The Great Foundation; a reminder and an update

The Great Commission has a Great Foundation: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me..." (Matthew 28:18)

Though we are back in the States for 3 months, the call to join with disciples from all nations in endeavoring to make disciples of all nations does not stop.  In fact, as we mentioned in the previous post, one of our goals while we're here is to keep you involved in what the Lord is doing through our ministry in Croatia. 

That's why it's important for us to be reminded of the foundation of our call to go.  Yes, Jesus urged his disciples to go, just as the Lord urged Abraham to go generations before.  But simply going won't get us anywhere - at least when it comes to disciple making. 

We obey the call to make disciples because Jesus has the authority to send us.  He lived the perfect life of word and deed.  He was sinless yet paid the price of sin.  He displayed his power through love. 

So as we continue to answer the Lord's call on our lives we encourage you to remember the foundation of missions - The Lord's authority and power.  That is the groundwork for our obedience, which rejoices in the promise "behold I am with you always, to the end of the age." 

And it's in that spirit that we rejoice in how the Lord has answered our prayers.  In our last post we urged you to pray with us.  Thank you!  Here is how the Lord has answered those prayers so far:

- Regarding our travel.  The flights went better than we could've imagined.  Enoh and Ian did very well traveling and adjusting to the new time zone.  The whole process was smooth and safe.

- Regarding our fund-raising efforts.  We have had the opportunity to speak in one of our supporting churches, and have received a report from another that our support will be increasing.  We have also received a large one-time gift.  Please continue to partner in prayer with us as we endeavor to increase our monthly support.

- Regarding our ministry.  Sara has joyfully filled us in on what has happened in the Junior High youth group.  She is getting valuable experience in ministry and being a godly mentor to her younger peers.  Thank the Lord for her.

- Regarding connecting with family and friends.  Because of the fact that Petra's and Jeremy's parents live within an hour and a half from each other, the boys have had ample time with both sets of grandparents.  We've also spent valuable time with friends we haven't seen in some time. 

The Lord has provided and will continue to provide.  Great is His faithfulness!

Thank you for staying informed.

In Christ,

Jeremy and Petra Bohall

A Chance to be Involved

Our trip to the States is rapidly approaching.  As we anticipate traveling on October 25th, we invite you to pray specifically for the following:

- The travel from door-to-door - about 18 hours in all - that the Lord would cover the four of us with peace and safety.  Pray for patience as we find creative ways to keep the boys content on the two flights.  Pray also for Enoh and Ian as they adjust to a new time zone, new surroundings and the busyness that awaits us as we hit the ground running.

- Our fund-raising efforts.  We have determined that we need to raise our support by approximately $400 a month.  The Lord has been faithful thus far in our ministry and we are confident He will continue to provide for our needs.

- The ministry we are leaving behind for 3 months.  Pray for Sara - an 18 year old who is contagiously passionate about Jesus - as she takes over the Junior High youth group.  Pray also for the boys who have been coming regularly to guitar lessons, that the Lord would continue to work in their hearts.  Finally, pray for Betanija church that God would continue to strengthen and renew our pastor and the congregation.

- Jeremy as he studies.  He will be taking two classes in order to prepare for a Master's Degree at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Croatia.

- The relationships we renew.  The latest methods of communication via internet are nice, but nothing beats face-to-face fellowship.  Pray that our time with relatives and friends is mutually encouraging.

Thank you!  Prayer is by far the most important way in which you can be involved in our ministry.  Please let us know if we can better inform you.

In Christ,

Jeremy, Petra, Enoh and Ian

Fall Plans

With a very busy summer behind us, we've settled into our normal routine.  Petra's leading two youth groups and teaching Christian Education on the weekends, while Jeremy continues teaching English in a local elementary school and preaching occassionally.

Jeremy also has a new opportunity this fall as he and a friend from Orahovica are offering guitar and drum lessons for up to 8 boys from the town. They've been meeting 3 times a week and it's proven to be a welcome challenge for the boys who are looking for something constructive to do.

Just this week, we had a team from EuroMission Norway visit again.  Several of the members have shared some of what they know with the boys.  It's great to see non-believers from Orahovica connect with teenagers who are passionate about their faith. 

