Fall Croatia Trip - November 5
Hope all is well with everyone back home in the USA. We are blessed to be here in Croatia to spread Christ’s love to those we have been in the presence of for the past four days. God’s plan is always better than ours and when we remain flexible to the changes He may create, we are never disappointed in what happens. Well, those plans were altered again today. We had a rain that lasted the entire day and into the evening and the hockey camp had to be cancelled. Initially we were disappointed and felt at a loss, but then God created some other opportunities for us to spend with people we would have otherwise not have had the opportunity to do so.
In the morning, Joe and I drove up to Zagreb to pick up Marino, a young man who I met two years ago at the football camp in Split. I had contacted him while I was back in Texas to see if he would be interested in coming to Sisak to spend some time with us. He took me up on my offer and took the 8 hour bus ride from Split to Zagreb and Joe and I picked him up at the station early Tuesday morning. Marino had come to me after football camp one evening two years ago to pour his heart out to me and his desire to change his life. We talked at length then as to how God could do that for him. Although Marino has still not accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, he is curious and has a desire to learn more. He has a huge problem with anger and really lets the environment around him drive him into fits of rage, that he has described to me in some detail. Please pray for him and for me and the rest of the team as we model Christ’s love around him and point out to him what God’s love and gift of his spirit could do for him.
After picking him up we drove back to Sisak and Joe dropped me off downtown so I could go and have lunch with Barbara the librarian. Barbara has become great friends with Shannon, from our team and has been hanging around us more and more every year. I had brought some stuff she had ordered through Shannon with me and we arranged to meet for lunch so we could chat a while and I could give her the stuff. The lunch was great, but the conversation was incredible. I had the opportunity to pour into her heart the gospel as well as some other issues she was struggling with. She was so open and receptive and her whole personality is beginning to change. When we first met her three years ago she has a harsh person who was pretty offensive with her language and her attitude, but through her friendship with Shannon and her allowing God’s love to penetrate that hard exterior, she is beginning to soften. In fact she is eager to listen and quick to ask questions and even more exciting is that she is receptive to listen. God is working on her heart and it is neat to witness the seeds that Shannon planted in her heart are starting to take root. Please pray for Barbara, that she will completely let go and let God have her heart!
At night several of the Storks baseball team came over and met Marino and we sat around the table and played SPOONS and had a great time of fellowship! It was neat to witness the Storks take Marino in and welcome him with open arms. I could see from the laughter coming from Marino he was feeling that welcome and was comfortable to be here! Later in the evening I spent some time with Joe in prayer and just hearing the thankfulness coming from both of our hearts, I knew God was in control of our hearts, lives and this mission trip! Not to forget to mention Ezekiel and the wonderful entertainment he has been for all of us. His precious smile and tender hello’s that come from his mouth regularly are a joy to witness. Zack and Julia have been a blessing as parents to watch them interact with other couples here in Croatia with young kids. Their Christian walk and faith are evident in how they love one another and how they love and spend time with Ezekiel. It has taught this old dad some important lessons as well! As midnight approached I walked outside and walked to the back of Janko’s property and looked up and marveled at God’s creation and all the stars I could see on a cloudless and moon free night. INCREDIBLE! Then the fog rolled in and before long all I could see was what was above me. The rest of the world around me was covered up with the fog, but looking up I could marvel at the picture God has placed before me.
Looking forward to a whirlwind type of day tomorrow with a lot to do and people to meet while we go visit Zagreb. Please pray for our safety as we travel around the country. Remember Jesus loves you and so do I! And I can honestly say that because, HE DID IT, Let’s Do IT!