This past week we ministered on five different occasions (3 different churches) in the city of Split. We have been told numerous times that we were the first ones to ever come to Croatia to teach and preach about worship. I have never experienced such hunger for the deep things of God, as well as the reception to our admonition to cultivate their personal relationship with Christ and to engage with God on a regular basis...no one has ever taught them about “lifestyle worship!”
Upon returning from the Island of Hvar, we ministered at a Baptist Church in Split where we were pleasantly surprised by a 4-member Worship Team that sang original Croatian worship songs indigenous to the Dalmatian Coast (the Southwestern Coast of Croatia). In fact, Dalmatian dogs are born and raised in this area and then relocated to countries around the world! We were told that they behave nothing like the dogs on Disney’s “101 Dalmatians,” and that they are very hyper and skittish! I digress. The Baptist Worship Team was excited to see us and we were so impressed with their musicality and heart for worship…we loved the original songs! Most of the other churches take American songs and translate them, so this was the first church to actually sing all Croatian songs for us. We were so captivated that we asked them to sing several more so that we could get a video of them singing!
The next day, we went to the Pentecostal Church and met in a standing room only location. The Worship Leader (a former rock and roll dance champion for Croatia) led us in songs he had written (as well as familiar tunes) and then we had a two-hour time of ministry in teaching them about what God expects from worshippers. Although the church consisted mostly of those in our age group and much older, there were a number of young men who had recently come to Christ. They were saved while in prison through the ministry of this church…in fact, they were baptized in the (freezing) Adriatic Sea Sunday morning and are intensely “on fire” for the Lord! They even invited us to the celebration feast after their baptism, but we had to leave Split and head back to Zagreb to pack our bags and catch our plane for our journey back home tomorrow.
Thursday, April 4th, was our first official day off, so we went to a secluded Seaport Village built around and over Diocletian’s palace along the Adriatic Sea where there were hundreds of souvenir shops and restaurants. We then spent the entire day Friday with the Worship Leader (Denis Ribic) and his team from Ziva Nada Church…they served as our host church in Split and provided housing with a wonderful couple for the past 5 days. This was our longest day of ministry in the entire 29 days we were here, and they wanted to know even more when we were done! Then, on Saturday, all three churches (along with many other guests and visitors), attended our workshop from 9:00am until 1:00 pm, and it was one of the highlights of our time in Croatia…it was an extraordinary time of sharing, worship, and teaching them about their responsibilities as worship leaders/team/and band members, and a great climax to our time of ministry in Croatia!
Our last day was spent singing, playing piano, and preaching at the Ziva Nada, (the largest church in Split). So many grateful people came up to us and with broken English, thanked us for being the first to share what God has to say about worship…no one else had ever been to Split to speak to them on the topic, so we felt encouraged by the Lord that many seeds were planted! Nearly every church implored us to come back again next year…they even said, “Come back next year and see what a difference we had made in their spiritual walk with God!”
For those of you who prayed for us or supported us financially, your gifts were used to build up the Kingdom by encouraging Croatians to “engage with God” on a daily basis! We are so grateful to be the ones chosen by God to deliver a message to so many, and we pray that the “seeds” we have sown will not fall on rocky soil; rather, that they would grow and thrive by the power of the Holy Spirit! AMEN!
Bog te blagoslovia! (God bless you all!)
You will be made rich in every way, so you can be generous on every occasion (II Corinthians 2:11).
Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart (II Corinthians 4:1).