Hi everyone, here is the latest entry from Ben and Emily Spector, our missionary family serving in Split, Croatia.  Log on to their blog at thespectors.wordpress.com to learn more about the ministry there in Split.

“It’s been a while since we last posted an update, so I guess that warrants a “longer” post! First and foremost, we are blessed by the Lord and you, our friends and family supporting us. The Lord has been faithful to provide for us, lead us, hold us, and His Word has sustained us. Your prayers, emails, thoughts, etc. are all blessings to us and are definitely not in vain.

For those on our email list, you may remember that almost a month ago we visited Calvary Chapel Čakovec (Cha-ko-vets).  We had a wonderful time seeing the church and getting to know people up there. It is pretty amazing what the Lord is doing in Čakovec. With around 200 members, they are one of the largest protestant churches in Croatia. The other neat thing is that they are a fully Croatian church (pastor, eldership, etc.), making them a gold mine for us to glean from, to see what a solid, functioning church in Croatia looks like.

Additionally, our trip there allowed us to see some of what the Lord is doing in the country as a whole. It was awesome to sit with Damir, the pastor, and hear his heart on the country. We were better informed of the fact that although there are various protestant works happening in most of the bigger cities (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, etc.), there are towns of 10,000 – 20,000 people throught the country that have never had an evangelical church at all. As soon as Damir relayed this information, my heart was burdened and excited to possibly get out to one of these towns. On the train back to Split, we traveled from the North to South. At every little town on the way, I was poking my head out of the window to see what it was like, spying out the land a bit. I’m very eager to check some of these places out!

We are hopefully going to be visiting Čakovec frequently to continue to pray, learn, gather more worship resources, and build solid relationships with our brothers and sisters there…definitely all exciting stuff!

Some of you may also remember that we had a small team come from the Bible College in Hungary for a few days.  They were only here for a weekend, so on Friday we got out on the streets and passed out flyers for the church. Saturday morning, we hosted a Christmas party for the women in our fellowship and also some of our friends in Split. The women had a very blessed time fellowshipping together and making a craft. Everyone left with new friends and warm hearts. The weekend was very profitable, and we were blessed to have the outreach team here.

On another note, the Warholics just recently left and are headed to the States. It’s been three years since they’ve been back, and Grace will be having the baby there. Keep them in your prayers as they travel and are with friends and family.

While they are gone, Emily and I are overseeing things here. Last Sunday was the first weekend they were away, and I started the book of Titus. In January, a couple from the bible college in Hungary will be visiting. He will teach for three Sundays, and after that I am going to go through Galatians with the fellowship, until the Warholics return. Please keep us in your prayers, that we would have wisdom, understanding, and discernment in overseeing things while they are absent. Keep the fellowship here in prayer as well. In addition to Sunday mornings, we are going to start meeting at our apartment to pray every Tuesday evening.

As most of you know, in light of this new season, we have been experiencing some spiritual warfare. The day the Warholics left, Ben began facing some health issues. Every night since they left, he has had severe pain in the joints of his hands and feet. We ended up going to the emergency room at one point, and are now working with a private clinic in Split. He’s been getting blood work done in order to see what is going on. Thankfully, the Lord blessed us with a nurse who had actually grown up in the States, so her English was flawless! That was a huge relief considering the difficulty we’d experienced at the emergency room trying to discuss symptoms in broken Croatian and English! So far, it’s looking like this pain is virus-related and will hopefully pass soon. Ben was able to get some pain medication in the meantime. Please keep this situation in prayer as we wait for the results on Ben’s diagnosis.

Finally, language studies are going well. For a while we felt our teacher was moving too slow, but now we are asking her to slow down! The language is pretty complicated so we would appreciate your prayers. It will also be the most practical tool we have if we want to get out and church plant, so we are putting a lot of time into grasping it.
Many blessing to you all,
-Ben and Emily

PS: Oh and we did see Santa Claus dressed up like the Pope at the mall a few days ago…a pretty funny yet sad sight to say the least. ”