World Partners staff Ivan and Zhana Kalabric recently transitioned out of their ministry in Cyprus and set out to make disciples in Italy. They are only at the beginning of their ministry there, but are already looking for disciples. What better way for you to understand disciple making than having it explained by the Kalabrics in their own words?
When we were searching for an apartment, we prayed that God would lead us to the place where we would have it all: family life, tranquility, and a mission field.
The puzzling part was that after many attempts there was only one place available. ‘Are we limiting our great God to whatever is available or is this just what He wants,’ we wondered?
The place was good, quiet, and as we started to observe the more we realized that this is exactly where He wanted us to be.
In our part of the city, which is the most ethnically diverse community of the entire region of Veneto, there is no evangelical witness.
When we were serving at the Nicosia International Church in Cyprus, we would often encourage people to discover their mission field. Well, now is the time for us to start doing what we taught others.
So, where is our mission field? Just like Mary approaching the tomb of Jesus, we often seek the right thing, just at the wrong place. There is a voice, still but very audible, saying, ‘You are looking for Jesus, but He is not here.’
We assume that our mission field will be established if we have more money, more friends, more contacts, or if we know a language or culture better. Sometimes we expect the mission to be done in a church, by a pastor, or by paid professionals. But what if we are seeking the right things, just at the wrong place? What if things are actually very simple? We live our lives and find our mission field right where we live, work, and take our kids to the playground.
As things get increasingly lonely for us, the Lord has drawn us near to Him and led us to our mission here. Over a simple afternoon walk with our kids, we found a playground where God brought new people into our lives. People looking for the same thing we are: friendship in a new city. Before we knew it, our conversations became deeper. The Italian side of these “table talks” were a bit caught up by our Serbian, Brazilian, Korean, and Moldavian accents, but it was a place where we could be who we are with each other and share our lives together.
We left the playground encouraged and driven by a new sense of purpose. Disciple making doesn’t have to be rocket science. It is one loving heart setting another on fire.