2015: A Look Back

Jeremy here. 2015 was an incredible year for us. Petra and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. We taught a lot, traveled more than usual and were challenged in many areas of our lives. Here are a few of the highlights.

This year marked 10 years since my first camp experience in Orahovica. Although camps have been a constant, a lot has changed over that time. The building has been 99% renovated, there are more campers now than ever before and Petra and I have accepted full responsibility for hosting and coordinating camps. Each camp is different and every year brings new and varying challenges.

Camp Orahovica at night

  • All you need to do is scroll down to the next post to read more about the first three weeks of camp season which includes two kids camps and Young Adult Camp. 
  • If there's a climax of camp season it's Teen Camp because of the added challenges but also added satisfaction of seeing teenagers' lives changed. During Teen Camp, the teenagers voluntarily continued their final worship service for 2 extra hours while letting it overflow to the nearby ice-cream shop. 
  • The theme of Family Camp was (R)Evolution of the Family. There were four main couple speakers, each of whom represented a different decade of marriage - 10, 20, 30 and 40 years. During these sessions the kids all had their own age appropriate meetings. Afternoons were spent in free time for families and there were several excursions throughout the week.

Christian Education
One thing you may not know is that Christian Education is a public school subject in Croatia. Our church is accredited to teach Protestant Christian Education and Petra has been the teacher for the pre-teens and teenagers for a few years now. Her creativity and passion to do things well have helped her become an influential teacher in our church. Some of the main themes this year were worship and prayer with one of the highlights being a project that allowed the students to write their contemporary version of the Lord's prayer.

Royal Rangers
This year I fully dove in to Royal Rangers - both at the national level, leading a training camp for future leaders, and at the local level where I lead an outpost for our Orahovica children and teens. In October I had the privilege of going to Germany (and unknowingly Luxembourg) to receive the final level of Royal Ranger training which included a 24-hour survival trail in which we weren't allowed to bring a pack or sleeping bag.
Jeremy with the Regional Commander and the National Commanders of Slovenia and Serbia

During the training I was encouraged with these words: "Excellence brings glory to God." As the head of a ministry I am still learning about, I've been strengthened by the community in Royal Rangers and challenged by the demand of doing it well. The Lord has blessed me with a strong support system as I continue to learn the ropes of this Christian scout ministry.

Preaching and Teaching
This year saw the first fruits of my commitment to teach and preach in Croatian. It's still a struggle and I still need help editing my sermons and Bible studies. But I've seen a positive change - both in my communicating with the congregation and in my language skills - since I began teaching exclusively in Croatian in June. If you're interested in hearing what it sounds like, here's a sermon I preached on John 10:24-41 in a church about an hour from home. The sermon begins 56 minutes into the service.

I've heard life changes for a family once the first child starts going to school. That's certainly true in our case. Enoh started first grade in September and absolutely loves it. He's excelling in math and doing very well in Croatian. (Soon I may need to come to him for editing help!)

Ian started kindergarten while Emily and David stay at home. It's amazing to see the influence one pupil has on the other children. Both Ian and Emily have begun reading because of Enoh's newfound excitement for sounding out words he sees on books or signs.

Here is our family 2015 Year in Review video if you're interested in the sort of things grandparents love to watch, or if you're wondering what time of year Ian wore which glasses (none of which were necessary).

We are grateful for your support. As always, prayer is the most important way you can continue supporting us. We believe that what we are doing is the fruit of many years of prayer by those who are close to us and care for us. Happy New Year!

Jeremy, Petra, Enoh, Ian, Emily and David


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