I didn’t write because it felt like there was so much going on, I needed time to process it all.
And then SO MUCH MORE happened, and I needed to process that as well.
And then MORE.
So now, I’m sitting on this mound of happenings, trying to figure out how to type up some kind of concise summary of the last two weeks here without taking up the next half hour of your life. 😉
We are approaching day 21 of our family’s journey to the Balkans.
Summer School of Rock and Roll was amazing. I was more removed this year than in years previous, just because were juggling our own kids without an “Amber” (a name that now means “super helpful adult family member”), but the distance allowed me to feel the momentum of what we have been building here for three years in a row.
I joked before we came about how awkward I felt raising funds again for a trip to Serbia. “Hey, we’re going to Serbia for the fourth/fifth time in a row! Wanna help?”
Like, it’s cute if you want to do it once, and understandable if you want to do it twice, but then it just becomes ridiculous. (Kind of like having 5 kids! haha)
But I cannot over-emphasise the impact of consistent service – in relationships with team members, credibility with community, and inertia in what God is building. It’s the flywheel principle. Once is great, and twice is awesome, but after that you experience exponential momentum.
We are seeing so much fruit in Novi Sad from the diligence of the team here. The name “Lifegate” is now associated with top-quality community offerings that benefit students and families long-term. We had 50 kids at Rock and Roll Camp, and they’re expecting around 75+ kids at English Camp in a couple of weeks. This in a nation where average protestant churches range 10 to 40 people give or take.
And don’t get me started on what happens to our American teams when they travel and serve.
This isn’t a credit to Kurt or me. This is a credit to God, the amazing teams that have poured out their hearts in this city, and all of you who are praying and supporting us. Thank you.
Outside of Rock and Roll Camp and the Open Days Concert, we’ve been leading at weekend services in Belgrade and Novi Sad. Last Saturday in Belgrade, we had 5 nations represented – Serbia, America, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Iran. We lifted up the name of Jesus together in five different languages simultaneously, and I heard a taste of heaven – all cultures melting together under one King in one Kingdom. Amazing.
The team went home (with Alex /sniff) on the 14th, but we had the unique and God-orchestrated opportunity to spend time here with Ps. Connie and a leadership team from Omaha. They even got to come to our Thursday Night closing show for Rock and Roll Camp! Sharing first hand what God is doing here was invaluable.
Last Friday, we sat in Ps. Kiki’s living room with the four of them and some of Serbia’s core team to have a conversation about our family’s future.
God is so gentle with me to pull key leaders and personal influences from Omaha and the Balkans into one room to speak to my heart in very specific ways. In one conversation, piles of prayers were answered, and we received great clarity from the Lord about His heart for us and this region of the world.
More on this later, but here’s what I do want to share:
- God sees you. He hears you when you pray, and He’s answering even when we can’t seem to conceive what He’s trying to say. The way will become clear. Don’t give up.
- Sometimes you’re expecting something huge to happen, and what happens seems insignificant. But that just means we can’t see fully what is or will be significant. And sometimes, you’re not expecting anything to happen, and something huge happens. And that’s OK, too.
- You are loved more than you can imagine, understood more than you can grasp, and more significant than you know.
This isn’t a story about Kurt and Emily and our family’s insane adventures. This is a story about a living and active God weaving together a tapestry so complex and so beautiful the human mind cannot contain it.
If I learn anything by being here in the Balkans, it is that my views are so very limited, but God is not. My perspective can be so narrow and self-contained, but the needs are vast and far-reaching. We all have a part to play in His-story. And whatever that looks like for each of us individually, He is begging us to play that part with total surrender, total trust, and total love. ❤
Oh. Also, Macedonia. But I’ll save that for another post. lol