Headlines from First Thoughts

Friday, April 21, 2006

In Croatia

We made it to Croatia. I have been enjoying the Eastern part of Croatia today while waiting for the group to arrive. The team arrived safely in ńĆakovec tonight after a long flight and drive. This morning, I visited the Baptist house at the University of Zagreb, and this evening I taught a seminar for laypeople in Vinkovci. My seminar was entitled ˝Holy Living in an Unholy World˝ from Matthew 5-6.

The Church in Vinkovci

Vinkovci is a town that has defied the odds-- like many in Croatia. Fourteen years ago, the town was being shelled by Serbian missiles. Today, a native of Serbia is the worship pastor at the church where I taught this evening. In this part of Croatia, ˝the war˝ was a living reality. Every person has a story of where they were and what they were doing from August 1991-May 1992 when the attacks on this area intensified. The war against Serbian aggression wreaked havoc over this place, and the church where I taught tonight was destroyed by a fire ignited from a blaze that started at an adjacent building. Their rebuilding efforts took over 3 years.

After the war ended, the government did not pay to rebuild the church. The church, however, assisted with humanitarian relief for refugees. One of its refugee trucks was hit by mortar fire during one of its relief operations. The govenment was unwilling to pay very little to replace the truck, and the church´s attorney advised them to wait it out. Three years later, the government was forced to settle for the amount of the truck plus interest. The amount of the settlement was $250,000, plenty of resources to build most of the church they lost years ago.

David, the Worship Leader, and his family
Lazare, a lay leader in the church, with his son David, who is attending the seminary in Osijek

Talking with a Student named Safet

2 comments:

Jud Reasons said...

Bill,
Glad to hear that you and the team are safely in Croatia. We look forward to hearing more from you and the mission team in the days ahead. It's 10:30 on a stormy Friday night here in Knoxville... 4:30 on a Saturday morning for you guys. All is well here. Know of our prayers!

Pressing On!
Jud Reasons

Amy Ballard said...

I am so glad to hear that the group has arrived safely. (Hey Scott!) My thoughts and prayers have been with all of you throughout the day.
I am excited about the time you have ahead of you. Best wishes and work hard!

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