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The Baldwin Family

Serving in Novi Sad, Serbia View Bio

Dwayne will be working at the Bible School in Novi Sad, Serbia to help form the school into a solid, permanent center for theological training of local pastors. They hope to move their family there as soon as the Lord enables them.

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   The Baldwin Family

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Posts Tagged: serbia

Mar  4th,  2014Remembering Dad by Kimberly Baldwin

Psalm 116:15 – "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

Psalm 116 is my favorite passage of scripture. It has meant so much to me at so many different times in my life. I thought of this verse immediately when I learned that my father had died. We are here in Serbia and there is a 7 hour time difference from back home. Mom called me at midnight. I was scarcely awake when I heard her crying on the other end saying, "He's gone! Dad is gone."

He had recently turned 70 and was is great health.  My parents were on a cruise celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  It was a quick and massive heart attack. There was no coming back.

Precious.

It doesn't seem precious to us when our loved ones die, but it is precious to God. As sad as we are to lose dad, Jesus is even more extremely happy to see him! This is a soul that Christ gave up the riches and beauty of heaven to come to earth and live for. This is a soul that Christ forsook the tempting pleasures of earth and died for. This is the soul that Christ overcame death and rose again for! Now Christ has the honor to see the fruits of all He accomplished. He is very pleased. This soul is precious to Him!

Dwayne and I were asked to give our testimony at the Baptist church here in Serbia last Sunday. I went to Psalm 116 again. It describes my testimony perfectly. "I love the Lord for He heard my voice. He heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live..." (vs. 1-2) I have always thought that the Psalm described me so well. However, this time, I looked at it in a different light.

"Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living." (vs. 7-9)

I used to think these verses applied just to me - delivering me from the death my sins deserve, my eyes from the tears shed over my past, my feet from the many times I fall into my selfish desires, so that I can now walk before God during my lifetime.

Now I see these verses apply even more to my dad. His soul can finally return to his rest because the Lord has been good to him. He has been delivered from death. His eyes no longer cry. His feet no longer stumble. He is walking – right there, before the Lord! And he is definitely in the land of the living –where there will never be more death, but eternal life!

I can't end this any better than the Psalmist did – Praise the Lord!!!106_2eae8e41813

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Dec  27th,  2013Existing Can Be Exhausting...

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So, it's been almost three weeks since I've been in Serbia, two for the rest of my family. Depending on who you ask, we've either done an incredible amount of work so far, or haven't even gotten started yet. It's almost impossible to explain in a blog the difficulty that comes with trying to assimilate into a new culture. Short term mission trips, even the month-long one we went on to Romania in 2011, are unique in that they are somewhat unreal.  You find that you can endure pretty much anything, because in the back of your mind you're thinking, "this will be a great 'experience' that I'll really enjoy talking about back home". Also, short term trips are extremely focused and the schedules are packed out with activities and work.

When you actually move to a different culture, even one you've been on in a short term trip, it's completely different (speaking from my current experience). There's no schedule you should expect, because there's no need to pack out a two-week time frame. The nationals know you will be there indefinitely. You don't have a "guide", assistant, driver, host, or anything like that because now you are living there. They expect you to fend for yourself as much as possible because eventually you'll have to. People may welcome you there, get you the essentials you need, and then you have to start figuring things out.

When we tell our friends back home that on a given day we managed to buy groceries and figure out how the electricity works, they may think, "seriously, that's all you did today?" They don't know that we wanted to take a nap after accomplishing that. For Christmas Eve we went to the apartment of an American family we met in church. They've been here about 3 months, and were impressed that in two weeks, we were able to do things like drive and successfully order a washing machine!

What we've discovered is that, right now, thousands of things require lots of thought and figuring out. If you want chicken at the store, you have to be able to say chicken, and then understand when they ask you questions about said chicken in Serbian. When you check out, you may understand they are saying something about a "card" but no more, and there are 6 people behind you and you're drawing attention. You don't know how to get gas, how to change a tire, how to read street signs, what to do if your car gets towed because you're so confused about the parking, or why your landlady seems to want you to stay in the apartment today. You could call someone to ask a question, but you'd be calling hundreds of times a day, so you try not to. Martin Luther said that at one time in his life, he felt that if he were to confess his sins properly, he needed to carry a priest in his pocket all the time. I feel that way, only replace "priest" with "translator". And that's not even counting the questions about how to get a Visa, how to fix the problems with the internet or how to change the doorknob when you've never even seen doorknobs like this. Even moving a bed or a couch from one room to the next can take hours, because you have to take the things completely apart and they are made in a confusing, complicated way. We can't even figure out when Christmas is, as Serbia celebrates it on two days with each one having different celebrations.

So, right now, we haven't accomplished things the way we would in the States. We redefine "accomplishing", and are grateful when we feel like we've lived a normal day. I've started working, but haven't done the "9-5in the office" thing. I'm setting goals, communicating with those I'll be working with, meeting with other pastors, going to several churches to network,and starting to define a job that doesn't even exist yet. It's certainly astart.

Soon, I hope to be writing with news of kingdom things. For the moment, we're just trying to exist. And right now, that's pretty exhausting.

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