[Sorry to be so long in posting this next bit about Macedonia. Since the last post, I have traveled 1,600 miles in trusty Squishy with trustier Amanda and made it back to Seattle safely. Yeah! Thank you for praying!]
The tent was set up for the Days of Hope events of the first week we were there. The Puzzle was done by a team of teens from Skopje for kids two nights in the tent, a film was shown for adults, and a concert was held there in addition to the Sunday service and the Saturday services.
Saturday was the main event. It lasted from 10-2, and there were all sorts of activities around the field. I think I posted some of this earlier, but twice won’t hurt. There were services going on constantly in the big tent, and everything else was spread around the field.
These are the tents for the medical help, eye exams, haircuts, and face painting. The red umbrella is the shade for the cotton candy and popcorn.
There were also games for the kids, which we ran. This picture shows most of the games from where I spent the day- in the unsuccessful cakewalk. Oh well. Apparently soccer balls (at the ring toss) are more popular than cakes. I even handed out wiki sticks as consolation prizes!
Security for the week was provided by a security company from Skopje that is headed by the guy on the left in this picture. He is a believer, and they provided security for the field for free for the week. We joked about how we should use this picture with parents who are reluctant to let their kids serve Jesus overseas. They were friendly and very gracious.
We heard bits and pieces of testimonies from this day, and I look forward to hearing more later, whether on earth or in heaven. The way I see it, we got to do “backstage” work to allow the local church to minister to their community in really practical ways. It was a privilege to be there and support our brothers and sisters in sharing Jesus with their neighbors. We didn’t do a whole lot of “ministry” in a traditional sense on this day or on this trip in general, but we did get to do a lot of practical, had-to-be-done work to set the stage for Macedonian ministry.
At our game stations, we were partnered with a Macedonian to translate and talk to the kids (since our Macedonian vocabulary was growing but still quite limited). It was a fun way to get to know some of the teens.
When I spoke at XA for the last time (less than 2 months ago! wow!), I spoke on koinonia, a Greek word with a lot of depth (from what I can tell) that can be translated “partnership, fellowship, vested interest” and many other ways. Days of Hope in Negotino was a perhaps unconventional example of koinonia. We partnered with Macedonian believers and our Father to reach out to a community full of people who need Him. They needed us, we needed them, and Jesus chose to use all of us to love people. His vested interest in them was poured out through us.