In 1990 I had an opportunity to go over to Yugoslavia with the youth group of Calvary Chapel of Vista on a short-term mission. We spent a lot of time sharing our faith with people on the streets, in night clubs, etc. I was shocked to find out that many people in Yugoslavia have never heard the Gospel before! I found it exhilarating being the first messenger to tell them things like: “God loves you,” “Christ died for your sins,” “Through Christ you can have a relationship with God (eternal life),” etc. Toward the end of that outreach I began to pray and ask the Lord if it might be his will I move to Yugoslavia. I asked him to make it clear before we go back to the States and He did! After praying, the next day, Brian Broderson came up to me, who was leading the outreach, and asked if I would be interested in coming back to help out with the new church that was starting on the streets of Subotica. My heart was filled with joy and I immediately accepted. After a short v isit back to the States, I packed my bags and returned to Yugoslavia. I began learning the language and mainly devoted my time to one-on-one evangelism and discipleship during my first year. I got to lead many people to Christ and help them grow in their faith. Soon the Lord began leading me into other kinds of ministry besides one-on-one work: preaching/teaching the Word of God in group settings, leading worship on the keyboard, serving refugees and poor people through distributing humanitarian aid, starting new church plants in cities where there was no church, leading seminars and organizing conferences, etc. In 1994 I married a beautiful Serbian girl named Jelena. Together we moved around to different areas devoting ourselves to spreading the Gospel and planting churches. We have three children: Benjamin, Sara and Hana. A few years ago after discovering that our youngest daughter has autism, we started becoming more and more interested in reaching out to familie s affected by disabilities. Once a year, with the help of an organization called “Joni & Friends,” we have something called family retreats. We invite non-Christian families that have kids with special needs to these retreats where we: have Christian volunteers babysit their children to give the parents a break, have teaching from the Word of God on subjects like – “God’s perspective on disabilities,” “How to cope with disabilities – a relationship with Christ,” have fun activities (swimming, talent shows, music, etc.)… At this point in our lives, evangelizing, counseling and discipling people with special needs have become our main ministries. We are still very much involved in helping church planters, but more as a mentoring role at this stage. We have a vision to develop a center where we would have various services for people with disabilities. This would be the first such Christian center ever developed in this country.
HOW TO HELP
CONSTANT PRAYER NEEDS
- To maintain and enjoy a rich, love relationship with Christ all the days of our life.
- Strength, hope and courage – As we live with the challenges of raising a child with autism in a country with very few services available.
- Financial support – for food and other basic necessities and also for expenses of ministries that we are involved in.