Aleksa

I’m proud as punch.  I can’t actually believe I’ve got a son.  The birth was incredible.  Rada was wonderful, it is unbelievable how traumatic birth is but she persevered right to the end…and now we have Aleksa 🙂

Welcome to the world Aleksa

He arrived at 1.30am so I only got a couple of hours sleep the first night but I am not complaining one bit.  There’s stinks to change, crying in the night, loads of extra work but it is worth all of it and much more.

Anya has been a star too.  It’s no easy task being the only child for nearly eight years and then suddenly becoming a big sister.  But she’s working hard at adapting and being incredibly helpful.  She has great character and I can’t wait to see how Aleksa’s develops too.

I’m so thankful to God for my family and for the health of all of us.  Something never to be taken for granted.  I can’t wait for the adventure ahead!

Relaxing at home after a big night out

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I’m in a daze

I really can’t take it in.  I’m back home.  Sat in my bed.  The house feels fantastic.  It was so nice to have such a warm welcome from Dan & Cath.

I’m pretty speechless to be honest but it feels great.  It was a great trip but when I woke up in Frankfurt this morning and it was grey and rainy and the hotel breakfast was crowded with businessmen and the shower was cold…I just wanted to get home quick.  So we rushed to Dunkerque abandoning plans to call in on Maastricht and managed to get the earlier ferry.  The M25 was grim but we drove into Solihull at 9.20pm.  Anya has been a star.

Rada’s dad had his major heart op today.  It was successful and he’s in intensive care.  They should be waking him up tomorrow morning.  Please pray for him.  Rada will be back home in a couple of weeks.

Frustrating morning, great evening

Monday was an exhausting day.  We got up at 5.30am to take Rada’s dad to the hospital in Podgorica.  It was all a bit confusing but he’d been told to get there early to begin the preparation for his double heart bypass.  Alas, we waited around for nearly an hour before they told him they’d call him to come in on 3rd or 4th February.  It is such a mess.  I can’t imagine psyching myself up for major heart surgery only to be told in the hospital what could have been told over the phone.  Anyway, it means there is a possibility Rada will stay a bit longer to be there when he has the surgery.  Anya and myself will definitely return the week beginning 7th February so that Anya can get back to school.

Monday evening was another trip to Podgorica but this time for a much more pleasant reason.  It was Rada’s birthday and I’d organised a surprise meal out for us with some of her friends.  Rada was over the moon and it made me so happy to see her happy.  We even managed to get the private VIP part of the restaurant and had a great evening.  We arrived back in Niksic really late but really happy.

Out for Rada's birthday

Observations from a musical egit

Two Americans, a Serb and a young man from Uxbridge are playing live [*] music downstairs while I’m preparing my sermons for Sunday.  It is very good.

It reminds me that one of the things I love about being in Montenegro is that everything is interesting, unexpected and often has an international flavour.  For example, last night’s prayer meeting was attended by 4 Norwegians, 2 Brits, a Canadian, a Serb, a Macedonian, a Russian and, of course, 3 Montenegrins.  Today we did a drive to drop two guys at the airport then we went into Podgorica and into a bar – I had a beer and did sermon prep, Rada sat at the next table chatting with a friend.  Tomorrow night is a guitar concert at the university – hence the rehearsal that’s getting my feet tapping.

It is a privilege to be here.  And I am not taking it for granted.

[*]  INSERT GENRE OF YOUR CHOICE AS I AM A MUSICAL EGIT WHO CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BUT ONE WORD I THINK THAT COULD BE USED IS FUNKY AND IT HAS GOOD BASS

Fresh Meat

Mmmmm just had steak that came from an unfortunate young bull that died at the hands of my father-in-law 24 hours ago.  On Sunday I get to witness pig slaughtering.  With any luck I’ll be able to try my hand.

In other news.  Rada came back home today with the phone number of a policeman who had stopped her for a routine traffic check.  And an offer for both of us to go out for a drink with him.  Intriguing but I don’t think we’ll be taking him up on his offer.

Real Life

Today I found myself tired and stressed.  I guess on one hand it is no big deal but on the other its not pleasant and does somewhat disable your productivity.  There are reasons for being tired – staying up to0 late talking with Goca & Rada, getting up t0o early to drive to back to Niksic for language lessons, finally going running yesterday.  There are reasons for being stressed – I couldn’t find my way round the kitchen, dinner got ruined, I’m living in a new country, I didn’t have time to go running today, I’m a human being.  But I’d rather I wasn’t tired or stressed.

Ah well.  Here’s to another day.  A prayer and a decision to rely on God’s love for me in all situations (even kitchen mishaps) and I should be ok.

The end of the motorway

Definitely the best day travelling so far.  The motorways in Slovenia and Croatia are top class and we made great time for the first 600km.  Then we began wondering why the road became more and more deserted the closer we got to Dubrovnik.  Then the motorway just stopped!  In my 2008 atlas it had said ‘under construction completion due 2008’ so I thought we were pretty safe but the end of the tarmac meant we had to take an abrupt right and find our way through the most incredible winding roads and scenery.  It was raining pretty heavily but an amazing journey all the same.  We eventually made it to Dubrovnik and Rada relaxed in the hotel while me and Anya went for a stroll before getting caught in more rain and running back to the hotel.

Not quite the ‘suffering’ of shipwrecks, floggings and a pending execution that St Paul endured but the journey has been a trial of sorts.  Of course all the problems are very low on risk in this day and age of breakdown recovery, mobile phones and tolerance for all but the effort it takes to drive nearly 3000km and keep good family and spiritual relations really focuses you on the task at hand.  We’re about to be loosed in Montenegro to lead a small group of believers and communicate the message of Jesus to non-believers.  It’s a serious job but one we’re privileged to be called to.  Watch this space to see how we get on!