Finally, we’re excited about an extended 3 month trip to the States from late October until the end of January.  Our plans are to meet with supporters, spend time with family and friends and Jeremy will be taking a couple courses in preparation for his Masters Degree.  We’re looking forward to seeing many of you.  Keep your eyes open for an invitation to the “Hvala” (Thank you) party!

Camps Return to Orahovica

As you know, camps are one of the highlights of our year. They are where Petra first felt her call to Croatia and it was the place we began our ministry when we moved here in 2005. As it turned out, due to reconstruction, that was the last year camps took place in Orahovica before they returned this summer.

What a reunion it was! We went back to 4 weeks of camp—2 kids camps, a teenage camp and a young-adult (18-35 years old) camp. Altogether, over 300 campers and leaders participated in camps. Though the building is not 100% complete, the logistical side of camp ran smoothly. Even more importantly, the Lord worked in the hearts of many campers each week.

As soon as it became clear that camps would be in Orahovica, we made the decision that Petra would be a leader and administrator during the two kids and teenage camps, while Jeremy stayed home with the boys. We reveresed roles for young-adult camp.

We are encouraged to see new campers every year. One of the most exciting things is that since many are not from Christian homes, camp is a way for them to hear the gospel in a way they’ve never heard it before. Also, we are excited that our teams of leaders are growing and maturing. We love seeing new young leaders because of the energy and passion they bring to the program and atmosphere of the camp.

Camp Week 3: Youth Camp

Today our camp opened its doors to youth ages 18 through 35.  Though the location and facilities stay the same, there is almost a complete change-over in staff.  Petra and Jeremy will aslo make a switch as she'll stay home with the boys while Jeremy works as a leader. 

During the last couple years youth camp was not well attended.  Last year our team made a strong effort to revitalize the camp and it shows in the registration this year.  Although it's still the only camp that isn't filled to capacity we're expecting over 40 youth along with 20 leaders/volunteers. 

This year's theme is "A life without compromise."  Please pray that the Lord would work in the hearts of the young people who attend.

Camp Week 2: Children's Camp

We are in the second week of Children's Camp.  The one major difference between this kid's camp and the last is that this is for ages 10-12.  Other than that, the all of the bullet points in the previous post remain the same. 

Please pray with us for the following:
  •  One boy who was sent home at the beginning of the week.  Pray that the Lord would use a conversation he had or something he heard during his time at camp to penetrate his heart.  Pray also for his family situation.
  • That the seeds that have been planted this week would grow and blossom.
  • That the Lord would continue to renew the leaders' strength throughout the rest of this week.
Two of the leaders of this week's camp - a couple - traveled by train from Split, Croatia - a 14 hour train ride.  Remember, leaders are not paid for working at these camps.  Many of the volunteers give up their vacation time in order to be here.  In the case of the two from Split, they brought 15 kids with them during the overnight train ride. 

The sacrifice many of the leaders make in order to be part of camps in Orahovica is tremendous.  We've seen the Lord bless these efforts to produce fruit.  Thank you for your prayers for these camps.

Camp Week 1: Children's Camp

Camps are back!  It's been 5 years and a lot of reconstruction since camps were last in Orahovica, but they are finally underway.  As a way of helping you get a better idea of what camps are like, how we are involved and how you can pray, we will be updating this site once a week with details about each camp. 

Camp Week 1: Children's Camp
- July 5th through the 10th
- Ages 6 through 9 - the requirement is that each child has finished first grade and are able to read and write.
- The price of camp is $40.
- This year, more than others, fewer people were able to pay the registration fee.  The camp policy is to accept everyone and usually outside donations help to cover the cost of paying for the kids who can't.  This year we were in the minus to start camps, but during the second day of camp someone donated money to pay for 16 kids who were unable to which turned out to be the exact amount needed to erase the deficit.  Praise the Lord!
- Please pray: 
  1. That the Lord would work in the hearts of each child who attends.
  2. For safety during  the entire 4 weeks of camp.
  3. That the Lord would give the leaders strength, wisdom and guidance.

