Mission to Montenegro newsletter
Mission to Montenegro January 2012 Newsletter
We thank the Lord for a very rich and blessed 2011, and we thank all of you for your generous ongoing support, prayer, and encouragements. One change in 2012 is that our newsletter is going to be regularly posted on a blog and thus more public in nature. Currently, until we think of a better solution, we will be writing about most people without mentioning names; but God will know who is meant when we pray for them.
Recent Church/Ministry Events:
Thank you for your prayers for Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoebox distribution.
This is a large project for our small fellowship. Some highlights include:
- We had over 8 Christmas presentations with 200 children and their parents present each time in a large auditorium. We offered free New Testaments to any who wanted and more than a thousand were gladly taken. Please pray that God would mightily use His word in the hearts of those reading it.
- For the first time, we were able to give a presentation in a public school forum, complete with a gospel-oriented Christmas message and credit given to the church (and not merely a generic “humanitarian aid” organization.) This took place in Savnik, a small town about an hour away, and while we had enough Christmas packages for the children, we ran out of New Testaments and the director asked us to come back and bring more!
- Also for the first time, we were able to distribute and minister to Roma (gypsy) children in Niksic.
- In total, we gave away 4000 boxes to children and were very grateful for the many helpers in making this happen: box movers/loaders/unloaders, greeters, distributers, musicians, speakers, and more.
Theft of Church Offering Box.
We were quite shocked to discover that our locked offering box was broken into and a substantial amount of money taken. No windows were broken but some are not hard to pry open if one is determined to do so. Because our meeting facilities are multi-purposed (formal meetings, study groups, mid-week language lessons, and more), a number of believers and non-believers are in and out fairly regularly. We have instituted some new procedures for handling the offerings and will be changing the locks.
Building Relationships: The Ministry of Presence
A large part of the ministry here is getting to know people and establishing ongoing relationships and this past month has been ripe with just such opportunities. We’ve spent time together and shared meals with several (unbelieving) families, including the family of the worker who has been building our stone wall, a long-time but still unbelieving dentist friend, the extended family of young believer, and two different American families who are considering moving to Montenegro as missionaries to minister in the as-yet-unreached interior regions.. Please pray that God will open their hearts to His calling: to repentance, to restoration, to obedience.
For several years now, while US and global economies have been struggling, we have been relatively untouched as Faith Community Church has been supplying what we lacked budget-wise. However, we have been informed by the elders at Faith Community Church that we will need to work together to address this situation. Please pray that the Lord would stir the hearts of His People to give to this work, this outreach to Montenegro, because:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (Romans 10:14-15)
Ongoing and Upcoming Ministry
This month is still a partial holiday month as the schools (K-12) are on break until the beginning of February, and the universities have no classes, just exams scheduled. We, however, began our studies on January 9th as we will be having a busy spring.
Beginning in February, the hospitality aspect of our ministry will take off, with the expected return visit of Rebekka (a young Danish woman who stayed with us this past summer) and her family, followed by hosting a number of Danish Bible students for approximately two weeks. In early March, we are anticipating the arrival of the McLaughlin family from our home church, Faith Community, who will stay with us for three months, helping us and the fellowship with their many talents. Please pray that we would honor the Lord through our hospitality.
We greatly enjoyed our White Christmas together though missing Anna Marie. Amy has been back in the States for two weeks already; Christian leaves in two days.
We are grateful that Josiah has received several college acceptance letters. Now the challenge (and prayer request) is that he would choose that place which will best help him grow spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally.
With great love and appreciation for your ongoing support in this great work of God,
Stan and Vicki Surbatovich
Mission to Montenegro
Prayer Bullet Points:
1. That the newly distributed New Testaments would be read and be a two-edged sword in the hearts of those who read.
2. For the families that we visited during these holidays. That they would be moved to seek God, to fellowship, to know of and learn of Him.
3. That God's Word would be boldly proclaimed from the pulpit, in the mid-week Bible study, in casual conversation, in counseling, in every opportunity that God grants.
4. For the university students who are grappling with the Big Questions of Life, that they would meet the Giver of Life.
5. For the unbelieving families of church members: wives, husbands, children, siblings, the extended family of everyone (no multi-generational Christian families here--these are the first converts in the country).
6. For an improved financial situation for Mission to Montenegro.