Praise the Lord! We had a wonderful meeting out in Trnovec on Sunday. We had at least 100 show up counting all the adults in the street listening. We had a great response and it looks like this will be an ongoing meeting. You never know how they are going to except you until the fact but praise the Lord they were very welcoming.
On a sad note, it was hard to tell our 30 kids who usually rode the vans to church they we could no longer come and get them. They were really sad and I wish there were some other possibility but sadly there isn't.
We're hoping this will turn into something lasting and we're praying that the work will be established enough to stand while we are gone of furlough in less than 3 months. We have great co-laborers here in Croatia and we know that they will do everything in their power to keep it going. Pray for the missionaries here that thy could quickly learn the language and be able to preach soon.
Since the Gypsies in Croatia mainly speak Romanian or some mixed version of Romanian, many of the people in the village including the young and old don't speak Croatian. So, Johnny preached in Croatian and Deon translated into Gypsy (Romanian) . Praise the Lord for Bro. Deon. This man is Gypsy and has lived a life of misery until he found Jesus. He was a cutter for many years and bears the scars up and down his body. He now has such a desire to serve the Lord and I can see maybe a possible Gypsy preacher in the future. He lives with his 8 children and wife in a 12x12 room. No running water or heat other than a cooking stove. They all sleep in that room and live on nearly nothing. Please pray for Bro. Deon, he could be the key to the future work with the Gypsies.
The meeting started out very orderly with children sitting on the tarp and people stand a ways off and by the time it was over, Johnny and Bro. Deon had about 3 feet of moving room up there.
We are considered a cult in Croatia and the Catholic church is sure busy spreading lies about us. The Gypsies have been told that we Baptists have very strange practices; eating hair and allowing our children to marry each other are just a couple of the wild ones. Anyhow, I'm doing my part to get to know they ladies. Maybe if we become friends they will be at least some voice on our side, to at least defend us on this crazy hair-eating rumor! :0)
Yea, giving out candy afterwards was a big goof! They went wild. It was impossible to keep them off of us and before it was over the decision to no give out candy was easily made.
We gave away a hawk-eye award to the best boy and girl. the bags were full of school supplies since school just started. They were more than excited!
Bro. Kevin Brown (new missionary in Croatia) and the Holcomb's son Matthew.
Singing, Every Day With Jesus is Sweeter Than the Day Before
Bro. Scott blessing us with his talent.
Bro. Sam Ward, our co-laborer from our home church in Arlington. This man is amazing. Gave up job, home and family and came to Croatia to live. His desire is to live here the rest of his life. He was been responsible for more souls being saved than anyone. He is a soul-winning machine. If you want to invest in eternity through the winning of priceless souls, you would get huge dividends by supporting this man.
Josip (in the middle) is the man that allowed us to use his yard. He is a saved man and was happy to let us use his property to spread the Gospel.
They were all very eager to help. What's funny is that the boy on the left was a little monster. He was so mean to the other kids. It's normal in Gypsy society to have abusive relationships. The adults and very abusive to the chidlren and to each other. These children learn to scrap from the time they are very young. If you will notice in many of the photos the children have very angry looks on their faces.
We played some games and had a good time before the preaching.
Sang some songs.
Pray with us about this meeting. It never fails that as soon as we start something in a Gypsy village the Devil really goes to work. The first little church plant we started that was actually only in the Bible study phase ended rather violently when the man in whose home we were meeting was killed when his son shot him in the chest with a shotgun deliberately.
These villages belong to Ol' Slew-foot and he's not going to give them over without a fight. Please pray!!
***Also let me ask you to pray for something else. We got a call today from Bro. Rich, the national pastor of the first church plant in Čakovec and he was at the hospital. He has been having a lot of problems with what seemed like his heart but today he started coughing up blood and he's not at the hospital. Please pray for him and his family. Pray for God's will in his life. Pray for healing within God's will.
I really want to thank all of you who have an interest in the work here in Croaita. I know that we are far away and sometimes it seems like another planet altogether but you still pray and follow the work here and that means so much.