Saturday, February 12, 2011

Balkan trip day 6: Zagreb - ANWB & STEP

This morning I could sleep a bit longer, because the car was being fixed in the morning. It was not that bad to have a bit more time for myself. Around 13 hrs we could leave to Zagreb. The car was fixed. The ventilator in the engine was broken but now the car should not have any problems anymore. We had a smooth trip to Zagreb via the highway. In the meantime I was preparing the topics we would discuss in the evening. We arrived around 15:30 hrs in our hotel that was nice and established in the center. I took the tram to the city to have the first meeting. Auke remained in the hotel , because he was quite tired. Ofcourse he was tired of the traveling, but he also woke up early to take care that his car was fixed well.

However when that was going ok, he had to fight with the Dutch national automobile club (ANWB). When he closed the agreement with the ANWB, they were quite nice, but now there were problems, they will pay this time but showed a hesitation to care for us for the rest of our trip because a short misunderstanding on the telephone. I did not know that an agreement so easy could be changed in this company and am more surprised that this organization could monopolize the Dutch market although I still hope that they will either realize what the word “agreement” means or either we will be saved for any accidents for the rest of our trip and for the coming three months…. I can imagine that Auke was tired and I relieved him and Annechien from their obligations so I went alone to the next appointment ;-)

I arrived in the center where I had a good meeting with a great person who is working for a big Christian NGO, but also had a great knowledge about the political situation in Croatia being himself involved in many activities. After this, Auke and Annechien arrived in the center and we went to a combined meeting of “STEP” (IFES Croatia) and “Partner Business Association” (a Marketplace Ministry). We had a great discussion about the basic values of Christian Democracy but even about the question if Christians actually should be involved in politics. I was impressed about the questions that were asked during the session. The history of Christianity is not to be proud of and religion is easily used to manipulate your will on others and to dominate them. We discussed together about examples of politicians in the Bible and what “Christian” really means: not to dominate but to serve the people, not to lead by the sword but by the Spirit, and to be salt and light in the society that includes also politics. It was a great session that started around 19 hrs and finished around 22 hrs 30! It was nice and the people were great and interested in the topics. They have elections next year so it was also quite actual. Auke helped me very much with putting an outline of my presentation and all the answers on the white board. Also he explained and promoted the activities of the ECPYN that received a lot of interest of the young people of Step. After this, we had another meeting with our contact and key person and leader in Croatia. It was great to see him after such a long time and to see that God puts him in a position to really help and build up (future) leaders in business and (hopefully) also in politics. Tomorrow will be a new day with important meetings in Zagreb!

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