Courage in the Face of Arrest in Serbia
I slid the chair out and sat down next to my daughter, making a real effort to smile and make eye contact with each of my new Serbian friends as I scooted my knees forward, brushing the crisp white tablecloth.
“Thank you for the very good music!” Our young translator, Misha, smiled widely and nodded to me as he spoke.
“Thank you for having us, and for your kind words!”
I found myself working hard to make sure I was being pleasant and sincere. Our hosts were genuine, kind, and welcoming, but I was fighting fatigue – we had been traveling through Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia for almost ten days and had already performed nearly twenty times in restaurants, nightclubs, and refugee camps.
Across the table, an older gentleman with gentle eyes and a full head of jet-black hair gestured to Misha and spoke animatedly, turning back to me and smiling when he had finished.
“This is my father – he says that the music was very much a blessing to him. Many of these people are from his church – he started it several years ago after God saved our family and he left his life as a prominent Communist leader and an atheist.”
“What?” I completely forgot that I had been tired – Misha’s comment had been casual, but the information was incredible, “How did this happen?”
“It was because of my brother,” he nodded across the room, indicating another man with jet-black hair and glasses, sitting close to a smiling woman and several young children, “He got very sick with cancer and the doctors gave him only a few months to live.”
“Wow. How long ago was this?”
“This was around twenty years ago – the country was ruled by the Communists, and my father was an important member of the Communist party. At that time it was different than it is now – when this country was part of Yugoslavia – and it was illegal to be a Christian. If you knew that someone was a Christian, you were required to report it to the government.”
“Seriously? This was only a few years ago…”
“Yes. You would get into a lot of trouble if you failed to report something like this, but my Aunt – my mother’s sister – was a Christian, and she came to my father and told him that she needed to pray for my brother – that she believed God would heal him. She told him ‘Report me if you have to, but I have to pray for your son.’”
“Wow – that’s incredible courage…”
“Yes. She prayed for my brother in the name of Jesus and he was healed completely. We took him to the doctor – a woman who did not believe in God, and when she saw what had happened, she asked my father, ‘Do you follow God?’ He told her that someone had prayed for my brother for healing, and the doctor said ‘Don’t let go of that God – this is a true miracle.’”
I shook my head, momentarily speechless, which – for those who know me – is also a minor miracle.
“My father saw what had happened and decided that it was more important to follow God than to keep his position in the Communist party, so he gave his life to Jesus and left everything to follow him. Now, everything you see tonight – these people from several churches – are here because of the church he planted.”
“That is absolutely incredible – God is so good…. And all of these people are here because one brave woman chose to obey Jesus even though she could’ve been arrested and imprisoned, or worse…”
“And now I am working with my father,” Misha smiled his wide smile again “God is so good!”
After our meal was finished, one of our evangelists shared the incredible love of Jesus with the crowd, most of whom were of Gypsy heritage. Many people responded, saying “Yes” to the free gift of forgiveness, freedom, and new life available through Jesus alone.
Lives were changed, beautiful people were set free, and the church – the church that had been planted by a transformed atheist Communist leader – grew stronger.
And this is why we do what we do.WANT TO PARTNER WITH US IN OUR MISSION TO SHARE THE LOVE OF JESUS WORLDWIDE? CLICK HERE!
Our entire Eastern European “tour” included 30 shows in 3 countries in 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.
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.
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.