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A Good Kind of Change
By Ronald Winkler II
A big change took place in our family’s life and
ministry in January 2019. Just a few months
earlier, we visited missionaries in Croatia on
a trip to the Leadership Conference Europe
in Romania. What God did in our hearts was
unexpected. After we returned to Estonia,
my wife and I talked. We prayed. We talked
with our children. Then we sought counsel
from our pastor and other men of God. By
November, we had perfect peace from God
that He was leading our family to Croatia. On
January 23, we packed our things, moved to
northern Croatia, and teamed up with veteran
missionaries Johnny and Tori Leslie. After
serving Russian-speaking people for more
than 15 years, we were starting a new chapter
in our ministry.

Croatia is a beautiful country with natural
wonders, national parks, stunning sunsets,
1,244 islands, mountains, nine UNESCO
sites, and coastal cities along the Adriatic Sea.

We have been privileged to see some of these
breathtaking sights. However, in the beautiful
country of Croatia there are also four million
people, most of whom are Roman Catholics,
10 people with souls who will spend eternity
somewhere. People for whom Jesus died. What
an honor that the Lord wants to use our family!
Within just a few weeks of arriving in Croatia,
I found a language school and we started
studying the language. Never in our wildest
dreams would we have thought we would be
learning another new language! The Russian
language uses the Cyrillic alphabet, while
Croatian uses the Latin alphabet. However,
the grammar structure is similar and we
are thankful for that. It is a comfort to know
that God enables us when He calls us to do
something. It gets overwhelming very quickly
when we do things in our own strength.

Philippians 4:13 reminds us I can do all things
through Christ which strengtheneth me.

While we study the language, we are attending
Pobjednici Neovisna Baptisticka Crkva
(Victory Independent Baptist Church) in
Varaždin, a city of 47,000 in northern Croatia.

In the seven months we have lived here, the
Lord has given us numerous opportunities to
serve at the church alongside the Leslies in
spite of our limited language skills. It has been

exciting to watch Christians
grow, welcome visitors to
the services, see people
saved, and be a part of
weekly evangelism. We look
forward to what God will
continue to do in northern
Croatia. One of the highlights of
our week is helping in the
Gypsy village. There is a
large population of Gypsies
who live in villages in our
county in northern Croatia.

One of those villages has
a red, 20-foot shipping
container that serves as a
church building. About
three years ago, the Leslies
started having services
and children’s programs to
reach the Gypsies. Week
after week children crowd
into the little room to sing
songs, play games, learn
Bible verses, and hear Bible
lessons. Since there is not
room for everyone, there are
two programs each week.

On Saturday mornings
40–60 young children come.

Sunday afternoon is for
preteens and teenagers with about 20 in attendance. The shipping
container was much too small for the number of children who
were attending each week. We prayed for a bigger place and in
His perfect time, God provided. In August, a building that has
plenty of room was purchased. Praise the Lord! When word got
out in the village about the building, there was a bit of shock as
they realized the Baptist Church was in the village to stay! We are
not going anywhere. In fact, we have started a Wednesday night
service for adults as well. It is exciting to be a part of what God is
doing in this village!
Our family is thrilled that God called us to serve Him in Croatia.

It is because of the sacrificial financial support and faithful
prayers of God’s people that we can be here. Missionaries are
dependent on churches in the States that hold the ropes. The
missionary who goes and the churches that give are both vital in
reaching the lost world for Christ. Please pray for Croatia. Pray
that we will be diligent to spread the Gospel. I must work the
works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when
no man can work (John 9:4). W