Great Expectations

This summer is a very special one for us.  Camps are returning to Orahovica!  Though the reconstruction is not 100% complete, camps will come back to Orahovica for the first time in five years.  What does this mean?  It means at least twice as many campers can attend and hear the gospel.  It means that camps no longer have to take place on pavement in a nearby city.  Rather, they will be in a small town near the lake where the first ever Christian camp was founded in the former-Yugoslavia more than 30 years ago.  It also means that there's a lot to do before camps start on July 5th. 

That's why last weekend - a holiday weekend in Croatia - many of the camp leaders gathered in Orahovica for a work weekend to prepare the building for camps.  Over 100 mattresses, some of which haven't been used for 5 years, were cleaned.  Bunkbeds, which have been stuck in storage had to be put together.  Sheets were washed, pillows counted, windows scrubbed, furniture moved, and floors swept. 

Petra, who couldn't be more excited, had the privilege of organizing and delegating.  It's a gift she's been given by the Lord and knows how use well.  Jeremy, on the other hand, got to stay with the boys the whole time - something he will have to practice as Petra will be primarily working at camp come July.  Fortunately we live 10 minutes from the church so the 3 Bohall boys can enjoy watching the others work. 

How can you be involved?  Please pray:
1. For the camp leaders, that God would give them wisdom, strength and refreshment before camps begin.
2. For the campers, that God will prepare their hearts for what's in store.
3. For the completion of the building project.  The Lord has provided in so many amazing ways so far.  Even though the kitchen has not been completed yet, an alternative has been found and meals will not be a problem during camp. 
Please let us know if you would like any more information about camps!

The Bohalls

March and April in Color

In an effort to keep it simple, yet informative we'll summarize the last two months in a few pictures and several words:
On March 19-21 we had the privilege of driving to Vac, Hungary to take part in our first CEO gathering.  (If you're unfamiliar with CEO, please scroll down!)  We had a very enriching weekend interacting with other believers who have many of the same goals and passions as we do - but for different parts of Eastern Europe.  Since then, we've established a relationship with Tom Foley (far right) in which he has begun encouraging and mentoring us.  The move to CEO has been a huge blessing!
This is a team from EuroMission Norway who came down during the week before Easter to do a series of concerts in Orahovica and surrounding towns.  They helped us establish numerous contacts, and even more importantly showed a passion for living out their faith which many youth here have not witnessed among fellow teenagers. 
The 6th - 9th of April was the beginning of baseball season in Orahovica.  We had an excellent training camp in which new children attended and we began each session with a short Scripture reading.  Excitement for baseball in Orahovica is growing and we'll have more exciting news to share on that front soon!  If you are interested in making a contribution specifically for our baseball team, we are in need of several pieces of equipment - especially catcher's gear.  Contact Jeremy if you are interested.
Every Friday evening our junior-highers come over for a Bible-Study, discussion and games.  Petra has connected with this group in a very special way.  Often, when events like Euromission happen, there's no follow-up.  But we're in a situation where we can continue to encourage, and disciple those who made decisions to follow Christ. 

Thank you for your continued support for the Bohall Ministry.  If there's a way we can keep you better informed, please let us know!

Springing Into Action

Since we've lived in Orahovica, there has never been a lack of things to do - which was one of the things that confirmed our calling in the first place.  There has been a growing list of opportunities both in the church and the community that are well worth our time and effort. 

Never has that been more apparent than this spring. With the wonderful news that camps will return to Orahovica comes a new set of challenges for Petra.  A growing baseball team means that Jeremy can invest more time into training kids and teenagers who are over the initial hump of learning the basics.  Two expanding youth groups give us new opportunities to disciple teenagers at various points in their spiritual lives.

We count it a privilege to be busy.  God is a God of action.  From his call to Moses, to Jesus' command to his disciples, God has always urged us to "go!" as we obey the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19).

But Jesus also withdrew at times during his ministry on earth (Matthew 14:23).  He told us to go into our closets and close the door when we pray (Matthew 6:6).  Taking time to be in the Word and in prayer is even more important to our call to make disciples than all the other activities we are involved in.  It's also a greater challenge. 

So as we continue our ministry in Orahovica, we ask you to pray for our spiritual state.  Pray that we would be refreshed as we seek to be salt and light in the community.

As always, thank you for your support.  We are convinced that we could not be working here if it were not for your partnership in ministry.  

