--Great Trip Thru Hungary, Bosnia, Montenegro and Romania
--Lump In My Throat
GREAT TRIP THRU HUNGARY, CROATIA, BOSNIA, MONTENEGRO, SERBIA AND ROMANIA
Iulian Avramescu, our director in Romania, summed it up quite well with his post on Facebook, “I felt like I was living in the Book of Acts.” Iulian and his young team member, Luca, a pro soccer player, met me in Hungary and the three of us went on a whirlwind trip through five countries.
Returning to my old haunts at Word of Life Hungary to speak in chapel at the Bible Institute I had an incredible time speaking to the students there. What great potential! It was good to fellowship with former staff members and make new friends. God is blessing the work there.
With Iulian at the wheel and with me rubbing my knee [oh, the pain … hurt my knee traveling to our Board of Directors meeting in March … something moved out of joint during the trip … still bothering me into early May … please pray] we headed south to spend the night is Sarajevo, Bosnia. I still remember the bombing and shelling in 1993 during the war between Serbia and Bosnia as Lynne and I traveled through there. What a change from those days. One thing that we noticed as we drove through thru small towns … each had a mosque and a tall minaret [from the Arabic word meaning “lighthouse”, a tall obelisk or tower] … funded by the Saudi Arabians … some were not being used, but, ready to be used when a Muslim priest can come to live there. We thought about how many towns do not have a Gospel preaching church. What a dilemma.
It’s been two years since I have been in Montenegro. What a joy to return to see friends and work on details for Camp Monty 2014. I was so excited to be there again. God blessed the preaching of His Word in the churches in Niksic and Podgorica as I shared Biblical principles regarding the theme of grief. Then, I had an opportunity to speak to university students in Niksic led by our good friend, Danijel Petkovski, who helps us at Camp Monty. Three of the students received Christ and we had great conversations with other students after the meeting. Danijel is doing a great job. It was so good to spend time with Sasha Olah, team member for LIFE Montenegro and Camp Monty. It has been through some tough times with physical injuries which adversely affects his outreach ministry as a soccer coach and player. Pray for Sasha as he meets with guys who come to Camp Monty. Then need encouragement and discipleship. I am so thankful to have Sasha on our team.
Traveling northward through the mountains was quite an experience. Iulian and Luca enjoyed the scenic beauty from the front seat of the van and I saw the peaks from my vantage point in the back seat as I lay on my back taking pressure off of my knee. God blessed my ministry during this trip, but, the physical situation was quite difficult. Quite the contrast! Oh yes, the roads in Serbia … bumpy beyond measure. Iulian wants to buy another GPS. It seems that his old one gave us an extended trip adding a couple of hours to the travel schedule. Finally, we arrived at the border of Romania crossing the Danube River as Iulian and Luca were yelling and shouting. It was quite a trip …
Next on the agenda was Counselor Training for our youth camp at LIFE Romania. We have several new counselors to join a great core group of returning camp counselors. Sorry, I know I use certain words again and again … here I go again … I was “revved up”! Well, except for my knee. I just slid my right knee and leg along as I moved about when I was speaking. It didn’t affect my spirit and attitude. God was at work in those meetings. Potential, more potential! These young Romanians are awesome. Iulian is doing a marvelous job building a young team which includes camp leaders or staff along with the counselors.
This leads me to the next meetings following the Counselor Training. Most of Iulian’s young team stayed for three days for a staff meeting. We took some time to see the famous Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania, where the Romanian royalty lived. Each day Iulian asked me to speak to the leadership team, then, they worked on projects, practical things to improve the ministry. Three worked on scheduling and organization while two worked on the website, greatly improved with a new, enhanced look. This gave Iulian and I time to work on a project of our own. Wow! So much was accomplished.
Back to Bucharest from the Carpathian Mountains and Sinaia where I could make plans to change my travel schedule as I needed to return to the States. Originally, I had planned to be in Israel with Dr. Jimmy DeYoung and his sons for a tour of the Holy Land. My knee was too painful for the walking that I would be doing on this tour. Much to my regret I had to cancel my plans, yet, I know that God is in control and has reasons beyond what I can comprehend.
Slowly, my knee is getting better since the special knee treatments that I received while I was in Montenegro. Perhaps it is 70% better now. Yet, as I look back on the trip through six countries in Europe I rejoice in what was accomplished. I thank God that Iulian was along to take good care of me and get me to where I needed to go despite his vagabond GPS. 17 days with Iulian was priceless … mentoring, discipleship, observation, conversations, fellowship … you name it, we did it … what an experience. I’m so encouraged.
LUMP IN MY THROAT
No, nothing wrong with my health … just had a big “lump in my throat” when I saw in Lynne’s piano in Niksic, Montenegro on my recent trip. I was speaking in the church in Niksic and noticed her piano sitting there. We brought it from Budapest last summer to have it available for Camp Monty and that it can be used at the church. But, the “lump” quickly disappeared when I thought that it is good that it is being used in God’s work. This is how I was raised, that is, if change has taken place and something is not being used, then, put it to good use somewhere.
Ministry with Iulian in Dallas, Texas where he has his support and prayer base—this is next. This is an important part of my ministry just like the 17 days being together in Europe. I love evangelism, but, I cannot do this all of the time. So, I spend time behind the scenes with a young man like Iulian, 33 years of age. Let’s put it this way, “I’ve been there and done that, now, it’s time to teach someone else to go there and do that!” I love doing this!
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