One of our key values is 'mission', reaching the world for Jesus. We are long-term supporters of an amazing couple, Emil & Vesna, as they pioneer a church in Macedonia. We regularly have teams go out to visit them, and have recently had a team of 7 there. They encouragingly likened these visits to the refreshing autumn & spring rains of Joel 2. We asked our team members to share some of their thoughts on the trip:
Pastor Stephen Prosser: A year after my first trip to see Emil and Vesna in Struga, it was a privilege to return to Macedonia and see the progress that has been made over the past year. In a country where only one person in a thousand is an evangelical Christian, every changed life is a miracle and it was wonderful to be able to connect to two people who have undergone radical transformation in the last few months through the work Emil and Vesna are doing. I loved their heart and loved the way that they were connecting people by opening the doors of the church during the week. Several people came in and the team were able to have some excellent conversations with them.
It was also a delight to see the team members stretching themselves and ministering into the lives of the Macedonians, particularly in the prayer meetings which were a real highlight of the week. Overall, it was a very encouraging trip for everyone involved.
Jeff Goben: I really didn't know what to expect and especially as we would only be there effectively for three days. WOW! How little did I know! Those three days will be with me for the rest of my life. It was such a delight to be with such a wonderful team and know that in those few days we have all been drawn closer to each other. Macedonia itself was a really beautiful place and the mountains and lakes were spectacular but, we were there on mission and there were some challenges for me, visiting the methadone clinic and seeing Jacko and hearing about his life and seeing his mother in her tiny flat were certainly an eye opener together with the children with learning disabilities in the school. On the positive side it was so good to see the wonderful work that Emil and Vesna have done in the church against all opposition, but most importantly the power of the Lord really touched me when we were praying for each other in the church and the Holy Spirit was there to give me the gift of prophecy. I went on mission hoping that I would be able to bless people in some way but received far more than I gave. I wouldn't hesitate to tell anyone who hasn't been on mission to give it a try, after all you're never too old, look at me!
Janice Goben: It was so great to see how much work Emil and Vesna had put into the church building to make it presentable and welcoming. They serve the Lord so faithfully despite the disappointment of knock backs. The legal situation means they were not even allowed to hand out Samaritan Purse boxes to the children. I was thrilled to see how well and happy Danny looked after having found the Lord and gone through Teen Challenge. Emil and Vesna showed us a photo of how he looked before and he didn’t look the same person! It was also wonderful to to meet Jacko who was so determined to get free of Methadone and his desire was to win another addict to the Lord and see others set free.
John Bradwell: My highlight has to be helping Donka (Jacko's Mum -76 years) through a prayer of Salvation - always has to be the most significant event (the only thing we take with us when leaving this mortal body are the souls of other people assisted along the way). The hot chocolate was phenomenal as was the company with our small group and Emil/Vesna - especially the prayer times together. And yes, I would like to go again!
Sonia Thackery: Highlights of the trip...everything. From the smooth landing, meeting Dr Vesna and how we all helped to lift her and how her faith had improved because of what she had seen in her line of profession. Danny's friend and his mother who were saved. Meeting the disabled children touched my heart. The praying Monday was a revelation, so pure and spiritual. The brilliant team and excellent leadership. Meeting the awesome Emil, Vesna and Danny was a real inspiration, the sights, the food, the experience, just one unforgettable memory.
Pastor Nathan Boneham: The trip was excellent, from meeting new people to getting to know our own team on a deeper level also. A highlight of the trip had to be seeing a particular young man’s mother give her life to Christ when we visited her at her flat. The work that is going on in Macedonia is challenging but it’s clear to see that the gospel is making progress and lives are being changed!
Hannah Prosser: One real highlight of the trip was seeing the first person in the area come completely off Methadone, with the help of Jesus, the church and Teen Challenge. This is a game-changer in an area which doesn't expect people to ever come off drugs. Jesus makes the difference! Just seeing God move through the team, and having the opportunity to bless Emil & Vesna was amazing. They are truly a 'light on a hill' and we will continue to pray and support this in this pioneering ministry.
Thank you for your interest and support, and let's all lift up this amazing couple and their church in prayer!