My Dear Family and Friends, Sept. 24, 2016
Hana's First Day of School After very busy summer, we are back to our life as usual, our ministry, our home... It is truly good to be back home.
Since the beginning of June, Hana (our daughter with autism) has been on medication, so screaming episodes are shorter and rare. This summer she enjoyed swimming in Texas lakes and pools and the California Ocean. But on the way home, after 12 hours on the plane, she just had it. Kicking and screaming she left the airplane in Istanbul, just to wait for a next flight to Belgrade. I had it too, sitting next to her, I gave her a serious look and talk.
" Hana, I know this is hard for you, this flight was long, you are tired and we are still not home, but I also know that you can be better, you can act and behave better." Right at that time, I heard a voice, very clear and loud but only to me, "My dear child, I know that this journey is very long, you are tired, you are overwhelmed, and you are still not home, but I also know that you can do better."
So my dear friends, pray with me so that I could do better, I could be better, that I will scream and complain less, giving Him thanks and enjoying this journey on the way home to Heaven.
After having a project we’ve been promoting turned down several times by various organizations, Jelena and I just decided this month to step out in faith and start visiting and delivering humanitarian aid to families affected by disabilities anyway, using money from our own support. Then, about a week later we received word from a Christian charity based in England that our project was approved by their board of directors! We’ll be able to visit many more families than we had initially planned, sharing the Gospel with them, loving them and carrying their burdens with them. Pray for this ministry, volunteers that serve with us, and us to trust God using His strength while doing His ministry. (If you’re interested in more details of the project, just click on this link:
Thank you for walking, praying, serving with us!
Love in Christ,
A few days after we arrived home from the States, we went to speak at a camp for families with kids that have disabilities. I also got to entertain with music, dancing, etc. It was a blast! We got to share with parents the secret of how we survive raising a kid with autism – our great Hope – Jesus! (see link: http://www.serbianoutreach.com/videos/Camp-of-Hope-2016-105899 )
This November we’re planning on hosting our annual “Joni & Friends” Retreat for families affected by disabilities. Since it’s our 7th year, jubilee year, we decided to do things a little bit different. All of our previous retreats have been evangelistic; geared toward non-believers. This year we have invited mostly Christian families with kids with disabilities (many of which weren’t around when we first started these retreats). Our teaching will be geared toward helping Christians that are struggling with heavy trials directly related to disabilities. We plan on having the retreat be much more low-keyed (less of a spectacle and more rest).
Although we were given $5,000 by “Joni & Friends International Disability Organization” that we partner with, we still need another $4,000 to meet our budget for 20 families. If you would like to help us:
1. Make check payable to:
901 Waterfall Way, Suite 205
Richardson, TX 75080
2. Put in memo section:
• Note – All donations given are tax-deductable
Learning to Rest
Here in Serbia, most people that are involved in full-time ministry are doing way too much, carrying out multiple roles (from maintaining buildings to pastoring). A few years ago Jelena and I went through a heavy burn-out stage and desperately needed to take a sabbatical, after being involved in church planting for more than a decade. Thanks to good friends, Chip and Julie Bell, in Dallas, Texas that opened their home to us, we were able to get a much needed break and get our batteries recharged. A few months ago some friends of ours from Belgrade (who have also gone through burn-out in ministry), Chip and Julie, and we started praying about and making preparations for a special conference designed to help friends of ours that have been involved in ministry for years, to learn how to get enough rest. We are excited to host such a unique and important retreat this October. People from all over the country have been invited.
There are some new people in the rehab center that I’ve started to: get to know, share the Gospel with (Most are hearing it for the first time!), encourage and disciple… One guy was in prison for a while for selling drugs, another guy was raped as a child, another was abused by his parents that were alcoholics…
These guys have totally hit rock bottom and it’s such an incredible privilege to welcome them and be able to serve them, helping them come to know our great Savior that can completely transform their broken lives into something wonderful. Here’s a link of us worshiping together:
Church ServiceWe’re continuing to go through I Peter together on Sundays. There are still very few people attending, but the atmosphere is really great! We have started praying for our town regularly as we’ve started reaching out to families affected by disabilities, delivering humanitarian aid to them.
One of those we started visiting is a refugee that came to Serbia as a young woman in the 90’s during the civil war. She has a difficult time walking and had an artificial hip bone put in several years ago, but still can’t walk very well and for extended periods of time. Just a few weeks ago she discovered that she has come down with lung cancer and she just started chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the doctors say there isn’t much hope. She’s been to our church a few times, has heard the Gospel many times, but hasn’t yet fully responded. We are praying for healing and also praying that the Lord would use this difficult situation to bring her to Himself.
Thanks so much for your prayers and support. We really appreciate your involvement in our ministry!
Please click on this link for info on how to support us financially: