May 14, 2009

Dear family and friends,
Just a few days ago we asked many of you to pray with us concerning a great need we have. Hana, our four-year-old autistic daughter, was in horrible condition; crying in any new situation she would be found in, and screaming almost every time she would want something or when something would irritate her. Some of the very important skills we worked hard for even months to teach her, suddenly seemed to disappear. No matter how hard we tried, it seemed like Greg and I were in a battle that we were losing.
Have any of you ever experienced in the midst of a difficult trial to hear God’s promise, feel His comfort and then suddenly feel like you’ve lost everything and have no more hope? My mind kept telling me that this wasn’t the end, that in the Lord there is hope, but the circumstances and my feelings kept telling me that there was no more hope and that the promise had died. I felt like I was in a battle field where everyone on my side seemed to be dead or wounded and the enemy was getting stronger and drawing closer. I look around and see no help in sight, although I’ve been told that help will come. I’m tired, wounded, on my knees and every single inch of me is telling me to just give up the fight, throw down my weapon, lay down, fall asleep and just disappear.
I would end each day in sadness and without comfort, thinking and wondering who I could share with about what’s happening to me. I didn’t want to sadden those closest to me, to weary them with my problems, and others I was afraid to talk to, thinking they wouldn’t understand. Throughout the day, when the sadness would grow strong, I would run up to my room to cry by myself. I thought I had to keep at least the appearance of being strong. My hope and faith had diminished. I’m here to bring joy, a message of hope and encouragement to others; but now I had nothing left to give. I was a warrior in a battle field left without hope, ready to give up; to lay down dead, or at least play dead.
It was then that I sent that request out to ask you to fast and pray for us. Just a few days later I went to a conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia for women from all over the Balkans. I had originally agreed to go to this conference with a friend thinking I could be a help to her, who is going through great difficulty. I didn’t realize that I was going there to meet with my Savior. He was right there waiting for me with a message that was exactly what I needed. It was no coincidence that the theme of the conference was “Rise up and Fight in the Battle.” The speaker kept repeating over and over again that no matter how wounded we may be, we must rise up; He still has so much for us. For if David had not rose up after grieving for his dead son, Solomon wouldn’t have been born. If Naomi wouldn’t have rose up and returned to Isreal, she wouldn’t have held Obed in her arms. Nor would Mary had seen Lazarus raised from the dead, had she not rose up and gone to Christ.
I don’t know what God has for me, the circumstances haven’t changed much, Hana still has autism, I still have a desire to be able to one day have a normal conversation with my daughter. But I have risen up, got my sword back in hand, and am holding my shield steadily. On my left and right side are you who are praying and fasting with us. I’m not alone in the battle I’m overcoming and now I once again see the One that I couldn’t in the midst of my pain and sadness; the One who was and is with me all the time. When I would cry by myself in my room, He was right there with me. The promise hasn’t died and my hope has been renewed.
Thanks for your prayers and the faith that you have in Him on our behalf.

Love in Christ,

Jelena



















Teams
The last time we were planning on having an outreach team come over from America, a province of Serbia, Kosovo, declared independence and broke off from the rest of the country! A travel warning was issued by the U.S. government advising Americans not to travel to Serbia, so unfortunately the team had to cancel their trip.
Things have calmed down since then and this year, by the end of June, we’ll have had THREE teams visit us!
Just a few weeks ago we had a small team of four visit us from “North Coast Church” in Vista, CA. They were only here for two full days, but the time was well spent. We went visiting people with humanitarian aid, introduced them to people from the church, had them teach, share testimonies, lead worship, etc. We even had some fun by trying to teach them some Serbian folk dances! (They’ll definitely have to come back for some more lessons ;-)
Chris, Annette, Paul and Jill in Budapest


You can find out more information about their trip at this website:
www.easysite.com/northcoastmissions

Tomorrow our next team arrives from “North Coast’s Video Café” venue. This group will be staying for 10 days and will be involved in all kinds of activities from quilting to skateboarding, to conversational English classes to concerts! Please pray that the Lord would use them powerfully to encourage our church and also reach the unsaved community. Please pray for our health, the health of the team members and the weather as well. It’s amazing how we almost always get sick right before such important events. Coincidence? Don’t think so! We’ve got an enemy that is not happy about such groups coming over. But greater is He that is in us that he that is in the world!

Here’s their website - www.easysite.com/serbia2009

Then toward the end of June we’ll be having a group of youth from “North Coast’s Twenty-something’s” ministry. Please pray particularly for their finances for tickets and accommodations, as we’ve heard that they are struggling in this area.

I too would like to thank you for your prayers for Hana. In the past few days she has started letting us know again when she needs to go to the bathroom and she is also starting to progress again in areas of her therapy that she fell back in. One of the young women who teaches at a preschool for autistic children, that came over to help train us to know how to work with Hana, has decided to come back over this fall! She’s going to be staying here for a whole year to help Hana and other children with similar problems!! Talk about God providing! This is just amazing!!
Thanks for your continual prayers and financial support. We are so thankful to have you behind us.

Love in Christ,

Greg


Add Comment
B.J. says... (Reply)
"Draga Jelena,
znas sta nam jedino preostaje-borba i nada!
Uvijek misli na to da nisi sama,kako imas divnu porodicu!Poljupci za Hanu,malog andjela!

A onaj dio o Hristovom spasenju Lazara...
Ja Ga molim da to ucini jos jednom!" (6/16/09)