Friday, June 20, 2008

Topana



So today was the last day in Topana, and also the end of our service in the Romani communities. As such, I would like to summarize. The funniest thing happened on this trip. Unknowingly, I put limitations on God before I ever boarded the first plane to come to Macedonia. I expected to show the Roma kids a picture of love and grace, a picture of Jesus, and somewhere in the process God showed up. He didn’t say “yay Jenna” or “you go girl,” instead God used these children and the group formerly referred to as strangers to teach me about love and grace and maybe even a little bit of mercy. I’ve experienced more rich and more full worship in the past week than I have in such a long time, and I can honestly say I’ve been with Jesus. I’ve talked He’s listened, He’s talked I’ve done my best to listen. I’ve had my vices tested and twisted and tortured, but by the GRACE of God, I’ve overcome a lot of them. I’ve met a total stranger and developed a bond of LOVE and edification that I never expected to find through this. I had my convictions before ever signing up for this trip, but God used every single aspect of this journey to nail them down…to say I told you so…to kick me for ever doubting…and to reassure me of my absolute dependence on Him and Him alone. God has brought several new and amazing people into my life, and I’m going to miss them so much when I leave here, but I will also leave with the comforting knowledge that I’ll leave with a renewed mind, and a strengthened heart. I don’t have anything super inspirational to give you. No miracles, no amazing feats of my doing to list, but it doesn’t even matter because thanks be to God, He’s the only significance there is. And I can say that His name has received the glory for what has happened in Skopje over the past week.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
Let all the peoples praise you.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
Psalm 67:3-4a

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

George Petrov


So the first Romani village we went to was George Petrov, and this was the community that Betty and Karen don't have a lot of contact with yet. We ended up having around 100 or so kids between the 4 times we were there with them and by the last visit on Tuesday night, a lot of their parents came, which is perfect because it allowed for Betty and Karen to meet them and start friendships. The kids were so much fun, they just wanted to hug and kiss everyone. There was this one boy in particular who on the first morning we went, was hitting people and yelling and being mean to everyone. On Tuesday morning he took the garbage bag and was walking around picking up trash, and if another child happened to throw something down in his sight, he would scream something Romani at them until they picked it up. It was just really cool to see how his attitude changed just because our team loved on him and tried to reach out to him. We're really the first group to come and do what we're doing here, so every one's pretty excited. Our hope is that their trust has been gained, and their curiosity will lead them to Betty and Karen. They need our prayers now more than ever, because these people need Jesus and He's doing a work here.


On a side note: Macedonian food...AMAZING! I could eat Breck for the rest of my life and Baklava oh my goodness. I could do without the sun shining at 4:45 AM every stinkin' day, but I think I'll live. :) xoxo

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 2

Ok today, I feel alive. I’m really not that tired at all. No more than usual anyways. This morning we went to a Baptism service at this place called…. And three people got baptized. We were down by this gorgeous river and they had about five people playing the guitar and leading worship...AMAZING! Then we all went down close to the creek, and watched them verbally proclaim Jesus as their Savior and be baptized. We got to do one of their first communions with them also. After that we had a picnic lunch with everyone. I can’t really put adjectives to the whole experience, but I’m telling you, you could feel God there. It was just so sincere and humbling. **See bottom of blog**

We’re all really tired, but really exciting because tomorrow is our first day on the field. The whole team consists of, the IMB team: James- Song Writer extraordinaire Jason- Leader and holder of medical release forms Sara- Queen of Event Coordination and Brian- Videographer (our trip is being spotlighted next year at all the “Fuge” camps. Then the 1st Baptist Wellington [Palm Beach] Jeff –minister and fearless leader Dina and April- mom and daughter Bryant and Julia- dad and daughter David and Sarah- the equivalent of our Matt and Michelle Rob- my sarcastic equivalent and Chris- who I am convinced is the love child of Devan Smith and Marlin Harris. Kristen [Megan] is from OK and she is my constant comic relief/roomie. Lastly and definitely most importantly is Mrs. Betty and Mrs. Karen- the missionaries. Their stories are as amazing as they are. Betty has been here for 8 years, and Karen just came 2 years ago from Russia. The people they work with are the Romas. Basically the poor Macedonians. It’s really astounding just how much these two ladies have accomplished. Now that you know our team, know that we covet your prayers! Love you guys!

P.S. add into your prayer protection for our lungs from the second hand smoke that encompasses and smothers every aspect of Macedonia…even the airports. xoxo
video

Macedonia Day 1


So day one...technically days one and two…completely exhausted me. As David so kindly pointed out, we spent more time in the airports than on the planes. My first wait was in Birmingham for 2 ½ hours, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when we boarded our plan (I would have almost walked if the sketch with the yo-yo didn’t stop looking at me.) So then 2 ½ hours of miserable plane ride later, I arrive in D.C. “But Jenna, you love to fly.” “Why yes indeed, you are absolutely correct, however, This was like sitting in a remote control airplane. There were 12 rows. TWELVE ROWS! There were only like 42 people on the plane, and every time the wind blew 2miles an hour, we flew all over the place. –The cherry on top_ My seat buddy was German. He didn’t talk, he just looked German. [sidenote: Europeans are so stylish…rarely ever do they look bad.] He was long and skinny, yet he still needed 2 armrests. The worst part was that while I was feeling nauseous. Trying to occupy myself, he not only blocked the outside view from his window, but I couldn’t even partake of his book …it was in German. So finally we land and Washington-Dulles is retarded. There are 3 entirely separate busses to travel from one building to the next. Therefore, I had to find where I was going and how to get there before I lost my shuttle and had to start over again. {Also while wandering, I found a starbucks where they barely spoke English and yet said they understood what a skinny vanilla latte is, but were that true would I have had to repeat and explain every detail about my drink? Negative. I And let me tell you, the whole five seconds of extreme panic and exasperation when I couldn’t find my gate had me channeling some Scarlett O’Hara… I wanted to yell “I’ll never sleep on a cold icy airport floor again!” All is well though because I ever so conveniently found my gate not 10 minutes later….and seeing as how I would have to sit there for apx. 8 days 4 hours and 31 seconds, it didn’t really matter anyway. LooooooooooooooongEST FLIGHT EVER.ever! D.C. to Vienna…dear goodness, I thought I would die. My head hurt my face and nose were dry, I wanted to barf. It was not a pleasant experience .Once we made it through smoke infested Vienna airport where we had been sitting .for several hours, oh and being accosted by Vienna girls passing out postcards and a condemn. But once we got on our last connecting flight…I got my second wind. I was ready to go, but then there was a problem. I couldn’t tell you what it was since all but our 11 people spoke either German or Macedonian, but I can tell you the result of the issue was to move one of the wailing 6 mo. Old babies right beside me and his twin on the isle across from me. Fortunately this ride was moderately fast. Once we got to Skopje we thought we had lost Chris’s baggage, (that was almost unfortunate), and then we lane hopped at least 4 times before we found the right customs line. Macedonia is gorgeous…It looks a lot like Brazil actually, but to be honest I wasn’t really concerned with what it looks like, since I felt so sick and tired I could’ve just passed out right then. I had then officially been up for apx. 32 hours not counting the times I actually slept on the planes….which was 1 hour. The theory however was/is if we stay up until bedtime today, then our bodies will adjust to this new sleep pattern…..hmn. But seriously I’m dozing and jerking back awake right now, so forgive me. I’ll let you know how the fatigue is tomorrow at the crack of AM when I must get up. xoxo
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