Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Croatia: part 1

hey guys!

thought it would be about time to share with you all my trip to croatia this past summer of 2014. two words to sum it up? eye-opening! ok, bit of a cheat, but hey!

6am selfie mode!
you may or may not remember this post from when i first flew to croatia for a short term mission trip with my church. like last year, it was a 12 day trip filled with exciting opportunities to share the gospel, mainly to children, in less well off villages.

this year, our team had decided to plan a visit to the sister village of the one the missionaries had been working with for a good couple of years now. although exciting, it all felt like a mystery to us as we do not know the kids well and many of them didn't know what playing games as a team was, nevermind hearing about christianity. - more on this later!

i've decided to split my experience over a couple of posts, just so i could give you guys glimpses rather than a detailed report lol. stay tuned, and here goes........ croatia: part 1!

selfie after failing to find mcdeez. :(
//4th aug 2014. flight was 8:30am. i set my alarm for 3am for some last minute packing and caught the earliest bus we could get with my good friends who were also part of the team. we arrived at the airport around 6am. hungry, cold, sleepy, but raring to go!

team spirit!
did you know? there's no mcdonalds at terminal 5 of heathrow airport :( make-do with a mozerella tomato crossaint from pret a manger once you've checked in. all was smooth and we safely arrived at zagreb, the capital of croatia. once we were picked up and greeted by our missionaries, we made our way to slavonski brod (2hr drive) where we will be based for the next week or so.

^^ seeing big fat juicy watermelons on our 2hr drive to slavonski brod
once settled down in our apartment (opposite the beautiful river separating croatia from bosnia), we were greeted by homemade stuffed peppers and mash - pure joy after a wonderfully busy morning!

taking in some croatian fresh air opposite our apartment
arriving at the iclub, an internet cafe the missionaries opened,
and also a place we were based for briefing and meetings
greeted lovingly to super yummy lunch
chilling outside after an eventful morning.
the rest of the day was mainly prep for the coming two weeks - we visited the village briefly and said hi, then proceeded to dinner and grocery shopping. we sealed the day with a prayer and conked out at 12:30pm.

our excitement about grocery shopping. WOOO

day 2 was all about preparation. we had small devotion groups within the team, and it happens so that my group was the first to lead our short morning session of prayers and reflection! after sharing a few encouraging bible verses, we helped prepare some crafts for the upcoming festival we were going to hold. this included writing 200 'isus' (jesus) for my particular task!

200 of these for a forgiveness bracelet craft

we met some of our festival helpers too, learning their names and getting to know each other - in croatian of course! :/

bonding with the festival helpers who joined us from the village

after a pizza lunch, we continued craft prep, singing frozen to encourage and lift up our spirits! we had planned to perform a few sketches and dramas of some simple parables in the bible, one being 'jonah and the big fish'. of course, this would be a boring play if no big fish was actually involved in it! knitting our ideas together, i created a massive cardboard fish with my arty companion anna :) we were extremely happy with the outcome!

sourced some cardboard for our jonah fish! you'll come to know anna as the
one who tries to fit exercise into everything she does.

the finished prop!

after dinner, we visited the village again to build our relationship with the kids, playing duck duck goose and tickling each other. it was all full of laughs despite our language barrier and my croatian only going as far as 'hi', 'what's your name' and 'how are you'!

saying hi to these beautiful girls in the village

it soon became dark and the end of the evening became quite chaotic with some of the kids becoming hyper and aggressive, given their background which sadly were mostly abusive. an incident occurred, hurting me emotionally and i became quite overwhelmed, with tears running down my cheeks. we left shortly as it was already very dark, and the team decided to get ice cream to brighten me up and as an encouragement for our tiredness. i must emphasise, ice cream makes you even more happier when they only cost 30p each!!!!

30p ice creams :O

kept seeing 'bad blue boys' on our ice cream walk.
later found out it was a football team!

the rest of the night consisted of debriefing and sharing our experiences from today. one of the missionaries told me that the kids were asking him how i was when they saw me leave, crying. their care and love for me touched my heart, and soothed my pains. :')
 after a longgg, all the most reflective and emotional day, it became a 1:30am bedtime!

part 2 coming up!

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  1. Looks like an eyeopening experience. Travel is one of the best things one can do with their time & money. :] // ☼ ☯

  2. Great pics! I want to go to Croatia!

    1. thank you!! you should definitely give croatia a visit xx


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