| June 13, 2007
Dear Family and Friends,
These past few months we have been going through the book of Acts at our church. It's been so exciting reading about the various things God did when the church was first born and this has made us jealous! (in a good way). We have been reminded of the fact that we can be involved in all kinds of activities and projects, witness to people left and right, strategize and plan to our hearts desire....but if we do all this in our own power, it will all be a big waste of time. Above all, we need more of the Holy Spirit; more of the Lord's power in order to accomplish His will here in Sombor! Ever since we started praying for this as a church, incredible things have been happening. We have experienced great blessings - new people coming to Christ, a spirit of repentance among us Christians, Prodigals returning, a healthier atmosphere during services, people coming to church more regularly, new people showing up out of the blue, conversions, even a few miracles!
But the more we progress in our walk with the Lord, the more opposition and difficulties we experience. So many things happened these past few months and we just can't say they're a coincidence anymore - several people lost their jobs, a few people got so sick they almost died, persecution from family members and friends has increased (One woman I mentioned in the last newsletter named Nancy was even beaten by her parents because of her faith in Christ), one of the members of our church has a son that almost died from a drug overdose, our coworkers' unborn baby was diagnosed as most likely having Down's Syndrome (which, thank God, turned out to be a false alarm), and we even had some false prophets sneak into our church!
But I'll tell you, it's better to have persecution, difficulties, etc. and know we're on the right track, than to not have so many negative things happening and be in a dead, dry, ineffective church. So we praise the Lord for what He's doing in our lives and our church. We know that He is making a difference in this place through us as we yield ourselves more fully to Him. We also know that we are a huge nuisance to our enemy, the Devil. We're taking back territory that rightfully belongs to the Lord and boy is he angry! Please continue to keep us in prayer as we "fight the good fight" in this area of the world that needs to hear and experience the Gospel of Christ. Thanks so much for your prayers and support!
Love in Christ,
Wolves in Sheep's Clothing!
|Men from the Branham Cult Preaching in Our Church!|
A few years ago, Jelena lead a young woman to the Lord who stopped coming to our church after just a month. We lost contact with her and then just a few months ago got a call from her on the phone. She said she had married a wonderful "Christian" man and now lives in Germany. When asked what kind of church she goes to, she just replied - "non-denominational." We got together with her and her husband for about an hour and everything seemed normal. We invited them to come to our Easter service and share a few words after the service. (A huge mistake I'll never make again!). Her husband (younger man above in picture) got up with a friend of theirs (elderly man in picture above) and they blabbed on and on for 45 minutes! Everyone kept looking around at each other wondering what in the world they were talking about. They just quoted a bunch of verses that weren't related at all in a loud "preachy" tone. One by one people started to walk out of the church, totally bored with what they were saying. Afterwards our guests asked if they could give out some of their literature and I told them to first give it to me to look over. They totally disregarded what I said and passed the tracts and books out anyway! After I got home I looked at one of the books and recognized the author - a man named William Branham who started a cult in the 60's in America!! I know a couple who fell into this cult several years ago who barely made it out with their sanity! I felt so sick to my stomach, I couldn't sleep all night. What a fool I was to let these people speak in front of my church! I called my brother about 3 in the morning to ask him to pray for me and this whole horrible situation. I went online to find out more about them and discovered they don't believe in the Trinity and that they also believe that all denominations have received the mark of the Beast and are going to Hell! Only "non-denominational" churches will be saved!!
Fortunately, there was no serious damage done to our church. Zoli, my coworker, and I met with each member of our church that was present during their speech to explain what had happened and apologize. The following Sunday Zoli put a great message together about false prophets and used them as his main example! A few days later I got together with these cultists to officially tell them that they were not welcome in our church anymore. I told them that it was a dirty trick to sneak into our church the way they did. They began yelling at me things like - "You don't have the Holy Spirit in you!!!" to which I calmly replied, "Then why did you even want to cooperate with us?" Then they said, "We're not a cult! We're a legitimate Christian church! How can you explain the many miracles we have done if we're not really Christians!?" "Haven't you read your Bibles?" I asked, "It says that false teachers will come in Christ's name performing miracles in the last days! The Devil has supernatural power as well! Miracles are not our 'rule of faith' only the Scriptures are." This made them extremely upset. They warned me that I had just committed the unpardonable sin of "blaspheming the Holy Spirit." I left them with a handshake and the statement - "In the name of Jesus I cast you out of here!" I felt like I had just come into contact with the Devil himself! What an awful experience.
Keep Hoping and Praying (By Jelena)
Many of you know my testimony already; my background; how I grew up in a home without a father and without Christ; (My dad was in prison for 7 years because of political reasons); in a typical communist family with two older sisters.
