Tom Smith with his best friend Toffee

Tom Smith is now the Executive Director of ITEM and is working in the States to raise awareness and funds for this organization of missionaries. He has had some health challenges. Tom writes, on August 2nd, 2019:

“Dear Prayer partners,

At the end of May, I had some episodes of getting light-headed and passing out. I thought it was due to dehydration, and later thought it was because I lost some significant weight and needed my blood pressure meds adjusted.

On July 14th, while preaching at Fairview Presbyterian Church, I passed out. EMT’s came and did an EKG and determined I was in heart block(electrical). I spent 2 weeks in UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. There I was diagnosed with cardiac sarcoidosis, (there are calcified white blood cell clusters in my heart that are blocking the electrical signals from the top to bottom chambers).

So, I got a defibrillator/pacemaker installed. First time, the wire from the pacemaker perforated my heart after they discharged me, a few hours later, I had chest pains and they flew me back to Pittsburgh.

I was discharged again last Friday and have been slowly regaining strength. I do not feel 100%, but feel like I am making progress. The humid air of summer seems hard on me right now.

Sarcoidosis is a mysterious auto-immune condition. Only 5% get it in the heart. It can get better, stay the same, get worse, or it can completely vanish. My prayer request is for it to completely go away and be healed.

Despite my health challenges I have been able to do a little work as ITEM director and I am thankful.
In August I plan, Lord-willing to be in Pittsburgh and St.Louis. I also request prayer for traveling safety and for success in making contacts for ITEM. I am also getting around to all my supporters as I need to raise most of the funds for my position and so still need support as a missionary, even though I am based in the USA.

Thank you for all your prayers for me.

your brother in Christ,

Spring Newsletter 2019 & Update from Tom Smith, May 2019

Dear Prayer Partners,

As always, thank you for lifting up Christ the King Church in Karlovac.
Attached is our Croatia Spring 2019 newsletter.

We are an outpost of the Kingdom of Heaven plugging away in a challenging environment.
We are grateful for the funds raised thus far, so the church can be ready with a down payment when we are forced to move. We are grateful for our new members and their zeal to see the Kingdom grow.

May your Mother’s Day weekend be blessed,


Fall Newsletter & Update from Tom Smith, November 2018 –

Dear Prayer partners,

Now that you’ve digested your Thanksgiving food, you can digest the news from Christ the King.
Praise the Lord we’ve got some new folks visiting over the past few weeks, hoping this trend continues and some good things are happening in Zagreb, but too premature to talk about.

As always, we covet your prayers. Grace and peace to you all, Tom,  on behalf of Christ the King Protestant Reformed Church

Christ the King Newsletter Fall 2018

Summer Newsletter & Update from Tom Smith, August 2018 –

Dear Prayer partners,

Tom Smith’s Summer 2018 Newsletter. Warm greetings from Karlovac! Literally and figuratively speaking! We are having 90F temperatures and humidity. We are grateful for the 4 rivers around here in which to swim to stay cool.

Karlovac had its 439th birthday last month (July 13th). I got to see a little parade go down my street (marching band, majorettes, soldiers in Napoleonic period uniforms, but no fire trucks). Made me feel like I was back in Pennsylvania! There’s a little story on the 2nd page of the newsletter about Almir and Karlovac’s celebration.

Hope you enjoy the newsletter. I am happy with what God is doing here. I am proud of our seminary students and all of our people. They are hungry for the Word of God and are growing!

Thank you for praying for us!

Grace and peace to you,

Spring Newsletter & Update from Tom Smith, April 2018 –

Greetings from Croatia!

Spring 2018 news from our church plant in Karlovac (Christ the King).
Despite some health issues this week, we all are doing well.

Next week, I will wrap up my apologetics class, we have our Bible study on evangelism, and on Friday we will pick up some guests flying in from Texas. My Croatian language classes are coming along well. I’ve some more details to work out for my trip to America coming up in May. I am exciting about Evie & Josiah’s wedding. And I am looking forward to driving around visiting friends and supporters.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and support.

