global outreach, Missionary Life, Most Recent

January Update!

We’ve been in a little bit of a cave (of our own design lol). Christmas vacation into New Years was extended in many way by the Orthodox Christmas and New Years that took place on December 7 and 14, respectively. So, while our Christmas didn’t really feel like Christmas until mid-December, we’ve definitely enjoyed the extended holiday season – from a distance. The fireworks are really loud.

I’m realizing, looking back, that we have a lot to share! December was a month full of firsts, including Anorah’s and my first birthdays here in Serbia. Anorah invited some friends to an indoor trampoline park, as has been her tradition these last few years, and Kurt and I celebrated my birthday with a dinner out and a movie. I didn’t have a party or anything, we had plenty going on, but maybe next year I’ll throw a rager. 😉 We’ll see. Kurt’s parents gifted us girls with manicures, so we had fun with that.

We also got to be part of the cultural phenomenon that was this year’s World Cup! (Fudbal/Soccer for those who don’t follow.) We enjoyed hanging with friends and rooting for our favorite teams. I found myself so grateful that we were able to have such a fun experience in our first winter here.

We’ve had a good mix of embracing our traditions from home and celebrating new Christmas traditions here in Serbia. Our team put together a Christmas Concert/Celebration (Proslava Bažića) on December 22nd where the Lifegate Teen Band performed some songs they’ve been working on, and we got to share some Christmas songs and tell the story of the Jesus’s birth. It was really well attended, and we were able to give out almost 200 donated shoebox gifts to all of the kids in attendance. It really was a special time. And, after a decade of serving every Christmas Eve at various Lifegate campuses in Omaha, it was strange and refreshing to have no responsibilities on Christmas Eve itself. lol

We made Christmas cookies and opened presents, and even got to Skype with Kurt’s family back in Omaha. It was a bittersweet season, for sure, but we made some amazing memories and look forward to many more.

New Years is a huge deal around here. There are plenty of public events to attend, but Kurt and I were feeling a little weary of “new cultural experiences,” so we opted for a night in with our little girls and some great friends. They brought pork ribs (pork is a New Years tradition), and we got to enjoy fireworks from our balcony. It was a great way to ring in the new year.

Now we suddenly find ourselves almost three weeks into 2023! I can’t believe it.

One of the highlights has been Alex’s visit. Our oldest is finishing up University at UNO in Omaha, but took some time out of his January term to fly out for a week-long visit. It’s been amazing to have him around, even for just a short while. Raising adult kids is crazy. It’s fun, but it’s crazy. 🙂

This coming weekend, January 20-22, we will be putting on a Winter Camp (Retreat) for our Lifegate Youth focusing on finding our identity in Jesus. Kurt and I will be leading worship and spending time with kids, and we’re praying for plenty of God-moments. Their willingness to come is huge and completely counter-cultural, so please be praying for us all as we prepare!

We’ve also been following along with Lifegate’s traditional January fast and Thirst Conference and are already talking about putting on a mini-conference of our own in 2024!

Now that we are out of our holiday comas, I’ll work to post more often. Thanks for staying with us! We couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do this without you.

Some things to pray about:

  1. Ongoing mental health for Anorah. She’s still struggling. We need some doors to open in terms of resourcing for her, Serbian classes or sports activities for the girls. Honestly, we’re feeling a little lost and really need God’s intervention. Pray for wisdom for Kurt and me and for open doors to step through.
  2. Supernatural ability to learn the language! We’ve continued in our twice-weekly Serbian classes, and we’re making progress, but it’s just a complex language and it will take time. Pray for extra grace for us to be patient with ourselves, and for supernatural comprehension and sponge-like brains.
  3. Pray for continued provision, for wisdom to steward our resources well, and for more opportunities to express love to others in physical, tangible ways.
  4. New vision and the wisdom to come alongside this amazing team and support in the most meaningful ways. Pray for divine intersections and the grace to continue step forward into the unknown with our comfort zone waaay back in our rearview mirror.

We love you all! Let us know how we can be praying for you, too!

And, as always, if you’d like to partner with us financially, I’ll add the link below. If you set up an automatic withdrawal in 2022, and you’ll like to continue, maybe double check to make sure it’s still set up for 2023?

Praying blessings over you and yours. ❤

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