"Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for the human race. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and announce His works with shouts of joy."
Psalm 107: 21-22
The local church in Trogir "Nova Nada"(New Hope) had their first official board meeting and we felt privileged to be there. Jenny took pictures, as usual. Merle directed, spackled, and painted the new church room for Nova Nada as they expanded into additional space. One of the DTS Team from Switzerland painted the special art on the babies room wall, and it was completed by one in the local fellowship. Merle and I assisted with the kids club one Saturday. They are studying and encouraging the students to be World Changers.
Above are the Discipleship Training group from Switzerland's YWAM team, but they really are from all over the world-from Papua New Guinea to Sweden to Brazil to Korea. They were so helpful servants in many areas and it was fun to bake for those hungry mouths. Merle also assisted to paint the bottom of Jarod's boat and replaced flooring in strategic areas.
The official first service of Nova Nada included a famous Christian guitarist joining with Dario, the worship leader. Kent preached with translation, as usual. The room was full with 20-30 people worshiping the Lord, an amazing blessing for this nation. Kent was also the founding pastor of a church plant 20 years ago, and they had their official new location that was purchased by the new church and Croatian pastor - Ziva Nada (Living Hope). We felt very privileged to be a part of this opening celebration.
Jenny traveled by bus to the Oasis Conference for women that was held not too far from where we lived. It was fun to be with other Croatian women at her table and see dear friends from Bosnia as well.
Merle had two opportunities to sail with Jarod and the men who are encouraging him in the sailing ministry in which he is involved. Sailing is an amazing environment for experiential learning opportunities and transformation. All the men strategized together to develop ministry plans for this type of outreach.
We had a fruitful time in Trogir, Croatia, especially harvesting olives! We had wanted to be involved with harvesting olives to see how it was done, and when Mona mentioned at church that she would do that the next day, we volunteered. It was fun, though we were sore the next two days! One tree yielded 7 bags of olives! It will be made into olive oil for Mona's family. She picked us up and also fed us dinner at the end of the day, after Merle used his innovation to use the blue tarp to catch the falling olives, as we raked them off the tree.
We received an email telling us that our friend and neighbor, Delores, was in the hospital and not doing well. Since Merle is named as the executor of her estate, we felt compelled to have one of us to return to the States. Since Merle needed to be in Bosnia to send our shipping container, he would have to stay, but I worked hard to get back as soon as I could.
We closed out our apartment, cleaned, packed, rented a car, brought along a friend, Ron, to drive the car back to Croatia and made our way to Sarajevo, about a 6 hour journey. We weren't sure where we would stay since our friends, Sutka and Zejnil, weren't ready for us and had to move all their possessions from their old house to the new one that weekend. We checked and moved into the apartment we were in before above the basement where our household goods were being stored. Everything worked out and we stayed there for a week, well, Merle did, as I flew out on Saturday. It was a whirlwind! Before I left, I went to the dentist to get the permanent crown, the doctor for a followup, a haircut at Azra's and visiting over coffee, breakfast with Belmin, his wife and baby girl, and said goodbye to our home group - Asima and Sutka. We are trying to sell our jeep, but it can not be imported into Bosnia, so it is a special case and difficult to find the right buyer. The funds it would generate could help with our shipment, as we haven't receive enough to cover that cost.
The last report I heard before I boarded the plane on Sat., Nov. 3, was the other neighbors nor the nurses could get Delores to wake up in the rehab place. Delores is 87 and has no family. Her husband died 18 years ago, and they never had children. She refused to eat or take her medicine. I wasn't sure if she would still be alive by the time I got to Lookout Mountain, GA.
As it turned out, she improved almost immediately, after they moved her to a different facility, was willing to eat again, and take her medication. The picture of Merle and Delores is from early 2017, when we purchased property in the ravine between her property and ours on Lookout Mt. near Chattanooga. The fellow in the yellow is another neighbor, Raymond, who feeds her cat and visits her every day. She is getting therapy to build her strength and the nurses plan to have her move home on Nov. 21st. Merle returns to Atlanta Nov. 26th.
Well, FINALLY, the shipment was sent! It was supposed to be on Tuesday morning, Nov. 5, postponed until afternoon, then to Wednesday morning, then afternoon, and finally Thursday morning. Then the semi-base wheels weren't grabbing to go up the hill into the driveway, as it had rained. It parked across the street, and the goods were transported to it in Ahmed's van, and on the truck with the arm for the piano (above). Yikes! When they finally pulled away, Merle headed off to the bank and found out that they no longer give cash from a visa card. He could pull money from the ATM, but there was daily limit, so it took several days to accomplish the payment. All these types of complications are normal on the mission field, but they don't necessarily get easier. We still have not received quite enough for the cost of the shipment. Please consider blessing us by making a contribution on the give tab to cover this one-time expense. THANK YOU!!
Delores getting special treatment and therapy. Below: Relatives/friends Tiffany and Charlie with their "little" puppies, who opened their home to Lydia and I when we were visiting Delores. It is great to see and spend time with my kids. I sure have missed them!! I look forward to our family being all together for the Holidays!
My goodness, our life is complicated! But full of wonderful and special people, whom we love. Bless them all, Lord, as they seek to know You. And remember to thank the Lord for the blessings he has poured into YOUR life and tell your children about them, so that a generation yet unborn will also know HIM! Be full of joy and give thanks with a FULL heart!