First off I would like to apologize for our lack of posting – our schedule is constantly changing over here and we have been travelling a lot as well so I will do my best to summarize everything we’ve been doing over the past 3.5 weeks.
Alex and I (Jaimee) are living in a flat together while Sarah and Annie are living with Jelena, an EUS employee. The first couple weeks here Annie and I worked together and Alex and Sarah worked together. This work consisted of playing with kids at a kindergarten, volunteering for organizations such as Bread of Life, building relationships with college students, teaching english, and going on various day trips to the north and south of Serbia. Our home of Belgrade is a beautiful and busy city full of history (former capital of Yugoslavia) so we have done many tourist activities such as taking a tour bus around the city, taking a boat on the danube and sava rivers, visiting the Kalemegden fortress which was home to many different empires over the course of time, and having an iced coffee on the infamous walking street. Over the course of the first couple weeks here in Belgrade we befriended a wonderful American missionary family from Dallas who have 3 kids and we jump at every opportunity we have to babysit them, they were even nice enough to have us and every other American in Belgrade over for the fourth of July. They have become our home away from home over here. The fourth of July was also the day Djokovich celebrated his Wimbledon win at the Parliament building, so needless to say the city has been alive with pride for him.
We have had the opportunity to visit several different roma (gypsy) communities which are very poor communities, consisting primarily of muslims living in what look like hoovervilles underneath bridges not too far from our flat. Really no words could describe this place and we look forward to helping the people there as best we can. Some of you might know Vanja, a former inn intern from Novi Sad, Serbia – well we have had the pleasure of spending time with her and we are all in awe at how amazing of a woman she is. Dealing with being a Bosnian refugee as a teenager then coming to know Jesus and minister to college students, she has such great faith. Pray that her visa comes soon so that she can finally get married and move to Seattle! While we were visiting Vanja in Novi Sad and touring the city we also got to attend a very cultural deputation event known as EXIT. It is basically a huge 4 day European music festival and we jumped along with the crowd enjoying artists such as M.I.A.
This past week of our trip has been spent in Montenegro. A beautiful country full of mountains and trees to the South of Serbia – it only took an 11 hour bus ride to get there but was well worth it. We were attending an english camp in the mountains that consisted of breakfast, english class, coffee break, talk, small group discussion, lunch, games and activities, dinner, and then an evening program such as UK night, Balkan night, or talent show night. There was a team of 8 people from the UK, 2 Danish girls, us Americans, then a number of campers from Serbia and Montenegro. It was an amazing experience being able to bond with people from different countries and to learn about their cultures. We learned how to play cricket, we learned a celtic dance, a traditional serbian dance, tons of trivia, and most importantly about other people’s stories. Alex and I unfortunately had to leave the camp early (Annie and Sarah are still there) because we have a train to Croatia for a reconciliation conference in about 7 hours. Pray for safe travels and I promise we won’t wait this long to post again!
We have been in Belgrade, Serbia for a total of 35 hours now and have already discovered that time has no real value. In the sense that you should expect someone to show up at least 30 mins late if not later after the time you agreed to meet. We have also already made three trips to McDonald’s and for see this to be a frequent accurence as it is Samuil’s (the director of EUS) favorite.
We have had the chance to meet some amazing people that we will be working closely with over the next two months. Our busy days will be filled with working at a kindergarden, meeting with college students and building relationships with them, as well as having the chance to travel to Navi Sad, Montenegro and Croatia on different occionsons to attend confrences and work at camps.
We are excited to see how God will mold the summer and use us to serve. Our modo for the summer is to say “yes” to the things that we might normally say no too. We challenge the other deputies to say “yes” with us.
We will update you all soon! Ciao Ciao for now!
Love and Peace team Serbia,
Alex, Jaimee, Annie, & Sarah