So much has changed since I first heard the Gospel at 17 years old and accepted Christ at 18, but unfortunately not much has changed since then with my family. My parents haven't accepted Christ yet. All of my grandparents have passed away and I'm afraid, even though I shared my faith with them, that they didn't accept Him before they died.
But there is still hope for my family and that's why I'm writing to you now. Over every summer and winter break, we always invite my nieces and nephews to stay a few days at our house and hang out with our own kids. Even though it gets crazy with so many kids and so much noise, we really enjoy having them over. We got to share the Gospel with them and all of them have prayed to receive Christ! But we often forget about these little ones and neglect the fact that the Lord sometimes uses them to influence their parents for the Gospel. The other day, for example, my little niece named Dunja, who is only 5 years old, explained to my sister that she needs to "pray to God so that she can go 'up there'". My sister was in a great hurry at the time and simply nodded her head and ran out the door. Dunja said several times as she was running out the door, "Don't worry. I'm praying for you!" A few minutes later as my sister was getting out of her car another car came rushing by and almost hit her! She stopped and thought to herself in shock, "What would have happened to me if Dunja had not be praying for me!?"
I'm often saddened and discouraged by the fact that after 15 years of being a Christian, my family still hasn't accepted Christ. But the Lord has reminded me through this situation that the seed has been planted; there's always hope and that I shouldn't forget the little ones.
P.S. from Greg
A few months ago, Jelena's aunt was visiting us and I very spontaneously gave her an Evangelistic book called "Jesus - Our Destiny" as she got in her car to go back home. A few months ago I got a call from her and couldn't believe what I was hearing:
"...I just wanted to thank you for giving me that book. I've read the whole thing and really loved it! So much is clearer now to me about Christianity and I decided to accept Christ into my life. Everything seems different now and I really want to come visit you both and talk to you more about all this. I would also love to visit your church. My thinking actually started to change a few months before I got this book. The thing that set off my interest was actually a comment made by your son, Benjamin. I had always thought of myself as a good person before until one day he said, "You know, you really curse and swear a lot. You should stop doing that." I tried to make excuses, but then after thinking about it, I realized that I was really sinful and really had no excuse for my behavior. Then I started reading this book that explained how Jesus had come to cleanse us of our sin and I immediately responded! Thanks again...."
|Jelena's Aunt with Sara and Jelena's Nephew, Alex|
Team from America
Next week, once again, we are having a team of 20-something aged singles come over from "North Coast Evangelical Free Church" in Vista, CA. They will be reaching out to the community of Sombor through various ways: a children's event right in the main square of the city, conversational English at the church, a conference for our church, personal evangelism through friendships, activities for teenagers, Bible studies, testimonies, community service projects, etc. They did an incredible job last year (see www.SerbianOutreach.com July '06 Newsletter) and we desperately need your prayers in order for them to make an impact again on this city. They will be here on the 20th of June and stay till the 2nd of July. Please pray specifically for the following things:
* Safety as they travel
* Supernatural strength and good health for all they and we have planned to do
* Boldness as they share their faith with people
* Good weather for the Sombor children's event that will be held in the center of town (no rain!)
* A good turn out for all their activities
* That the Lord would encourage and strengthen our church through them
* Financial costs would be covered completely
|Sombor Children's Event 2006|
Since our last newsletter, in which I mentioned our need to renovate our church building, a few people responded and sent us several hundred dollars. Thanks to these generous gifts we were able to take care of the city permits needed for the project. We want to say one big "THANKS" to those who gave and also to those who have been praying. Please continue to pray that the Lord would continue to meet this huge need we have so we can get the building fixed up by the winter time.
Just a few weeks ago, thanks to an organization we partner with called "Eurovangelism," I had the opportunity to visit a church in Northern Ireland that regularly supports one of our coworkers (Maca). It was great to be able to meet this church, of about 120 people, that is so excited about missions. I had the privilege of preaching from the Word and also sharing through a slide show about our ministry here in Sombor.
|Me with Elder and Pastor of "The Christian Fellowship of Lisburn"|
Then after a few days I met up with my wife and kids in England where we spent a week at a Christian Conference organized by "Eurovangelism" at a beautiful Castle! Jelena and I had the privilege of being guest speakers there for one evening. We had such a wonderful time of fellowship and fun; definitely got our batteries charged for the upcoming summer events. Thanks, Eurovangelism, for making this all possible! (You can check out their website at www.Eurovangelism.org)
|Our Daughter, Sara, in Front of Willersley Castle|
Sure hope we get a chance to see many of you this July when we come out to the U.S. We'll be speaking at different churches about our ministry and also plan on having an "Open House" at my brother's place. We'll let you know the exact date soon so that you can put us down in your schedules. Can't wait to see my family and get some of that authentic Mexican food again!