Embarrassment in Croatia – Balkans 2017 Report
One of the first things that I had learned quickly on our trip through Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia was that there was still serious mistrust between the people of the three countries.
Hundreds of bullet holes and bombed-out houses stood as grim reminders of the military conflict which had devastated the region only twenty years ago, and it was clear that there were still some deep country-wide wounds that had yet to heal.
I was well aware of this as I stood to introduce myself to a small dinner-club crowd of nearly one hundred on a boat in Croatia. The well-dressed group had come to enjoy a meal and some entertainment on a Sunday afternoon.
And we were the entertainment.
“Hey everyone! It’s so good to be here with you here in Serbia today!”
There was a profoundly awkward pause.
“Umm…” my translator leaned close and spoke softly, “You’re actually in Croatia…”
I stood for a moment in silence and then turned back to face the crowd.
“You know, it’s funny, we’ve been playing shows in Serbia for the last few days and I totally just forgot that we crossed the border today. So this is my first time in Croatia…”
“…and it’s so much BETTER here!”
And the room erupted in laughter.
We were all friends again.
We played a few songs, shared a meal, and then our evangelist friends shared about the life-changing love of Jesus. And many responded.
The truth, of course, was that we couldn’t REALLY choose favorites between the countries. Each one had its own stories – its own highlights. And as we watched God impact lives in each country, we were continually surrounded by people who were easy to love.
The strategy for this trip with evangelists Reid Saunders and Richard Hamlet had been different from previous outreaches – instead of using a festival to reach thousands at once, we had rented out smaller venues and held “dinner parties” across Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia.
30 shows, 3 countries, 11 days: from smoky restaurant back rooms with thirty people to strobe-lit cruise-ship-like nightclubs holding hundreds to dusty courtyards of refugee camps – we got to experience a corner of Eastern Europe in a crazy way.WANT TO PARTNER WITH US IN OUR MISSION TO SHARE THE LOVE OF JESUS WORLDWIDE? CLICK HERE!
And at the end of it all, we looked back and realized that more than 930 people had directly responded to the message of forgiveness and freedom through Jesus.
In Bosnia, a country of 4 million people, but only an estimated 400-500 evangelical Christians, we saw more than 25 people respond to Jesus. Kind of cool to see a more than 5% increase.
At a refugee in Serbia, we watched more than 50 people respond to Jesus. Which, in our experience, is unprecedented.
Over the course of the trip, we laughed and played music with an incredible hand-drummer in a house full of gypsies, we watched waitstaff say “yes” to Jesus, we shared meals and stories with incredible people, and we watched God reach out and pursue thousands of people that He died to rescue.
And this is why we do what we do.
Over the next few months, we’re scheduled to share the love of Jesus in Kenya, Belize, and across the United States – we’re serious about reaching as many people as possible in every country with the message of Jesus, and we’re so thankful for your love, prayer and support.