Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nick Vujicic in Slovenia

This time last week we were handing out tickets to our friends, neighbors, teachers and anyone else we thought would enjoy coming to this historic moment in Slovenia!  Nick Vujicic, a man born with no arms or legs, who has a very sweet and powerful ministry; came to Slovenia to share the good news in 5 cities in 5 nights!  

I almost don't know where to begin.  

There were so many sweet moments.  So many answered prayers and dear conversations.  So many times that the Lord did more than we could ask or imagine!  Things that Slovenia has never seen before! 

About 2 months ago we got word that Nick had been invited to come to speak here in Slovenia and tell his story.  He was born in Australia but is of Serbian descent.  His honesty as he talks about crying himself to sleep at night asking to wake up with arms and legs.  The not understanding and wrestling with the question of if God is good why would he do this to me?  Then the story that Nick points to as a turning point from John where the disciples ask, '"Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" " Neither this man nor his parents sinned" said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."' And the work of God was displayed and in a way like we haven't seen in our 10 years here!

The churches in Slovenia have commonly wrestled with issues of unity.  But for this event many churches and mission organizations across the country came together to pull this event off!  Just that was a big deal for us!  But there was more!

Nick spoke 5 nights in 5 different cities here in Slovenia.  With such a demanding schedule he was exhausted.   Nick and his team along with the 180 member choir and the organizers drove all over the country to the 5 different venues.  Each city had rented it's largest venue hoping and praying that they would be able to fill it and have more people hear the truth.  

We launched a huge prayer effort writing daily updates and asking you all to pray for the different cities throughout our country.  And each morning as we sent the updates we were astounded!  Every night the venues were packed out!  Often with standing room only!  
Josh had asked our team a month before if they would be willing to drop everything and throw all our weight behind this event.  We have such a skilled and capable team!  They began writing, translating, taking photos, editing, drawing up drafts for a tract to walk people through the gospel, producing a friendly questionaire for obtaining information about those who would attend and developing a plan for follow up.  

  I confess that as I saw the different cities respond I wrestled with belief for our capital city of Ljubljana.  It's different in the city. But we had rented  Stozice.  Our newest and largest stadium where they had cancelled the European handball competion in order to house this event.  

All week long but especially on Saturday our 4 year old son Luke kept singing, "Greater things are yet to come.  Greater things are still to be done in this city. "  It was a clear reminder to me to pray for my city.  To say "I believe!  I believe in you God."  

We sat in the stadium that night with 7,500 or so people and heard the gospel go out in a clear, tight, professional way.  Nick was so warm and loving as well as logical and clear as he explained that Jesus paid for our sins.  And that he made you just the way you are and loves you as you are. 

 A couple of times during the night he spoke in Serbian and the crowd was delighted!  We really believe that Nick was uniquely positioned to share the gospel in a way that Slovenians could really hear.  

In the end there were 14,940 tickets sold!  In  a country where there are 1,500 people who claim to be evangelical believers!   

 And now begins the real work.  
Christians across the country are following up those who filled out the questionaire stating that they are "very interested".  Individuals are being trained in how to walk through a 2 week 4 lesson bible study (that Josh wrote :)) with their friend that they brought and communicated an interest in knowing more.  
Our team has taken on the responsiblity of modeling and training folks in the follow up process.  Would you pray for us?  It's an incredible undertaking.  We are in over our heads.  We are overwhelmed and thrilled at the same time!  This is an honor!  This is a priviledge!  This is crazy!

At our team  meeting this week one of our Slovene teammates said, "I'm amazed that it's so normal to talk about the Lord!  I don't know how long this will last but I don't ever remember there being a time when it was so easy to approach someone about the Lord!  I don't want to miss these days!"  

We feel how important this is and how tempting it is to sit back on our heals now that the event is over.  Take a break from all that work we just did.  While the truth is that there are many people with open hearts who need a kind friend to walk this path with them.   

Would you pray for us as we reach out to those around us?  As we continue to follow up this event and prepare for english camps and a full schedule of ministry this summer.  And as we live among these folks looking for opportunities to share the reason for the hope that we have?

Thank you and praise the Lord as the work of God was displayed in our country!