This is why I spend my summers in Croatia!
As I’ve been wrapping things up these past few days, I’ve had some time to reflect upon this trip and what HiS Print means to me. It’s often hard for me to explain why I spend my summers (and the months leading up to them) in Croatia. While I know the reasons in my heart, it’s so hard for me to verbalize that to others. People typically think I’m going for vacation, even when I explain that I’m going for an Mission Learning Opportunity and that we are constantly on the go with service projects. Without hesitation I still get responses like, “have a restful time!” or “enjoy having some time off!”. While I have had some moments of rest and some limited time off to rest, recover, and recharge throughout the MLO, I never go for the purpose of rest, relaxation, or vacation. As a teacher, God has blessed me with a job in which I get my summers “off,” but I never want to take that for granted and waste that time. My summers are His, just like the school year is His. I’ve been called to teach 10 months out of the year, but I’ve also been called to use my “off” time to be “on” and to serve fiercely in HiS Print. God is doing mighty things in Croatia and I don’t want to miss out on the role He has reserved for me there.
A few days ago a small group of us were having dinner with Lordan and Martina, two of our biggest supporters in Sisak and pivotal members of HiS Print. We started telling our stories of how we became believers and Martina’s touched me to my core. She shared that she had always been around the Protestant church, had many friends who were believers, and was constantly exposed to Christian teaching. She shared how she had seen believers around her, but so often their words and actions contradicted one another. Nothing about that attracted her to have a personal relationship with Christ. It wasn’t until HiS Print started coming to Sisak that she saw consistent words and actions. She saw genuine love for others and for herself. She saw Christ through our words and actions. As she shared this, we both cried tears of joy and hugged. I’ve known Martina since 2008 and it’s truly an honor to be a part of God’s plan for her life. I might not be able to explain what HiS Print means to me in the way that I wish I could, but Martina’s words illustrate why I continue to come year after year. Her words explain why HiS Print has never been a passing fad in my life. Not only have I been massively impacted year after year through each MLO, but I also see people like Martina changed forever. This is why we love people where they are and love them till they ask why. This is why we leave our families and friends and use our footsteps to leave behind Christ’s footprints. This is why we return to Sisak year after year. This is HiS Print Ministries.