International Ministries

Pray for Nora and Pieter Kalkman, building bridges of help and hope between Christians in the USA and the people of Europe.

February 29, 2012 PrayerCall
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Nora and Pieter are based in Prague, Czech Republic where they serve through International Ministries as liaison and volunteer coordinators with the European Baptist Federation (EBF). They match the skills and interests of short term mission volunteers from the United States and Puerto Rico with the needs of more than 50 Baptist unions that are part of the EBF.  There are only 2.4% Bible believing Christians in Europe, making this is a priority mission field. 

They write: ‘Record-ever’ snowfall cut many homes off, in Bosnia last week. The elderly struggle for survival, with over 50% unemployment. Winters are especially difficult to make ends meet. I just returned yesterday after a 1500 miles trip driving almost continuously through fairly severe snowy conditions and extreme colds (-8 F/ -22 C), action compelled by love for Christ.

Mostly, we visited single elderly women, who had no one to provide for them. It is particularly hard for them to make ends meet this winter. They face shortages of wood for the furnace and food on the table. International Ministries was able to help this year with an initiative of the Baptist Union in Sarajevo, enabling them to reach out to those in need. We pray for them for ways out of poverty and are thankful for one of the ladies who started selling products she had sewed herself. Now she was putting ‘love in action’ as she was training other ladies to sew to help support themselves. With joy I learned a local factory had been started up again after more than a decade, providing a full time job to a person who traveled with us. It would give her the common salary of 300 Km/ monthly ($200), great in helping to survive the winter, but insufficient to move out of poverty. However, my initial joy turned into mixed feelings when I learned that it was a grenade- factory (a reminding of the double layers of trouble we face in this world).  

I was deeply impressed and encouraged by Bob, one of our volunteers in Sarajevo, to whom God has given a heart for the Balkans. Since the recent Balkan wars he has made several trips to this priority mission field and needy part of the world. This time he showed ‘love in action’ by giving seminars on how to get out of the unemployment cycle, how to start a small business. I was encouraged by his dedication and pray that the seeds he planted in the hearts of the participants will bear fruit in their lives and for the region. Haris, one of the participants, considers a bi-vocational future in which self employment may help him realize his dream to become a missionary out of Bosnia. I also pray that Bob may return to the Balkan area soon for a longer time and offer the workshops in more towns, at a more accessible season of the year. ‘Love in action’ is helping people to build their future.