With much love in Christ, Tom

Update from Tom Smith, Winter 2018 Newsletter – Received Feb. 5, 2018

Dear prayer partners,
Attached is our Winter 2018 newsletter  from our church in Karlovac.
Our mission church in Zagreb is small but growing.
I am grateful for the men we have that I can invest time with in Zagreb: Ivan, Davor, and Kresimir and in Karlovac: Asim and Domagoj.
I preparing to teach apologetics, Christology and soteriology. I appreciate your support and prayers.
Please keep on praying for God to bless and to expand the Protestant Reformed Church in Croatia.
Gratefully yours, Tom

Update from Tom Smith on plans for 2018 – Received Jan. 15, 2018

Dear Prayer partners,

You know I am always grateful for your prayers. I am sustained body and soul by the prayers of many and I never take prayer lightly.  Here is a list of things to be aware of and pray about.

1. Tomorrow (Tuesday – 16th), I go to Osijek (by train) for meetings with Dr. Milic and others at the Mihael Starin Seminary. I have not been told the whole agenda, but I think the Karlovac church becoming more of a branch campus of the seminary is one item we will discuss. In a way, it already has.

2. I finished teaching hermeneutics last week in Karlovac to 2 (for credit) students and to at least 2 non-credit students from our congregation here, some others sat in as well on some of the classes.

3. Pray for Sinesa (pronounced “Seen-nay-sha”), a RC man who came to one class last week because one of our members invited him.  He was very positive about the class, but did not come back. Pray we can follow up with him.

4. Pray for Ivan P. I will meet with him again in Zagreb on Saturday. He wants to be a Christian (for now), but he is a student in the ultra-liberal Marija Vlacic Seminary which is part of the Univ. of Zagreb. He is one of about 20 students. He is the only one who actually cares about what he is studying, the rest are just there to get an accredited diploma.  unfortunately his professors are Muslim, atheists, feminists, and various liberal Protestants, except for one. His Hebrew professor is a Pentecostal.

5. Pray for our Zagreb church members. They are feeling a little scared and vulnerable after losing their pastor (Koso). We had a good congregational meeting this past weekend. We will try to some new outreach activities and other ideas.  May the Lord bless our efforts and fill the seats in Zagreb.

6. Pray I find the right language coach/tutor. I need help with Croatian. I am reading Scripture in church, but am not ready to preach in Croatian.  Either one of the 2 language schools in Karlovac or maybe I can go back to my old teacher, Sead in Zagreb. He stopped teaching me when his life got too complicated. A mutual friend told me recently, he is doing better.

7. Finances are holding up. I will be losing one supporter at the end of February(due to a drop in income), but today someone else wrote me to say they will be sending in the same amount as what I will be losing. I had not spoken of this loss to anyone, so it appears to be a God-orchestrated thing. Somewhat like what Job once said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”.  But do pray for stability in the currencies markets, the dollar has declined almost 10% in the past 12 months, which is like a 10% pay cut.

Gratefully yours,

Update from Tom Smith on 2017 and their plans for 2018

Dear Prayer Partners, Happy new year to you all!

Click here for Tom Smith Review 2017 and Plans for 2018. In Karlovac, we made up a couple more food packages for people (after Christmas). We had 23 worship with us in Karlovac for Christmas, including a young man who joined 2 years ago, whom we’ve not seen for 18 months, but says he wants to start coming regularly.
Pray for discernment for me as I meet with a student, Ivan in Zagreb this week.  It may turn out to be a disappointment or may be a good story to tell in the coming months.
I am grateful to God that by his mercy I have this ministry (2Cor.4:1) and that by his grace you participate in this work through your prayers, encouragement, temporal help and financial support which God provides you (2Cor.8:1-7).

Your brother in Christ, Tom Smith

Update from Tom Smith – plans and travels for the church and seminary – October 10, 2017

Dear prayer partners

October is a wonderful month.  My daughters, Evie and Kate celebrate their birthdays this month.
This year, October 31st is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 theses in Wittenberg.  I plan to attend the Mihael Starin Protestant Theological Seminary’s grand opening of its Reformation History Center on October 28th.  There will be a gathering of various church leaders in the historic Croatian National Theater (HNK) in Zagreb. Almir and I plan to attend this gathering.

