Team Builds a Container Community Center in Serbia without Containers!

So, what do you do when you have an international team coming to build a shipping container building to help your Roma community in its development efforts and you can’t find shipping containers? 

This challenge faced Marijana Čizmanski, Director of ZZ Serbia, who had planned for over a year to turn two twenty-foot shipping containers into a much-needed 20 foot by 16 foot community center in the Roma section of Donji Petrovci, Serbia in September.  But, as a team of 18 men and women from Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary and the US were preparing to descend on the site to do the work, one thing was still missing — the shipping containers.  None that size were available anywhere in Central Europe!

Two steel frames were fabricated and shipped to the work site.

Marijana began to pray and then went to the shipyard nearby.  The Lord led her to a man whose shop built frameworks for shipping-container-styled buildings!  Just days before the building team arrived, two large custom-built steel container-frames were delivered to the job-site in Donji Petrovci.  If you go through the toll booths near the city of Ruma, you will see the damage that the oversized-load did to one of the booths!  But that’s another story.

Using a truck with a crane designed to pick up illegally parked cars, the two frames were wrestled into place side-by-side so that construction could be begun on the building.

The work crew first joined the steel frames and built the wood floor

It is worth mentioning the names of the hard working crew that participated in turning the framework into a functioning building in less than two weeks between August 30th and September 13th.  Wes, Rob, Joel, Troy, Aaron, Julia, David and Jo came from the US under the leadership of Erv and Marty VanVeldhuizen.  Ron, Jeannie and Laci traveled from Hungary.  Tevche, Dimce and Zlatko also came from Macedonia to help.  Marijana, her sister Tamara and the folks from Donji Petrovci represented Serbia.  We totally thank all of these dear people for their hard, dusty, muscle-aching and sweaty work

While the majority of this team was engaged in the building project, a smaller team spent each day on an equally

Tevche tells a Bible story to the children. Both tents were often full of parents and kids.

important venture: doing Christ-centered learning and play activities with the children of the village as well as visiting with parents.

The new building has now been dedicated to the Lord for use as a place where the children and adults of the community can meet for church, CHE training, Children’s CHE Club, women and men’s meetings and community social events.  Marijana is truly excited about the great possibilities.  

 

 

That’s enough reporting.  Let’s let some pictures tell their “thousand words” stories.

Steel siding for ceiling and walls are installed, insulation and studs added.

Aaron Barger makes a list of hardware for Marijana to go and try to find.

Rob Grunden screws down the roof.

The trim is made for us on the spot! Praise the Lord!

Dimce (R) translates as Troy gives dimensions for trim strips to a master craftsman.

 

A new Community Center for Donji Petrovci in two weeks! Thank you, Lord!

Every CHE Development project needs a “champion” or “Person of Peace.” In Donji Petrovci, that’s Vukitca, our cook.

Celebrating with chicken wings and Romani Lecho soup. Joel Gensler chows down.

Dedicating the building to the Lord’s use. From left, Erv, Marty, Vukitca, Joel, Marijana, Vukitca’s daughter and grandchildren, Ron, Vukitca’s husband, Dusa.

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