This past month ABEFC had the opportunity to take a team of 11 students and 3 adults on a short-term missions trip to Croatia to assist a number of churches in running a 1-week festival called Ima Nade (“There is Hope”) in Cakovec, Croatia. As a nation, Croatia is a spiritually dark place. While the Roman Catholic Church still plays a very large role throughout much of the country, the Gospel is rarely heard and the number of believers remains very small. As a result, the hope that is found solely in Jesus Christ remains a rare reality for most Croatians. The goal of this festival, then, was to proclaim the hope and light of the Gospel and to see many come to faith in Jesus Christ.
For our first eight days in Croatia our team followed an incredibly busy but rewarding schedule that revolved around the Ima Nade Festival. Our day began around 8:00am each morning and ended around 11:30pm each night. For most of the morning our team assisted in literature distribution throughout Cakovec to help advertise the nightly festival and daily kids’ attractions. After lunch, afternoons were spent with the local Croatians, cleaning the tents used for the festival and preparing for our nightly event.
Our team’s primary task was running the Kids’ Club each night of the festival. This meant that our team was responsible for putting together the curriculum for our program, teaching that curriculum each night, playing games, and leading crafts. While we led the Kids’ Club in a separate tent, adults spent time in the main tent where bands led worship & the Word was preached. After each night’s activities, our team returned to our lodging for a nightly debrief and much needed rest.
It was an incredible blessing to be given such an important task while in Croatia and a great encouragement to hear the Gospel clearly proclaimed to so many Croatians. While our time there was brief, our team was able to build wonderful friendships with a number of Croatian believers.
In all of our preparation and in all of our time in Croatia we were led by ABEFC missionary Todd Dick. Todd and his family have been serving in Croatia for over 15 years and they were a tremendous blessing to our team.
Overall, our time in Croatia was a great reminder of the incredible need of the Gospel throughout the world and the honor it is to serve as an ambassador of Christ. Our prayer is that God would allow the Croatian Church to see great fruit as a result of the festival this summer and in the years to come.