Tomorrow, I plan to travel to Kiev to help conduct a preaching conference for pastors.
The theme is: Preaching Christ from the Psalms.
I will return Sunday and plan to preach in the Zagreb church.

In November, Almir and I will travel to Pittsburgh from November 13th – 24th. Our trip has three purposes:
1. Tell people about Christ the King Church in Karlovac and the vision to purchase property for the church to use.
2. Build relationships with Providence PCA, which will send a team to Croatia in 2018.  Almir will preach at Providence on November 19th in the evening service.
3. Visit various seminaries and schools for Almir to do future graduate work.

At the end of this week, Almir will meet with the mercy ministry team at church and make plans about the food box distribution at Christmas.  As soon as I know more details, I will pass them along.

After our trip to Pittsburgh, I plan to teach a hermeneutics (study of interpretation).

I praise God that my house in PA has been sold. Closing was this past Friday (6th). This is a relief to me.

Thank you for your many prayers on behalf of the church here in Croatia, the work, my family and for me.  I am grateful and see God’s grace to me.

Yours in Christ,

Update from Tom Smith on his return to Croatia, September 12, 2017 –

Dear prayer partners,

Last Tuesday, I finished cleaning my house, carrying the last bits out the door by 09:00 AM just before the buyer’s inspection began.  The inspection went ok, the buyer asked for a price reduction due to the condition of the roof, we negotiated and that’s settled. Waiting for the results of the bank appraisal & FHA inspection.

So, I hurried off to Burry’s Church, repacked my things, stored what I could not take with me, grabbed a shower and was whisked off to the airport by my friends, Bob & Ruth.  Air travel on this go around was more challenging than on other trips, HOWEVER, God blessed me with a surprise.  On my flight to Paris, was Rev. Canon Bill Jerdan who oversees the REC’s foreign missions. We actually got to have a little meeting at the back of the airplane.  The French stewardesses graciously let us loiter in the back galley. Missed my connection in Paris, so I spent 7 extra hours in Paris in a zombie like state.  Arrived into Zagreb Wednesday night. My friends, the Tuskans picked me up and let me sleep the night at their place. Thursday, my friend, Asim picked me up, and took me to my new apartment.

I like my new apartment. It is in the central part of Karlovac. My address is:

Thomas Smith c/o Obitelj Barić
Ulica Stjepana Radića 38 A
47000 Karlovac
Republic of Croatia

Tomorrow, I head off to Zagreb to meet a visiting professor. Together, we will travel to the seminary in Osijek. I look forward to his class on pneumatology.  While at the seminary, I will have discussions and make plans with Dr. Milic about my work at the seminary, helping Almir, and teaching up-coming classes.

Pray for Almir as now, he has 2 churches to pastor, both Karlovac and Zagreb. I went with him last weekend to Zagreb to hold a worship service there. He’d like me to re-start English language services in Zagreb.

In our little congregation in Karlovac, we have 5 people taking seminary classes (none are preparing for ministry at this point). I attended Almir’s last classes on Church History (early, up to 1054 AD). In a few weeks, I plan to begin teaching Hermeneutics in Karlovac.

As you can imagine, I am exhausted, overwhelmed with the many changes, and miss my children. But each day, things are improving, am sleeping more and feeling better. Your prayers for me are so highly valued.

Grace and peace to you all,

Update from Tom Smith, August 9th, 2017 –

Dear prayer partners,

Thank you for praying for the Croatian church, the seminary, for my family and me.
Would you please pray for the following items:

– Relief from the excessive heat (> 100F [38C]) in Croatia, my colleagues do not have air conditioning
– The safety and safe return at end of summer of church members who are working seasonal jobs on the coast or abroad.
– New people to attend/worship in our churches in Karlovac, Zagreb, and Osijek.
– For God to raise up new young men to attend seminary for training as pastors & for vocations in which they could be bi-vocational.
– Planning & preparations for upcoming 500th Reformation anniversary events in the fall.
– For success in reaching out to Roma people throughout Croatia and in some new places.
– For Dr. Eugene Oldham as he prepares to teach pneumatology in September at the seminary in Osijek.

