Mission to Montenegro newsletter

Blog entry for 18 March 2020

March 2020 Mission to Montenegro Newsletter

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

Grace and Peace to you in the name of God our Father!

Well, this has been an unprecedented month, epochal in nature.  Truly, a man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps. (Prov. 16:9) But, first things first, a few highlights from the past month:

  • In our morning service, we are still in Exodus 20, looking at the Ten Commandments one by one, having just finished with You shall not make for yourself an idol.  In the evening, Stan preached from the last portion of Hebrews Ch. 5 and beginning of Ch. 6 on the importance of pressing on to maturity.
  • At the end of February, we enjoyed our first Ladies' Fellowship Meeting for the year.  (January is too busy with holidays).  We had a very nice turn-out, a mix of young and old, believers and seekers.  Vicki shared a devotional on the Beauty of Christ, highlighting just two aspects: The Beauty of Christ seen in His Creation (it does our soul good to cultivate the habit of seeing His beauty so evident in the world around us) and the Beauty of Christ as the Savior who really saves (not by giving a checklist on how to live the Christian life but by giving us a new heart).

  • We had a small Danish team here from March 7- 14th.  They held events at both the university and at the EUS (Christian Ministry Student) Center including a Bible study.  We are all very pleased with the seed sown, the plants watered, and evidence of fruit--Soli Deo Gloria.  We are also especially grateful that they were able to finish out their entire time before the rolling travel bans took effect, although it made for a bit of last minute scrambling.  While the team was already scheduled to go back Saturday the 14th (just as Denmark was closing down its borders) Kristina, the 6-month intern we welcomed in January, was not.  However, her organization didn’t want to be responsible for her here with the changing situation and said she had to return as well.  She managed to get the very last seat on the same flights as the other Danes.  God is good!
Danish Corner at Uni

Bible Study 

Covid-19 Impacts:

  • Beginning last week, despite no confirmed cases at the time, the Montenegrin government has been taking progressive steps to be proactive in keeping Covid-19 at bay/slow-spread. Currently, the ports are closed; all foreigners without residence visas are banned from entering; most border crossings are closed; no busses, rail, or flights; all restaurants are closed (except for takeout/delivery); all schools, sports gatherings, religious gatherings, public events are cancelled for a minimum 2 weeks—it is a blanket ban, not dependent on size but type.  As of last night (Mar. 17), Montenegro confirmed its first cases of Covid-19.
  • We cancelled church this past Sunday to comply with the restrictions, but our tech guys are looking into ways to live-stream something; hopefully by this coming Sunday.  We are also prayerfully considering gearing this service to unbelievers that we know who might watch from the privacy of their homes (and whom we know aren't going anywhere). Of course, all prayer meetings, bible studies, and women's meetings are cancelled.  Fortunately, most of the church is connected via Viber, so we are encouraging one another from God's word and keeping up with needs.
  • Our busy spring season of teams and visitors and outreaches has been cancelled, although we are holding out on the All-Believer's Meeting scheduled for May 16th.  We are still in wait-and-see mode regarding summer activities:  the UCCF Student group (June); Benjamin, the pastoral ministries intern (June); Hearing Aid Ministry (July); Camp Monty (July). 

Upcoming Ministry and Prayer Requests:

  • For a bold witness into our community as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Please pray that our hope and resolve be marked by feet firmly standing on the Rock of Salvation, our Lord Jesus Christ that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

  • For God to be merciful to the people of Montenegro and His church and spare many of falling ill and of long-term health consequences.  Please pray also for our own family in the United States. It is a strange feeling to not be able to just hop on a plane if needed.

With great love and appreciation for your ongoing prayers and support,

Stan and Vicki Surbatovich

Original link: https://christianitymontenegro.blogspot.com/2020/03/march-2020-mission-to-montenegro.html
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