Category Archives: News & Stories

A Dose of Holy Spirit Encouragement

I’m having a blast here is Kratovo, Macedonia. We’ve got a class that includes (among others) four ex-addicts who “love much because they’ve been forgiven much.” Listening to the stories of how Jesus apprehended them for the Kingdom has been a delight to my heart. But I find their passion to grow in grace and to become history-makers is just as thrilling.

I’d had a few days last week of wrestling with the worth of all this traveling around and teaching about the Kingdom. But here in this little Macedonian village the Holy Spirit has given me a full-strength dose of encouragement. One local pastor pulled me aside yesterday to tell me how last year’s Kingdom teaching has been impacted his ministry in the local church. And to add the icing to an already sweet time, yesterday four of the students from last month’s school in Constanza Romania showed up here in Kratovo to sit in on class.

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(Above is a few of the students and friends). Thanks to all of you who are praying. God is faithful. I’ll do my best to keep the simple updates coming.

A Go At Simplicity

Been sick since returning from my travels to Romania and England last week. I was so anxious to be back in my own bed again, only now to be confined to my apartment around the clock. (It’s just a bad chest cold, and I think it’s finally turned a corner today).

It’s occurred to me that one of the things that keeps me from updating my website and blog more regularly is a gnarly bent towards perfectionism. I slave away for hours over a couple of paragraphs because I want them to be profound, well constructed snapshots of my life. The obvious problem here is that is my life is neither well-constructed, nor profound. Case in point: I began my trip by missing the one and only train from Sarajevo to Budapest, and finished it by missing my flight from England. (I went to the wrong airport!) So why pretend to have it together?

Busses, trains, and airports are not my friends. I just hate to travel these days. But students and young people are always the carrot at the end of the stick. Last night as I was pouring over travel plans for my next trip, (Leaving for Macedonia and Romania again this Sunday), I asked the Lord, “Is all this really worth it?” Really, it’s expensive, hazardous, and inconvenient. Why can’t I just spend my time loving people right here in Sarajevo? I didn’t hear any audible voice, but He reminded me of Leah, who came up to me after class in Romania. After completing a missions degree at a respected Christian college and serving for more than a year on the Romanian mission field, she said, “I just wanted to thank you for teaching us about the kingdom today. I’ve been thinking there must be more to all this than what I knew.” Or even my good buddy, Larry, back home. He says, “Well Don, if the kingdom is all that, then how come you seem to be the only person I know who’s preaching it?”

The Romanians captured my heart again with their warmth and affection. They have a gift of making everyone feel like a part of the family.

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England, on the other hand, takes your breath away with it’s beauty and style. Both countries reflect a unique aspect of God’s glory.

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The English school was my first chance to teach for a whole week on the kingdom. Typically I do three days on Biblical Worldview, and then spend two days developing the worldview of the Kingdom. It’s a good study in contrast between the death and destruction of (for instance) Communism, Postmodernism, and Islam, and the beauty and life of the Kingdom. But this time I had a whole week to develop the glories of the kingdom. Wasn’t sure, at first, if I’d have enough material. But by the week’s end I was wishing for more time.

So… today the sun is shining in Sarajevo, my cold is beginning to break, and I plan on getting out of this stinking apartment and meeting some friends in town for coffee.

First Post from Sarajevo

I returned to Sarajevo on February 7th after a humming three months in the States. It’s always amazing to me, when I’m in America, the opportunities God opens up for concerts, programs, and ministry. And this trip was no exception. It made me wonder if perhaps I ought to be taking my musical gifts more seriously. It certainly meant little rest at home, and a pace that kept me in constant motion.

But now I’m back in Bosnia, and the time for talking about these things has passed. My return was surprisingly smooth, with none of the despair and hopelessness that typically clobbers me before I’ve unpacked my suitcases. But this time was different. It’s not an external thing, as if Sarajevo has suddenly been hit with a surge of hope, but rather an internal posture of my own heart which seems to have found a deeper place of rest. There’s a new confidence in my spirit that God really can use me here. And it feels wonderfully good.

Recently I came across this quote that sums up something of what I’m seeing:

“The … work of the non-professional missionary is essentially to live his daily life in Christ, and therefore with a difference, and to be able to explain, or at least to state, the reason and cause of the difference to men who see it… His preaching is essentially private conversation, and has at the back of it facts, facts of a life which explain and illustrate and enforce his words… It is such missionary work, done consciously and deliberately, that the world needs today. Everybody, Christian and pagan alike, respects such work; and, when it is so done, men wonder, and inquire into the secret of a life which they instinctively admire and covet for themselves… The spirit which inspires love of others and efforts after their well-being, both in body and soul, they cannot but admire and covet–unless, indeed, seeing that it would reform their own lives, they dread and hate it, because they do not desire to be reformed. In either case, it works. (Roland Allen 1869-1947)

Bosnian friends appear to be doing well. Though most are still afraid of dreaming, I see them inching forward with provisional plans and trial hopes. My call, as I see it, is to resume my post of pointing out the realities of God’s kingdom and the unlimited potential of His dream .