Mission to Montenegro newsletter

Blog entry for 19 November 2022

November 2022 Mission to Montenegro Newsletter

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Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.
Psalm 115:1

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

We've had a very full, very exciting month.  Read on for details!


This past Lord’s Day, Stan preached from John 12:12ff, highlighting the wrong notions the palm-waving crowd had of Jesus the Triumphant King and His ultimate triumph as shown in Rev. 7:9&10: ….Behold, a great multitude standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  Amen!

In the evening service, Stan preached from Revelation 2, the first of the letters written to the seven churches wherein Jesus, in the midst of His people, both commends and warns the Ephesian church to return to their first love.  We desire to be those who have an ear, to hear what the Spirit is saying to us.

We are excited to share that one young man, Nenad, has recently spoken to Stan and the other leaders about his desire to be baptized.  Please pray for him, his unbelieving spouse, and for his continued growth in grace and maturity in Christ.

Please continue to pray for our upcoming 'All-Montenegro Believer's Meeting' which our church is hosting on Dec. 10.  We are thrilled to have Tim Savage as the guest speaker with an overarching theme of "Christ-Centeredness" in living, preaching, and more.  There are still many details for us to work out but God is graciously answering our prayers.

Much of our month has involved Logos Hope Ministry ship events:  the opening ceremonies in Bar (for which Stan translated), a Cross-cultural Missionaries event held on board, and the hosting of two teams here in Nikšić. Their varied activities included meeting with students, giving a concert at a local cafe, participating in Bible studies,  practical help with cleaning the church and a restoration project, fun game nights and deep conversations.  They were a big blessing and testimony to all of God's saving power and grace amongst the nations. Please pray for them to be used by God to bring many to Himself, and especially those unbelievers who were met and touched by the truth here in Nikšić.

Sunday Lunch with the First Logos Hope Team

Farewell picture with our Second Logos Hope Team 
(and Jennifer, the cat)

Head's up!  Short Furlough ahead!!  We are planning a short 6-week furlough from late January through early March. This will be our first time back for in nearly 4 years due to the Covid pandemic. We land and depart from Southern California, but we plan to be on the east coast the latter half of February. We'd love to visit as many people and churches as possible. Please reach out if you’d like a visit and we will do what we can to make it work.  But if not this time, Deo volente, we will making visits more regularly in the future.

Tis the Season to Give Thanks!  If you’ve read this far, you can see we have many reasons to give thanks and praise to the Lord our God!  But one other is for His protecting hand over a recent car accident (involving a black dead cow on dark rainy night with no street lamps) which left us unhurt but our car in bad shape.  The tow truck driver, on his arrival, exclaimed “Thank God you survived!” to which we gave a hearty “Amen!”  Rejoice with us!  And Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating this week!

We give thanks to the Lord above for you who are reading this newsletter, praying faithfully and supporting us sacrificially; you are God's blessing to us and His people in Montenegro.   To God be the glory!

With great love and appreciation,

Stan and Vicki Surbatovich

Vicki's Snapshot:  An Early Thanksgiving Celebration

With Thanksgiving fast approaching in the United States, I thought you might enjoy a glimpse at one early attempt to celebrate the day here in Nikšić.

As missionaries, we could set our own schedule—no clock to punch in at the office— which might lead you to think that there wouldn’t be any hindrances in celebrating US holidays at will. However, that didn’t prove to be the case for us at all.

First, any outside obligations, such as the children’s music school classes and sport practices continued as usual.  Add the fact that many household bills like telephone, water and trash were paid when someone came to your front door with an invoice expecting to be handed cash right that moment; it was truly uncanny how often the bill collectors showed up on days we were “taking off.”  Plus, neighbors and friends didn’t think twice about dropping by since it was an ordinary day to them and they could see that we were home.  None of this was bad, of course, but it did take away from a "holiday is a day set apart” vibe.

The Thanksgiving feast, with its very traditional meal, wasn’t easy to replicate either.  In those early years, we were perplexed that while we could see some people growing pumpkins in their gardens, it was impossible to find any pumpkins in the stores. And no pumpkin meant no pumpkin pie. :-(   (We later found out that those homegrown pumpkins were to feed their pigs.) 

We had the same difficulty finding a turkey to roast; they just weren’t available at the store. The first year we roasted two chickens, but the second year Stan spotted a neighbor several blocks over who was raising turkeys in his backyard.  In late summer, Stan went over and had a chat with the fellow to see if we could buy one for our feast in November.  The grower asked how large a turkey did we want?  Seeing the chicks in the backyard and thinking they looked pretty small, Stan replied “The largest one you’ve got.” I wasn’t there but I’m sure that man’s eyes lit up and a deal was duly struck.

Ahem.  Those chicks got a whole lot bigger by the end of November, and the 'largest bird you’ve got' weighed nearly 40(!) pounds plucked and ready for roasting.  I was barely able to fit it into my oven—a mere inch to spare all around.  With only the bottom element heating up, I set it low and baked that bird from early morning to early evening, turning it every hour to roast it evenly.

Surprisingly,  the turkey turned out pretty tasty… but the leftovers!   We gave away pounds and pounds and pounds and still had enough leftovers that we’ve never quite recovered from The Turkey That Was; we haven’t roasted one since.  Fortunately, a lovely herbed pork roast goes just as well with all the usual sides, and a new tradition was born.

Currently, with children grown and gone, and Thursday evenings set aside for prayer meetings, our Thanksgiving feasting begins with pie to share at Thursday's prayer meeting  (ensuring enough leftovers to enjoy Pie-for-Breakfast on Friday) and ends with contributing a Thanksgiving Pork Roast and sides for our end-of-the-month Fellowship Lunch Potluck on Sunday.  But we know that every day is a day to Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

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