Well, I really don't know where to begin when so much has happened since setting foot on the plane in Houston to start Mission Learning Opportunity 2017 till today attending the European Christian Sports Union Gathering in Vienna Austria.
The Mission started off with more bumps and potential bruises to try and put out (or at least dampen) the fire God has placed in my soul to reach the people of Eastern Europe and The Balkans! First plane delays, then rain delays before boarding the plane in Houston caused a six hour delay and resulting in my missing my connection in Frankfurt. The first delay created another 5 hour delay in getting the next flight to Zagreb Croatia! As I was going through security in Germany I was pulled from the line saying my bag had Gun powder residue. After opening my bag and going through every item they finally determined it was the peppered beef jerky I had! Praise God they didn't keep it for themselves. I landed in Zagreb and we pulled up to the new terminal opened at the beginning of the year (what a drastic improvement from the previous 11 years coming! We actually pulled up to a gate and walked into the terminal versus walking out onto the tarmac and being loaded on a bus!)
Then, after 11 years of bringing a case of new diamond baseballs as extra luggage and never being stopped or pulled over and questioned, that all changed on this trip. I was walking past the guards and out of the luggage area when I was chased down by a guard and asked to come back. They asked what was in the box, and after explaining what the balls were, I was asked to place them in the X-ray machine. Not satisfied, I was asked to open up the box to show the guard! He then asked me how much each ball cost, and then after adding up the amount he told me that they would not be allowed to come into the country! I proceeded to ask him why, that we had been doing this for over 10 years and never been questioned before. I had to produce a picture of the balls from the internet before he would let me go, minus one ball! No, he didn't keep it - I offered it to the guard as a keepsake! It was a small sacrifice for the team, for educational purposes!
I made it to HiS HOUSE just at dark and there was a slew of people to say hello and greet me. Neven from the Storks and Damir from the Croatia Little League were there to get some prize items for the players (the have instituted a reward system that allows a player to earn items instead of just giving them something for free.) Since we don't have enough items of everything it's hard to say who can get what, and this system alleviates the look of playing favorites. After some hugs and hellos I got bite to eat before heading to bed!
Viki, the President of the Ljubljana football club, and one of her coaches from Slovenia also came down to see me and spent the night at HiS HOUSE!
Well, the blessings began to pour in from those greetings, and they reminded me why we come: to love them where they are and till they ask why! Those hugs and greetings make any and all hassles and delays worthwhile!
In the morning Marko, the football coach with Viki, got up and had breakfast with Janko and me. Before eating I prayed, and when finished Marko told me that this was the first time he had ever heard a prayer outside of a church. For me to pray for him personally moved him dramatically. He was so appreciative! It's amazing how God works and orchestrates His plan. Marko felt God's Spirit touch him that morning and I know he will never be the same!
I spent the day with Viki taking care of some phone and bank business around Sisak before settling down for the evening. I must say it is a blessing to be back at HiS HOUSE with Janko and many other friends we have made here! Coach Antonio, our baseball coach of the young
Storks, is now coming out to HiS HOUSE and helping Janko around the property and is a real blessing for both of them! God is so good and didn't stop there! But, I will wait and share what has occurred since my arrival here in Austria in a couple of days! All I can say is Awe Inspiring!
Remember Jesus loves you and so do I!