Greetings from chilly Serbia!

Winter came this week. Temperatures dropped and we woke up to snow falling on Tuesday (Nov. 29th). It was not much and mostly disappeared by Thursday afternoon (Dec. 1st). These two dates are also important to us, because of a Serbian friend—Vela—who fled Bosnia in 1994 and has been living in Niš in single-room public housing with his elderly mother for 22 years. After years of declining health, she died Tuesday, and Thursday Ethan attended the short service before they drove her coffin away for burial in the family grave in Bosnia. Vela asked Darko to share a few sentences. Even if Vela has not been to our church in many years, he has remained close to Darko and others in the chuch, and he has always been eager to offer his time and energy to help at the camp. There was only a small group of people for his mother’s send-off, but at least a third of them were from our church. Pray for Vela’s comfort, and a re-evaluation of his life to know what is most important.

Also on Thursday, one of our sisters from the church, Klara, had surgery to remove a tumor. Pray for her physical healing, but also healing in her family.

The 4 CEF conferences went well. Pastor Higle was encouraging and encouraged, and he plans to return next year. However, all the traveling left Darko sick for several days.

We did not manage to visit Macedonia in November, so we probably will not go until the spring when there’s less likelihood of snow in the passes.

December here in southern Serbia is not a holiday month, but January is. Pray for the various plans and practices as CEF workers are preparing choirs and puppets for the holidays in January.

This Sunday will be the Lord’s Supper and because brothers and sisters are coming in from other towns, two brothers will share the preaching duties, and even the next Sunday another American who is visiting for a couple of weeks will preach. It seems odd for Ethan to not be preparing a sermon for two weeks.

Pray we have wisdom to do whatever needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

A few weeks ago we had coffee with a neighbor, Meme, who had lived in London for eighteen years and missed speaking English. She is a Buddist, an artist, and a new friend. Pray we will be able to develop this friendship with her. Pray God blesses Meme and draws her to Himself.

Toby turned three November 18th and loves cars, planes, trains and rocketships. When he “helped” Jan make sugar cookies yesterday in preparation for our Christmas decorating “party,” he picked out the car cookie-cutter along with the circle and oval (not the heart or star or moon…), and what were the circles and ovals? Tire wheels and Ford symbols, of course! We love spending time together as a family, and it’s fun to watch Toby grow and learn. December 4th is our 17th wedding anniversary. We are very thankful for our many blessings.

Let us know if there is anything that we can pray about for you.

Blessings & Peace,
Ethan, Jan, & Toby