Mission to Montenegro newsletter
Blog entry for 1 February 2007
Mission to Montenegro update February 2007Dear Brethren,
God has been keeping us busy and has been making Himself known amongst us.
All Montenegro MeetingWe had the All-Montenegro Believers meeting on Dec. 9 here in Niksic which was well-attended (over 100 people). The meeting was co-organized by the three Protestant churches in Montenegro (we being one of the three), and attended by members of these three churches, church planting brethren, plus other believers from parts of Montenegro where there are no churches. At the beginning of our time together, all the various cities/towns of Montenegro were mentioned and believers from the one just announced stood up. We were all so amazed when Niksic was called to see a couple of people stand up whom we didn't even know! It turned out that one lady (who actually lives in Australia but was born here) was visiting friends and relatives and somehow or other, she (a believer) heard about the meeting being held at the Onogost Hotel, so she came and brought her friend as well. God's providences are wondrous. About 130 people attended which is a significant increase from the last All-Montenegro meeting 5 years ago, and the number of towns represented tripled. Last time, I think we (the Surbatovich family) had pretty much both the oldest and youngest attendees. This time there were more people from all ages. We rejoice to see the work of God here in Montenegro--God is building His church here. Montenegro continues to be in a period of transition. At the conference, I preached on the need for the Lordship of Christ in all areas of public life in Montenegro.
New Constitution being worked on for countrySince its declaration of independence this past year, Montenegro has been drafting a new constitution. One proposed section, while not prohibiting non-Orthodox churches, highlights the Eastern Orthodox churches. Stan and the two pastors from Podgorica (all with registered church groups) are following the developments and are prepared to get involved with government officials to ensure freedom of religion with a further desire that the constitution, itself, would be pleasing and honoring to God--Please pray for this
Tied with both items above--please pray for big things in Montenegro: that there would be a great awakening, that the Lordship of Christ would permeate all spheres and institutions in Montenegro, and that God would keep the doors open for missionaries and biblical ministries.
Christmas and ministry activitiesAnna Marie arrived on Dec. 27, Dan and Stan, short-term helpers from Trinity Reformed Baptist Church, Baltimore arrived on Dec. 29, and on Jan. 5, we had a team of 9 people from Toccoa Falls College, Georgia, arrive who stayed through mid-Jan. We celebrated two birthdays, two Christmasses (Dec. 25/Jan.7--plus we had a family Christmas celebration on 29 December)) and New Year's!
For New Year's Eve we hosted a large group of Christian young people (from both Niksic and Podgorica including an unbelieving sister of one of our members) at our house and it was a very edifying evening of ministry with good fun, food, fireworks, and fellowship.
We had our annual Christmas outreach on 7 January (Christmas is still celebrated according to the Julian calendar here) and we had a few visitors.
The two teams were a great blessing and we accomplished the following: lots of one-on-one ministry, Samaritan's Purse ShoeBox distribution, a VBS week for children, putting in insulation in part of our roof, and more. Please pray for the seeds that were sown, especially for Stefan Sljukic ("Shlyukich") and his family. We've known them a long time and Stefan, now 15, is open to the Gospel. Young men from the teams spent quite a bit of time with him... Please pray, too, for Jenny A. She was one of the team and would like to come here to do an internship involving teaching English as a Second Language.
HouseDue to a generous gift from one of the church we are making progress on house furnishings.
We are still waiting on the completion of the furnace (promised to us months ago) for our heating system and are cold much of the time. The factor that produced the furnace has simply continued to lie and be irresponsible--this just life in the Balkans.... Because the local representative of the factory has not been fully payed, we do have good reason to believe that the system will eventually be finished. We have a masonry heater in operation in the living room, but the masonry heater is not enough to heat the large living room so we tend to camp out in the school / family room which we have supplied with propane heaters and lap blankets. It is bigger than the LR in our old house, so it is an improvement over last year. We long for the day when I can write: "We stayed warm and comfortable all day!" Please continue to pray for this real issue.
We do rejoice that the house is truly being used as a ministry / hospitality house--we were able to house all the team members plus our family--18 in all.
25th wedding anniversaryThis past week Vicki and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Praise God! As unromantic as it may sound, we spent the early evening shopping for a microwave--and found one! Vicki's been waiting 11 years ever since we moved here--it is one of the things she missed most after being on furlough. After our successful shopping endeavour, we did go out to dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in Niksic...(and managed to bring home lots of leftovers to reheat in that new microwave).
FurloughPlease pray for our 2007 furlough. It has been five years since we've been in the States as a family. We are tentatively planning to be stateside from early fall through early winter. We already have several possible teams coming during July and Aug.
Summer ministry plansA number of teams and individuals have expressed an interest on coming to help during the summer. God has blessed us during these visits. There is a Holy synergy when brethren come and so much encouragement and ministry take place. Please pray that God's hand of blessing would be upon these endeavors.
Amy and CollegePlease pray for Amy's college plans; that the Lord would direct her steps. She has been accepted to two colleges so far, and rec'd various scholarships but it is not enough yet for her to go to either of these Christian schools....
MusicWith Amy leaving this coming fall, we will have a big gap in our worship through song as she is the one who plays the keyboard. Please pray that God would raise up/bring someone gifted musically to help lead worship in singing.
New Christian in NiksicPlease pray for a young man named Jovan Bulajic (Yovan Bulayich) who is in his early 30's. He became a believer while in Belgrade ( out of a drug background) and is now in Niksic, living with his parents and working here. He found out about us through a mutual acquaintance. Stan met with him two weeks ago and he has been coming to our meetings (both Sunday services and mid-week prayer meeting) since. Although a believer, he is "unchurched" as he was active in a Christian rehab program while in Belgrade and not actually involved with a local church. Please pray that he would continue to settle in well, would grow in his relationships with other believers here, and would grow spiritually under the teaching and preaching. We are glad to have him a part of the fellowship!
Ministry ship visitPlease pray for the visit of the Logos II (OM ministry ship) which will be here in April. They are planning for a three week visit here in Montenegro. In previous years they have worked very closely with the local churches and we have been able to do some good outreaches.
These above are some highlights. Please continue to pray for standard, ongoing needs:
- That God would establish us as a healthy church
- That God would bring new visitors
- That there would be new conversions
- That we would be faithful to followup on visitors and those showing interest
- That our brethren would be sharing the Gospel and inviting people to worship services
- That we would be able to put up a sign on our rental or find another rental where we can put up a sign and have more visibility to the public
- That we, as a family, would grow in loving and blessing one another
- That Stan would persevere in faithful ministry
- That our children would all be in and grow in Christ
Stan, family, and the believers in Niksic
Original link: https://christianitymontenegro.blogspot.com/2010/10/mission-to-montenegro-update-february.html