Remember, Reflect, and Rejoice!
As Jenny writes her memories of our last 20 years as missionaries in Sarajevo, Bosnia and relives much of the stress and heartache of a number of challenging situations, she can become weary. But reflecting on God’s amazing work in and through us as we served others is truly inspirational. God has been so good to draw people to Himself and fulfill our dreams in the process. We planted a church with a team for 5 years, which multiplied into three churches, distributed Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child boxes, helped establish Nova Nada Ministry Center in town, leading a seekers worship and teaching time. Merle embarked on Nova Zora, New Dawn Outdoor Experiential and Leadership Training Ministry. We adopted two children from Russia, to add to our family of three, Jenny wrote newsletters, led worship, home schooled three children, and entertained many guests. We were very busy and in constant motion, it seemed, but God used us to further His Kingdom in that place. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive. Merle gave advice which we only recently have come to understand the blessing those words were to the recipients. We learned about Islam, especially Bosnia’s variety, heard war stories, watched people’s lives grow and change, and crumble. We lived life with them.
Many dear and generous friends supported us in prayer and financial gifts, without which we wouldn’t have been able to be there at all, sent “smart wool socks” when we were freezing in Sarajevo, sent candy, cards, money, and PB to lonely kids. Teams freely gave equipment, and provided snowboards and boots so that Merle could invite everyone to come with him to the mountain. A church gave us $4000 which we used to buy a raft, and a business in CA gave vests, helmets, and paddles, to thrill those hearts able to raft the Neretva River and experience the beauty of God’s creation in beautiful Bosnia, when they usually just sat in a café and drank coffee with their friends. WinShape provided climbing rope, harnesses, and training. Churches sent cards, Christmas bonuses, opened their mission houses and Sunday school classes to us, and gave us funds to fly back to Bosnia. There are so many stories, it is like John telling about Jesus in John 21:25, “If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”
It truly has been a wonderful life, full of ups and downs, stresses and joys, full of LIFE!
And as we press on to the goal, in January, Lord willing, we are heading to a YWAM base on Saint Croix, to assist at a discipleship training school and in other ministries. Merle’s friend, Nick, also is living there on his catamaran, through which Merle hopes to increase his experience and outreach. We are moving forward in faith, as God provides for us. To Him be the glory!
Isn't it cool how God is the same through all the generations: Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Paul, Martin Luther, my parents, me, my children, future grandchildren, and so many others. The Lord is the constant as the generations come and go. Strengthen your own faith, by reading and meditating on the Word, and pass on the baton of faith.
Take time in your own life to remember, reflect, and rejoice! Rejoice in all the good things God has given to you. It really is a wonderful life, difficulties and all. You only get one. You might as well choose to enjoy it every step of the way!
May God bless you in this most holy of nights, the birth of our famous Savior of the world - Jesus.
Love to you all,
Merle and Jenny
“Rejoice in all the good things the Lord has given you and your household.” Deuteronomy 26:11
“Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21