| Nov. 13, 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
Do you ever get afraid? Are you ever worried? This morning at 4am I woke up feeling afraid and worried. My mind was racing with thoughts about the huge debt we had gotten into for the church building. So, as I always do, I decided to turn my burdens over to the Lord again in prayer. I asked Him to help me trust Him and to replace the worry and fear with his peace. I began to thank Him for His grace and goodness and for all of the great things He has done for me. I went downstairs to get something to eat in my parents' kitchen (yes, I'm back in the States till the 25th!) and my dad walked up to me and said, "Here, I was praying and I felt like the Lord put it on my heart to give you this verse." Not knowing anything about what the current struggle that I had been going through since early in the morning, he handed me a small card with the following printed on it:
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
Perfect Word at the perfect time! Thank you Lord!
I decided to come over to the States for a few weeks to try to raise money for our church building. I'll be speaking at the Video Café at "North Coast Church" in Vista, CA, the next two weekends, meeting with individuals one-on-one, having Open Houses and speaking at a few home fellowships (growth groups). I know, with the economy being in the condition it's in, that this is probably one of the worst times to be doing any fundraising so please pray for me! This trip is going by so fast and I wish that I could meet with all of you, but I know that's not possible. If you live in the Southern California area I want to let you know that there will be an Open House you are all welcome to come to next week. Please try to come if you can. Here are the details:
Place: Jeff and Jonena Relth's house
Address: 1330 Woodview Dr.
Oceanside, CA 92056
Cell Phone: 760-587-8911
Date & Time: Nov. 18th, 7pm
Things are going well over in Serbia. So much has happened these past few months. Here are a few of the highlights. Hope you enjoy reading about them! Thanks again for your continual prayers for us and your financial support.
Love in Christ,
As you know from our last newsletter, the Lord sent us help for Hana over the summer, through a young woman named Jennifer that works as a pre-school teacher at a school for autistic children in the States. Jennifer went through exercises each day for a few hours with Hana using the most effective method of therapy called ABA. She brought over charts, cards, materials, etc. and trained us so that we could continue the program after she left. Because this method of therapy, which is very rigorous, often causes Hana to scream and have tantrums, (something Jelena has a hard time enduring), I decided to do most of therapy with her myself. So for two hours a day I turn off my cell phone and isolate myself with Hana from the rest of the world in an effort to help her. At first it was very difficult. Hana would scream, try to get out of her chair, etc. I would have to literally constrain her to her chair and try to ignore her inappropriate behavior until she would settle down. I would often get discouraged trying to teach her simple things like: when to say "yes and no," what "in and on" means, how to form sentences, how to count in order, how to differentiate genders, how to differentiate "big and little," etc. But over time, thank God, I noticed definite progress! She is learning and communicating more and more and she almost never throws a tantrum anymore! Please continue to pray for the Lord to completely heal her and pray that I would have the endurance I need to continue the program Jennifer started over the summer. Jennifer is loved working with Hana so much and really enjoyed Sombor. She is making plans to return and open up a center for autistic children at the latest by next summer! This would be the first such center in Serbia! We would use a part of the church building for this purpose. It's amazing to see how God is using this difficult situation we have with Hana to create new ministry opportunities in Serbia. There are so many people with autistic children there that don't have any adequate therapy and that are really confused about what to do.
In September, eleven people in our church were baptized in the Danube River. Some were new converts, others were just sick when we had baptisms in the past, and others were just hesitant in the past (not really ready and committed). One of the guys (on the far left of the picture) was a drunkard that used to beat his wife (who is standing beside him in the picture) and kids and commit adultery!
Rob Newey Music Tour
At the beginning of Oct. we had a musician come visit us from England named Rob Newey. He sang and played at several churches and cafes. Many people got to hear the Gospel through his music and Christians were encouraged. You can check out his website at www.RobNeweyMusic.com
|Rob playing at "Cafe de Sol" in Sombor|
The "Lisburn Christian Fellowship" in Northern Ireland, a church that has helped us in so many ways, heard about our renovation project for the church building and sent down a team of four handymen to help plaster the walls of the church. They saved us a ton of money working from 8am-6pm every day for a whole week! They also brought down money they had collected from their church members for materials. Thanks so much for the help!
Today I was in the car with Sara, our oldest daughter and she tried to describe an event that happened a year ago and then she said, "You know, before we knew Hana was sick." Sara will be 8 years old in a few weeks. I thought "Is that how she measures time?" I know I do. Unfortunately, Hana's problem has impacted our lives so much that it looks like all of us look at life as "before and after" we discovered it. What can I say - this is something that will make us sad time and time again, stir us to pray and to sometimes go off by ourselves. We're not the same people and we never will be. Everything is different. But at the same time, that event has become an entrance into another new area of our lives.
A few months ago a young man in our church who is the father of two children discovered he had Parkinson's disease. What a shock, what sadness, what changes….
About two months ago a friend, mother of a six-year-old girl discovered she had bone cancer. The prognosis is still uncertain. Again, disappointment, questions, reflection, sadness….
In order to understand their world of sadness, anger, disappointment, deep unconditional joy, the Lord allowed Hana to have autism. I'm no longer a stranger to this kind of pain and sadness. I no longer have to say flippantly - "Oh, I wish I could understand them." None of us would wish to have Parkinson's, cancer or a child with autism so that we could understand others' pain. But God gives us a privileged ticket that takes us to new levels of life. It's not always better, but it is definitely more blessed. Thanks for remembering us.
If you would like to help support us, here's the info you'll need:
1. Make your check payable to:
2. In memo section of the check write:
Greg and Jelena Sivulka
3. Send your check to:
Calvary Chapel of Vista
885 East Vista Way
Vista, California 92084
If you would like to help us renovate our church follow the same steps above with the exception of writing - "Sombor Church" in the memo section of check.
Important Note: All donations are tax-deductible. Although "Calvary Chapel" handles all of our funds, we are responsible for raising our own support. We receive no fixed salary from their tithes and offerings. Our income solely depends on donations sent to us by people who read our newsletters. "Calvary Chapel" does not take a percentage of your giving for their own administrative work. Every sum given is sent directly to us free of charge.
** For those of you in Europe who are interested in supporting us, please contact "Eurovangelism" at www.Eurovangelism.org