How You Can Go “On A Mission From God” To The Balkans This Summer

Sozo Worship Team 2011

Sozo Worship Team 2011

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be part of a worship missions team? To serve people in areas of the world that would benefit from your unique gifts, talents and willingness to be available? To go where you are blessed to be a blessing?

Me neither, until I was invited to go on my first missions trip. I was 37 at the time and had never been out of North America. But as I prayed about the opportunity, I sensed the Lord say “If you go, it will change your life.”

It did.

Join the adventure! :

“We’re on a mission from God”

In my opinion, traveling internationally not as a tourist, but to serve is the only way to see the world. You get in the God zone –  “on a mission from God” and your paradigm of life radically changes. You have to walk the talk that “it’s not about me.” Your life gets transformed and you get Wrecked” along the way.

This is not for everybody.

Missions travel requires patience, humility, flexibility and a teachable attitude.  An iron stomach also helps!

Did I mention this is not for everybody?

But it’s the only way for me.

Soon I’ll embark on another journey to the Balkans (eastern Europe) to “go and make disciples”.

I invite you to join me. I’ll tell you how later in this article.

Why 11 Consecutive Years of Missions in Eastern Europe?

Worship changed my life and missions ruined me for the ordinary. Since that first trip I’ve been to many nations but there is a special place in my heart for the people of Eastern Europe.

I’ve gone for 11 years because I was asked to come. I said “yes” to God’s invitation. Simple, but not easy.

It’s a great honor and privilege to serve in Serbia, Romania, Hungary and other places. I’ve made a lot of international friends over the years. People who are real heroes, laying down their lives to serve the kingdom of God. People like Darijo and Genu and Pica and Cristi and Cristina – far too many to list here.

Throughout this blog I’ve shared stories of my missions work teaching and sharing the gospel.

There is a compelling need in this region, still to this day – for relevant biblical teaching and the proclamation of the gospel.

That’s basically the role I serve.

Every year I’m willing to lay this “calling” down.  This was especially true last year. I laid my “Isaac” on the altar. Then in the valley of decision in the middle of last years mission, I had a very clear word from God – this is what I’m called to do. It was a strong confirmation.

And so I go by faith, as many missionaries do and have done.

It’s hard physically, financially and emotionally. Yes,  there is a benefit to serving a cause bigger than you.  Yes, it is a very worthwhile endeavor with eternal value.  It is a blessing to be “Wrecked.”

But it would be the wrong motivation to go for what I get out of it. These trips are rewarding, but also very difficult. I’m frustrated and stressed out, honestly, by the cost and the work load to raise funds and awareness. By now I should be good at fundraising, but I’m not.

Good thing God has always provided everything needed at just the right time. He is good!

Here are the ministry areas I’ll be serving.

1.  Ethnic & International Reconciliation

Did you understand anything about the war in Yugoslavia in the mid 1990’s?

Me neither, it was all a vague mystery in some far off part of the world I couldn’t comprehend.

Then I met real people from Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia at the SOZO Festival in Hungary. They were so cool.

And now SOZO will be in Serbia, a nation still working to recover from the causes and effects of that war. That is too cool!

SOZO has changed lives for many years by investing in the young people of Eastern Europe and creating a context for ethnic and international reconciliation.

“The main goal for SOZO is reconciliation. People who were enemies for many many years, forever really, they become pretty close friends. ”  Andrei, Russia

The purpose of SOZO Festival is to inspire “unity in the Body of Christ across nations, generations, and denominations through worship and workshops that ignite a passion for God.”

You can learn more in this video:

[tentblogger-youtube -SoJYlBtrXw]

 SOZO is one event that changed my life. I went for the first time in 2001 to teach songwriting. I’ve been back every year.

Worship

Now at SOZO I serve as Director of Worship,  leading and organizing the worship times.

It is a humbling and “stretching” experience to worship God together with musicians and singers from many nations, languages and skill levels.

We are so different, and desperate, and God meets us in amazing ways. It is invigorating, exhilarating and fills me with the fear of the Lord.  Oh yea, I  also teach workshops on worship theology and leadership.

 

"Every tribe and language and people and nation" SOZO 2002

Worshiping together is amazing. It is so powerful and unique, a glimpse of Revelation 5:9, to hear literally, people from “”Every tribe and language and people and nation”

Our worship experiences together have been transformational.

Workshops

SOZO Festival empowers people to be ambassadors of hope through multiple seminars and workshops. Volunteer instructors come from all over the world.  Everyone who serves here pays their own expenses.

People representing as many as 40 nations will come and receive training, equipping and encouragement.

Then they will be released to share Jesus with the city through nightly evangelistic outreach events.

Novi Sad, Serbia  is a strategic city of about 500,000 with less than 1500 evangelical Christians.

In the words of a local pastor, “we need the gospel” .

Pray for this event, the delegates attending, and the community in Serbia we will be witnessing to.

July 23-29, 2012.

2. Raising A Generation That Will Change A Nation

The School of Worship in Romania

The School of Worship in Romania

Immediately after SOZO, I’ll travel about 3-4 hours northwest to Romania’s second largest city, Timisoara, where I am an instructor in the School of Worship. This will be my 7th year there!

