Never in our wildest dreams could any of us have imagined this day of celebration would come. It all began over 20 years ago in a modest apartment in a small neighborhood in Split, Croatia. This October 12- 13, Živa Nada Wesleyan Church held its grand opening and dedication services. Local guests, pastors from all over Europe and Croatia, donors from many parts of the world, and Dr. Dennis Jackson, Global Partners Executive Director, all gathered to take part in our remarkable celebration.

Our little Wesleyan community has been on a faith-building journey. We moved five times over all these years, renting space as our fellowship grew and various situations demanded. We finally purchased our own space four years ago—only 100 meters away in the same community where it began.

Missionary Kent Pickslay, founding pastor of Živa Nada

At the grand opening, Global Partners missionary Kent Pickslay, the founding pastor, shared how the purchase and renovation of the building in the neighborhood of Visoka (which is the highest area of the city) reminds us of Jesus’ words from Matthew 5:14, 16 (NIV): “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. … In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Kent challenged the church to shine for Christ and provide hope for the city of Split and the surrounding community like a lighthouse. For missionaries Kent and Cheri Pickslay, this event was especially poignant as one of their greatest joys in ministry was investing in the young people from here in the early 90s— one of whom is Zdenko Jovisic, Živa Nada’s current pastor.

L to R: April and Roger Dickey, Hartford City Wesleyan Church, and missionaries Chris and Wendy England

One of the highlights of the weekend, for our mission team and our church, was the opportunity to meet and hear from some of the donors who helped make this occasion possible. One couple representing Hartford City Wesleyan Church in Indiana recounted the story of God giving them a vision during their own building project to come alongside another church to help them realize their vision. God connected them with Živa Nada, which resulted in a ten-year partnership and an incredible investment of over $76,000 towards the Živa Nada ministry center. Hartford City’s story of sacrifice and endurance has made an immense impact on the Croatian congregation.

Our church has been so blessed by the generosity of so many donors over these years— some of whom we haven’t even been able to find to express our gratitude. We joyfully presented the donors who were able to join us with some special gifts.

It is impossible to share every story and moment from this incredible God-honoring weekend—one we will remember for a long time to come. Kent summed it up best when he proclaimed, “This building is a sign that the movement God began here is a lasting one.” The vision is for the ministry center to be utilized as a hub for training and raising up servant leaders. Our dream is that one day every neighborhood in Split would have places to gather in worship and develop disciples for a great harvest. This is a great beginning!