Innocent is from Burundi. He had been with us at New Life for over three years coming just after his 2nd week at the refugee center. It was Francois who invited him and we have grown to love him. He fought for those three years to get asylum here with applications, denials, appeals, to even living here on the “down low” . His final attempt to extend his time was denied once again and with all avenues exhausted, he was given 30 days to leave the country. This was the last service before he secretly crossed the border and left Croatia. He is now safely in another country and hopes to gain residency there and be able to bring his family to him so they can be reunited again. The way the law here is worded such that he would have been forced to return only to Burundi where his life would have been in danger…thus the secret passage. This is only part of his story however! It was Francois who invited Innocent and it has been Innocent who had been translating (into French) for Francois’ family. I would preach in English, Igor translate into Croatian, and Innocent would translate into French for them while watching on video in the foyer. He was always an encourager, his faith strengthened mine, he was a willing and humble servant, he was my friend, he is greatly missed by us all.
To say that things have been a bit rough for them would be an understatement. In general… widow at 41 years of age, raising six children ages 9-17 (with two of those not your own biological children), in a foreign land where very few people speak your language, all in a two bedroom apartment, most of the children not allowed to go to school (language barrier), the apartment has a mold problem, mom and the two oldest kids who were working have now lost their jobs, and now they will be homeless come December 1st (90 days turned into 9 months). There is yet more to this story that I may share next month but we simply ask that you pray with us. I need wisdom to know best how to help them in the temporary and we need intervention for the long term.
We hit the ground running in mid-October after our trip back to the US. (Jet lag was a doozie!) We have continued Bible Distribution, Outreach, canvassing, and trying to continue to reach others for Christ through many different avenues. Our attendance has been dropping, Satan is fighting, our Filipino group is down to just two, but The Lord is still on the throne. I am thankful for the “small core group” who have a desire to learn, to grow, and to serve The Lord. It is discouraging to see people leave or lose people for any reason and some you just don’t know why. Numbers certainly aren’t the only thing but is more encouraging when there are more to preach to, more to work with, and more to fellowship with. Brethren pray for us!
Thank you! Bro. Lowrie