Aug. 5, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
The Lord totally answered your and our prayers concerning the teams that came over in May and June! They all had such an incredible impact on our church and community. Here are some of the highlights:

Quilting Ministry
The women from our church invited their friends to come out and learn how to make decorative quilts every evening for five days. There was a huge turn out of about 30 women, most of which had never been to our church before! Friendships were developed, testimonies shared - all while they sewed their quilts.

I was shocked to find out that a few women who used to gossip about our church, saying all kinds of crazy things about us (the “dangerous sect/cult”), actually came out for this event and enjoyed the time they spent there.

The team brought over so many materials and the women from our church plan on getting together once a month to continue this ministry. Jelena’s mom, who hasn’t been to church since our wedding 15 years ago, expressed a desire to come out to our church for this activity! What a miracle!

Skateboarding Ministry
One of the guys from the team named Matt is an incredible skateboarder. After arriving to Sombor, he jumped on his skateboard, started doing tricks in the city and met several other skateboarders.
He gave them skateboards he brought over from the States, started teaching them new techniques, shared his faith with them and invited them out for church. Some of them started coming regularly, one of them prayed to receive Christ, and one guy’s mom and sister started coming out to church and love it!
Matt (with helmet) with Teenagers in Center of Town

Matt is planning on coming back to Sombor next year to build a skateboard ramp in the backyard of the church.

We had some very talented musicians come over to have a concert at a local café in Sombor, lead worship and put on concerts at the church. They did an amazing job and drew large crowds of people. Because Serbia doesn’t have many black people, the lead singer was like a celebrity over there! Everybody wanted his autograph and picture taken with him!

Youth Ministry
Our church is made up of mainly middle-aged to elderly people and small children. Every time a teenager would come out who is interested in the Gospel, because there wasn’t any kind of ministry for their age group, a lot of times he/she wouldn’t come back. Realizing this need, we prayed for a long time that God would either raise someone up in our church or bring someone who has a heart for teenagers/young adults. A few months ago, this prayer was finally answered. A girl named Vicky came over from the States who loves working with youth. She’ll be staying with us in Sombor for a whole year.

In June we had a team come over that helped kick-start a youth ministry with Vicky in our church and their outreach was a HUGE success! 30-40 teenagers had a blast at the church playing all kinds of games every day for a little over a week with the Americans. They also had discussion times when team members got to share their faith.
When a team leaves, the excitement level goes way down, few people show up to church the next Sunday and following up on people becomes very difficult. We prayed hard that this team’s efforts wouldn’t just be “hit-and-miss”; that there would be lasting results and guess what? – There were! 10-15 teenagers are continuing to come out once a week to youth meetings that Vicky’s leading, around 5 are coming to the main services and 3 have even signed up for a Christian camp! Praise the Lord!!

We also: visited poor people with humanitarian aid, had conversational English classes, visited schools, did service projects at the church, etc. There were so many other great things that happened, but it would take a book to share them all with you!

We’re Back!
Yes, after the teams left we decided to follow them over to the States. We’re having a great time with my family getting some R and R and loading up on Mexican food ;-)
While we’ve been here we’ve also been getting Hana a lot of help. A few weeks ago we received an email from a retired occupational therapist that used to work with autistic children. She was able to get us some free sensory therapy for Hana through a friend that works at a nearby clinic. Jelena and I learned a lot about how to increase Hana’s brain activity through various exercises, music therapy and other methods that we have never heard of before. We were also able to get some assessments done that will help us continue the home therapy we are doing with Hana for two hours each day. Thanks for your continued prayers for her. She did surprisingly well on the plane trip over and is continuing to progress in her behavior and communication, slowly but surely.
Although we have been able to get together with some of you, time is going by quickly and we know it will be impossible to see all of you. We are planning on having an “Open House” at my parents’ house on the 16th of this month. Please try to make it if you can. We would love to spend some time with you! Here is the info you’ll need:

Where – Bob and Deanna Sivulka’s
2885 Camden Dr.
Vista, CA 92081

When – Aug. 16th, from 2pm-4pm

Thanks again for your prayers and financial support. We really appreciate your involvement in our ministry.

Love in Christ,


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