I’ve just returned from a trip to Budapest for a conference and a visit to Serbia where I spoke at a church. I traveled with John Bull, a Stoneworks missionary based in St. Petersburg. The picture above is of the Danube flowing through Budapest, taken from the Citadel overlooking the city, with the foothills of the Carpathian mountains in the background.
We attended the Free Methodist European missions conference. The European director and good friend, Jerry Coleman, invited us to attend. We met missionaries and local leaders from 14 countries — from Bulgaria to the Canary Islands.
It was a great conference, and I’m hopeful that these new relationships will lead to future partnerships in ministry. I was especially blessed by meeting missionaries from Ukraine and Romania. I was also asked to play my guitar for two services, and it was good to be able to minister in that way.
We were all very encouraged in our work, and it was great to see and experience spiritual unity with brothers and sisters from so many countries.
After the conference, we drove to Batska Petrovac, Serbia to visit a church. Last summer I met one of the elders, Jan Dudas, in Montenegro, and he invited me to visit when I had a chance. I was very happy to be able to speak at their church on my birthday.
Their hometown is a small farming village (about 6000 people) in north Serbia. The town is 90% Slovak, so they all speak Slovak as well as Serbian, and quite a few people speak English as well.
This part of Serbia is a sort of Bible belt — many churches there were established over 100 years ago and survived through the communist regimes. It reminded me of visiting believers in small farming towns in the US and Finland — people are the same all over the world it seems.
My relationship with Jan (pronounced Yahn) is very good; his family is great. I’d love to help send a missionary there to serve that church. Jan was the best man for Vladimir Cizmanski, a dear friend who is the pastor of the Brethren Assembly in Montenegro (where we’ve recently sent a missionary). I believe that God is setting us all together as living stones.
Olga and I hope to visit there again early next year. Above at left I’m with John, Jan and his wife Nada, and their three children.
John and I drove quite a distance — about 1300 miles each way. We drove from the Balkans through the heart of central Europe and the Baltics: Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia.
I have a sense that the Lord is calling us to do more work in that area. It was very good to have more experience there, deepen relationships and meet new people.
It was a very blessed trip, and I look forward to seeing how God opens doors for future ministry.