This summer, a team of seven Fellowship members spent nine days in Croatia, serving with the Slavonski Brod Baptist Church and pastor Darko Mikulic. This blog post, written by Katie VanOteghem, is an account of their time and how they saw God working in Croatia.
We recently came back from for serving alongside Darko Mikulic in Slavonski Brod, Croatia. I would say the overarching themes of the week would be that of celebration and faithfulness.
The Lord was preparing our hearts and the hearts of the Slovonski Brod people, long before we had even arrived. The evening of our arrival was the day of the World Cup. Despite Croatia losing the game, it was amazing to witness the pride and joy that the Croatians had for even making it to the finals. Not only did the Slovonski Brod citizens have a huge celebration on the night of the World Cup, but also later that week welcomed home one of the players, Mario Manzukic.
For the week of Kid’s Club and Sports Camp, we had the largest turnout than any of the previous years. Fellowship has been partnering with Pastor Darko and his family for approximately 10 years, and with God’s faithfulness and the structure and intentionality of the team this year, it was amazing to see the receptiveness of the community and the impact that positive social media can have.
Our goal was to provide encouragement, to spread awareness of the church, and to partner in the mission to share the love of Jesus to neighbors. Slovonski Brod, an eastern Croatian city nestled between corn fields and the Sava River, has seen much heartache and destruction from war, as well as a struggling economy. Despite circumstances, the strength, independence, and beauty of Slovonski Brod was clearly evident.
Another highlight of the week was being able to witness one of our very own team members getting baptized by Pastor Darko. He was making a public proclamation of his faith and the radical transformation that the Lord had made in his life. Several of the children from camp were able to witness the baptism as well, and it had a deep impact on the hearts of those there.
For those who love music, incredible gelato, delicious pizza, posing for pictures at a photo booth, and hiking in national parks (Plitvice)… there are multiple other reasons for celebration.
For the final day in Slovonski Brod, the church had invited all of the children and their families to the service and a barbecue. Many of the children and a few others from the community attended, and we could see the delight in the eyes of Darko and his wife, Gorana. After the events of the day, the Fellowship team packed the vehicles and road-tripped across the breathtaking country, where we were able to reflect on the week and bask in the beauty of God’s creation. Even though the week was physically exhausting, it was so worth it! For the members of the team, a majority of us did not know each other prior to this trip. It is amazing to see the bond that has been created among us, through the opportunity to love and serve others. Please prayerfully consider joining this team next year and using the gifts the Lord has granted you for the furtherance of the gospel in Croatia.