Igor in Montenegro

After studying at the Bible School in Belgrade, Igor recently moved to Montenegro.  Igor is working with Daniel – also a graduate from the Bible School – who has been serving there since 1997.  An OM team is based in the town who work closely with Daniel and Igor…

Jenny Blake has travelled with Oak Hall to Serbia and to Montenegro many times.  She has been learning the language and prays for – and encourages others to pray for – the work…  She recently met Igor when on an Oak Hall journey to Montenegro…  Here she shares Igor’s news:

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“I recently met Igor, who was at the Bible School for two years, in Kotor, Montenegro.  He is now working in Bar, Montenegro with OM.  OM have a drop-in Centre called the Living Room, where they hold many activities including a Language Cafe.  Igor is involved in translation, visiting people, Kids’ Club in a local neighbourhood, visiting Adria – a centre for disabled people, Roma camp and preaching, usually once a week, at the church service in the Living Room.

“Igor stressed the importance of building up relationships in order to share the Message of Jesus with people.  This is how some have already come to know the Lord.  Please pray for this work in Bar.”

Over 200 at the Annual Graduate Conference at HUB

Over last weekend 14-16 September, we had our sixteenth annual “Graduate Conference” at HUB.  It is incredible to hear what God has been doing through many of them…

Michael Green spoke extremely well about the letters to the seven churches in Revelation.  He brought challenge and encouragement to everyone.  Many shared how they were inspired, refreshed, challenged.  There were a massive number at the conference – around 190 adults as well as 50 children!

There are wonderful developments across the region amongst the graduates of the Bible School.

MISSION: VISION AND OWNERSHIP – Yet more graduates who returned to work as tent-makers in their home towns have become overwhelmed with the needs in other parts of the country and have moved into pioneering church-planting situations.

There are more and more bold, locally initiated and imagined evangelistic projects and there is also more finance coming into mission work from the local church.  There have always been examples of this but it seems to be increasingly the norm.  There is an increasing sense of the national church plunging out to reach those who do not yet know Christ.

UNITY AMONGST BELIEVERS – Sitting amongst those at the conference was a broader-than-ever cross-section of the Balkans.  The corporate worship times at HUB were led by an international group that included Slovaks, Serbs, Bosnian Muslims and Macedonians.  They are delighted by the unity they experience – not because of this conference but because of Christ.  It is wonderful to see many “barriers” removed and unity deepening.

We pray on for the Church of Jesus Christ in the Balkans!

Graduation of the sixteenth generation of students…

The sixteenth generation of Bible School students have just graduated – here is a glimpse of Thursday evening as they prepared to head across the Balkans to the towns and cities where they will be serving…

We are Isa and Elza… from Macedonia

Over the next few days, you will meet a number of the students currently studying at HUB…

We are Isa and Elza… from Macedonia – the area of Prilep.  We’re from Romany Muslim families…

Isa: When I was young, my uncle told me about Jesus and took me to a church.  Because my family was a Muslim family, my father eventually banned me from going with my uncle.

As a teenager I made many mistakes and problems – yet I knew that God could see everything.  One night, I had a dream of Jesus coming from the East in great glory and I was not good enough to say “Let me come with you”.  At that moment, I awoke and said, “God thank you that this was only a dream…”  I knew that I needed to experience change.  I started to read the Bible in secret and go to the church in secret too.

After a year, my father saw a change in me – neighbours no longer came to complain about me!  The money I earnt, I gave to my family instead of spending it on myself.  Finally, one day, my father asked me, “What is with you?  What has changed?”

I explained that I had become a follower of Christ.  I expected that I would be rejected by my family, told to leave my home and lose everything that I had but because of the positive change in my life, he said, “It’s better that you go to church than you create havoc in the neighbourhood.”

I felt like the happiest man in my county – I could now freely meet with others who love Christ.

Elza: The pastor in our local church is my cousin.  He came to my home for family events and he took these opportunities to tell us all about Jesus.  Each time that he spoke about Jesus, my older sister would listen but I would go and switch on the TV or the radio…  He thought I would never be open to the Message.  He gave me a little brochure with questions about Jesus and I used to take this and leaf through it…

A friend of mine invited me to come to church with her and there I heard Christians worshiping together, it was very good to hear. Over the next week, things changed very fast as I entrusted my life to Jesus.

My mother was a very religious Muslim and began to make problems for me because I went to church.  My father said, you are now 21 and no one will want to marry you because you go to that church.  I could see that they were trying to control me but I said, “If the day comes that God wants me to marry, He will provide a husband for me.”  The whole of my family and community rejected me as insane becasue of my growing faith and accused me of many things.

After a year, I met Isa…

Isa: We met each other and for three months I prayed that Elza would be my wife…

Elza: Meanwhile, I was praying that Isa would be my husband!  When we finally spent some time together, we knew that we would be together for always…

Isa: After 18 months of our marriage, we went to Veles to serve as missionaries alongside a local church.  We went to particularly work amongst Muslim Romi people.

