Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Brings Sunshine and New Opportunities

After the long winter, we have been anxiously awaiting spring’s arrival along with it’s warm rays of sunshine, new life, and blossoming flowers and plants. As I type this blog, I am sitting by our window in 64 degree weather with the sun streaming in on my face, catching a little Vitamin D- it feels great! It felt like the sun had been hiding for the majority of the time since about November, so we are hoping it sticks around for a while! J

The past couple weeks have also brought a few different opportunities our way. Hope and I were able to go to Samobor with an American missionary friend and two Croatians as a part of the work of Love in Action (the nonprofit organization we received our visas under). Samobor is a village not far from Zagreb. We started out the trip by going to the store to buy groceries and evenly distributing the goods in about 8 huge bags. Then we took the food and other goods to several impoverished families throughout Samobor. I was glad to get a different view of Croatia from the village instead of in the city. I enjoyed seeing how the people that we went with who had been involved with the ministry for a while had established relationships with the people whose houses we visited. It was nice to be able to have a small part in those interactions.

Also, this past week on Wednesday, Betsy, Hope, and I went to a high school in a village about an hour away to teach a workshop in English. There were different workshops offered throughout the week and the administrators of the school like to find native English speakers to teach some of the workshops since all of the students are learning English at the school. We were told to pick a topic and that we could integrate God/the gospel into the lesson. We chose to speak on respect. We taught a different aspect of respect, having each different topic correspond with each letter of respect. Some of the themes included the golden rule, living by example, self-respect, choosing to be a positive influence, and respecting and caring for others. We encouraged the students to get involved by asking them what respect meant to them and how we can show respect. Then we split them into groups and had them present what they came up with. Some wrote short stories, poems, and we even had some perform songs with guitars. I really enjoyed interacting with the two different classes of students we had and seeing them engage in the workshop. Our friend, Vlado, who is involved with Exchanged Life Ministries and is the connection we had with the school also invited us to be involved with some other opportunities with students. We were thankful to meet another brother in Christ serving here faithfully. He was incredibly hospitable and offered to be a helping hand in any way possible.

There are other things we have been working on as a team with our life and ministry here and we will keep you updated as they continue to take shape. We appreciate your involvement and for keeping up with us! We are thankful for what God is doing and are excited to see what He continues to do. I feel blessed to be a part of this team here in Croatia and am thankful for God’s continued faithfulness.

Love and blessings,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life in Croatia

Hello to all!

This past month has held for us a continued process of shaping.  Each one of us are continuing to learn what it means to be faithful in so many aspects of life.  For me personally, I can't really even begin to put down how God has been transforming me.  I've really been learning more and more to allow everyday, every situation be a means of God's transforming love and grace.  Just this morning I had to remember the great love of God, and that no matter the chaos or peace my life is--God loves me.  That love led God to change his identity forever--the Son became flesh.  Through the resurrected Christ we (humanity) can truly find a home in the life of God because God has truly embraced humanity.  Amazing.

On a different note, it has been a good transition with the Scotts being here, and we are excited about the possibilities.  We are building community together and from that we are dreaming of what the roots of the church is going to be about.  I remember a Croatian telling us that as the Nazarene church we will be known for something.  What is it that we'll be known for?  How will we contribute to God moving here in Croatia?  We are praying through what that could mean.  We invited you to pray with us about that as well.  It is great because we are also doing these things on more of a ground level.  Each of us are investing ourselves into different things and people.

I also recently moved in with two Croatian guys--Marko and Darko.  It will be interesting as we continue to learn more about each other, our respective languages and the differences of our culture.  I truly believe we can move forward in grace, patience and love with each other to learn.  I'll tell one story that is already precious to me.  Warning...this story may make zero sense to some of you, but I ask you to suffer through it ha :).  Marko recently acquired a bread baking machine.  When the machine is on it makes a continued noise for a period as it is stirring the ingredients--like a ruh ruh ruh ruh.  (I know that makes a lot of sense ha).  I decided it sounded like a cool beat, so I decided to begin dancing in my chair as we were already eating bread together late at night.  Marko and Darko joined.  I stood up and began dancing as if I was a puppet on strings.  They lost it!!!  I think we were laughing for a solid 20 minutes as we deemed the new bread baking machine "D.J. Baker."  Yes, he takes requests.

I hope this has been enjoyable for you to read, and we really need to get better about this blogging thing ;).  Sorry for the long pause.  Hope you have a good day, and as people here say "Vidimo se (pronounced veedeemo say)".  Literally "we see ourselves"...but "see you later."