The growing church that faith built

the church that faith built.jpgTuesday 14 September 2021 12:04

A church is so much more than a building! But in a country where evangelicals are frequently considered a sect, a building can give a church significant credibility.
Below Carla Šestak tells the miracle of God's provision of a church building.

This was the issue facing Baptist Church Emanuel just a few years ago.

Given its beautiful beaches, historical landmarks, gorgeous national parks and delicious food, it’s no surprise that almost 20 million tourists enjoyed Croatia during 2019 (statista.com). But while it may be easy to spot a tourist, finding an evangelical is much harder. Only four people out of every thousand are one (operationworld.org).

Carla Šestak originally came to Croatia from Brazil as a short-termer with ECM to support church planting efforts in and around the beautiful historic city of Varaždin. Nearly a decade later she is still there, working hand-in-hand with local Croatian believers to see God’s kingdom grow.

Carla tells the background of the church: “The church started 20 years ago as a small house group. After 5 years, its senior pastor rented a place in the centre of the town and started with offering Biblical counselling, resulting in new contacts and new believers. When church leaders eventually started looking for a building in the town, everything was too expensive. But, four years ago, God led us to the building that we have been renting.

“When the owner of the building told us that he was selling this building, we started to pray. After many discussions, meetings and prayers we decided to step out in faith to buy it! The problem was that we’d only been given a short time frame to collect money for the deposit and this seemed impossible for our small church. We prayed and on the “offering Sunday” we collected exactly enough! When this miracle happened, we understood that God was going in front of us in this project!

One year later: “God is showing us that He is in control! We are living miracle after miracle! The project is helping the church to grow in prayer, unity and self-sacrifice. We have received help from Baptist Alliance, churches and people in USA, France, Switzerland, Germany as well as ECM. The local church donated €17,000. Now we only need €10,000 to pay the last part.

“I would like to thank you on behalf of Carla Šestak in Croatia for your support for the Varaždin church building project. Apart from a small loan from the Baptist Union still being paid off, the money has all been raised and ECM´s financial part has been completed.

"We join with Carla and the church to celebrate this success and thank you all for getting behind the project, particularly in the last few months as we got it over the finishing line.”

The new chapter for this church begins and the excitement is tangible:

“Being part of God’s plan for our community and buying a building is an indescribable feeling.” Danijela Sakac

“I know that God will use it to be more and more glorified and make free those who are slaves to sin who will learn in this building to walk in His ways!” Goran Papak

“It was wonderful to see the growth of individuals and of our small church! Poor retirees giving out of their poverty, youth working in the summer for it, some took bank loans, others sold personal effects, others took extra jobs.... I am sure that the church needed to experience this to know God more!” Carla Šestak

There are many more amazing stories like this in our new Summer magazine.

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