Home Church Visit in Serbia – Summer Outreach in Serbia
Living on mission in the summer months can go one of two ways in my experience. They are either packed full or very laid back. I guess you could say that my summer has been laid back as I have been traveling a lot, but I have also been busy with activities and serving in other parts of my country.
Recently, my home church paid us a visit in Serbia. They have been coming here every year since 2015, which was the first time I came to Serbia. They have been faithful in coming here and building relationships with the local people, as well as partnering with the different ministries around Serbia.
Short-term mission teams are vital to long-term ministry. They are able to go broader more quickly and reach people who we couldn’t reach otherwise. They bring in new and fresh perspective to the area we are serving. It is easy to overlook certain things when we get busy with life, so being open to the perspectives of “outsiders” is important. My personal favorite thing about short-term teams coming, though, is the encouragement we provide each other. Although having teams may be physically exhausting, my spiritual cup overflows from the time spent with new (and old) friends!
You might be thinking, “Aren’t they here to serve and support us in our ministry?” The short answer is yes, but I also like to think of how I can serve them as well. They’ve spent a lot of time and money to be here to be a blessing, and I want them also leaving with their spiritual cup full. I want them to encounter God and to be refreshed going back to whichever place they came from.
When my home church was here, they only spent 3 hours in Užice. But in those 3 hours, they got two contacts who are interested in coming to Oaza for cultural events and to practice English. They went places that my team and I may not have gone had they not been here.
I was only planning to be with them while they were in Užice and Kragujevac, but that was going to leave all of us wanting more. I decided to travel with them to Belgrade to help with the baseball camp they organized. It was a great way for two worlds to collide: my two favorite things, sharing Jesus and baseball. They were shorthanded and didn’t have enough coaches, so I was able to jump right in!
In doing that, I was able to help where needed, but also encourage others around me. There were younger people on the trip who are thinking about serving in missions full-time, so I was able to share some of my experiences in my short time living here. I’m so thankful for the conversations I was able to have with everyone on that trip, as well as many of the locals.
I just want to leave you with this: I know short-term teams and outreach teams are a lot of work and can be exhausting, but they are well worth it! I hope that you will receive outreach teams in your location in the near future if you haven’t already had one this summer.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Taylor Smith lives in Užice, Serbia, and works with YWAM there. She is originally from Texas and is instrumental to the work God is doing in Serbia. She has a big, honest, and open heart, that draws others to her quickly and makes them feel safe. Her vision is to reach women, particularly through anti-human trafficking and counseling ministries https://www.taylorslifeoverseas.com