Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Varazdin, Hrvatska

I have just returned from a wonderful weekend visiting a small church in the town of Varazdin, Croatia. I travelled with Martyn Dunsford from Hedge End, Southampton and Sean Green from Reading. Some of you will remember Sean who was part of our church until he planted a church almost 10 years ago in Reading that has grown successfully.

It was my first visit to Croatia, Hrvatska in Croatian, and what a joy it has been. We were treated and fed like royalty the whole time. The church is led by Zdenko and Ivanova, above, who had arranged evangelistic meetings on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday morning. Here is the poster advertising the meetings that caused us to smile with Martyn's name changed to suit Croatian...Martinom Dunsfordom! Svjetlo Svijeta means Light of the World, the name of the church.

The church hire this room for their regular meetings. It is very nice, modern bright and fully equipped. Here is Sean speaking on the Saturday evening with Ivanova translating. Sean spoke about how he became a Christian, of God's love for us and price Jesus has paid for us. Many people responded to what he said and Sean prayed with them.

Martyn spoke on the Friday evening about the unique Jesus. Then on the Saturday morning Zdenko and Ivanova showed us round their town. Varazdin used to be the capital city of Croatia and has many fine Baroque buildings. Here are 4 of us, Sean, Zdenko, Martyn and Ivanova.

My blog would not be complete without giving you some idea of what we ate and drank! Restaurants and cafes were very stylish as indicated by this cup of tea I am about to have. Croats are a Slav people and I know they serve wonderful soups, but here was a treat I had not had before. Horseradish and nettle soup with a drop of green olive oil! It was wonderful, far better tasting then the name might suggest.

Our Saturday lunch table at a local restaurant heaved with food including this dish. Potatoes bottom left, then beef stew with mushrooms, then turkey topped with cheese, a few vegetables and then beef topped with goose livers! There were 2 dishes like this for 6 of us. Another treat cooked for us by Zdenko's mother Melita, was this squid risotto made with the ink from the squid which gives it the dark colour.

And the Sunday evening meal in Zdenko and Ivanova's house began with this tray of antipasti. A hard cheese like Parmesan, home made sausage made by Zdenko's father Robert and then prosciutto.

All washed down with coffee with cream!! It is definitely back to the diet after a weekend like this!

Sunday morning saw us in a neighbouring town where they hold meetings and again Martyn spoke before we prayed for the church members individually. The whole weekend was spent getting to know this young couple, their parents Robert and Melita and the people they are gathering. Their worship was vibrant and lively and one could sence a good spirit amongst them and most importantly God's Spirit moving in them. Questions were being asked back and forth the whole tme as we got to know one another and began building a relationship that we look to continue. All this relationship building was done over seemingly countless wonderful meals we enjoyed and many cups of coffee. What a joy and a privilege to be in Croatia and be involved in the life of this fledgling church.