Prayer works! Yeah!
Today was another good day! I will share an encouraging story at the end of this post that will keep you praying until we come home. But first, a run-down of our day.
We spent the morning preparing Izvor for the big open-house celebration tomorrow night. Between the 8 team members and the Alliance team here, we moved tables, wrapped gifts, purchased and replaced light bulbs, ironed more table cloths, baked cookies, mixed dips and cut up chocolate (they don't have chocolate chips here so you cut up the bars). All in all, we made good progress.
After lunch at Cheers (actually a British themed restaurant, not like the one in Boston), we headed out on a field trip. First, we saw the re-upholstery business that the ex-addicts group has started as a way of providing income for their families. What an honor to pray with and over these great guys whose lives have been changed by God! After that, we went out and saw the "Tunnel of Life", a small corridor the people of Bosnia dug underneath the airport during the war. For a period of several years, this was the only way to get goods in and out of Sarajevo. Many believe had it not been for this secret tunnel, the siege by the Serbs would have been successful. Unfortunately, we arrived 15 minutes too late and did not get to see the actual tunnel. Bummer! But we did pray that the local believers would be a tunnel of life into Sarajevo today.
Next, we drove up the mountain for another high point prayer time. It has been powerful to stand on the hills around Sarajevo, often within feet of where Serbian tanks had been stationed, and to pray life and freedom over the city. Finally, most of our group returned to the Mostar church where we joined the local believers for their Friday night prayer time. We all love hearing the passion of the believers as they pray here. (I say "most of our group" because the gals all returned to Izvor to do more cooking. Our hosts planned an aggressive menu!)
Okay, now for some encouragement. Yesterday, Petula Myers (of the Alliance team) was very discouraged because plans for a film seminar had begun to fall apart. One of the most well-known cameramen in all Sarajevo is planning to host a 4-day seminar at Izvor to teach high school students about film. But as of yesterday, every high school in town was responding negatively to the request to send students. As I heard Petula share this frustration, I knew we needed to pray. And what hit me as odd was that I sensed we should pray for the benefit of Vesna, who is the office administrator at Izvor. Thus far, Vesna has not given her life to Jesus. She likes God, and Christians, and Izvor, but hasn't yet concluded that Jesus is the only way. I knew we needed to pray so that she would hear prayer and know that it works. Well guess what- by noon today, four high schools had called to say they would be sending students! One school even wanted to send 30 students! (The class has room for 18-20) Some of these same schools had told Vesna just yesterday that they would not participate. Vesna told Petula over the phone, "Tell Nick thanks for praying! That really worked!" How exciting is that? God chose to answer a prayer so that Vesna would see how powerful He truly is. Please continue to pray for Vesna, and for the film seminar. It will not be a "faith based" seminar at all, but an opportunity to bless the community and build relationships.
Well, that's all for now. I sense that we are growing a bit weary, so please pray for stamina, energy and joy. We are loving the trip, but foreign travel can start to get to you before you realize what's happening.
Can't wait to tell you tomorrow how the open-house goes.