Chao Seattle (or whoever else from other places reads this)!
Wow we were really not good about posting blogs from Montenegro so I guess we will have to catch you all up on the highlights of this trip!
Whether or not we wanted to, each of us had our own ideas and perceptions about how we thought this trip might play out, and I’m pretty sure it turned out differently than we all thought. We arrived in Podgorica, Montenegro on June 22nd exhausted from about 24 hours of traveling. Sinisa took us to a burger place that we would soon come to love a lot as it had the most “American” type of chicken sandwiches.
Sinisa holds church every Sunday and Wednesday night at 7pm, so we got in the routine of going to that twice a week. We can always look forward to seeing the people who regularly attend and giving them a bro handshake and hug and saying “chao!” (which means hey! and goodbye!). Service usually starts out with Sinisa leading worship, with some intermittent prayer from anyone who feels lead, in-between songs. Then Sinisa will speak on whatever topic he has prepared for that week, and then prayer afterwards.
The first week or two was pretty slow, but we soon got a team from Georgia. Lots of memories were made while they were here. Most of them were between the age of 18 and 22, so we all got along really well. There were many dinners full of laughs and trying mystery meats filled with different kinds of cheeses. We also discovered that Montenegro definitely has the best French fries. While the team was here, one of their team members, Chase, turned 21, so of course we HAD to celebrate! We had a night that included a private dinner on a river and ended with all of us in the river somehow.
While the Georgia team was also here, we got to dive into getting to know the Roma community even more through a type of church conference. For a few days, we went to a hotel conference room for about 6 hours a day and got to spend the whole time in worship and scripture and small group and relationship. This was the beginning of some amazing relationships that would continue to grow even stronger as the weeks continued. John (the leader of the Georgia team) and Chase spoke on the ten commandments during those days, while Sinisa led some rad worship. We also learned about some awesome secret talents. One of the Roma guys, Suda, can rap like no other, and he should definitely be famous. Baskim has some awesome dance moves, Ismajl is really good at helping people who are sore, and during this week, Egzon got his high school diploma!!
We had a few more short term teams in the weeks in between from a variety of different places, but now we are going to skip forward a few weeks…
A team from Virginia came and we all headed up to the top of the mountains (and when I say top of the mountains, I mean the top. Like it dropped a good 20-30 degrees, and we could actually wear a light jacket for the only time during this trip). We had an exhausting but amazing week up there as we all hosted a camp for the Roma community. Each day we would have morning and night service with a variety of games, crafts, sports, and free time in between. This was the week that we got to hear the majority of the testimonies from the Roma community. Along with all of the fun we had, I’m pretty sure every person from an American team managed to get sick in some capacity.
The next week, one team from Virginia left, and switched out with another group from their church. This next team lead a VBS at the church for an hour and a half a day for the next week. We saw more kids than we had ever seen during this week! It’s crazy how quickly news gets around through word of mouth in the community. During this week, there were a lot of skits, bracelet making, games involving balls and hula hoops, and coloring.
Now we are basically done! There is nothing else concrete planned for the remainder of the trip. In about a week, Taylor will be headed out to Italy, Sydney will be heading back to Seattle, and Kevin will be traveling around the different cities and possibly headed up to Croatia until the 17th when Taylor and Kevin will head back to Seattle.
Here are some more totally random but interesting facts you might want to hear about during are time here:
- Peanut butter is like not a thing here
- (So neither are Reeses)
- Taylor and I don’t have a toaster, so we have learned how to make toast by setting it directly onto the stove
- Taxi drivers like it if you dance to their music
- The frozen pizza here is made of a very very VERY soft dough on the bottom, and we have yet to figure out how to make it
- Ice cream is just not the same… 😦
- When painting a house, the paint is very watered down, so be ready to get splattered
- There is a Hard Rock Café here (and it still isn’t good, and still overpriced)
- Everyone here is amazed by Taylor’s black hair and they all just want to touch it all day long
- Sydney seriously sweats a lot when it’s this hot here (it’s supposed to be over 100 this whole next week)
- Sinisa was very caught off guard by Kevin’s asian glow
- Montenegro has the most rad sunsets
So there you go! All of us will be home at some point within the next two and a half weeks, and we all will have plenty more stories to share.
Volim Te Montenegro! (I love you Montenegro!)
-Sydney, Kevin, and Taylor