Sorry I haven’t updated before now. It’s been a whirlwind!
Those who followed our journey last year will remember that we came to Novi Sad – just our family including Amber – about a month before the Rock and Roll team from Omaha arrived.
This year, our family traveled with the Rock and Roll team (15 of us in the airport!), and we are beginning our trip with the Rock and Roll Camp instead of ending it with camp. All of this has given the journey a different feel for sure. Not better or worse, just different!
We left on Sunday, July 1st and made our way through four flights, landing in Belgrade, Serbia at around lunchtime on July 2nd. Miraculously, we hit every connection and made it the whole way with all of our luggage! We never take that for granted, seriously.
The kids traveled really well. I could definitely tell the difference between Vienna as a just-turned-three-year-old verses an about-to-turn-two-year-old. The big kids traveled like old pros. Thanks to all who were praying. We definitely felt it.
The first week has been full. We adjusted to the time change (7 hours difference) and got to introduce our team to the Serbian team here at Lifegate. We got to know Novi Sad a bit, rehearsed for our Open Days concert, and met some of the kids from the camp at the Strand (beach) on the Danube River.
Throughout the week, I’ve been figuring out my role and adjusting as well. Maddie will stay on with us to help with kids once the team leaves, but for now she is still considered a team member and has a role in the band and at Rock and Roll Camp, which is different from last year. So, Kurt and I have been navigating team responsibilities as well as household/work obligations, which has had its challenging moments. Thankfully, we have an amazing team and amazing friends who are more than willing to pitch in and help with kids and around the house.
It turns out, my “team leader” hat is a little different from my “mom” hat, so I found myself assuming my kids were taking care of things and/or using my “mom voice” on team members. Thankfully, even through the jet lag, everyone has been very gracious towards me. 🙂
Friday, we had an amazing lunch at Pastor Kiki and Cveta’s house, and the team got a chance to see the new Lifegate property. I wish everyone could pop over here for a quick visit just to step foot on this ground. If you ever wonder if God is alive and well, if you ever doubt His intentions or His ability to succeed through any opposition, if you ever wonder if He sees you or cares about you, you’ve simply got to come here. There is so much happening beyond what we can see in front of us.
(Slowly slides soap box aside…) lol
On Saturday, Pastor Darijo invited area worship leaders to come together for a gathering, and Kurt and I had the honor of sharing a little bit about Lifegate Worship culture and vision. Then, we listened to other worship leaders from around the city describe their efforts and dreams for Serbia’s worship culture. It was a profound time to hear the hearts of these (young!) worship leaders for their houses and for their city and region. I am always in awe of the way that God is at work around the globe. He is just immense.
Afterward, we headed over to Lifegate Belgrade to meet the team there and worship with them. We have several next-generation worship leaders on our team, so Kurt gave Katia and Faith the reigns to plan and lead on Saturday night in Belgrade, and he gave TJ and Maddie the same for Sunday night in Novi Sad. Everyone did a phenomenal job. I’m so proud of this team.
If you want to see videos from both services, you can check out our team’s Facebook page. 🙂
In the midst, we’ve been praying, planning, and preparing for Rock and Roll Camp, which begins today!
I have so much more to share, but for now, I’ll just say THANK YOU.
Thanks for changing lives – our lives, the lives of the team members from America, the lives of these kids we’re going to encounter… Through your prayers and contributions, we’ve been given opportunities that should never have been possible. So Thank You.
Please continue to pray for health and supernatural energy for the team and our family. Pray for love to pour out of us. Pray for expectations and comparisons to previous years to be laid down and for us to be able to enjoy each and every moment we have been given here and now. Pray for Serbia – for God to break down barriers and open doors. Pray for developing projects in the Balkans – for provision and possibilities and for the health and wellbeing of the team here on the ground working tirelessly to love these people.
We love you all and couldn’t do this without you. ❤