*PSA* First of all, MailChimp is an amazing option for sending out beautiful email updates to everyone on our “Newsletter List.” However, the website is so demanding, it crashes on me over and over again. So for now, this blog will be my primary means of updating in a longer prose-like format (as opposed to snippets on Facebook or Instagram), because WordPress crashes almost never and MailChimp and I need to have words. Thanks for tuning in.
The “Entering His Gates” Worship Conference and the Lifegate Summer School of Rock and Roll (camp) were huge successes! So, thank you for praying.
The Worship Conference was a 6-hour event where we met area worship leaders, broke into instruments and then into bands, broke down 4 different worship songs in detail, and offered tips and tricks for improving instrumentation and vocals in the context of worship. We did a short talk on how to utilize Worship Ministry in a.) Church Growth and member buy-in, b.) Discipleship, and c.) Outreach, and it was so great to have the young adults from our Lifegate Omaha team there to give first-hand accounts of the impact of Worship Ministry in their individual lives.
We rolled straight from the Worship Conference into an incredibly fun and fruitful week with the Rock and Roll Camp. We had over 50 area youth come to hang out, be loved and cared about, learn instruments, songs, and even put on a concert at the end of the 4-day experience.
When Kurt and I were first asked to help put on a Rock and Roll Camp in 2016, I had no idea the impact it would have. It seemed crazy to me that something so “secular-seeming” could actually function as an outreach to spread the love and name of Jesus. (Honestly, I just had no clue how missionary ministry really worked.) Now, 6 years later, through consistency, excellence, and care, this team has formed lifelong relationships with these kids and their families. I’ve learned that God’s so very much in the business of restoration, and that comes in the context of relationships and quality experiences with people who love the Lord and live His love.
To see these students – some of them have been part of Lifegate’s camps and music school for 6 years – truly excel in the area of music and performance is astonishing. Some of these kids are top-notch musicians who could play/sing in any studio band in America. Others came for the fun and games and food and friendships, and they were a blast, too. 🙂
We broke the students into 6 bands who each learned and performed a song for our final concert. As usual, the place was packed out and each student was rewarded with a diploma congratulating them on their hard work.
It was SUCH a good week.
Now, we’re kind of in the middle. We are in the weeks between Rock and Roll Camp and English Camp, which will take place the last week of July.
A wave of illness kind of came through Lifegate Novi Sad, and Anorah and Annabelle both spiked fevers on Sunday, so this week is a down week for all of us. The little girls were supposed to start Summer School on Monday, but Vivi went alone, because Anorah was sick. Then, yesterday and today, we kept them both home. Hopefully they can rejoin their classmates soon.
As far as life updates for us,
- We found a car! It was a God-story, but we were able to buy a VW Passat from our friend’s cousin, Dragan.
- We’ve landed on the Clever School for the girls – both for summer school and for the fall. It’s an international school with instruction in Serbian, English and Russian. We’re hoping they’ll make some good friends there as well.
- We have an apartment, sort of. 🙂 We have a verbal agreement for a brand new unit in a small building near the church and school. We’re waiting patiently for it to be completed and furnished so we can move in and get settled. We’ve been living out of suitcases for well over a month and are eager to settle in somewhere we can call our own.
- Annabelle is registered with the University of Nebraska High School (online) and will start her 3 classes soon. We are praying for the opportunity for her to take some music classes and find some socialization here as well.
- Kurt is going to start a Serbian-based subcontracting firm to help with our visa situation, but we are waiting on a “permanent address.” Getting Serbian phone numbers also depends on a “permanent address,” so we are waiting on that as well. Having a Serbian phone # will improve our communication with the team here, as well as allow us to pay for things like parking.
While plenty of things are up in the air, we are little by little making Novi Sad our home. If you’re wanting to pray, please pray for the health of our family and the team here in Serbia. Pray for alllll of the little details to fall into place, and pray that our adjustments would continue to be filled with grace and patience and understanding.
Culture shock is definitely settling in, but alongside that is a deep peace in knowing we are where we are meant to be.
OH! Also, a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have supported us financially, and who continue to support us on a monthly basis. We are BLOWN AWAY by your outrageous generosity, and are humbled that you would care for us in such a tangible way. Honestly. There are no words. Thank you.
We couldn’t do this without you. We don’t want to!
All the love in the world from us to you. ❤
Kurt and Emily