– For God’s comfort
– for the sale of my house in Beaver County, PA
– for traveling mercies this summer.
– for the US dollar to stabilize in the currency markets (its value has dropped 15% since the beginning of the year, and is down more than 6% since I left Croatia on June 5th.
– for my colleagues in Karlovac to find a little apartment for me when I return in September.

Your prayers are so appreciated. I see God’s grace almost every day and am aware of many people praying for me.
Gratefully yours,

Tom and Ana Smith sent us a review of 2016, in their missionary work to spread the good news of Jesus Christ in and around Croatia:

2016 Summary Report
Tom & Ana Smith, with I.T.E.M., Inc. serving in Croatia

  • Tom and Ana visited a missionary family in Italy for fellowship and encouragement. Rev. Joel Rinn his wife, Jessica along with their 5 children are missionaries through Presbyterian Missions International (PMI). Ana and I presented our mission work in Croatia and Tom preached in Trinity Presbyterian Church, Vicenza, Italy. [It is noteworthy that it was Joel who introduced Tom to Dr. Milic/PRKC in Croatia in 2009].
  • Tom researched/reviewed literature, prepared a curriculum, and taught a New Testament Overview course in Karlovac.
  • Tom researched/reviewed literature, wrote a curriculum, and taught an Apologetics & New Atheism course in Karlovac.
  • We assisted Christ the King Church with delivery of shoes to the homeless shelter in Karlovac
  • We hosted & facilitated the visit of Dr. Robert Smart, PCA pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Normal, Illinois. Tom drove Rev. Smart to Osijek in eastern Croatia in order for him to teach a hermeneutics course at the Mihael Starin Seminary. Rev. Smart preached in Christ the King Church in Karlovac during his stay with us.
  • Tom visited the University of Ljubljana Teoloski Fakultet as well as the historic Evangelical Lutheran Church with Pastor Almir. While in Slovenia, Tom met with 2 young men, Alfred and Vid with whom Ana and he have ongoing mentoring relationships, respectively.
  • Tom obtained and helped distribute children & youth Bibles.
  • Tom attended the Mihail Starin Theological Seminary graduation ceremony and witnessed Pastor Almir (and others) get his Master of Divinity Diploma. On the same day, he watched (online) his daughter, Evelyn get her diploma at University of Findlay.
  • Tom and Pastor Almir together created a brochure about Christ the King Church in the English) language to be distributed to local hotels & camps who receive a large number of foreign guests who are English speakers (Dutch, British, German, Czech, Austrian, Polish etc.).
  • Tom and Ana helped host a visiting American group from 2 REC churches in Texas who traveled to Croatia to interface with the PRKC churches and investigate opportunities for investing in the life and growth of our church communities here. This same group is presently making plans to come back to us in 2017 for ministry.
  • Ana and I were able to return to the USA June 7th – September 7th, . We lived in our house in western PA with our youngest daughter, Kristina who returned to her summer job at BiLo Markets. Unfortunately, our other daughters, Kate and Evie were only able to visit us for a few days.
  • Tom preached in various churches in western PA and northern VA 13 times during a twelve week period. Ana and Tom were thankful to be able to present our mission work in front of these church audiences. We met with pastors and missions committees, saw friends, and visited some of our supporters, but sadly could not see all of our supporters.We had family reunions with both Tom and Ana’s siblings.
  • We cleaned, painted, stained and made minor updates and repairs to our house in Beaver County, PA and continued to downsize our possessions in the US as we have been doing for the past 2 summers. We were able to accomplish much and strove to meet our deadlines to list the house for sale mid-summer before heading back overseas thinking that our daughter, Evelyn, who has power of attorney could sell the house in our absence. After studying comps in our area, we concluded that we lacked time to adequately ready our house for presentation to prospective buyers to be able to receive our desired minimum price. God blessed our decision to continue to own our house in the US by providing yet another set of trustworthy renters at the “eleventh hour” in a way that only points to Him as the One who did it.
  • We arrived back to Croatia safely on September 8th.
