Mission to Montenegro newsletter

Blog entry for 17 October 2022

October 2022 Mission to Montenegro Newsletter

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When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. Col. 2:13, 14

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

Autumn has arrived and we've returned to post-summer rhythms and routines, all with the aim of bringing others to be made alive in Christ.


In our morning service, Stan wrapped up John's telling of Lazarus's death and resurrection, a powerful sign that we might glorify God and believe Jesus is the resurrection and the life.  

In the evening, Stan finished the prologue found in Rev. 1 which wonderfully builds on OT scriptures and prophecies and sets forth that Jesus is the fulfillment of all.  

With so many people gone in August, we skipped our Fellowship Lunch that month which in turn made September’s gathering extra special!

At the Ladies’ Brunch Outreach in September,  Vicki was asked to speak on the last fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5: self-control.  We saw how godly self-control is rooted in the freedom Christ has secured for us.  Without Christ, we are enslaved to our passions.  With Christ, we can thwart our foolish desires thereby gaining the liberty to live and love as we are meant to do.

The OM ship Logos Hope docks in Bar, MNE, this week!  We will be joining in on the opening ceremonies, Saturday the 22nd.   Events are held on and off the ship, and they will be a mix of cultural appreciation (because ship volunteers are from all over the world) and specific Christian teaching.  Please pray that God would open the hearts of many to desire truth and to follow after it even when the ship is gone.  Pray especially for the Mosaic Church in Bar to be able to meet and follow up with those interested.

Along with various individuals, we are expecting three (!) teams from the Logos Hope in November, immediately followed by a Danish Bible School group.  Please pray for us as we prepare events and activities for them to engage in as well as for the logistics in providing hospitality to a full house. 

We give thanks to the Lord above for all of you reading this newsletter, praying faithfully, supporting us sacrificially; you are God's blessing to us and His people in Montenegro.  To God be the glory!

With great love and appreciation,

Stan and Vicki Surbatovich

Vicki's Snapshot:  Autumn life and LIFE!

With the arrival of autumn, there is a decided chill in the evening air and with it, the reminder to hurry and get wood for winter heating. Every day now we see and hear great logs of wood being delivered, chopped up, stacked—everyone racing to get done to beat the coming rainy season.

Modern machinery to cut and split logs

These sights, sounds, and smells remind me of our first autumn experience of preparing for winter….     

Coming from Southern California, we had rarely needed to use heat in the winter and when we did, a simple turn of the dial on the gas heater did the trick.  Upon our arrival in Niksic, we soon discovered that wood logs were the main source of fuel.  The vast majority of households—homes and apartments alike—have two stoves, a wood-burning one and an electric one, with each being used in the season most conducive to maximizing (winter) or minimizing (summer) heat output.  

Stacked wood for apartment dwellers

These stoves heat the main living space, usually a connected or one-room kitchen/dining/living room area.  Bedrooms are often unheated (remember our first night at Stanojka’s with the windows purposely opened while snow lay on the ground?) or selectively heated with a plug-in electric radiator.

It was a day of great excitement for us when our first truckload of wood arrived.  Instant climbing fun for the kids!  A moment of awe with a pinch of dread for us adults when we saw that HUGE pile.

Let the fun begin!

Fortunately, Stan’s nephew Vlado, the one who picked us up from the airport the night of our arrival, kindly helped us that first season.  (No modern cut-and-split machines back then!) Although on the scrawny side, he was a mighty expert with the axe, splitting the larger pieces into usable firewood. He soon got his rhythm going:  setting up a log, lifting the axe, smashing it down, tossing the neat wedges into a pile.  Our giant heap of jumbled wood slowly transformed into just-right-sized chunks for laying a fire. 

When meal time arrived, we invited Vlado to join us and he gladly accepted.  Knowing how much a hungry young man can eat, especially with the energy he had been expending, I wanted to make sure that Vlado had plenty to fuel him up.  Holding out the platter of meat, I racked my brain for the right words, and triumphantly came up with “Hočes li miše?” (Would you like more?)

Much to my surprise, everyone burst out laughing. For the want of one correct letter, I had mixed up the word for more (više) with mouse (miše).  Oops.  But, since I wasn’t really offering up a mouse on a platter, Vlado did help himself to više.  

We saw much of Vlado that first year before his departure to the coast in search of better employment.  Along with splitting our wood, he helped stack it which is an art unto itself.  He often came over to play “uncle” to the kids, the boys especially loving Montenegrin roughhousing. He joined us for many a meal.  And though we hadn’t yet started any kind of regular bible studies or meetings, by God’s grace and work, Vlado heard the gospel and came to faith.  He was the first to be baptized.

          Baptism in the Adriatic Sea                                            Vlado, a happy man in Christ

Soli Deo Gloria!

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