Monday, July 29, 2013

Portoroz Update

The conference in Portoroz has been wonderful!  Once again ServeEurope has put on a great ReachGlobal conference.  Not only has the conference helped us refresh and refocus, but there have also been some personal celebrations.

The first personal celebration was Veronica's 7th birthday!  She is getting bigger and more beautiful every day.  It was very special to have another birthday at the sea with our second-born.

The second personal celebration was Sophia's baptism.  Yesterday Sophie publicly declared her faith in Jesus in front of our fellow ReachGlobal Europe staff.  It was a wonderful day for all of us.

Though the conference has been great, we barely made it here.  A kilometer away from the hotel our car overheated.  The radiator needs to be replaces, and the mechanic has ordered the appropriate parts from Germany.  Right now we are without a car and hoping the parts makes it in time to be installed before we have to leave Wednesday morning.  If it is not here, we will be stuck in Portoroz.  Please pray that the car will be ready for us to leave Wednesday morning.  We are thankful to God for getting us here safely, and we trust Him to get us home.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Off to Slovenia

Tomorrow morning we pack up the car and drive through four countries to a little city on the Aegean Sea for the ReachGlobal Europe Family Conference.  We will spend tomorrow night in Zagreb, Croatia and then continue on to beautiful Portoroz, Slovenia for a week of training, reflection, and refocusing with our fellow Europe Division staff.

Please pray for safe travels for us.  Please also pray for the ServeEurope staff and the visiting volunteers.  They have a big week in front of them, and we appreciate all they do for us during these conferences.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Bulgaria is know for hot mineral springs.  You can find them all over the country.  One such location is in down-town Sofia where the natural hot springs were used to make a public bathhouse.  The old bath house is a regular stop on tours of the capital.  Though it is no longer in use, it is still a common location to find people relaxing and enjoying a relaxing rest by the fountain.  You can even give yourself a splash at the hot mineral spring outside the bath.  It's yet another beautiful place in our city.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Strange Recruiting Strategy

One of my jobs as Sofia City Team Leader is to make sure the team is properly equipped to fulfill our vision.  As it stands right now, our team is not properly equipped to do so.  We simply do not have enough team members.

The members we do have are quality folks.  There are three of us so far.  Each one of us brings skills, talents, and gifts to the table that augment and enhance the whole.  Both of my teammates have skills that I don’t have, and I have skills they don’t have.  Together we make a good team, but we need more members.  This is why recruiting is one of my key roles as team leader.

Kenny has been a blessing to the team since he joined in December.

Sasha, our resident Bulgarian, and my lovely wife.
Recruiting people for a ministry team is, in some ways, very similar to hiring someone for a job.  You want to be sure the people who join the team have the right skills, talents, training, and personality.  Not just anyone can join the Sofia team.  I have turned people down who would not be a good fit.  In other ways though, recruiting for ministry is quite different than merely hiring.

When someone expresses an interest in joining the Sofia team, I take it seriously.  I pray extensively for them and with them.  I pray that God would guide them to the right ministry location.  Sometimes they discover that God is leading them somewhere else, and when that happens, I am more than willing to let them go.  They are not mine to begin with.  I share facts and needs for the team, and I stay in regular contact with them until they make a decision.  I don’t do a hard sell trying to build a team.  I let God lead them, and I do everything I can to make sure they end up in their sweet spot even if that means they never join us in Sofia.

This can be a bit confusing for those who approach teams from a sports or business perspective.  Such recruiters will do anything to get strong members on their team.  They will give incentives and make promises.  They will do everything they can to make their team look attractive.  They don’t understand why anyone would let a qualified teammate go elsewhere.

When Sasha and I moved from Poland to Bulgaria our team leader gave us such a strong recommendation that some thought he was either lying or trying to get rid of us (or possibly both).  To some he sounded like a slick car salesman who was trying to offload a lemon.  I was told straight out that his recommendation for us was useless because it sounded too good.

In reality our former boss wanted us to stay.  His recommendation was legitimate and honest.  He thought we were good teammates and to this day he and his wife remain close friends.  Yet he was willing to let us go because he was more interested in making sure that we were serving where God wanted us than where he wanted us.  He was very invested in our lives, and his godly leadership continues to affect me to this day.  He released us because he was more interested in building the Kingdom than expanding an empire.

This is how I view potential team members.  The vast majority of people who have looked at Sofia as a place to serve have been more than qualified.  They have been mature, skilled, and godly men and women.  Yet only three of us are actually here.  I’m okay with that.  God is the King.  He chooses who will join us in Sofia.  Obedience to Him is more important than building a large ministry for Him.

I will continue to try to build the Sofia team because I believe it’s what God is calling me to do.  I will pray for anyone who enters the process, and I will continue to pray for them even if they don’t join us.  I trust that God will send us the right teammates in His time.

Perhaps He will send you.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Video Production

Last week we finished a project that has been over a year in the making.  With the help of David Stefan of Edit-Works and his wife Leah we created footage for a video on Sofia.  David and Leah are now back in Minnesota where David will edit the footage and create what we pray will be a life-changing production.

Thank you to all of you who prayed for us during the filming.  Things could not have gone smoother.  The experts we interviewed all provided great insights on Bulgaria, and the footage David filmed was amazing.  We hope to be able to share the final product with you in the fall.

Thank you to the Stefans and Edit-Works for putting so much into this project.  It was a joy to host them for two weeks, and we hope all our short-term teams are so pleasant to work with.

David and Leah during a filming session on Vitosha Mountain