  • With great excitement, Christ the King Church in Karlovac found a larger, worship space located in a much more visible street having quite a reasonable monthly rent! However, the new location that the Lord provided is in an 200 + year old building with mildew issues and no heating, requiring major renovation work. Our own dedicated church brothers volunteered many hours of labor. Tom and Ana are especially pleased that our “new” worship space is just down the street from our apartment. The first worship service was on September 4th.
  • We hosted Mr. Dennis Baker in September 2016 immediatley upon our arrival to Karlovac. He is a ruling elder from Providence PCA Church in Pittsburgh. God has given Denny a burden to labor from the US for the growth and development of our Karlovac church, Christ The King. He is a voice championing our cause.
  • Our second guest that September was Dr. David Smith who taught an evangelistic apologetics course at the Mihael Starin Seminary in Osijek and preached in the Reformed Church in Tordinci
  • Tom taught and preached at a pastors’ conference in Campina, Romania, 28-29 October 2016.
  • Tom created a curriculum and taught a pastoral counseling class the 16 – 17 December2016 at the seminary in Osjek.
  • Tom fundraised for the annual food box project our church takes on each December. Our many brothers and sisters in Christ from the US generously donated $2750 as well other money for other things. Our dedicated church members here in Karlovac eagerly purchased all of the food, organized it and packaged it for delivery. These food boxes, toys, and other aid from Christ the King went to 30 + households, to invalid children, and others in Karlovac at Christmas time. Thanks to the many who gave.
  • Tom and Ana along with Pastor Almir visited seven Afghan & Iraqi refugee boys, gave them clothing, then obtained more from Qanah Christian Thrift Shop in Zagreb.
  • Tom’s long-term project of collecting donations of used theology books for the Mihail Starin Seminary, our Croatian denomination’s seminary culminated in the shipping of 11 boxes of books from Burry’s Church to Croatia in April, 2016. In December 2016, another 30 boxes from St. Louis,MO arrived. Dr. Joseph Hall of St. Louis, MO collected the majority of the books. Rev. Win Groseclose at Burry’s Church contributed books, money, and a great deal of time to this project as well. Over 1800 books were added to the seminary library in 2016! Praise God!
  • Regular stuff: preaching each month, participating in Bible studies, prayer meetings, funerals, and other events, visiting & hosting people, daily language study coffees with Asim from church and meetings with Pastor Almir and others.
  • Ana and Tom try to meet weekly with church members, visit them in their homes or have them over for a meal or coffee. We are witnessing God deepen our relationships with our Croatian and Serbian brothers and sisters in Christ. We also have wonderful neighbors that we interact with almost daily.
  • Christ the King Church moved into a new space, rented from the city of Karlovac. The month of August was spent painting and renovating it. The chairs were paid for by pennies collected by the children of the Presbyterian Church of Prospect, Butler County, PA.
  • Christ the King Church was given a piano by one of the members, Domogoj Rade.
  • The 1800 + books safely arrived at the seminary in Osijek, despite some bureaucratic snafus.
  • The food box gift program at Christmas has grown.


  • Pastor Jasmin in Zagreb lost his job when his employer closed down the business. Jasmin’s wife is working and supporting their family. Pray for the Lord’s to provide for the Koso family and to bless Pastor Jasmin as he devotes more time on the Zagreb church.
  • Christ the King Church has a bigger space, but bigger utility bills, especially heating in the winter, more renovations are needed and finances are tight.
  • 2017 is the 500th anniversary of Luther posting his 95 Theses and many events are planned by the Reformed Church, at the seminary and throughout Croatia.
  • For continued blessings upon the Mihael Starin Seminary in Osijek, for the Lord to continue to raise up more new students.
  • For safe travels for us in 2017; Tom will participate in another ITEM pastor’s conference in Romania, we plan to visit the Rinns in Italy and then visit America this summer to see our Katherine graduate from SPU in June, see Evelyn and Kristina as well as other family, fund- raise and check on our house in PA .
  • Our daughters are doing well, Evelyn our eldest is graduated and working as a physical therapist in western Ohio. Kate is in her last 2 terms at SPU and shall graduate June 10, 2017. Kristina is in her 2nd year at SPU.
  • On December 03, 2016, we adopted a puppy. We named her Toffee. Because of Toffee, we are getting more exercise as well as meeting and getting to know new people around Karlovac.