Elza: We now have three children – Sara and twins Aron and Arona…

Isa: We have come to the school after these four years of mission work in Veles.  Throughout this time we have been praying that one day God would open the way for us to come to this Bible School.

We pray that this time at the Bible School would be one of refreshment and study.  Our hearts are with our people and although we don’t know exactly where God will lead us after our studies, we pray that He will use us among them.

A New Church Building in Sremska Mitrovica?

Drago and Jaroslava have been serving alongside the church in Sremska Mitrovica – on the West side of Serbia.  Through the summer, this church have been meeting in a tent because they have outgrown their building…  Now they are planning to build a larger building.

Click here to read more about this exciting development!

Darko and Lidija – leading CEF, Serbia: the Latest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darko writes:

“…I am filled with joy and happiness when I see how God works and fulfills our vision with which we came to the south our country…”

Click here to read more: Darko and Lidija Family Prayer Letter – September 2011

Ruma and the Church that Meet with Drago and Jaroslava…

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MERVYN WRITES:

We are travelling east towards Belgrade after being encouraged by worshipping in Ruma near the Croatian border. This was a small church which reminded us of gatherings in homes in the times of Acts. (But nobody fell out of the window!)

Just as in the church in Belgrade this morning, we were overcome by how powerfully God is working to give life in all its fulness and freedom to those who trust in Jesus Christ.

Drago – who I last met when he was a Bible School student in 2004 – is leading a church with particular heart for drug users. Drago found freedom from drugs after his encounter with Jesus and his call from God is to point others to this Him.

Andy reminded us in his teaching from 1 John that we aren’t condemned by our past, but freed by Christ’s death for our sins. That’s the reason we could all join in so joyfully in Serbian and English singing “The greatest day in history, death is beaten you have rescued me …”

We know the reality of these words – ask any of us who spontaneously sang, praised, worshipped our way through 15 or 20 songs last night in the kitchen of the Bible School when we really should have been crashing out after an exhausting couple of days!

Anyway, now it’s pizza in Belgrade at 9.30 p.m. Then rest … or perhaps more songs together!!!

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Visiting a Belgrade Church

This morning, we visited a church in Belgrade. We sang with them and to them, chatted, enjoyed coffee and explored the next part of 1 John together. (3:11-18)

SACRIFICING LOVE:
– Love, don’t hate;
– Love: proof of our transformation;
– Love defined: Jesus laid down His life for us…

DOROTHY WRITES:

What a wonderful welcome we received and even though we could not understand the earthly tongue we were able to share a very intimate time of fellowship. What a joy to meet brothers and sisters from around the world. We are truly blessed. We met a visiting team from Seattle and also from the Congo.

After a meal on a floating restaurant in Belgrade, we are driving due East to visit Drago and Jaroslava in Ruma. To read more about them, please click here: http://en.wordpress.com/tag/drago-and-jaroslava/

DAY 5: “Visiting two Churches…”

ALICE WRITES:

Today we are all suited and booted and off to two churches: one in Belgrade and one in Ruma.

The sun is shining and we are all lovely and clean despite the power cut! It looks set to be a good day.

We are currently on our way to Belgrade where we have been asked to sing some songs, I have voted for ‘Our God is a Great Big God’.

In Ruma we will double the size of Drago’s congregation and hopefully provide some encouragement.

We have a guitar on our bus so I’m hoping Andy will lead us in worship as we drive through the glorious Serbian countyside.

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Oak Hall’s 67th Journey to Serbia leaves at Sunrise Tomorrow!

In the morning, the next Oak Hall “Taste of Mission” journey – the sixty-seventh – leaves for Serbia…

In 1991, as the wars in Yugoslavia were tearing the country apart, we used an Oak Hall coach to take supplies to a group of Christians in Serbia who wanted to serve the refugees flooding across the shifting lines of the fighting.  That journey was just the first – “YU1”.  As the wars continued and friendships with the refugees and local Christians deepened, we returned time after time.  We experienced many instances of God’s intervention and protection and had opportunity after opportunity to explain publicly about Jesus Christ – the One who is “God here” – who came to die in our place so that we could know the God who loves us.

In 1996, I moved to Serbia with my wife Faye to help to establish a Bible College for future leaders – some of whom had come to know Jesus Christ through our speaking about Him as we distributed aid…  The Oak Hall journeys continued, bringing supplies for refugees and friends who would go on to make a long-term commitment to pray for the students and team of the Bible School.

These “Taste of Mission” journeys have continued right up until today.  Each journey is unique yet our prayer for these “expeditions” is that:

  • those coming with us will be changed and challenged through the example of the small yet growing Church in Serbia including the graduates and team of the Bible College with whom we will serve…
  • that the journey will serve the Church in the Balkans through encouragement and the commitment to prayer for the Balkans that many will make on the journey…
  • that there will be those who hear about and respond to Jesus Christ as we serve practically and speak of Christ clearly…

With a 3:30am breakfast, the next journey begins in a few hours time.  Please pray with us  – we will post news here as the journey unfolds.

With warm greetings from all on “YU67”

– Andy