Montenegro is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people. I recently returned from two weeks there with a mission team from Athens, GA.
Stoneworks partners with the Brethren Assembly, in Podgorica. We support the pastor, Vladimir Cizmanski, in his ministry, and we are quite connected with the youth group.
The American team included four young ladies (Alex, Caitlin, Kristi and Missy) from the Wesley Foundation and Jane Kilgo, and older lady with great wisdom and experience. Several Montenegrin friends were also very involved in the trip: Maša Simonović, Marijana Cizmanski and Vladimir Cizmanski.
The team served in a variety of ways, mostly in the capital city of Podgorica. We were very glad to make a connection with a Roma ministry led by Siniša Nadazdin (at right with one of the Roma girls).
The Roma are a culture unto themselves. They are quite separate from the surrounding Montenegrin culture as they are Muslim refugees living in ‘temporary’ housing built 15 years ago. Siniša began ministering there a few years ago and has built a community of believers. It’s a good work, and I’m very glad we’re getting to know them and hope we’ll serve them more in the future.
In addition to a few meetings with the Roma, the team led a youth camp for young ladies from the Roma ministry and from the Brethren Assembly. We had four days at a lovely house in Kaminari. The theme of the retreat was Inner Beauty, and the team encouraged the young ladies to walk in God’s ways.
Our primary goal is to support the local ministry and build relationships in order to communicate the love and truth of God. Here is a picture of a group discussion by the sea:
The team also served in Nikšić, a university town an hour from Podgorica. They helped Danijel Petkovsky in his university ministry where they met with students for Bible studies and English clubs. Several university students also joined the team on an outing to the mountains.
The team also helped Stan and Vicky Surbatović in a variety of ways at their ministry center/home (and got some gardening done!). We are very thankful for their hospitality.
At various times during the trip, Jane and Marijana met with ladies in the church for times of prayer and counseling. Many people in Montenegro carry scars (war, generational issues), and Jane has been a great help to many people. She is highly respected and loved.
The team also spent several hours after church on Sunday talking with members of the congregation: praying, encouraging and comforting as they shared scriptures and spiritual counsel. This was a very blessed time. It was great to be able to pray for and encourage people.
I was honored to meet with the Brothers meeting, the leadership team of the church. The Lord has been teaching us all how important it is to have unity. It’s great to be with people who are serious about following the Lord and loving Him more than anything else.