Tom and Ana Smith head back to Croatia, Wednesday, September 7, 2016 –

“Dear Prayer Partners & Supporters

Next week, Ana & I will return to Croatia on Wednesday the 7th. We are looking forward to a busy schedule this fall. We will host a guest from Pittsburgh who will get involved in our church and visit several Christian ministries in Croatia. Then we will host a professor coming over to teach apologetics in Osijek. I will be preparing lectures to teach in Karlovac in October. Preparing to teach & help at a pastor’s conference on Christ-centered preaching at the end of October. In December, I will teach a course on pastoral counseling in Osijek and will develop the curriculum for that.

We look forward to rejoining Pastor Almir and the people of Christ the King in Karlovac. By now, they should be in their new space. A church in Prospect, PA is sending some money along for the church to buy furnishings for the new space (praise to God). About 30 cases of books (1500 lbs.) are waiting shipment in St. Louis for the seminary library in Osijek (praise God).

Our daughter, Kristina will stay with friends until she leaves for school at the end of September. Katherine is studying in Chengdu, China. Evelyn is finished and licensed and hopefully will get work soon as a physical therapist.

We are keeping our house in PA for now. If you know of any missionaries needing housing in western PA, please contact us, as we want to make our home available for the next 8 -9 months. Next summer, we hope (Lord-willing) to return so I can do more fund-raising, to build up a larger base of regular supporters. This summer’s cash flow has shown me I need to do this. I see this as an opportunity to tell others about what God is doing in Croatia.

Please pray for us and the work in Croatia:
– Safe travels & return to Croatia.
– God’s provision to cover both Croatian & American bills and obligations
– Help in planning, preparing & teaching various courses and lectures this year.
– Continue connecting American Christians with the Reformed Church in Croatia.
– Renters who could stay in our house this winter
– Our daughters as they study and work
– Pastor Almir and Christ the King Church in Karlovac, for improved finances
– Extra money will come in to buy the carpet, chairs, tables, etc. for the new church space.
– The seminary books to safely arrive & pass customs.
– The Pastor’s Conference in Campina, Romania, 28-29 October
– The kick-off of a year long celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on 31 October.
– Christ the King Church in Karlovac can give away more food boxes this Christmas.

Thank you for your prayers & support.
Tom & Ana”

Update from Tom Smith, June 1, 2016

“Dear Prayer Partners,

The new space I wrote about a month ago has not worked out. The owner changed his mind – it took several weeks for this to transpire.
We have been looking for other options.
The attached photo is one of those options, the ground floor of the building, behind the white doors.
But we might not know until next week, or maybe longer.
So pray that we can find a large space for the Karlovac church.

This Sunday, we will have a new member, Lukas join the church. Praise God.
We had a great time these past 4 days with a group from Good Shepherd Church in Tyler, TX & Chapel of the Cross in Dalls, TX who are visiting Croatia. 4 of them are from St. Timothy’s School in Dallas and are a quartet and are very talented and have been a blessing to our church with their singing.

