We just returned recently from conducting a conference in Croatia that was extremely well received.
We had the benefit of having Sid and Zane Williams with us. They have been involved in Croatia for the past decade or more. Their familiarity with the culture and giftedness in working with the children completed us as a team. Zane did very creative object lessons before each of my messages that went along with my theme. Much would have been lost without their ministry alongside of us. And it was a serendipitous (I love that word) delight traveling with them.
Again we felt God’s presence in so many ways. Many of these leaders came from other countries, tired and discouraged and God used the conference to renew, encourage and equip them to go back to their people realizing His presence was going with them. We will let some of the written responses from attendees complete this report. The first three were organizing pastors who, though coming from different denominational backgrounds, worked together to make the conference what it was. A fourth pastor, Ivan, was also involved in the leadership of the conference.
Daniel Mrsic wrote:
It was a blessing to have pastors with wives and children from Macedonai, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia. They came from 5 different denominations. Participants were especially blessed by the fellowship among them. Some had not seen each other for more than 10 years, due to the war or serving at different denominations. It was beautiful to see them worshipping together, praying for each other, sharing at meal times, walking or swimming together. The teaching and sharing by Pastor Steve and Connie were very practical, honest, Biblical, encouraging and challenging. We all felt renewed, encouraged to go on in the ministry and lifted up. …….Pastors have continued to contact us after the conference was over to thank us for this wonderful opportunity to come together and be refreshed. Thank you for your ministry and support to make this happen.
Mihal Kreko wrote:
We are still processing what God has done for us and the Christian leaders in our region by this conference….We saw the power of God demonstrated in bringing and unifying his people in Jesus Christ by His Spirit and Word. This was the underling value of this conference. ..Knowing that we live at the Balkans and have been “balkanized” (Balkanization is a geopolitical term originally used to describe the process of fragmentation or division of a region into smaller regions that are often hostile or non-cooperative with each other)….this conference was indeed a miracle of God. Steve, thanks for focusing on Jesus. When He is lifted up He draws all people to Himself. Jesus was lifted up and was as a divine magnet drawing all of us to Himself. And the result? Joy, love, peace—SOLA DEO GLORIA!
Nenad Jambrovic wrote:
We are grateful that you enabled this conference for all pastors and their spouses from ex Yugoslavia. It was a real blessing for all that we had a chance to spend some time together and encourage each other. We enjoyed your preaching a lot and we all agree that your experience in leadership that you shared with us will be very useful. Many said that this is what they need in their service………. People left the conference encouraged not only with the message, but also with friendships. And what is most important they are more prepared for new challenges to come. It was really inspiring to see brothers from all denominations saying that this is the only way to move forward. We thank the Lord for all of you and the great encouragement that you brought to pastors from the Balkans.
Davor and Sandra Kukec, directors of Family Life Croatia, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ wrote:
Dear friends, I have to say that I came to the conference broken, as God had revealed my sin, and brought it before my face that exact day that we drove to the conference. He prepared me to hear His Word and I have to say that His Word was clear and cutting deep into my soul, healing me and bringing me fresh insights into his love and forgiveness. Pastor Steve and his wife Connie spoke with profound clarity, and it was obvious that God had used them in my life, the life of my wife, and the lives of many other pastors. Never before has anyone been able to bring so many pastors and Christian workers with such different and diametrically opposed views under the same roof and had them united in worship and fellowship. Pastor Steve made it very clear that much of what we are doing as Christians here in our area will depend on our fellowship and cooperation. No wonder that at the end, the general consensus was that we want Steve and Connie back. Thank you for enabling them to come. The ripple effects of their visit will be visible for a long time in our area.
We are extremely humbled by the comments and realize that all glory (SOLA DEO GLORIA) does go to Him. We are still learning that “without Him we can do nothing.” (John 15:5). It is fun and challenging to see where He takes us in our journey in life.
Again, a special thanks to Wayside Chapel that provided the funding for this conference. Thank you for your prayer support which was so evident during the conference.
Have a great day, because it is one,
Pastor Steve and Connie