Bor, day 3: A tiny church under the ground and a story
The tiny church that we attended this Sunday is twelve years old. There are no “underground” situations here, and yet it still fits the images we have from that time during Communism. Being here in Bor gives us a kind of time-travel feeling. In the backyard of a lovely Roma pastor, around 50 people come together to worship, to pray, and to hear the Word of God. The atmosphere is warm and friendly.
The pastor who leads the music is a friendly granddad singing along with the children, who are in the front of the church. The children are all standing while singing. The songs are here more melancholic. They are in a more minor key than we are used to in Croatia. I love it, though. Before and behind us are women sitting with small children on their laps. There are even twins of a couple of weeks old. Everyone is welcome.
Just after the sermon, Vedrana tells her story. She came with us from Croatia and is a big help with the children’s’ work. In the meantime, Andrijana teaches the children the Lord’s Prayer.
“I grew up in a big family of nine children. I am the oldest. We always lived by Godś grace, My parents work with Roma for 22 years now. They studied at the Theological School in Osijek and I had my first few years there. When I was four we moved to Koprivnica. There started my parents to work in Roma villages and as long as I remember they come in our house, share coffee and my mother helps them with filling in papers, encouraging them and prays. It is just her lifestyle and I grow up with it.
I moved to Zagreb when I was 14, for school. I was alone, I did not have money. But God would always provide for me. Small things happened, but God really cared.
The last two years of my school time in Zagreb I really started to worry: I need a job, I started to panic! I started to have nightmares, I was so anxious.
I helped in Darda in the Roma villages. I did not have money. A couple of weeks ago I was in the train from Zagreb to Darda. I waited till the last people left the train, and then I was alone, so I prayed loud out. I had taken one bag from home what was left over from a yardsale. Surprisingly I found some money and I called my mother where the money came from.
My Mom replied: “Dear girl, you know. God provides, ad He did before. He already knew that you needed this. “
It is so strange that I was raised with this lifestyle of trusting the Lord, and that I lost this trust. Not total trust, I still knew Him as My Lord and Savior, but I lost the trust about His provision. It is grace to receive this trust again and still, God can do greater things, if we trust Him. This year God has been teaching me a lot. I do not have a job, and I would love to. But I have this peace now in my heart that God will take care of me.
“We cannot serve two masters.¨
This was the story that Vedrana told in the little church and with her story encouraged the people.
After the sermon is a meal. What a hospitality! The people are very generous and serving. We have to eat a lot to satisfy the host! Meat, vegetables from the garden.
Later while we were having coffee, I asked her what is one of the most beautiful stories you remember as a kid. She laughed while she answered. O, this one:
My grandmother was sick and she lives at the coast. We had to go there as a family but we did not have gas, we simply did not have money for traveling to the coast. But my dad started to drive anyway and when the tank was empty he stopped by a tankstation. Our whole family of eleven was in the car. My dad said: This is it, kids. Now we have to pray. And my dad started and we as kids prayed with him.
“Thank you Lord, for everything you gave, but now we are stuck. We do not have money, we cannot go any further. And we want to see grandma because she is so sick and need our help.
We waited and prayed. than we got a phonecall from a missionary who had to leave the country for a while: He said: I just had it in my heart to call you and leave the left over money to you and your family. We know what your are doing and we see your serving heart. The man came and brought the money.
My dad started to cry and this has a big impact on all of us. Godś provision was so visable.
Tomorrow: The promised story about how we get the food from the mountains. And a Serbian Pancake receipe. Be careful, this is a really nice one!