Chestnuts and Discipleship: A Fall Update

In small town Croatia, picking chestnuts is an autumn staple. Yesterday, I (Jeremy) had the opportunity to take a group of 5th through 7th graders from our church out chestnut picking. We've been meeting weekly ever since the school year started. When I asked what sort of activities they would like to do as a group, chestnut picking was one of the suggestions. 
Chestnuts grow inside a very well protected pouch which usually requires a knife to open. Most times there are three chestnuts inside each pouch. Early risers often find a bunch of chestnuts on the ground in the morning, but when we arrived in the afternoon most of them were already opened. 

Undeterred, one of us would shake the trees while the rest protected their heads. Once the chestnuts fell the kids raced to open the pouches as quickly as they safely could. 
I asked one of my friends at the church to go with us. Božidar (literally "God's gift") led us to a place where there were a lot of chestnut trees. I thought the two of us would lead the kids, but when it came to finding the chestnuts the kids ended up leading us.  They showed me how to recognize a chestnut tree by the leaves, told me what each of the other trees were called and even warned me not to go near a pile of corn because it was an animal trap. Klarisa told me that she goes out into the woods every day! She found a few mushrooms for me, told me exactly what kind they were and instructed me how to cook them. By the end, I had learned a lot about the woods I hadn't known before. 
These pre-teens have become a very important part of our ministry. They represent the largest group of children who have grown up together in our church since we arrived. Teenagers are leaving the Evangelical Church all over Croatia - in many cases because they are not being discipled. Although we are continuing English classes in the fall and remaining active in other parts of church leadership, our first goal is to disciple these young people. Please pray that each one of them would become mature and passionate disciples of Jesus Christ. 

As we look ahead to the fall, we are excited about many opportunities the Lord has given us to serve:
·       Petra continues to organize events in our newly renovated church building. For example, she just finished co-organizing the first gathering for Christian mothers in Croatia.
·       Our local church has decided to begin several small discipleship groups this fall. Jeremy will have the privilege of overseeing this ministry. 
·       We are also excited to once again join with the English department at the local high school by offering students a chance to practice their conversational English during school hours. These classes give us the opportunity to meet the majority of the high school students in Orahovica.  
·       As the Associate Pastor, Jeremy will continue leading worship on Sundays and preaching monthly.
·       Petra will be teaching Christian education in our church while beginning a Sunday-School program for pre-school aged children. 

We are convinced that making disciples of Jesus Christ is the product of being disciples of Jesus Christ. We strongly believe that the Lord has called us to Orahovica to invest our lives into being his disciples in this specific context. As we continue to grow into the ministry the Lord has for us, we believe we are making an investment in Croatia. We, in turn, extend that opportunity to you. Prayer is by far the most important way you can support us. Please look to the right hand side of this site to see how you can pray specifically for our ministry. There you can also find instructions for how to support our ministry financially. 

We couldn't be doing what we are doing without the support of family and friends. The Lord has continually used the generosity of others to advance his kingdom in Croatia. 

In Christ, 

The Bohall Family: Jeremy, Petra, Enoh, Ian, Emily and David. 


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