Ana and I will fly home next week to America.
Our youngest, Kristina will fly home on Saturday the 11th. Evie is busy with her clinical at Ashkenazi Hospital in Indianapolis and Kate plans to stay in Seattle working her job in the cafe. We will see them later this summer.
We may need to get a car for the summer, as our van which was left with friends in Richmond is having problems. So this will be a matter of prayer.
Ana and I hope to get our house on the market sometime in June.
I have lined up several churches to preach and/or speak at this summer.
This summer will be a busy time of transition for us.
Thank you for remembering us in your prayers, for lifting up the Croatian church, for praying for the training of godly leaders and pastors in Croatia and in this region of the world. Gratefully yours in Christ,

Possible Building for Croatian Church to gather (White Doors)

Possible Building for Croatian Church to gather (White Doors)








Update from Tom Smith, March 9, 2016

“Dear Prayer Partners,
I asked Pastor Win at Burry’s Church to snap some photos of the books in the balcony waiting to be shipped to Osijek to the Mihael Starin Seminary. The 30 or so boxes are in the corner behind the power point projector & computer desk. $4.33 will cover the price of shipping a pound of books door to door (from Burry’s Church in PA to the seminary in Osijek, Croatia).

I hope we can get 10 boxes shipped out this April. Please pray that all the books can be shipped before October, when the Reformation historical center in Osijek is officially opened at the seminary.

Pastor Almir is in Osijek this week, helping Dr. Milic film a video on the Reformation in Croatia. They will be visiting some old Hungarian Reformed churches near Osijek. Unfortunately at the time of the Reformation, Croatia was the front lines of the war between the Ottoman Turkish Empire and the Hapsburgs and the political/military environment did not allow the Reformation to take hold here.

If you know anyone who would be interested in helping get the theology books shipped, please pass along this information to them. Money for the books can either be sent to:

ITEM, Inc., PO Box 31456, St. Louis, MO 63131
St. John’s Burry’s Church, 1835 Route 68, Rochester, PA 15074

Your prayers, notes of encouragement and support in all forms are helping Ana & me, Almir, and all of our colleagues in the Reformed Church in Croatia. So THANK YOU!!!!
Never stop praying – pray without ceasing.


Update from Tom Smith, March 3, 2016

“Dear Prayer Partners,

Attached is a newsletter coming to you in March (late winter) which is also ‘late’ getting out.

The New Testament class is going well. We hope to hear from the city of Karlovac, if they will rent some space to our church. Please pray our church, Christ the King can get a new, larger space soon. We hope to have some guests from America later this month, and hope they can bring a laptop for Ana to use. This will be a big help, getting a 2nd computer.

So far, $150 has come in to Burry’s Church for shipping books. That could ship about 35 lbs of books for the seminary. Need another $4000 or so to go.

Thank you for your prayers. Please write with questions and also of your prayer concerns – how we can pray for you.

Yours in Christ,

Tom and Ana”

Smith – Croatia 2016 late winter newsletter

Tom and Anna Smith

Tom and Ana Smith

Update from Tom Smith, February 24, 2015

“Dear Brave Men,
Today, Ana & I will fly back to America. We are looking forward to seeing our daughters and getting to be with Kristina. We’ll see what all happened a few days ago when the pipes froze. Thankfully, men from Burry’s Church came and helped Kristina. Next week I will see the orthopedic surgeon and get my hip operation scheduled. Although FAFSA is basically done, I must update it by filing my taxes (wish it were simple, but its not). We wait to hear which schools have accepted Kristina and what it will cost. I need to get a newsletter out, with pictures. Then there is the house to prep for sale. Work on collecting & transporting books for the Mihail Starin Seminary in Croatia, and also getting copyrights to translate and publish some texts in Croatian. Lord-willing all will go well with the hip replacement and I can return to Croatia in 6 months, then we will look for a new apartment in Karlovac.
In summary, when you remember us in prayer:
– safe travels
– Kristina’s transition from high school to college
– hip surgery & recovery
– sale of our house in PA, find storage for some of our stuff.
– work out logistical details of getting books to Croatia (on pallets into shipping containers)
– work out a few book translation deals with American publishers.
– fund-raise for the library project and book translation project.
– fund-raise for our own needs.
– safe return to Croatia and a new place to live
– the well being & growth of the Zagreb & Karlovac churches.

I expect it to be an interesting 6 months ahead. God has been so gracious and good to us. We confidently feel the benefit of being lifted up in prayer. Can’t do this without you and your prayers.

