Larry returned to Serbia in December, to help the church make food/hygiene packages and host a Christmas dinner. His goal in ministry there is to always come alongside the church and help them in their ministries. This mostly includes reaching out to the community by meeting people’s practical needs, namely firewood and gifts to supplement their holidays. As he says, most people wouldn’t die without him; but bringing comfort, making their lives a bit better, and most of all, connecting the lonely with community is so important.
This fall, Zoltán asked him to help paint and refresh the front of the church building. The church is a historical building in this small town; it like many others, had been property of a wealthy Jewish family before the holocaust. After the world wars, and later, after the more recent Serbian war in the 1990s, the building had fallen into disrepair. Zoltán’s church family was able to buy it for a song, but it has required much repair over the years. With donations from the American Baptist Churches and you, Larry has been able to help the church build a new kitchen and dinning hall. The church has been providing meals to the community on Saturdays—often with miraculous resources that Zoltán says come at the exact right time.
Larry had the idea for the church to host a Christmas dinner and invite those in the community they’ve helped recently. Most of these are not part of a church family, and this would be an opportunity for them to see the church and feel its love and fellowship—something they desperately need, perhaps even more than firewood!
As Zoltán was organizing this dinner, the painting contractor working on the church thought it was a great idea, and offered to provide the meat for the meal!
Larry wanted to also give the guests a holiday food and hygiene package. His original idea was to give every one two packages—one for themselves and one to share, continuing the outreach. As we as missional Baptist and Christians know, there’s no greater feeling than being a conduit for sharing God’s blessing with others, and Larry wants these new potential believers to catch that feeling as well. For some reason, the plan for second packages fell through (Larry said he often doesn’t understand exactly what’s going on). But the day of the party he said maybe it was best that the guests didn’t have double the supplies—most came on foot or bike, and their own packages weighed them down! Larry said one old gentleman came with an electric scooter. They loaded him up so full with his own packages and for others, that when he started to leave, the scooter wouldn’t go! Others rode away carefully with their bicycles loaded in the baskets and on the handlebars.
Larry felt the dinner was a success, and one of Zoltán’s sons, Samuel, translated for him as he spoke to the guests. He talked about what Jesus asked us to do: caring for the poor, visiting the sick, being the light. He then thanked Zoltán and the church members for living that out. He invited those who were not part of a church to consider joining the church family and learning from them.
We would like to thank you, our partners in ministry, for helping us encourage these churches in their ministries and enabling us to do what Jesus told us to do. May the Holy Spirit richly bless you, empower and enable YOU to continue to the light this week and into 2022.