The Balkans – October 2022

Bosnia Herzegovina, October 7-16, 2022

“And you were dead in your offenses and sins, in which you previously walked according to the course of this world. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”  Ephesians 2:1-5

30 years ago the region of the world known as the Balkans was in a bitter war sparked by religious and racial hatred. While the scars from that time remain, what we saw was the unity shared in Christ between the 36 pastoral couples at our recent training conference. They came from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and North Macedonia for a week focussed upon Faithfulness in the Midst of Change.

The Lord brought together a special international team for this conference and it was a joy to see how each one uniquely contributed. Daniel and Kate Wurzberg, Kornel and Sara, David and Sandra, and Max did a great job organizing, hosting and translating for everyone.

Pastor Jim and Arline Parris spoke on the theme of change in our lives. Their personal stories, Biblical examples, practical applications and insights into managing the rhythms of life connected with the reality that many of the couples were facing.

Dubi and Sanja Pavlin talked through the seasons of life that a family faces and shared some valuable insights into parenting in the midst of a world that rejects Christ. They were an inspiring example of family that has kept their eyes upon Christ as they lived through personal challenges.

Pastor Will Schraven challenged us to become more like Christ and to lead others to do the same. As pastors, we also need to be reminded to keep the simple priorities and disciplines of our faith part of our daily life. “Live as Jesus Lived” were his words of encouragement!

Zane Williams, who is gifted in children’s ministry, used Ephesians 2:1-10 to masterfully teach the Gospel message. Her creative use of story telling, imagery and illustrations communicated the core truths of salvation in ways that spoke to our hearts and gave us practical ways to teach others.

Pastor Rick and Diana encouraged us to remember how important marriage is to God. Over time and in the midst of change, we can lose our way if our God given purpose and calling as a couple are not clear. A self-guided walk throughout the gardens gave couples a time to talk and pray together.

Peru and Colombia Conference Planning – November 9-16

Rick will be traveling to Peru and Colombia with our partner, Pastor William, to visit with pastors in preparation for the training conferences that we are planning for there in February and April respectively.  Please keep them in your prayers as they seek the Lord’s guidance and discuss possible themes.

Our Peruvian partners, Pastor William and Ruth Evaristo

Ways You Can Pray With Us!

  1. Join us in thanking God for His provision and presence during the Croatia Regional Training. Many commented on how God had spoken to them during the week.
  2. Pray that the couples would follow through with the commitments that they made to the Lord and each other as they continue on in their marriage and ministry.
  3. Pray for the Lord’s guidance as Pastors Rick and William travel to Cusco, Perú and Bogotá, Colombia. May they be an encouragement to the pastoral couples they meet with and plan for the trainings next year!

We are constantly aware that we are Better Together (that’s what our signs say in Croatian) and that you are an amazing part of the Shepherds’ Support team.

Thank you for blessing so many pastoral couples throughout the Balkans with us!

And the Shepherds’ Support Board:
David and Beth Butler, Jack and Nancy Shirley,
Sid and Zane Williams, Daniel and Kate Wurzberg, Connie Troxel