Dear sisters and brothers in Pulpit Rock Church!
We are grateful that we have new friends, friends who are very far from us, but God somehow brought us together, and thank you for supporting God’s work in Croatia as well, thank you for your trust.
I heard for the first time in 2015 at a seminar in the Netherlands that there is something called a sports ministry. I really loved God and sports! It became clear to me that God wanted my best, and all my focus, so in September 2019, He lead me to leave my current job, and join CRU through Athletes in Action sports ministry. God has been equipping me in this field for years, He called me and put on my heart the desire to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help make disciples. My wife Natalia joined the full ministry in May 2021. Croatia, with only about 4 million people, is crazy about sports, and each year we win many international medals. Because, especially, the younger generation loves sports, it presents a great platform to reach many with the Gospel. In Croatia about 90% of the people claim to be Christian, with 86% Catholic, but the churches recognize that most have never experienced a personal relationship with Christ.
All this reinforces my desire to see people come to know the living Christ, to see their whole lives changed, their thoughts, feelings and will, to see them live for Christ daily. I am grateful God has called me into His harvest, and I surrender to Him to sustain me in the calling He has given me. I believe the key to see God reach Croatia through sports is also through a team effort, where every member is very important. God led us to lead a newly established baptist church in Varaždin from 2016., which today has 35 members.
We are connected to the global AiA structure and have good partnerships with AiA USA and the Netherlands so far. Here in Croatia, it is very difficult for people to respond to the call for full-time ministry, there are a lot of difficult circumstances, and for now, only me and my wife are full-time employees in the sports ministry, and we are praying for new employees or help from some other countries, for those who would be willing to come to Croatia for at least one year.
We have friends who help us in the sports ministry through volunteering and we have weekly relations with the student ministry, the ministry for families and the ministry for business people. We have weekly meetings and prayer every Friday with other friends who are employees. Regular activities during the week are that we have 4 trainings through Totalfit programs for men and women, physical exercise and the spiritual part.
We edit a sports-christian website and have published two books with a sports-christian theme. We also worked on and published a book for training volunteers in the sports ministry. Furthermore, it is important for us to work with children and youth, with whom we have short and long camps. We are quite engaged in the local church, I through preaching and organization, pastoral care, while my wife through Sunday school for children and programs for women.
Things that are happening now:
We have just returned from camps for children and youth, they were excellent camps. A lot can be done at the camp when children and young people are in a different atmosphere and the response of young people to the Gospe lis very good.
Psalm 78 continues to motivate me to help work with children and young people.
I am currently preparing for something that will be the first time in Croatia, which is part of the Global Sports Sunday 2022. From 11-18. September we will have a prayer in all of Croatia for athletes, and sports ministry. In a way, we are stretching our faith because it is quite difficult to reach such a group with the Gospel.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.“
What is Global Sport Sunday? Sport has a significant impact on cultures around the world. On average, more than half of the world’s population participates in a sports community weekly. Not to mention the number of people who regularly come into contact with sports through media and other sources. Parents, trainers, fans, and volunteers… all are touched by the ‘power’ of sport.
The Church often sees this power as a threat rather than an opportunity. The people and organisations participating in the Global Sports Sunday believe that the body of Christ needs the athletes. When the Church learns to embrace the sporting community and can serve them, the love of Christ will be able to impact cultures around the world. Therefore, we are calling up the body of Christ worldwide to join us on Global Sports Sunday to pray for the world of sports.
The most extraordinary untapped mission in the world today! One project/programme that I am currently working on and which is very close to my heart is the preparation of the location for UTC 2023. This will be the first time in Croatia. In August 2022., we need to choose the location where it will be and reserve it for 2023.
Something interesting to know about UTC
We create environments where God will change lives as athletes discover how to live and compete from a Biblical perspective. The UTC is a high intensity sports camp experience, designed by Athletes in Action, for college & pro athletes. We tackle the issues of how to integrate faith and sport together in every aspect. You will learn five core Biblical principles that impact your faith and your sport. Then you get to experience the ultimate challenge in an unforgettable 20-hour sports competition, known as “The S.P.E.C.I.A.L.”
Our goal is to help every athlete in every nation understand how the gospel impacts their sport and life. You will get a Biblical perspective on topics like motivation, attitude, leadership, persevering through tough times, and winning & losing. This will give you a leadership framework that will change the way you look at life and competition. After each classroom session throughout the camp, you’ll be placed in a controlled competitive environment where you can begin using these principles immediately. You also get to interact with athletes from around the country, and the world, through small group meetings, recreational activities and social events. Come experience the Ultimate!
If you have interested young people – students to come to UTC Croatia 2023, feel free to connect them with me.
Support and Prayer needed:
Oh, my desire is that the Gospel can truly run in Croatia and I have some big wishes that I don’t really dare to share out loud for now (a lot depends on human resources and financing) … here are some important prayer needs.
- 1) For good preparation for September 11-18, the Global Sports Sunday project in Croatian 2022., and good acceptance by the churches.
- 2) Praying that God will open in August 2022. the door for a great location for UTC 2023. (May) in Croatia, and for it to be an opportunity to connect and multiple of new leaders.
- 3) For the people we work with and pray for them to accept Christ! For spiritual and numerical growth in the church, enough mature christians.
- 4) For renting a new meeting space for the our local church, or the purchase of a smaller space for church meetings and programs. Prayer for donations!
- 5) In the future, to have a pastor preacher for our local church
Always is need prayer for our growth in prayer, wisdom and sanctification.
We recently had a baptism…in a church we cooperate with…, and thank God for those people.
Thank you all,