Mission to Montenegro newsletter

Blog entry for 19 January 2020

January 2020 Mission to Montenegro Newsletter

Remember this and stand firm,               
              remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
              I am God, and there is none like me.  
Is. 46:8a,9

Grace and Peace to you in the name of God our Father!

With the close of the decade, this seems to be a fitting time to remember and stand firm.    In this spirit then, let us rejoice in what God has done these past ten years.  Those of you who have been part of this work will remember, and those who've joined us more recently can see how our God has been working mightily.

  • Ten years ago, we were seeking prayer for Stan to regain legal standing to be in the country.  With the independence of Montenegro, Stan had to re-establish residency through the byzantine labyrinth of bureaucracy just mere days before leaving on furlough (or not be able to leave the country at all).  God came through with 48 hours to spare.  And, two years later, his Montenegrin citizenship was formally recognized.  We appreciate the privilege to be here and the freedom we have to proclaim Christ.  Thank you, Lord.
  • Ten years ago when on furlough or traveling, we were bringing in others, from outside the country, to lead the church.  Now we have a solid core of faithful men able to lead within the fellowship.  They regularly lead in prayer, in the consecutive reading of Scripture and giving insightful comments*, in helping to serve Communion, and preaching occasionally. *We've read through the whole Bible this past decade, too!
  • Over the past ten years, the church has witnessed several baptisms, nearly a dozen marriages,  and sadly, even a few deaths within the congregation.   Ten years ago, there were no little kids in church—all the children were in their teens.  Now, with the blessing of marriages has come the blessing of children.  This year, for the first time, the little ones gave a short presentation at our Christmas service.
The Next Generation!
  • Over the past 10 years, both our hospitality ministry and camp outreaches have grown expansively.  The Camp Monty Outreach continues to reach young people through sports but has broadened in these last few years:   a women’s outreach has also taken place the past two summers; and Heidi, originally a Camp Monty volunteer, is developing a Hearing Testing/Aid ministry reaching even wider into the community.  She was here this past month and will be back again, Deo volente!

  • Ten years ago, Danijel had just begun his work to transform the informal student ministry into a formal student ministry. This past summer, the local student work, EUS CG, was officially recognized and accepted into the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students at the IFES World Assembly 2019 held in South Africa.

  • Over the last decade, in Montenegro as a whole, God has been working mightily:  the number of missionaries (mainly in the capital city) has more than doubled; the evangelical churches *still*  gather yearly for our All-Montenegro Believer’s Meeting (no small thing in an area rife with division); both the Evangelical Alliance (our representation to the government) and a national Gospel Coalition (bringing Christ-centered helps to a needy nation) are moving forward.

  • In looking over ten years' worth of prayer requests, we note that the (previously) oft-mentioned request to pray for regular work opportunities has been answered!  Everyone in the congregation seeking work has it; it may not be the *best* job, but it is honest work.  At the same time,  may we pray ever more diligently for the saving of unbelieving spouses.  One young woman, whose husband has been a believer for more than a decade, is just now willing to concede that he is not “in a sect.”   Oh, may the Lord grow this small seed into much fruit!
  • Over the past decade, we’ve also had our share of opposition: The repeated marring of the Church sign (which took years of prayer to get).  Stolen offerings.  Slanderous lies.  Persecution of people who start to attend by their families.  Health issues.  We’ve seen God provide grace and help in all these things.  If God is for us, who can be against us?
  • Finally, we thank you for the past decade of praying for us as a family.  You've been with us through sending off kids to university, struggling with FAFSA applications, dealing with the logistics of three in college at once, launching young adults, becoming empty nesters, facing personal health issues, celebrating the wedding of our youngest daughter and now, with Stan’s mother living with us,  learning firsthand about eldercare.  This new season of life is both a joy and a challenge.  Please continue to pray for us.

Our God truly is like no other; praise be His Name!

We eagerly look forward to this next decade.  It seems to us that God has laid a good foundation here for His church, and we anticipate seeing the Lord grow His church--in faith, in numbers, in maturity, in influence.  Thank you all for helping to make this happen!

With great love and appreciation for your ongoing prayers and support,

Stan and Vicki Surbatovich

Original link: https://christianitymontenegro.blogspot.com/2020/01/january-2020-mission-to-montenegro.html
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