Serving in Serbia
Through the BGCT’s Go Now Missions, University of Texas at Tyler student Sarah Wohlgamuth is putting her faith in action this Christmas season. She and three other Texas Baptist college students are distributing Bibles throughout Serbia. As she travels and serves, Sarah will be blogging here about her experiences. Check back often to keep track of what the team is doing!
Last night in Serbia
Last night, we went to Choso’s parent’s house in the countryside facing the mountains. They welcomed us into their home with kaffa and chai (coffee and tea). It was wonderful. The traditional Serbian tea is caramelized sugar and water. Ryan loved it because it reminded him of sweet tea back home. After enjoying time with Choso’s parents, we came home and went to bed.
Today is Serbian Christmas in the Orthodox church. So, we woke up and got things squared away at the hotel. The husband of the couple who owns the hotel started crying when we left. It was so sweet. They will forever have a place in my heart. We got some great pastries for breakfast, then went to the Hepner’s to get ready for the day.
We went to Viktor’s parent’s house for Christmas lunch. His mom, dad, and grandmother are so cute! We had some awesome food- fruit cake (not what you’re thinking), baklava, chai, and bread. So yummy! After that, we went to friend’s houses and gave them chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate. We went to Spider’s parent’s house for some chai and kaffa again. After that, we came back to the Hepner’s home to get ready for the flight. We had that really good pizza again (with the eggs and bacon, etc.) for dinner. After that, Viktor, Chosa, and Djordjie came over to keep us company until we leave at 3 a.m.
We have a two hour drive to Belgrade then we head home! We miss y’all and love y’all. Cant wait to see y’all tomorrow night!
Hot chocoloate and Bibles in Serbia
What a turn around from yesterday! This morning, we gave a Bible to the people who own the hotel. Inside of it, there was a tract as well as each of our testimonies written in Serbian. After a good breakfast, Tania, Kristen and I went to the market to have coffee with Anna. It was great and will be an awesome connection for Kristen.
The boys set up the hot chocolate stand in the square and got things started. The hot chocolate stand went awesome. We gave out hundreds of Bibles and tons of hot chocolate. I will never forget the people who kissed the Bible in thanks. There was a man who I talked to who was telling me that Serbia is a doomed country. I told him there was hope in the book we gave him (the Bible), so hopefully he will open it and read it and find hope.
Besides the fact that we were completely numb and blue at the end of the day, it was well worth it. After defrosting our bodies, we enjoyed tea and coffee at the Hepner’s. I can’t wait to get home, but part of me doesn’t want to leave. The Serbs will be forever in my heart.
We love y’all and miss y’all.
A Heartbreaking Scene in Serbia
Last night, we went to coffee with Boba and Viktor for three hours. It was tons of fun. Today, we went to a place with some children’s books to give out with the Gypsy Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. It was really sad. I started crying when I saw the older people who were cold and could barely walk waiting in line to get bread.
After that, we passed out Bibles on the street. It was very difficult because there were a lot of people out, and we did not want to cause a scene or draw a crowd. A lot of people turned us down, so it was very discouraging. Then, Tania and I met up with Anna and plan on getting coffee with her tomorrow at her shop in the market. Then we caught up with Chosa, Boba and her friend at coffee. After Boba and her friend left, Viktor showed up and more coffee!!! It is great stuff though.
Tonight, we are giving Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to the paraplegic of Serbia. Then, we will have women’s Bible study. After that, we are going to Chosa’s office to watch the Ohio State and Texas game at midnight on a projector. It’s going to be fun. Tomorrow, we plan on doing hot chocolate distribution so that will be fun!
We miss y’all and love y’all.
Snow in Serbia
Wow these past few days have been busy. Yesterday, we handed out more Bibles at a smaller market. Tons of people were receptive to the Word, however we started to draw a crowd so we left. There were people following us to the car and a lady stopped us as we were driving away. It felt like they were just wanting the Bible because they knew we were American and wanted something free. Their motives behind it were not sincere.
After that, we went to baseball practice OUTSIDE in 30 degree weather. These kids love the game so much that they did not care! Some of the kids were in short sleeve shirts and pants. I hit my first home run ever! Maybe soccer wasn’t my sport after all.
After practice, we went to a beautiful monestary in Zica (pronounced Zchicha) with our friend Chosa. Then we went to an amazing three course lunch. Oh it was so good! Then we had coffee with Chosa for a couple hours. He knows a lot about Serbian history, so it was awesome. We got to ask him tons of questions; it was like a live history book. Then we went and had more coffee at Kaffa.
This morning, we woke to snow!! We went to Maglic (Maglich) and climbed the mountain to the top to explore an old castle. Then we drove to Goc (Goch) and went sledding. The snow was up to my knees! Crazy. Then we came back and had house church. We all shared our testimonies, and then Josh taught on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9.
It’s been a great weekend!! We miss y’all and love y’all!
Out and About
This morning, Ryan got to practice his German with the convenient store owner. He said that was an interesting experience.
After devotions, we went to the local market, which is outside in 30 degree weather and handed out about 50 Bibles. It wasn’t too busy, so we are planning on going back in the morning. We met a lot of great people. Tania and I met a girl named Anna, and we plan on getting coffee with her at some point before I leave. She speaks decent English, so that makes things a lot easier.
