This weekend several of us here in Macedonia loaded up on a bus and headed to Novi Sad, Serbia to hear Nik Vujicic share his testimony. This young man was born with no arms and no legs but his life has been radically changed and given hope and purpose because of the grace of God. He now boldly proclaims the Truth that there is hope and life and peace and contentment in Christ. He shares the love of God with people all over the world.
Hearing him speak was wonderful. Seeing him and a young lady who also had no arms hugging was beautiful (not something I ever expected to see). But there were a few other things that really touched my heart even more over the weekend.
First of all, we had a very mixed group of people with us from four different Macedonian cities. Several of the people I had never met or did not know very well. So it was a huge blessing to meet these new people and strengthen relationships. It was also a great reminder that I have brothers and sisters all over this nation who also desire to see God’s name lifted up here. We laughed, talked, sang, sat, rode, ate, and worshiped together – it was just fun!
Second, the other people from Prilep really took me in and made me feel like family. As rooms and beds were being claimed, the ladies from Prilep asked me to stay with them. When groups were splitting up to walk around I heard, “Come on, Carissa, you’re with us.” As I prepared to take a picture one of them asked me to wait so they could join me in the photo. Then, later, some of them pulled up a chair so I could join them at the coffee shop. It felt like I had my family right there with me. I knew they had my back. I felt like I belonged.
Lastly, the Serbian believers were amazing. The love they have for the Lord and for one another just poured out of them. They welcomed us with open arms (some of them, quite literally!) and made us feel at home. They gave us a place to stay, coffee and juice in the morning, and then sandwiches and cookies before we hit the road. And, after all that, they apologized that they hadn’t done more! Before the worship service started Sunday morning several of them introduced themselves and visited with us. They let us be fully involved in the worship service. They visited with us afterward. It was just an absolutely wonderful time of fellowship and community. I love seeing the body of Christ really be the body – being a family together – and knowing that I am blessed to be a part of it.