What was our main focus on the trip?
We didn’t really know what to expect when arriving in Serbia. This was our first time doing a trip with Heaven Sent Ministries. Claudicea and Manuel welcomed us into their home and treated us like family! They have such love and passion for the Lord and gypsies in Northern Serbia who they minister to. They main focus in mission work has been doing home visits and church planting. During our stay we spent time with many families inside their homes, praising God through music, fellowship, listening to their stories, their needs and we shared the gospel with them. I was usually asked to share my testimony and thoughts on how it related to their life and what God could do for them.
Who are Manuel and Claudicea?
Manuel is from Peru. Claudicea is from Brazil. They met and were married while doing mission work in Peru. From there they felt called to work with the gypsies in Portugal. They spent 22 years there and planted 16 churches in Gypsy villages. Then they felt called by the Lord to move to Serbia and work with Gypsies there. Manuel currently pastors his first church where they are ministering to the Hungarian gypsies in villages in Northern Serbia. Their typical week includes spending time with different families throughout the week sharing God’s love with them and spreading the gospel.
Miljana and the Language Barrier
Miljana was our interpreter and could speak all the languages we encountered. She has such a passion for the Lord, it was a blessing to have her there with us. The language barrier in Northern Serbia was great. The gypsies speak Hungarian. The Serbians have their own Cyrillic Serbian language. Manuel speaks Spanish and Hungarian while Claudicea speaks everything but English. She could speak a little English however, so Kim and her worked their way through conversations when Miljana was not around so we needed her to translate all the languages for us throughout the trip. I spoke at church on our last Sunday there and she interpreted my entire testimony and message to the body. Manuel and I had a unique way to communicate. I had him download the Microsoft Translator app. We could open it on either of our phones and with a split screen have full conversations together. This tool was also an incredible asset to have which enabled me to build a better relationship with Manuel who then taught me to play the guitar while there without actually speaking any English!
Tebo – English speaking pastor
Tebo was a pastor from another village we had the privilege to go out and do home visits with on Wednesday and Friday of the first week. Twice a week Tebo and Manuel go out together and do home visits. During that week Miljana, our interpreter had to leave for a few days to study for a college exam so it was nice to have Tebo to do some work with in her absence since he was able to speak English! Tebo also runs a soup kitchen twice a week feeding gypsies in his own village. We were able to participate in one of these soup kitchens on that Wednesday. Tebo took us around to several gypsy villages and we seen some of the worse poverty we encountered while we were in Serbia.