For years now RRCOC has been committed to missionaries Tom and Sandra Sibley serving in Zagreb, Croatia. Tom works as the director of the Biblijski Institut there in Zagreb--the only protestant school in the country preparing students for ministry. He and Sandra also labor with the church in Zagreb where Tom is an elder.
If Croatia sounds familiar, but you really couldn't place it on a map--Europe, maybe?--here's a quick geography lesson: Croatia is across the Adriatic Sea from Italy and includes more than 1,000 islands. 4.28 million people live in Croatia, once a part of Yugoslavia, now bordered by Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, etc. Croatia looks a lot like Italy. If you've never been to Italy, imagine California. If you've never been to California, Google Croatia. You'll get pictures like this:
Also important to know: While most citizens claim to be members of the Catholic church, the population, like most of Europe, practically speaking would more accurately be called "post-Christian." Croatia also has a growing Muslim population as it borders Bosnia and Serbia.
That's the context in which Tom and Sandra have worked for decades.
Now that you're caught up, we want to take this chance to update you on some of the amazing things happening in Croatia for the sake of Christ, all of them directly affected by your giving here in Round Rock, TX.
1. This past year one of the graduates of the Institute Tom directs was chosen by Samaritan's Purse (a global Christian charity) to head up their efforts to help refugees in Croatia. Even as we prayed at Round Rock for God to move on the behalf of so many homeless Syrian men and women, our God was using our small efforts (in combination with so many others) to do that very work.
2. As of this year, the Institute has placed 35,000 Bibles in secular Zagreb schools (by invitation from the local government). These Bibles are in the hands of school children all over the city. Be sure to ask Katy and Roger Whiteside for details as they've recently returned from a trip to Croatia. Praise God for the spreading of His Word!
3. As always, the Biblijski Institut is training men and women to serve all over Eastern Europe. The most recent publication from the school (available in our church foyer) profiles 11 recent graduates, some preachers, some church planters, children's ministers, worship leaders and translators, all advancing the Kingdom in their home country in their mother tongue.
If you'd like to know more about the work in Croatia, feel free to contact Katy or Roger Whiteside (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jennifer and Gary Meixell who're hosting a Croatian minister in their home THIS VERY WEEK.
This is exciting stuff we get to be a part of, folks. Praise God for all He does with our small offering!