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“Guess Who You’re Stuck With for Eternity?”

09.25.19
by Crossworld
in Balkans, Blog, Mission work, Salvation-baptism
Thoughts from a mission worker in the Balkans.

A few months ago, our team attended a conference hosted by The Gospel Coalition Southeast Europe. It was amazing enough to attend a conference in a country where, less than 30 years ago, tourists were forbidden and Jesus-followers were few. But God had even more spectacular plans for our time there.

One of our local friends, Luka, traveled with us to the conference. I met him at our camp when he was 10, and now at 19, he has become like family to all of us.

For the last few years, he has attended our church. He has heard the gospel, sung worship songs, and participated in daily devotions during our summer camps. He didn’t pray, but he listened.

When we invited Luka to attend the conference with our team, we knew we were asking a lot. He feared anything and anyone new, and he had never traveled outside his home country. But he agreed to go!

First time outside his country? Check. First time touching the sea? Check. First time meeting believers from his own part of the world? Check.

As his world expanded, we could also see his heart changing right in front of us. “Thank You for everything You have done for me,” Luka prayed through tears during one of the breakout sessions. His first out-loud prayer!

We asked Luka all the way home about his experience with God at the conference. He couldn’t answer whether he had trusted Christ, but he had a noticeably different attitude.

Then one day he texted me: “I feel like I left the old me there and I brought a new me back!” He had prayed with our team leader and finally knew that He belonged to Jesus.

Now he has a new favorite saying: “Guess who you’re stuck with for eternity?”

We love seeing this new creation! And we are in awe of God’s personal work in Luka’s life. It was an almost 10-year process, but that’s no time at all for God.

When you’re called to a place with such few glimmers of hope, it’s easy to believe that nothing will ever change. I think God brought all of us to the conference to assure us that He is calling people — including our friends — to Himself.

Pray for us to remember this promise when we’re discouraged. And pray for Luka, who will face pressure from his family over his decision to follow Christ.

Charis lives and makes disciples in the Balkans.

The people in this story are real, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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