We had some wonderful coffee at a new coffee house with Josh and two of his friends. After that, we went to a small Orthodox church in town and observed how they “worship.” There is a small building outside the church where they can light two candles, one for the living and one for the dead. Then they go into the church and kiss all of the pictures inside of it. The whole time, they face the front of the church, so they walk backwards for part of their “worship.” After that, we walked around the town some more and prayed and watched people. During that time, we also gave out a few more Bibles. This took up most of our day.
After that, we went back to the hotel and got dressed up for a “tacky Christmas party.” It was absolutely hilarious! The Serbs normally dress really nice, so we were hoping that they would step out of their comfort zone and have some fun. Boy did they! Some of these outfits are completely ridiculous! We did a white elephant exchange too. These events took up pretty much of our day.
Tomorrow is going to be super busy. We plan on going back to the market because there will be a ton more people to give out Bibles to. We also plan on giving out Operation Child shoeboxes again to local gypsy children. The gypsies are people who are very discriminated against and looked down upon by the Serbs. They live in shacks where their roofs are plastic and held down with tires. The adults make their children beg for money while the parents search through dumpsters for food or anything that they could sell. Then tomorrow night, we might go out with some of the girls. But all of this might not happen because we’re in Serbia!! We will see!
Handing out Bibles in Serbia
Yesterday, we ended up prayer walking around two specific apartment buildings. Josh, Tania, and I climbed 15 floors and starting giving out the Bibles.
We are all enjoying a coffee shop called Kaffa Hag. Very, very good!! We go back there every day. After we had some coffee, we walked around the town, then went back to the apartment to rest.
We then played Spades and Nerts in the hotel restaurant. The couple who owns the restaurant are great people. Our relationship with them is growing as we try to understand each other’s language. Ryan and Kendall have been going back to the same convenient store in the morning and building a relationship with the owner there. Pray for those people please!
About 10:30, we went back to the square to enjoy the festivities. They had a live band and people were shooting off fireworks at random times. Watch your feet, because they will throw them at your feet to get a good laugh. After that, we went back to Hag and enjoyed more coffee and welcomed the New Year with chai. Late night.
This morning, the boys went back to the convenient store, and the man actually enjoyed them today! We then went over to Josh’s house to do devotional and talk some. Then, we prayer walked. Tania and I walked into some neighborhoods that, in America, would be considered ghetto. But here, they are nice. The graffiti here is full of pain. These people experience full on war almost every decade. It’s interesting to see a table top full of graffiti but then a peace sign in the middle of it.
After prayer walking, we went back to Hag and got tons of coffee and chai. Ryan gave our waiter, Igor, a Bible. He took it graciously. We plan on going back there every day to give out more Bibles to the waiters. Ryan and Kendall prayer walked for 30 minutes while Kristen took Tania and I to the apartments to distribute Bibles. After 30 minutes, we switched. We did this for two hours. We had more doors slammed on us than doors that stayed open. It’s not about numbers though. The word is getting out. There was an older lady who said she didn’t have a Bible and felt very blessed that we gave her one for free. She was such a sweetheart. I will never forget her. We got some dinner and are now waiting to do the men’s Bible study at Josh’s house.
We miss y’all and love yall much. Hope everything is going well.
Preparing for missions
We left DFW airport at 1 p.m. Monday afternoon. After eating dinner at the Chicago airport, the team and I left for Munich, Germany. After a 9 hour plane ride, watching Wall-E about five times and getting absolutely no sleep, we landed in Munich at 10 a.m., Munich time, Tuesday morning.
We then took a bus to a little plane to fly to Belgrade, Serbia. We flew over the GORGEOUS Swiss Alps! It took my breath away and was probably the most magnificent sight I have ever seen. It truly brought tears to my eyes. After we landed in Serbia and went through customs, Josh met us outside security. It was 22 degrees there with snow scattered on the ground.
We then began our 3-hour car ride to Kraljevo. On the way, we stopped at a restaurant where we got two different kinds of salads and two different kinds of meat. They serve food in a restaurant “family style” where they put a huge platter in the middle and you pass it around, just like with your family at home. As soon as we got in the car after lunch, all of us fell asleep and Josh finished the 45 minutes in silence. We checked into our hotel, put more clothes on, and went over to Josh’s house to meet his family – Kristen (wife), Dayne, Abigail, and Darcie. Such a wonderful family!
We then loaded up boxes and distributed Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes to refugee orphans. One thing I noticed is that every single kid there is happy. No sadness at all. After that, we walked around town and met up with some of Josh’s friends for coffee and tea. Since lunch is their big meal, dinner is usually just a small snack and coffee or tea. It was really good. After a short coffee break (1 hour), we went back to the hotel and went to bed. The boys didn’t sleep too well, but Tania and I slept really well. We had breakfast this morning in the hotel. Their bacon was interesting. It was about half an inch thick and still had the bones in it. Their eggs are served sunny side up too.
After that, we came over to Josh’s house and did a devotional and orientation. We had a pizza for lunch – cheese, bacon, mushroom, eggs, and sauce. It was really good! We are working on labeling books and tracts, so when we hand them out the people will have contact. Today is a preparation day because it is New Years Eve.
I hope that everything is going well, and we miss y’all and love y’all!