Summer season began in a same way it had been in previous years –  with yet another visit of the SWAT ministries team! John Messarra with a group of students had come to Montenegro in order to hold three days long seminar/training.

The training was intended for a smaller group of people – the ones we can see in leadership. This year’s topic was “Christian Integrity, Moral and Ethics”. It was a very good time of fellowship, sharing and learning. This year’s team was definitely in a right place at the right time.

Also it is becoming obvious that there is a great appreciation and trust developed by the members of our church to this group specifically. John and the guys have been coming back for 3 years now and it all means a lot to them. It demonstrates to them genuine love and care. Overall, it was a truly blessed and encouraging time.

At the same time, we also welcomed the UPC Deputation team from the University Presbyterian Church from Seattle, USA. They, two young ladies (at right), stayed with the church for about 8 weeks. It was very interesting how God has used them to help other guests and serve alongside them.

We realized, though, the church is lacking in numbers in the young female population. This is primarily because of the culture and circumstances that define life of 14 to 20 or 30 year old Roma women. They marry young, end up taking care of children and the household, and in some cases it is not even an option for them to come to church.

So please pray, that God will open doors to the girls of this particular age group. That we will never give up hope that things can change and work out differently for young women. Let us not also forget in our prayers those girls that were very much part of the church but are now married or even employed and by all of that not present in any of the church activities.

In July we once again were privileged to have our annual family camp with CBC staff and students (above). It was a solid, good camp of fellowship and teaching. Things were just going very smoothly and it’s good to have some traditions and rooted activities as this one. It leaves sense of stability and that is something that this church was craving and is slowly getting there.

I have to say we have had many great people from CBC visit us over the years and some come back to this day. As stated previously, that is one of the things that people here really appreciate but I also have to say that it is good to have teams of students come. It so nice to have new fresh energy and good vibes of young people reflected on the church.

Please pray that the church will always keep growing especially in knowing the Lord and discipleship. That even though there is the sense of stability and routine with some things that we will always look for new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow.

As the camp ended, the first team left, only to have another CBC team arrive. This time we were up to do VBS for the children from the community. Our children’s ministry has been continuous over the last year and we wanted to organize a special event for them. Also, we wanted to reach out to those children who still have not attended children’s meetings and give them an opportunity to hear the Gospel. Just like the previous year, we set up a tent and did all the activities under it. The tent was set up in the parking area in front of the church right there in the midst of all-Muslim community.

The program lasted for 4 days, with altogether more than 150 children taking part. A truly encouraging thing was that some of the older girls were visiting our team in the afternoons wanting to spend more time with them! Their love for the members of the team for so sincere, honest, inspiring and humbling. Please pray for the children’s ministry that it will develop more and grow into a stable place where more and more little disciples will grow.

In August we were honestly ready to be done, but doing this kind of work it’s hard to take a break. I am sure most of you know Bashkim one of the leaders in the community and now in church. His family is of course Muslim and his father was a very influential person in Kosovo in his days but that also left a trace as he came to Montenegro. He got very ill and this reflected on his family very much. Bashkim had to drop all of his plans, work and financial investments (which at that time were bringing him an extra income in preparations for the winter season) and be by his father’s side. However, after several weeks Bashkim father passed away.

It was culturally very interesting to see how much he was mourned by his family, relatives, neighbors and friends. Eventually, he was buried according to Muslim customs and traditions. Nevertheless, in the last couple of days of his life, he was openly repenting for the bad things he had done and was asking Sinisha to pray for him.

In a way, we do believe that some of the Muslim influences are gone with his father. It is our prayer that at this time of mourning and sadness Bashkim will become even more free in his faith in the One Living God and His Son the Savior.

We are once again humbled and blessed by your constant prayers and support. Being only a few serving in this ministry, we deeply appreciate love, compassion and support from brothers and sisters all over the world.

As we are entering the fall season, pray that the church will get new visions and ideas. That it will grow in different ways, like maybe being able to go in the other parts of the country and share The Good News. There is great need among other Roma in Montenegro and it is fairly easy now to get connected to other communities so pray that we may sees the opportunities but only for the glory of the one above.

May God bless you and keep you safe!

 

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