In Christ,

Jeremy, Petra, Enoh and Ian Bohall

An Exciting Change!

We are excited to announce a small but significant change in our ministry.  We have become partners with Christian Educators Outreach (CEO) - a nonprofit organization for the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Please take some time to look at their website - especially their Story, Practice and Core Beliefs section.  The reasons we made the change can be summarized as follows:

5. Connections.  The head of CEO - Tom Foley - has been to Orahovica, met our pastor and his wife, and preached in our church.  He is familiar with how ministry works here.  In fact, he brought a team over 5 years ago to begin English classes in Slatina - the same English classes Jeremy now teaches.  In other words, CEO has already had an influence on our ministry without our knowing it.

4. Finances.  New Europe Vision - our former organization  - was primarily designed to send humanitarian aid to the former-Yugoslavia.  NEV waited until a certain amount of money came in before sending it our way.  That made budgeting and financial planning very difficult for us.  CEO is set up to send your contirbutions to us monthly.

3. Team.  In the past we were the only missionaries supported by New Europe Vision.  While NEV fit our needs at the beginning, there was no existing network within the organization with whom we could exchange ideas, receive advice or be encouraged.  CEO has a network of partners with a similar vision and mission.  We will be attending a CEO conference in the next couple weeks where we'll meet with many of our  new partners. 

2. Flexibility.  We are in a unique situation: Petra is from Croatia, had a preexisting relationship with our church and considered Orahovica home before we ever moved here.  CEO will not dictate how we work, when we return to the States or how much money we raise.  Instead, they will give us the flexibility to decide - with the elders of our church - what our ministry should look like.  Essentially, that means that our practical ministry won't change at all.

1. Mission.  The Bohalls and CEO are on the same page.  Again, please see the Core Beliefs section on CEO's website.  In summary, we will work together to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ "to the ends of the earth". (Acts 1:8b)

One thing we want you to know is that 10% will be taken from every donation to offset CEO's administrative and ministry development costs. While that's an increase, we feel that the advantages listed above wouldn't be possible without a small portion of your support going to CEO.  In other words, we see the 10% as beneficial to our ministry.  If you are interested in supporting us financially, please see the directions in the column on the right hand side of this site. 

Finding an organization like Christian Educators Outreach was something we have been praying for.  CEO was recommended to us by a good friend who recently pastored a church in Croatia.  He, in addition to the other connections we mentioned and the time we've spent talking with Tom Foley have only reinforced the fact that God has opened this door for us.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

In Christ,

Jeremy and Petra Bohall

The Importance of Prayer

It's impossible to overestimate the importance of prayer in our lives. 

We often try to calculate various things in our ministry:  How many lives are we influencing and to what extent?  What aspects of ministry are most worth our time?  How much have our donors given this month? Sometimes we give too much weight to those sorts of questions.

But prayer is different in that it can't be calculated.  It is invaluable.  So when we tell you, our supporters, what our prayer needs are, and constantly ask for your prayers, we do so genuinely, knowing that prayer is the most important way you can support us. 

We’ve seen our ministry blossom because we have such strong prayer partners.  The Lord has directed our paths through your prayers.  What an incredible thing!
So please continue to keep us in your prayers - it's the most powerful way to be part of our ministry

"God is Gracious"!

Ian Rahim Bohall was born on Wednesday, January 13th at 1:40 pm local time.  He and Petra are doing well as they both recuperate in the hospital.  At 8 lbs. 1 oz, he is more than 2 lbs. bigger than Enoh was when he was born!  Ian means "God is gracious" while Rahim means "compassionate".  We feel blessed beyond measure with the birth of our second son.  Thank you for your prayers and support!

Election Silence

On Sunday, Croatia will vote for their third president since their independence 20 years ago. I’ve learned a few things about Croatian politics, but one of the things I appreciate most is what happens the day before citizens hit the booths on Sunday. Today is called the day of “election silence”. Neither candidate will speak publicly, debate or campaign at all. Laws demand that we don’t hear anything from them for 24 hours before voting begins.

A day of silence from the voices of the candidates gives us the perfect opportunity to pray for His will to be done "on earth as it is in heaven".  Please pray for the future President of Croatia.