Here are some of my reflections on our last few days as the team wraps up, packs our bags, and prepares for the long trans-Atlantic flight home.
Class in Mostar- The Spiritual Formation class at the Mostar Bible School was a real joy. While this go-round had only 3 students, they were all bright, energetic, and highly interactive. I greatly enjoyed our conversations and the insights these guys would bring from their cultural perspective. I truly feel like in a 24-hour period, we bonded and encouraged one another in our faith. I pray that the material helped build each one of them up and further prepared them to lead in the young Bosnian church. If you think of it, please pray for God to continue to build Sasha, Senad, and Tony.
Church in Sarajevo- On Sunday morning, our team split up and participated in services at both Ilidza and Kosevsko Brdo. Pastor Matt brought the message out at Ilidza church (still some drug deals going down outside, but no stabbings. For context of that statement, see last Sunday's post!) while Nick and the rest of the team were with Pastor Slavko up a Kosevsko. Both groups were enthusiastic and encouraged by the presence of the team. On Sunday night, the team attended Malta Church again, where Nick preached with Pastor Sasha translating. For me (Nick) this church has become like a "home away from home." I realized that I have attended Malta at least 7 times in the last 5 years- more than any other church except East Hills! I enjoyed having the freedom to joke with Pastor Sasha during the message, and preaching about how our trust is in Christ, even when we don't understand everything that's happening to us. It truly felt like we were among friends. Pastor Jesse played acoustic along with their worship band.
Last Day in Downtown- The team had some time to get last-minute gifts and souvenirs, as well as catch some coffee with friends. I was able to have coffee with some friends whom our very first team met 5 years ago. These gals were our translators for an English camp and continue to stay connected to Izvor and our teams when we visit. Jesse and I were really intrigued by their stories of growing up in Bosnia and how the war of 20 years ago continues to shape everyday life for them. Their view of the future of Bosnia, like most Bosnians we have met, is very gloomy. This nation seems to lack hope for change, and few believe that lasting reconciliation between people groups is possible. Please continue to pray for this country; that they would experience the light of Christ breaking over them in new ways. We also had time to pray with our team of Alliance workers for the church here, and various needs of the community. It was a sweet time of inviting God's power to work in each situation. Partnering with this team, and this country, feels so powerful and significant in times like that!
We hope to see you soon on the other side of the pond. Thanks for praying!