S: 2012 CMA Team in Macedonia
BC: DEPARTED | MACEDONIA | 7 MAY 2012
FC: 2012 CMA TEAM IN MACEDONIA
1: MACEDONIA TEAM | MACEDONIA | ARRIVED 28 APRIL 2012 | Mark & Kathy Cooley, Michael French, Phil Smith, Dan & Karen Montgomery, Donna Hadley, Sharon Peak, Marge Shultz, Marsha Eddy, Cliff Greeno, & Randal & Lisa Tebeau with Pastor Vane
2: None of us knew what to expect on this mission trip, but we were all excited to see what God was doing through CMA & MVI in Macedonia!
5: FIRST MEAL & THE HOTEL SIRIUS | Zoran, Angel & George met us at the airport and we drove to Veles for lunch. Zoran ordered a chicken dish for everyone and we had our first of many tomato & cucumber salads! Then we headed to Strumica and checked in at the Hotel Sirius. It was a very nice hotel with beautiful grounds. Peacocks were everywhere and shepherds were nearby! | SUNDAY, APRIL 29
6: FIRST SERVICE | with Pastor Vane | 29 APRIL 2012
7: Zoran interpreted the testimonies given by Marsha & Michael, as well as, Randal's message. We were impressed with the number of young men present. (We later learned that often the women are not allowed to come.) We found one young woman who spoke some English! Some of the villagers arrived in the wagon below.
8: Meet & Eat | MONDAY, APRIL 30 | We met each morning in the hotel's beautiful sun room for a buffet breakfast, devotion and to get our schedule for the day. On this morning, we met Tommy, the missionary with MVI, and three young women who have been working with him. Tommy gave us a brief history lesson on Macedonia to include the orthodox church and its views on the evangelical church. We enjoyed lunch that day (and several other days) at the Bohnta restaurant - pizza, salads, lasagna, tortellinis, breadsticks and more!
10: New Friends | Macedonian Hospitality
11: AT PASTOR VANE'S HOME After breakfast, we headed to Pastor Vane's home. His wife, Biljana, and another young woman served us soft drinks and fancy cookies. (Many of us really enjoyed the soft drink that is made in Strumica.) Pastor Vane shared his testimony & how his newborn daughter's sickness brought him to Christ. We also met his mother and father. Pastor Vane had already received a motorcycle from CMA & MVI, so we blessed it for 2012! We presented small gifts to his wife and children, Verica, Elena, & Tuse. (Timotej was at school). What a sweet time of fellowship!
12: SHOWING THE JESUS FILM What an awesome night! We arrived before dark and got to see all the farmers coming in from the fields. Then we watched the Jesus Film along with the people of the village. Karen & Cliff gave their testimonies and Randal spoke. Afterward, we took lots of pictures with our new friends!
14: TUESDAY, MAY 1 MAY DAY PICNIC
17: It appeared that EVERYONE was out enjoying a picnic on this beautiful day! We had such a sweet time of fellowship with our Macedonian brothers and sisters. Some enjoyed hiking, others played with the children, and some just sat in the shade and visited. Pastor Vane gave a devotion on the abundant life with Alexander translating. Then, our new friends insisted we sit at the table and they served us a feast fit for a king!
18: WEDNESDAY, MAY 2 - WALKING IN PAUL'S FOOTSTEPS We stood where Paul did thousands of years ago when he traveled through Macedonia.
20: HILLTOP RESTAURANT OVERLOOKING STRUMICA What an outstanding view of the town! It was memorable because Angel stopped to ask for directions at least four times! And, we entertained ourselves while waiting on our meal!
23: We had our opportunity to explore Strumica after lunch as Angel's van riders were dropped off outside the square. We'd been given no instructions so we headed to the square. We ran into Randal's group along the way and decided to wait for our interpreters on the square. Karen had the opportunity to share with a young man, even though they spoke different languages.
24: SERVICE AT PASTOR NIKOLI'S CHURCH | Zoran shared with us how they didn't have enough money to finish this church, but he encouraged Pastor Vane to do as much as they could and then watch for God to move. Zoran was talking with a friend on the phone and the person asked how much was needed to build the church. They had not even discussed the church! The man gave more than enough to complete the project! Many of us enjoyed playing with the children before the service. That night, Marge, Mark & Sharon gave their testimonies and Dan gave the message.
27: Thessaloniki, Greece | THURSDAY, MAY 3 We began the day by singing Happy Birthday to Mike French. Then we headed off to Greece. After facing a few harrowing moments at the border, we did make it from Macedonia into Greece! We walked all over Thessaloniki and saw many incredible sights such as . . . . . . Roman Ruins in the middle of the city! We could see the public bath, the marketplace arches and the amphitheater. . . . the Round Tower where Pastor Vane's great-great grandfather was imprisoned. . . . a huge open market. . . .Tommy's church. . . . a Macedonian Orthodox Church. . . . and a fight at Starbucks!
28: Thessaloniki | Roman Ruins
31: THESSALONIKI, GREECE We went inside a Greek Orthodox Church that was across the street from a Starbucks. Then we went to the fort that overlooked the city. What an incredible view!
33: OUTREACH EVENT ON THE SQUARE While there were many familiar faces, there were some young men who came because of the flyers we passed out the day before. Phil and Donna gave their testimonies, and both Randal and Pastor Vane spoke. Several young men gave their lives to Christ, including Marko, the one with whom Karen shared yesterday! What a gift from God! We prayed with the young men and the young pastors. Then we enjoyed dinner with Marko and Stolin at King's Fast Food!
