Serbia 1 - Bacskossuthfalva
All 25 of us made it through the boarder crossing without any problem. However our sound man and technicians with all the equipment didn't! There was a problem with not having the necessary paperwork. So our host pastor went 'round, and was able to round up a small sound system, an old drum set, old guitar and bass amps, and a few old microphones. One of the mic stands was actually made from wrought iron, and brought a new definition of the term "Heavy Metal". Fortunately, we had brought the electric keyboard and all the guitars with us. The guys in the band didn't flinch. God had our backs in this situation as usual! In fact, of course (!), God was already there, working!!!
We performed the concert outside on the tiny Patio area of the Baptist church, overlooking a grassy area, where our dancers danced. We had people there from small children to older ones In their 70's. There was also an English Language camp led by a group from Tuscalousa, Alabama.
Right in the front row were Rita and her mother, Kati. Rita was in a reclined wheel chair and was severely disabled and mentally challenged. She is 23 years old. Her mother had taken care of her alone, since Rita's birth, as it is a full time job.
After the concert, a few of is went over to her. Sharayah was especially drawn to go there. After introducing ourselves, a few of us asked if we could pray for them. When we were praying, she looked at us and we could tell from her eyes that she knew exactly what we were doing. Kati remarked how Rita reacted with excitement to the dancers and how she loves to listen to music at home. We quickly pulled out Bill's Broken & Complete CD, and gave it to Rita and she held it tight to her neck, and gave a smile as she was unable to talk. I'll let Bence, my son-in-law tell the rest of the story in his own words...
After the concert, Sharayah came to me that we should go to them and thank them for their enthusiastic encouragement in the first row. They were very blessed by the whole message. With some of the Chino Valley Community Church members, Bill Trimper prayed over the disabled girl and her mom who is raising her alone now for 23 years. Wow. We gave them a CD of Bill Drake - Broken & Complete, and this girl was holding it so tight I thought she breaks it.
When we were saying goodbye, Teri told me to ask if they need help putting her in the car. The mom gladly took advantage of my offer, and we escorted them to their car. I lifted Rita out of her wheelchair and put her in the car. Her mom was so thankful. She said, "You just saw her first time and your instict was to come to her and not only talking to her but helping as well. Not every christian do that. Thank you so much. What a blessing to have a mother-in-law who tells you sometimes what to do in the moment."
We talked with Kate a little more, and Sharayah encouraged her. I believe one of the highest thrones in heaven will be for moms like who serve 24/7 hardly ever complain. She said she is ministering to others through her situation. Well, she ministered to us for sure. I don't know what is your ministry, but seems like in Serbia, Kati has her own "NGO" called "Being a Mom". As she is a full-hearted mom laying down her life for her disabled daughter it is deeply moving.
Thank you God that we get to experience what it means to dying to ourselves in an even more sobering way. Thank you that you have one of the highest thrones for these wonderful moms. God Bless all the moms!
When I shared with her that one of the highest thrones are waiting for her in the kingdom of heaven and that we will dance and run around with her daughter on the new earth, she was so really encouraged!
But God had spoken directly to me as well - when I held Rita in my arms, I was holding Jesus.
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17 ESV)
Other Stories from that night:
Carla (one of our dancers) had a conversation with two teen girls after the concert. She shared her testimony, and dispelled the myth that because we were Americans we had it all together such as good families, money etc. She then asked the girls about their lives here in Serbia. When the conversation turned to spiritual things, Carla ask the girls, that if they died today, would they go to heaven and be with God? One girl knew she would go to heaven and the other girl didn't. After Carla explained the gospel, the girl prayed and surrendered to Christ.
Bill Trimper, the Missions Pastor from CVCC gathered a group of three young men around him. One of them said he thought he was a Christian but wasn't sure, another, with very dark eyes and a sinister appearance said he did not want to, and a third wanted to know more. Bill explained the Gospel of Christ, and
Nicki, and Attila surrendered to Christ.
The concert was an incredible testimony to God's provision and faithfulness, that although we did not have our equipment (sound system), it didn't matter. When all the props get kicked out, and all you have is your voice, or your hands, you can still testify to the greatness and goodness of The Lord through whatever means. Serbia is a very, very needy country. But God is a very awesome God, and it was a privilege to come alongside those who are already laboring here, and encourage, lift them up, and participate in the harvest.