Missionary Life, Most Recent, World Travel

February Update!

I’ve sat down to write this blog several times, so hopefully this one will actually make it to “Publish”! 🙂

First of all, thank you for being part of this journey with us. We are overwhelmed by your outpouring of prayer, support, comments, and notes. We have such an incredible community – near and far – and we are so grateful to be partnering with you.

If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen our posts about Winter Camp! We took 14 ten-to-eighteen-year-olds to nearby Fruška Gora for a three day retreat. It snowed, which made for a magnificent winter wonderland for us to enjoy. 🙂 The theme of the weekend was ID (identity in Christ), so each leader (Sanja and Nebojša, Bethany and Jafar, and Kurt and I) shared stories from our lives and walks with Jesus. Kurt and I led worship, and we had a wonderful, exhausting time with them, watching God move. There were at least 4 students who had never been to Winter Camp before, so that was amazing, and 3 students gave their lives to the Lord for the first time!

I know, coming from a large church, these numbers might seem small, but we are witnessing a real, boots-on-the-ground shift with this Gen-Z group of students. This is the future of the church in the Balkans, and our team here is working hard to equip them as worshipers, students of Scripture, and healthy humans. We’re building on this momentum by starting a student worship band and will soon launch an Alpha Course to dive even deeper into key biblical concepts. This is your partnership at work here, in real time! 🙂 So, thank you.

We love how this has dovetailed so beautifully with all God is doing on university campuses in America, and Pastor Micah’s prayer over our Gen Z community was powerful and timely.

Meanwhile, we’ve continued to build community in our Men’s and Women’s ministries, as well as taking time to pray with each other and encourage each other as teammates and co-laborers here in Serbia.

On a more personal note, I’ve been struggling a bit with some heart issues, so Kiki, Cveta, and Aleksandra helped put me in contact with a fantastic cardiologist here in Novi Sad. I was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) in my 20s, but usually only have issues every 6-8 months. After having three cardiac events in less than 4 weeks in January and February, I decided to get it checked out. I was diagnosed with “Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia” (an dysautonomic nervous system disorder where my heart beats too fast all the time) accompanied by SVT events (an arrhythmia where my heartrate jumps to 175-200bpm for no reason). The doctor started me on a low-dose beta blocker to manage things, and hopefully that will do the trick!

Kurt and I did go on a little stay-cation at a beautiful resort hotel nearby for his birthday, and we have a trip to France coming up! The girls haven’t left Novi Sad since August, and we promised them we would travel, so we are honoring that promise. 🙂 We have a packed spring and summer, so this will be a nice getaway before all we have coming up!

We do have an answered prayer to celebrate! God has given us a new location for our Belgrade Campus! It’s been a trying several months for our Belgrade Campus pastors, Djordje and Daca, so we are celebrating with them and excited for all God is doing and will do through our assignments in Belgrade!

We also found a Serbian teacher for our girls, so we are now all 5 in Serbian lessons, working hard to learn the language! We are making strides in understanding, but it’ll be a while before we are fluent. Slavic languages are definitely outside of our realm of experience, but there is so much beauty in how they’re put together. We are also still working on legalizing our residency, so Kurt has hired a lawyer and we are taking steps in that direction as well (hence some of the travel).

Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray for our upcoming Alpha Course with our students! There are some deep-rooted resistences here to the advancement of the gospel, so we are craving your prayers, your covering, and God’s hand to move through this effort. We are expectant and ready for all God wants to do! 🙂
  2. Pray for favor and provision in terms of our visas and residency. There are a lot of steps, and the rules haven’t been super clear to us. Kurt is still working to establish a company here while working full-time in America and supporting the Lifegate team here, so there are a lot of things happening all at once. We want to do things correctly, but it’s all a bit overwhelming while supporting a healthy work/life balance.
  3. Pray for Anorah’s and my ongoing mental health. Disrupting the “anxiety feedback loop” by slowing my heartrate could go a long way in helping me physiologically, and I continue to zoom with my counselor in Omaha. I also found someone for Anorah to talk to over Skype once a week as long as her anxiety doesn’t prevent her from logging on. It’s slow-going, but we are making strides, so please continue to pray for grace and wisdom moving forward.
  4. Pray for our hearts as we continue to adjust to the culture and language. We are feeling more and more comfortable in general, but at the same time, there is more and more to juggle in terms of schooling, responsibilities, and setting ourselves up well for our next year here. We are in constant need of God’s overwhelming grace and peace. This has been a season of total reliance on God (as are all seasons, really), which is sweet and difficult. 🙂

We love you all so much and are so grateful for you. I’m sorry I haven’t done better about posting regular updates, but if you are on Facebook or Instagram, we do post more regularly, there! Thanks for your ongoing prayer and support. We couldn’t and wouldn’t want to do this without you. 🙂 ❤

2 thoughts on “February Update!”

  1. Wow, You have a lot to contend with. I am praying your heart is healed Emily and God will give you plenty of grace to deal with all the situations you encounter. You two are determined lovers of the Lord. Love you and your family. Barbara Martin

    Liked by 1 person

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