35: FRIDAY, MAY 4 RUINS OF ROMAN PUBLIC BATH
38: New Friends | CMA BULGARIA
39: SERVING WITH OUR BULGARIAN BROTHERS Even though the Bulgarians arrived late to the hotel, we got to the village early for the evening service. So, Angel gave some of the team a ride on Danail's motorcycle! We also walked into the village and had a coffee at an outdoor cafe. At the service, Kathy and Danail gave their testimonies. Randal's message was on the storms of life and Pastor Vane spoke as well. Danail translated for us, including the songs and prayers. After the service, we were able to pray with the family that is expecting their second child and we had some small gifts for their daughter, Sandra. We returned to King's Fast Food and enjoyed more time with our Bulgarian brothers!
40: SATURDAY, MAY 5 PASTOR NIKOLI & FAMILY This little family captured our hearts! Nikoli, his wife, Dijana, and their sons, Denis and Tasko. They always had the biggest, warmest smiles on their faces! They were at every service we attended and you could just see the love of Jesus all over them!
41: LUNCH IN GEVGELIJA & SHOPPING We ate at a sidewalk cafe, which is very popular this time of year. We enjoyed HUGE pizzas and more pancakes! These were even better than the ones we had at Bohnta! After lunch, we went to a TINY, but authentic souvenir shop. We met Phillip and he joined us for our walkabout.
42: New Friends | Angel & Family
43: ANGEL ANDRETTIisms . . . "Out!" "Five dollars" "Bye, bye"
44: THE HOTEL ROMANTIQUE We enjoyed relaxing on the veranda of this beautiful hotel with the Ane Trajkovski family (aka Angel's family) We had met his wife, Magdalena, at the picnic and heard about his three children. We met all of them and Angel's mother on our way to the hotel. Azuni Manuela, the two-year old stayed with her grandmother, but Tarik, the three-year old, and Hanna, the four-year old, had fun with us at the hotel. The children enjoyed their little gifts and the adults enjoyed relaxing! | CENSORED
45: BIKER OUTREACH IN VELES We met the second Pastor Nikoli and the second translator named Alexander at this event. This was a small group, but we had bikers from local ride groups present. Randal shared an informational powerpoint about CMA and several team members shared testimonies about the impact of CMA on their lives. Kathy talked about some of the ministry tools and Dan shared about bike blessings. Consequently, Dan got to bless several bikes afterward! We also enjoyed fellowshipping over some tasty snacks! Hopefully, we planted some CMA seeds with these Macedonian bikers!
46: Hotel Kapistec | Walk Through Skopje
48: Angel walked us all through Skopje . . . passed the marathon runners, McDonalds, a bike shop, and many other stores before arriving at the church. The church service was awesome! This was the largest of all the services we attended. Zoran spoke several times, Phil and Randal gave testimonies, and Alexander gave a sermon on giving. We had a great time singing as some of the worship songs were ones we knew and they even had the English words on the screen! Zoran translated for Alexander and Zoran is very expressive when he speaks or translates! | SUNDAY, MAY 6 ZORAN'S CHURCH
50: Skopje, Macedonia | SKOPJE SQUARE After church we walked through the main square and saw many statues. The largest was of Alexander the Great and it had a fountain with huge lion statues around it – quite impressive! Of course, we had to take a group picture. We went through the shopping area to an Italian restaurant. Dan finally got his pepperoni pizza and Marge enjoyed Sharon’s spinach cannelloni, at least until her macaroni was served! Marsha had a “real” salad (with lettuce) and several enjoyed steaks!
54: New Friends | Gypsies in Shutka
55: AT PASTOR TONI'S CHURCH IN SHUTKA We drove to Shutka which means “junk” and it was literally a trash dump with houses of all varieties scattered around. This is where the gypsies live. While it was a small group, their singing was quite moving. Pastor Toni works with this group and Alexander was interpreting for him. Donna and Mike gave their testimonies and Randal brought a message on faith. We closed with prayer for several of the members and, of course, picture taking! The church reaches out to the community through its feeding program and children's educational programs.
57: OUR LAST MEAL After praying over the city one last time, we wanted something fast to eat so we could at least get a little sleep before 2:30AM!
58: UNFORGETTABLE SCENERY From forests with graceful waterfalls . . . to fantastic views with mountain backdrops . . . to serene lakes surrounded by greenery - these can all be found in the beautiful country of Macedonia!
61: UNFORGETTABLE SCENERY Colors abound everywhere! From the sky, the fields looked like patchwork quilts . . . shades of green varied from the hillsides to the fields with their white domes . . . plants and flowers added their colors to the earth's palette - so much beauty!
62: Unforgettable Faces of Our New Friends
64: Farewell Macedonia... until next time...
66: ALWAYS FLEXIBLE was our mantra for this trip. At the Dulles Airport, Karen & Dan Montgomery presented Lisa & Randal with a pair of Gumbys to use as visual reminders during our time in Macedonia. Threats were made to the Gumbys several times, but they both survived with all limbs in tact! Our verse for the week was "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape!" | SEMPER GUMBY | Guardian Angel Gumby . . . | Accessorizing with Gumby . . . | Gumby freshens up . . .
67: Gumby safely in his package . . . Happy Gumbys are on their way home . . . A Gumby impersonator on the plane . . . Tired Gumbys waiting for their connecting flight . . .