Mission to Montenegro newsletter

Blog entry for 20 August 2019

August 2019 Mission to Montenegro Newsletter

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches 
of his glory in Christ Jesus.  To our God and Father 
be glory for ever and ever.  Amen. Phil. 4:19

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

We certainly can testify to the kindness of our God abundantly meeting all our needs even before we knew we had them.

This newsletter, due to the very different kind of month we had, will be a bit different, too, as we recount a few of the many ways God met our needs (some even before we knew we had them) according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

The reason this past month has been SO different than any other is that we knew we had to help Stan’s mother into an improved living situation; our missionary life doesn’t magically exempt us from the weight and seriousness of 1 Tim 5:4. So, in prayerful consultation with siblings, we and Baba C (an affectionate nickname) determined to come back together to Montenegro, Baba C’s native land.

This meant packing up all her belongings to either bring or put into storage, arranging flight tickets as well as wheelchair assistance, ordering needful items not readily available in Montenegro (eg. a walker), all the while going about the daily necessities of life (in less than ideal conditions) and visiting a few churches and family members.

It had been our original intention to visit churches and family members in a concentrated manner in the first part of our trip, so we could stay put helping Baba C during the latter half.  However, God knew better, and our visits to churches and family ended up scattered throughout our time.  Those latter visits were wonderfully refreshing to body and soul; it is so energizing to connect with like-minded brethren!

Regarding Baba C, our first order of business was to make sure she was healthy enough to fly and to establish what health issues we needed to be aware of.  Despite making appointments in the past, she hadn’t kept them, so she hadn’t seen a doctor (any doctor) in more than three years.  We were able to get her into her “regular” doctors on very short notice *and* discover that she’s been blessed with a strong constitution; her inactivity, not illness, is the major contributor in her not feeling well. Knowing that she could physically handle the long flight, we decided to go ahead and purchase her tickets.

Naturally, we ordered our flight tickets months ago, but we made sure to buy the kind with the ability to change return dates for a small fee, knowing there was a distinct possibility of Baba C coming back with us. What blew us away is that when Stan went to buy tickets for Baba C a mere three weeks before our scheduled departure, he was able to get her on the exact same itinerary—all four flights—in August, the busiest vacation month in Europe.  We never dreamed that would happen.

Then, at the beginning of this month, just two weeks before departure,  Stan “happened” to notice that there was a printing error on Baba C's passport.  They had all her names, but in the wrong places.  Of course, that didn't match her ticket and when names don't match, you don't fly.

It took a full week of concentrated effort to get the mess unsnarled--many hours on the phone, hours driving, standing in lines, and more because she had used various variations of her name for years--thus, no two documents were the same, creating a very messy situation.

Fortunately, Southern California has TWO Passport Agencies (where urgently needed passports can be printed—there are only 26 in the whole country) and we visited them both—more than once—but in the end, a corrected passport was issued. We praise God that He brought the error to our attention with still enough time to reprint it and not when denied while boarding the plane.

Leaning on the Lord from whom all mercies flow
We had an amazingly smooth trip over here.  We were mentally prepared to miss our European flights — especially on our last flight (Vienna to Montenegro) which had less than an hour’s layover because it takes time to pass through passport control and trek from one terminal to another — and we figured with a wheelchair, we’d be even slower .

However, our wheelchair assistance impressed us very much.  We were met at every gate in a timely manner by cheerful helpers, assisted through passport control (in Brussels, Vienna, and Podgorica), helped by the airline personnel with carry-ons, and more.  At every juncture, the airport provided what they could:  wheelchair, tram, moveable elevator, even to being hand-carried down steps from an airplane (strapped in a chair).

Blessed with an uneventful trip, we’ve been settling down into old routines and making new ones.  Baba C hasn't experienced the disorientation that we expected but has eagerly been participating in both our daily and church life.

Coffee Klatch Balkan-Style
Since our return, we’ve enjoyed a sweet reunion with the saints here in Niksic.  The Camp Monty sports camp held earlier this month went well, with the gospel clearly and compellingly presented by Saša (a young man from our fellowship).

Saša sharing words of life, Camp Monty 2019
The Lord has been good to grow our NK Church family with the safe arrival of Rebeka P, now three weeks old.

Welcome, Rebeka!
Congratulations to the
Petkovski Family!
These are but a few of God's many kindnesses; we invite you to join us in giving thanks and praise to our Almighty Father.

Looking forward, this next month will be one of transition:  from summer to fall activities, from empty-nesters to elder-care givers, from wrapping up the Book of James to beginning the book of Hebrews in our evening service.  Please remember us in prayer!

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

Stan and Vicki Surbatovich

Original link: https://christianitymontenegro.blogspot.com/2019/08/august-2019-mission-to-montenegro.html
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