While we were at missions training back in May we saw a great illustration about being in a new country. It was simply a ping pong ball and a cup of water. We are the ping pong ball and Croatia is the water. The point of the illustration is that there is a difference between being in a country and being on a country. The ping pong ball can easily be on the water but it takes effort, work, and even adaptation to get it in the water. The same goes for us. It's easy to be on a country, all you have to do is visit or vacation there. However just because you are on a country does not mean you are in the country. To be in the country requires an understanding of the language, the culture, the people and allowing those things to be part of our lives.
We are sitting on Croatia at the moment.
Our desire is to be in it.
And it's an exhausting task.
It takes work, effort, and adaptation.
I don't think a day has gone by where Amber and I haven't looked at each other and said, "I'm exhausted!" Even if all we did that day was went to the store and bought a few groceries. The beauty of this experience is that it continues to force us to lean into the Father and to pray. And you know what? He shows up.
In the last couple weeks we have accomplished:
- Getting our OIB numbers (the equivalent of getting your social security number) you need it to do anything like open a bank account or enroll our kids in school.
- Found an apartment - You can read more about that in our previous post.
- Registered with the police. We found out that we did it totally wrong and were probably going to have to pay a fine and yet the lady behind the counter was super nice and took care of everything for us. That was definitely an answered prayer moment.
- Got a family phone plan. Sounds easier than you think.
- Went car shopping as we are borrowing a van from the JV Slovenia team at the moment. You can be praying for this one as it is a complicated process of purchasing a vehicle when we don't have a visa yet and aren't Croatian.
- Found a pizza delivery place. That's how we celebrated our 12th anniversary the other day and it was wonderful.
- We have fed our family. Yes you read that right and yes that is an accomplishment. We have been eating regular meals recently which didn't occur very much in the first couple weeks. Mostly because we were running from place to place and just throwing bread or animal crackers at the kids to keep them fed.
- We have figured out laundry. We have tiny washing machine, no dryer, and 6 people in our family. You do the math. It has been a team event but we are getting better at it.
- Stayed warm. Our landlord told us that this was the coldest it had been in December in 100 years. Not sure how true that is but it sure felt cold. Especially when there is no central heating in the homes. We bought a bunch of little heated fans and feeling pretty good.
God has been so gracious to us and we are thankful for all he has done. We look forward to the weeks and months and years ahead. Continue to pray for us and that the gospel would go forth in this city, this region, and this country.