Things changed for Luke two days before the Crucible. He did something that was unacceptable though rather common, but the timing was bad, as a senior officer was checking each recruit's feet for blisters. To match all the yelling, tension, and intimidation that is boot camp, they told him he would have to go back to "Day 1". That was more than he could bear, to endure not three months but six months of boot camp. So with a conversation about the anxiety and sleeplessness he was having with a counselor, he was processed out. He had to sit through a lengthy process for about two weeks, but came home last week. One interesting thing that happened to him during training was that he took three language tests in Croatian, Serbian, and Russian, and passed all three! He was also one of the top four in his platoon in physical ability and riflery. After this disappointing turn of events, he is now adjusting to culture shock of a different kind than he has experienced before and is decompressing. I didn't recognize him at the airport! His stature changed and he put on some weight. He looks more manly! He wants to grow his hair out now, too, naturally. He enjoys being back at home.
We took the opportunity of the Labor Day weekend to have a family gathering at the Nantahala River again, this time including Luke. We sat around the campfire, rafted down the easy white water river, and just "chilled" together. Lydia had a little practice taking our blood pressure. It may take Luke a little time to press forward with much zeal after the letdown of a sudden change in his plans. Going forward in his life requires a car and a job. Anyone have suggestions or perhaps a decent vehicle at an affordable price for him?
Dejan, from our house church/home group in Bosnia, reported about the surgery for his mother. She had a tennis ball-sized tumor in her brain and it was a miracle that after surgery she could see, hear, and speak! Please continue to pray for her full recovery, and if you are able to help with the costs involved to provide care for her as she is in rehabilitation (2000KM for one month), please join us in helping him with this expense. Donate above and drop us an email to let us know how much you are able to donate to help him cover this financial cost. We will then make a deposit into his bank in Sarajevo. Thank you so much, for these kind of costs are difficult to pay on a Bosnian salary.
Another couple from New Zealand, serving in Bosnia, had a shock when the wife, Maria, only 55, died suddenly in her sleep, in August, from a heart attack. She was buried in Bosnia, as had been her request, above right. They have a working dairy farm in the back hills of Bosnia and the locals loved them because they were honest and fair, actually paying them for their work, which often doesn't happen in Bosnia.
Our former teammate, Tom, and his 90 yr. old mother, in Indiana recently came down with COVID-19. They are improving. He and his wife travel between the US and Hungary when a pandemic isn't holding them up. Liz, another former Bosnian missionary is visiting from Texas at the end of September. It is easier to be understood by those who experienced the same joys and sorrows of service to Bosnia.
We had a get-together with another family who have served over 10 years in Sarajevo, at the home of Sean and Heather, our dear fellow workers from Sarajevo. Their neighborhood has a pool, so we had a great time. It is strange for us all to be in the United States, when our hearts are so planted in Bosnia. The American community was very connected in Sarajevo, especially through the Ladies Bible Study, where we prayed for each other and encouraged each other with scripture. It makes us all long for heaven, where we can be together with our Bosnian, as well as American, brothers and sisters. And the Lord!
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you, to the very end of the age." Matt 28:19-20