First, off, let me tell you that my bride and I are freezing up here in Indianapolis Indiana, while here visiting my folks. Just so happens to be freezing rain today and this northern blood has thinned out considerably. My father has just had surgery to reattach his colon, from a rupture that occurred this summer. The reattachment was not as successful as we had originally hoped and Pops is very weak and in pain. Would appreciate each of your prayers for Charles as well as my mom, Cora. They are a real blessing to all those around them and to witness their love for one another after 68 years of marriage is amazing. While I have been here, I have had some time to write a response to people who have asked me time and time again as to why HiS PRINT goes where we go.
People here in the States often ask me why we go over 6,000 miles away to share Gods love, when there are people 6 miles and even as close as 6 feet away who need to hear about and feel God's love! There is never an argument from me on that truth and it is our goal to always share His love here as well as in Eastern Europe and The Balkans. To better explain, I will answer that question with 3 distinct reasons!
The first and most important is that God has called us there! We would never be there if God were not a part of the call when He asked, "Whom shall I send, who will go for us?" I'll be the first to say that I would never had guessed or envisioned that I would end up serving Christ in Croatia! Eleven years ago, when I didn't even know how to spell it, let alone know where it was! Though reluctant at first, God laid it on my heart and I rose and stood before Him, answering "Here I am send me!"
All of us who are followers of Jesus are called to ministry and that brings me to my second point! Every summer and sometimes fall or spring, we travel to Croatia on MiLO's, Mission Learning Opportunities! We stopped calling them mission trips because that gives the impression there is a time frame when it begins and will end. Although the actual trip does come to a close, the opportunity to share never ends and our relationship and interaction with the people of the Balkans continues throughout the year via Facebook, Skype and email. When we are in Croatia, we are on a mission filled with opportunities to learn and share in a foreign land. However, we know that when we return we have a responsibility to take what we learned back home and apply throughout the year! It's only when we allow God to take us out of our comfort zone – both there and here at home – that He does His best work in and through us. We must realize and continually remind ourselves that we can only “Do It”, because HE DID IT and He supplies the power through His Spirit for us to continue doing for others abroad and when we come back home.
Lastly, we go because God uses the lasting relationships we form with those we come in contact with to be a vehicle for exposing them to, and sharing with them, HIS Love. His love ignites and grows those relationships and watching them develop over the years has been a huge blessing! Witnessing us develop those relationships at the library and community center through the administration of the outreach programs. Seeing God use each person to touch the life or lives of those He specifically called together like here at the Texas Street Reach Carnival in downtown Sisak!
To use HiS HOUSE to touch the lives of coaches and players who we have invited to come for coaches clinics, team building practices and preseason team activities. The new addition of 4 new upstairs cabins, allows us to host up to 45 and an "Upper Room" meeting room is a great space to have team meetings. We have had teams from Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and soon a team from Macedonia call HiSHouse “home” while they use it for team building.
HiSHouse and the MiLO’s have become occasions to build relationships beyond players and coaches to their families. Coach Robert, who is not only our HiSPrint coordinator in Poland but has joined us with his family the last two summers to participate in the MO in Croatia. That has allowed us to witness connections with Coach Robert's wife and his daughter, Nelka. When I showed Coach Robert the picture below, he immediately said, "Three Sisters!" God is using those relationships to change lives and that is worth every mile and every sleepless night when we travel!
To watch coaches be impacted when they receive much needed sporting equipment for their teams - equipment they otherwise would go without because they couldn’t afford it or it is simply not available. Making those gifts available through donations from across Texas and the nation allows us to be observers and watch as God uses that opportunity to open doors to hearts where relationships form, and we are able to share the “Source” of the love that motivates people to contribute equipment and shipping resources to benefit those they’ve never met – a generosity that mirrors God’s exorbitant grace and love for us.
Thank you to each of you for your prayer and financial support. Without that, none of this would be possible! As we start off into a New Year, we wanted to reach out to you and say “Thanks”. Thanks for being an instrument God uses and for empowering us through your faithful support……that allows us to use Our steps, to leave HiS PRINT! Have a wonderful God filled weekend!