Merle’s trip this summer to Sarajevo, Bosnia
Mladen is pastor of the Breza Church. Here he is leading worship and preaching. He
also has bee hives and a hazelnut tree farm on his property for future income.
Merle was able to visit with a number of friends and believers in Sarajevo. He was
discouraged about the church in Sarajevo, as the believers are either moving elsewhere
or dropping off. He was able to visit old neighbors and make new friends, too!
Refugees sleeping on the street near the bus station – this is a bad picture, but I wanted
to be discreet. They roam the streets and the locals don’t know what to do, but want to
help if they can. Some people posing as refugees are taking advantage of transient
vulnerable people for trafficking. A friend of ours in the police department said they
busted a group, but that is only one of many. It is a difficult situation. Some groups are
trying to feed them two meals a day.
Going back to Bosnia was a difficult trip. I had many mixed feelings. The believers seem
to be falling away or are very stagnant in their faith. All churches and ministries seem to
be dealing with the same issues. The church just doesn’t seem to be growing though we
know that God causes the growth even while we are sleeping! (1 Cor. 3:7, Mark 4:27)
Islam is growing with a greater Arab influence coming into Bosnia and becoming more
visible. The spiritual darkness is pretty heavy, with an atmosphere of division, anger,
frustration, and hopelessness. Also Syrian refugees are now coming into Bosnia as there
seems to be no access as the EU closes its door. The brightest light in this darkness is the
Evangelical camp at the lake in the mountains. The camp low ropes equipment and the
zip line were in good shape from last year’s repair work I did, so I helped others prepare
the camp. Camp Emek Baraka (Bosnian Evangelical Camp) is a wonderful environment
for transformation. Many hands made light work to prepare the grounds and buildings
for kids and families to come and experience transformation at summer camp.
This picture is how I found Merle, as he didn’t have phone service or internet. Katie sent
this picture and I contacted her and asked her to get a message to Merle because I
couldn’t reach him. Finally I was able to tell him his sister’s lung cancer suddenly turned
for the worse. He cut his trip short and flew out the next day. Due to many delays, he
missed his flight, slept in the Newark Airport, and we did not make it to Ohio before
Linda passed. We stayed for her funeral and visited with his family for a few days.
More pictures of friends and food in Bosnia!
Dear neighbors Halima, Edo, and Sabina, Bahra (our first landlady), & Sutka’s son, Haris
(From left to right) Belmin and Indira, with their new baby, Ema, Radoslav, Sarajevo night
Praises and Prayer Requests
Merle was able to give Stipe and Violeta over $400 for his medical bills, for which they
were really excited! They said to tell everyone thank you and they were very grateful!
They also needed encouragement and he was able to share the gospel several times.
Merle is very busy finishing the renovations to the house in which we are living as well
as repairing the Kennesaw house before new renters. Pray that Merle finishes all the
remodeling in a timely fashion. Our rental house is in need of new quality renters. We
have been working very hard to clean and repair it, as the income it provides pays
toward Lydia’s college expenses.
Merle will be going to Barbuda in October to work with Samaritan’s Purse replacing
roofs on buildings destroyed a year ago (!) during Hurricane Irma. Pray for
opportunities to see what the Lord is doing, to share Christ, and for safety from
mosquitoes and heat exhaustion. Pray for our final preparations to return to the
mission field in October, as well as any specific instructions from the Lord.
Pray for good positions for Allan and Hannah as they are moving from Cedar Campus in
MI by the end of August. Pray for God’s guidance and wisdom as they examine the
opportunities before them.
Lydia is in college at Gordon State College in Barnesville, GA. She is rooming with her
bestie from High school. So far, so good! Pray for protection physically and spiritually, and wisdom, as she is at a secular college. You may not have heard that one of our
supporters gave her a car! WOW! Here it is:
Jenny’s 4th grade Sunday school class graduated to 5th grade! Missing them! She
finished her challenging Church History class and will finish the two-year seminary
sequence with her last class, Missions, to be completed on Oct. 2nd. Also, her ears have been ringing and it is annoying at times – please pray for complete healing.
We returned from a family reunion with Jenny’s siblings and it was fun to be together
again. We had a reunion two years ago and saw them at Hannah’s wedding in April of
last year, but we don’t get together often, especially when we are overseas, so it was
really delightful to be together. We are one of the amazing families that get along well!
Luke has a fulltime job with Coreslab. Yay! Pray for his perseverance in the August heat
and growth into independence, as he will have to move into his own place within two
months. Luke is very happy to have the Lexus (given to Hannah years ago) to drive!
We are continually praising God for his provision! He has been amazing to meet our
needs, even though is it usually at the last moment. When we look back, we are
amazed by Him. As we look forward, we do trust Him, but there are many unanswered
questions and we are patiently waiting for direction and answers.
Thank you all for praying. We are desperate for God at all times. To God be the glory!
May God be glorified through our lives - here or there, or anywhere!
All glory to You, Lord!
Jenny, Merle, Hannah & Allan, Lydia, and Luke