Hands and Feet in Croatia: Jumping in Puddles and Throwing Stones

Hands and Feet in Croatia: Jumping in Puddles and Throwing Stones

Written by Ashley Huber

“My favorite definition of evangelism is “telling someone into a better story.” We all have a story. Evangelism is love in action, listening to their story until we can name God into that story, enabling them to see the hand of God reaching toward them even before they knew it. Their story merges with the story of God, rooting them into a saving reality that began in the creation of the world. Through conversion, they now belong to a people, a family, a church.” -Dan Boone

Every week I spend two days in different Roma Villages. We spend some of this time going from house to house talking to mothers. We spend some of this time playing with kids. We teach English, help with homework, sing songs, tell Bible stories, play games, and have craft time.

Every village I enter is filled with families that all have different stories. I have known some of these families for over four years now, some people I only met yesterday. I do know that all these families are very different, but people can think all their stories are the same.

The world may see my friend and know right away that they come from a Roma family. The world may automatically think of someone that comes from a story that is defined by the poverty cycle, alcoholism, drugs, provocatives, abuse, and crime.

I hope and pray that you see more than that. As Christians, we are called to walk alongside others seeing through the lens of God’s love. We are called to help others see God in their stories.

When I see a Roma on the street, I see stories too. I have preconceived thoughts. I see someone that loves their family limitlessly, I see a hard worker, a gifted musician, a never quit attitude, strength and resilience.

That is why I drive to the villages every Thursday and Friday. I go and walk alongside countless women and children. I hope that one day I can have an interaction where I can show them how God is already a part of their story they just need to see it. I see them as beautiful and talented as God sees them.

This week I had the opportunity to take two beautiful young ladies that I know from villages around my town to a town about a 45 min away. This town has a home called Kuća Mogućnosti, which means the house of possibilities.

This home is a non-profit that helps young adults finish school. One of the ladies I took was a 20-year-old who only finished 5th grade and the second girl was an 18-year-old who only finished one year of high school. We spent the morning hanging out introducing the girls to the director, staff, and young adults who were there. We all had an amazing morning.

My ministry team, the girls and I spent the afternoon in a Roma village. We started off our time by walking around the village singing songs. As we walked up and down the pothole-covered muddy streets, kids would join us. We sang and laughed and occasionally jumped in and over puddles. Then we spent some time out in a field, singing more songs, telling a story, acting out a
skit and having fun and laughing.

This is a village my ministry partner has been going to for over 20 years. I have been there countless times in the last four years. There are those in this village we know very well and there are many people in this village we do not know at all.

As we were walking to our cars some men saw the girls and tried to start talking to them. The girls were very nice. They told the men it was nice meeting them, but we are here to work with the kids and now we have to go. It took us a while to navigate through all the people gathered.

Finally, the girls and I got in the car to leave, as we were driving to a place where we could turn around, someone threw a rock through my back windshield. I heard a crash looked back and I had a huge hole in my back windshield and a 20-year-old girl covered in glass. I spent a day helping others and someone threw a rock through my car windshield. Of course, I was upset and a little hurt, but God was with me through every moment.

Later that night I drove the girls 45 minutes back home, with a car with a plastic cover back windshield. The girls asked me why do we do this? Is it worth it? My ministry partner and I got to spend a beautiful 45-minute drive telling the girls about God’s love. Over the flapping of the plastic back windshield, we told them that God loved those who laugh and jump in puddles just as much as God loves those who throw stones.

We all have stories, we all come to God with good and bad things in our lives, but he loves us unconditionally and invites us to be in His story and a part of His family regardless.