday before Christmas. I had the opportunity to witness to him during our short ride. By providential design, Charissa, (our missions intern) also got Jurica as her Uber driver the Thursday after Christmas. She was able to witness to him as well. Please pray for Jurica that he would also come to know the Saviour.
Prayer Needs and Praises
- Prayer: Please continue to be in prayer for Toni and his family. Due to problems with border control, his family was not able to go to Belgium in November. I have been grateful to have him in class a few more months. However, since Croatia become part of the European Union at the begging of this year we are praying it will open the border for his family to be reunited with family in Belgium.
- Prayer: Salvation for Mia, Jasna, Tamara, Mirka and Jarica
- Prayer: More children for my Sunday School class
- Prayer: Learning the language.
- Prayer: Opportunities to share the Gospel with people I meet.
Musings of a Single Lady In Missions
The holiday season was very different for me this year as it was the first year spending it
away from my family and I was missing them a great deal. But God, in his perfect timing worked out many opportunities for me to spend many of the days throughout the season with my Croatia Church family.
We had a College and Career activity land on the Friday after Thanksgiving, this was a blessing to me because I normally spend a special day with my cousins and sisters.
Although I could not do that this year, I was able to spend it with the young people from the church. It was also a blast going caroling with the collage and career group a week before Christmas. For many of them, it was the first time to ever go caroling. Christmas was spent with my church family in God’s house, and New Year’s Eve I had the privilege of hosting a group of people for dinner and a night of fellowship at my house. I praise God for the bond he has given me with my church family here in Croatia.
I enjoyed exploring the Christmas market with Frana. It was my first time to try bajadera frutile, one of Croatia’s traditional Christmas deserts! It is like a doughnut hole with chocolate sauce on it. Yum, Yum.