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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gift for Saraj church in Skopje, Macedonia

Sokrat & Lena Apostolovska
During our recent visit to our Teen Challenge friends Jonatan & Valentina Vlaisavljevic in Macedonia, we had the opportunity to speak in different evangelical churches. We were very thankful for that!

Some statistics reveal that in Macedonia about 65% of the population belongs to the Eastern Orthodox church, 33% to Islam and a very small percentage to the Catholic and Evangelical church. At the moment about thirty churches are members of the Evangelical Unity in Macedonia.

When we arrived at Skopje airport, Jonatan and Valentina were there to pick us up. There was no time to waste :) and they drove us straight to the city of Veles, where Jan shared the Word in the evangelical church. The next evening we shared the Word together, in the church in Shtip and on Friday night we met with pastor Sokrat and Lena Apostolovska of the Saraj church in Skopje. They received us in their living room with homemade pizza, warm hospitality and lots of humor. They told us about the work they are doing among Gypsy children in Skopje.

Christmas gifts for the children
Most of the Macedonians don't go to the Gypsy quarter (the largest Roma ghetto in the world) and most of the Gypsy's will not go outside their city quarter. However, Sokrat and his wife started a Bible club for the Roma children years ago and it kept growing and growing. They started to organize summer camps as well, as they do in most of the Eastern European countries (remember what we wrote about the summer camps in the Ukraine?) because most people never go on vacation. In due time they got to know some of the parents a little better. That is how the church started. By the way: Saraj means 'palace' in the Turkish language.

We listened to the stories of these sweet people with awe and wonder. It is really incredible how a door has been opened for them to serve among the Roma children and to share the good news about Jesus Christ with a group of people that is often looked down upon. By helping these kids to read and write, they give them a chance to have a high school and maybe even a college education. This will help to break the cycle of poverty and lower the unemployment rate. Wonderful!

Praying together
The extreme ice skating event of Krijn Donk brought in 1,450 euro. An absolute awesome job, both for Krijn and all our supporters of course. We want to donate this gift towards Sokrat and Lena, for their work among the gypsy children. We surely hope to visit them and the Saraj church again in 2013.

We are happy and thankful for the ice skating fundraiser that was organized by our board member Cora Donk. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who gave towards this project.

Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth
[1 John 3:18]