Ten years! It's really unbelievable. It's already been 10 years since we arrived in Croatia in May of 2000. It seems like an eternity ago and it's hard to remember life before Croatia.
The day we arrived in Croatia, the 23rd of May 2000 I took this picture of our kids outside the airport. They were so little. Cody was 7, Joshua was 4 and Hannah was 2. It seems like a forever ago. Now the kids are all getting ready for birthdays over the next 4 months and they'll be 18, 15 and 13, all teenagers!
I remember when we arrived in Croatia we were determined to stay. A few had gone before us but were never able to last for one reason or another. Life was hard and very lonely here in Croatia. I remember determining in my heart that we would not be quitters. We would not quit! (I understand that many missionaries are forced off the field for very good reasons and or God moves them, please don't misunderstand) We decided that we would remove the Quit word from our vocabulary just as we had the Divorce word from our marriage.
Call it stubbornness, heard-headedness, luck, or grace, either way, we made it 10 years. All those times when we thought we couldn't stand, He proved us wrong by holding us up when we were weak. We owe all praise and glory to the Lord for nothing good happens without Him. We're so excited and looking forward to the next 10.
BTW, let me throw in what a sheer privilege it is to serve Him in Croatia. Wow, what did we do to deserve His trust? We're not forced to live in Croatia and be missionaries, no, we're allowed and so blessed.
Our very good friend Pastor James Rasbeary who pastors at Lighthouse Baptist in Wylie, Tx wrote us this super-special poem for our 10 anniversary in Croatia. He is an excellent poet and he posts many of his poems on his poetry blog, Fitly Spoken. If you read anything read The Critic and the Contender, my fav!
TEN YEARS IN CROATIA
By James Rasbeary
June 1, 2010
Nigh onto twenty years ago,
The saving grace of God did find
A man whom sin so long did blind,
And made him a new creature;
And by that same grace he did grow
And felt God's call to others go
As His own gospel preacher.
In God's will this new man did go,
But God did not send him alone
To face and brave the storms unknown;
A sweet help meet for His man
God's loving grace did also make,
His own cup of life to partake,
As they pursued God's plan.
Some fields are cold and hard; e'en so,
God sends strong men to work therein;
The Lord needs someone to begin
To plow the hard, fallow ground;
It oft takes years of faithful pain
'Fore the harvest of golden grain
And we bring our sheaves in bound.
Ten years - it seems so long ago
When they flew to that far off place
With trembl'ng heart and tear-stained face;
What a journey they began!
Their work has been divinely blessed
And other men have joined their quest-
A team compiled in God's plan.
We are proud of our friends, although
'Tis hard to be so far away.
Still, we want them to faithful stay
In their own appointed place.
A nation of souls needs them more;
We have eternity in store
When we have finished our race.
Thanks Bro. James, it means a lot.
Anyhow, I just wanted to share this belated anniversary with you folks. I'm so thankful for God's sustaining grace when we needed it and will need it.
Where ever you serve, be faithful!