The School of Worship in Romania (Scoala de Inchinara) is a one month long, intensive, residential school during the month of August.  Along with musical training, there is a strong emphasis on character development and cultivating a heart for worship. Students ages 16- 30+ travel from the far reaches of the country to attend.

I remember back in ’05 drinking coffee in a gas station with my SOZO friend Genu Olariu and his pastor, Pica Mengher. They were sharing their dream for a school to train young musicians in Romania about worship. There was such a need for practical training as well as biblical understanding.

That dream came true one year later and their idea became a reality.

I’ve been blessed to be part of the school from that very first year. Now there are over 200 graduates serving the Lord throughout Romania and other countries. I’ve taught Practical Theology of Worship and songwriting to everyone of them.

It is a miracle to see the transformations in their lives.

These students are a gift (see the video below!)  My assignment there is July 30- August 12, 2012.

[tentblogger-youtube uOHyLOBnj2o]

 3. Empowering The Local Church

Finally, I’ll lead a series of Worship Workshops for the local churches in Cluj and Ocna Moresh, Romania.

I’ll take a 6 hour train ride, probably overnight, from Timisoara north to Cluj, a thiving college town with a youthful, optimistic energy. I’ll be serving the ministry of my friends from SOZO, Nick and Carole Decean and other churches in the area.

The need for quality instruction here is great and I’ve been requested to come and teach.

I had a great experience there last year leading a night of intercession and preaching.  I’m  looking forward to going deeper with the musicians , singers and leaders this time. Investing in the local church is where it’s at!

Ocna Moresh is a small village where there is a thriving young church. This is a video of me speaking there last year. I’m looking forward to returning. August 12-15, 2012

[tentblogger-youtube 6vD3-bXoeiM]

How You Can Be Part of The Team

1. Stay updated! It’s easy. Be part of the adventure by signing up for my e-mail updates.

I’ll have stories, pics and videos of the people you are blessing. You’ll get the stories behind the story, a taste of the cultures visited, and my insights along the way. It will be a great primer if you’re thinking about doing a worship missions trip.  And you will have a role in making disciples in the Balkans.


2. Pray. I’ll share prayer needs in the e-mail updates. My current most urgent prayer need is to get teaching notes finished and to the translators asap. There are also several potential Scoala students who need scholarships. I’ll share more details in exclusive future updates.
 
3. Partner With Us We have a 501c-3 non-profit with a separate web page , robstillministries.org . Contributions are tax deductible. The total cost of this missions trip is about $6500.00.
 
There are many additional needs that we would provide if we can raise the funds, such as scholarships, instruments,  and other resources. The cost of each student at the Scoala is about $250 per, so if we could get some more partners to scholarship them, that would allow them to come.
 
Thanks for your prayers and support! 
 

Have you been on a missions trip before? What was it like? How did it impact you? Share in the comments!

Thanks for reading! The purpose of this blog is to encourage wholehearted worship worldwide. Partner with us!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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20 thoughts on “How You Can Go “On A Mission From God” To The Balkans This Summer

  1. Hi Rob! I'm glad you found my blog. Chris had mentioned your trip to Serbia to me several weeks ago. Actually I had heard about SOZO even before that from an acquaintance serving in Kosovo. I would have loved to have attended but I was praying for God's leading and healing for those participating. I didn't realize the extent of your ministry in Eastern Europe. God laid that part of the world on my heart as a teenager. At fourteen I traveled to Slovakia, at that time Czechoslovakia, on a month long mission trip. I thought that desire had been satisfied, and moved on to other things, until recently. I have many hopes and prayers for Serbia, I believe birthed from intimate times with Jesus. I long to see the country reconciled to God, for healing and hope. I pray for the local church to grow and thrive. I pray that the local church of Serbia will become healthy enough to care for the most vulnerable and broken among them. The treatment and conditions of 'unwanted' disabled adults and children for the past few decades in Serbia is mind boggling. Only a heart of compassion will heal this hurt. The problem isn't so much money or resources, though there is that need, it's apathy, I believe. I long to be a witness of Jesus love to the staff of the mental institution as I travel. I'm also praying for good contacts with believers while I'm there. I don't know that adoption or short term missions is the long range solution for this problem. I'm praying that a heart change among Serbia's people will be the answer. Any advice or contacts you're able to share would be so appreciated! I will be praying for your work in Eastern Europe and truly hope someday to worship alongside brothers and sisters at SOZO in Serbia!

    • Hey Beck, awesome story.

      When do you leave? I'll send you a FB message with some contacts. Maybe we can do a google+ hangout with Chris next week when I get back. Much easier for me to yak than write. 🙂

      God is wow …. awesome. He's doing something with you guys. Pretty cool , huh?

  2. I would love to 'chat'! I'm hungry to hear what God is doing in Eastern Europe and in the lives of people he's using to be his hands and feet there. I also could use practical advice about traveling in the country. I am blown away to be privileged to see God's strategic love for a people group and to be invited to join him in expressing that love. Amazing! God is doing amazing things for sure!
    My recent post Eyes That See