September 2020

Marko (not his real name) is my neighbour. He leads a group of eight construction workers. He is highly professional in his job. We chatted a few times and I liked his very practical way of thinking.

Marko is very generous and lent me a mini concrete mixer a couple of times. As a small token of gratitude I gave him a copy of the Serbian translation of The Action Bible, because he has children. He was very grateful and as we chatted he learned that I am a protestant minister. At that moment he handed the book back to me and said, ‘Sorry but I can’t take it.’ I asked him why but he just mumbled something about it not being what he thought it was. We were supposed to meet again but he didn’t reply to my texts and stopped further communication. I still think Marko is a great guy but he is just one among many who are poisoned by the propaganda that all protestants belong to a cult and should be avoided. 

However, there is another great guy by the name of Dragan. He works in a furniture company and is also very diligent, skilful and with above average reasoning abilities. It happened that I gave him a copy of the comic book The Life of Jesus. He took it and when we met again he said, ‘I read it carefully while on a vacation. Thank you so much for the book. I really enjoyed it!’ He then expressed a wish to know more about Jesus.   

The gospel is the salvific power for all but one must be open to people examining the arguments. We never promote our church but Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. We never speak badly about other churches but advise people to go to the church they want to. Please pray not just for Marko and Dragan but for all the ‘Markos and Dragans’ in Serbia, that the Spirit of God will continue to work in their lives so that they will be open to examining the gospel arguments.  

Serbia 

The government lifted many of the springtime restrictions so that we could have parliamentary elections. This resulted in a 10-fold increase in infections and fatalities. After the elections the government wanted to introduce a curfew again but that resulted in tens of thousands of people on the streets clashing with the police. People realised that lives had been sacrificed for the sake of political gain and they refused to obey. So the government had to just recommend masks and social distancing. Officially there is still a ban on gatherings of over 10 people but most of the churches (including ours) switched to normal services. Most churches are not big in numbers and so can provide the recommended safety measures. Cafes, nightclubs and swimming pools are open too. Schools started working again but classes are split into groups of 15 pupils with a shortened timetable.  

Family 

As a family we are still struggling to finish our apartment with our very limited budget. Praise God we will soon get rid of the mould – a problem which took a lot of time and energy to solve. We are planning to borrow some money and install radiators and a heating system before the winter.  

Church  

I am currently reading the Bible with three men and preaching through 1 Samuel. I am also attending online year-round mentorship on discipleship (from European Leadership Forum) which is extremely useful and exciting. The following sentence is from one of the books we had to read on discipleship: ‘His [Jesus’] concern was not with programmes to reach the multitudes but with the men whom the multitudes would follow.’ (Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism). That is a great encouragement to continue pouring our lives into those who want to follow Christ, trusting that he will add people to his body.  

Thank you so much for your gospel partnership!  

Praise points

  • Thank God that we can meet together at the church building.
  • Praise God that the mould will soon be extinguished from our apartment.

Prayer points

  • Pray for wisdom for planning and moving in these new circumstances.
  • Pray that I will be faithful and relevant in my preaching and discipleship.
  • Pray that we’d continue with acts of love that can open the hearts of people to hear the gospel.

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