May God bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you.
yours in Christ,
Tom & Ana”

Update from Tom Smith, January 31, 2014

“Dear Fathers and Brother of the Brave Men Bible Study,
Greetings from Croatia! Like you, we are enjoying winter weather at last (Dec. & Jan. were mild).
I hope you are all well. I read the prayer needs on the emails Sig sends out and pray for you.
Thank you for praying for us and for God’s Kingdom in Croatia and for all your help in many ways.
Here’s my January 2014 CrossCurrent Newsletter with a few more pictures this time. Grace and peace to you all,
Tom Smith”

Update from Tom Smith, December 23, 2013

“Dear Brave Men of Fridays,
Advent greetings from Zagreb!
Attached is my newsletter with pictures. Fall 2013 Crosscurrent I forget to mention in it that I was granted a 5 year residence visa (praise). Also grateful for the ordination of Almir and for the vestments donated from America. Besides Almir, I thank God for Jasmin, Kresimir and Tomislav, men with whom I am spending time with. Also, we were blessed with a VW Tauren, registered in Ana’s name. We have also disappointments and struggles but even in these, we give thanks as we ought.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32  Grace and peace to you all as you celebrate the birth of God’s Son!

Update from Tom Smith, November 12, 2013,

“Dear prayer partners, I praise God for recent visits from Christian apologists, Dr. Lennox from Oxford and Dr. Gustavsson from Stockholm and for upcoming meeting with BGEA to do a crusade/festival in Zagreb.  This city needs the life giving message of Jesus.  pray we are more effective in our evangelism and outreach.
Father God,
You alone are worthy of praise. You spoke this world into existence.  We are humbled in your presence.  Knowing you is the best thing to ever happen to us. Being right with you through your Son fills us with joy and hope.  It is good to drink from springs of living water.  We pray for the people of Zagreb who are drinking from stagnant cisterns of death.  You alone are life, you give meaning and purpose.  People here are so hopeless, don’t know how to change their lives, hopeless with a corrupt government and a crushing economy.  So as your Word commands, we lift up holy hands and pray for all people everywhere, especially for kings and those in authority. Please graciously affect President Josipovic and PM Milanovic and the parliament.  We also pray for other world leaders, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives.  Be merciful to the people affected in the Philippines by the typhoon.  Bless the local church in the Philippines and use them.  Bless the local church here in Zagreb and use them to reach our neighbors here.  All of our work and worry will not amount to much without your blessing, so we ask in the name of Jesus, for whose glory we seek. Amen.  Until next week. Tom”
Update from Tom Smith, November 6, 2013
“Prayer partners please pray for our outreach in Zagreb, our English worship services, and our meetings with government to be treated fairly (equal rights) and to stop discrimination against Protestants.
Dear Gracious Father,
You dwell in unapproachable light.  You are our Father of the heavenly lights and you do not change like shifting shadows.  We praise you and wish to magnify you in this world.  We are dim, broken, and damaged reflectors of you. But your glory and grace is greater than our sin and shame, so shine upon us and in us.  Let us see your hand at work around us.  Let us not grow discouraged at the troubles we face whether large or small.  Help us to view all things in the mirror of eternity.  Encourage the pastors here in Zagreb.   Thank you for your promise in Romans 8 that all things are ours in Christ, let us take hold of that and renew our minds.  Be our strength to stand, be our light to see, be our shield to protect, be our sword to repel, be our sun to warm us.  These requests we make in the name of Jesus who shed his blood to purchase us and make us his own. in his name we ask. Amen (so be it).”
Tom’s Prayer and Praise Report, October 31, 2013
“Dear prayer partners,
Thank you for lifting up my family and me and the Croatian church in prayer.
Yesterday, I received a 5 year temporary residency visa/permit from the government.
Most missionaries that I know only get a 1 year permit, which they must renew each year.
This is a big deal.
Then, I found out that soon I will be teaching a couple days a month in the city of Varazdin (north of Zagreb – wedged between Hungary & Slovenia).  Details still need to be worked out.
Then I went to a lecture by Dr. John Lennox from Oxford (please check out this great apologist of the Christian faith) and was encouraged by the head of Inter Varsity.  God is really on the move here – the numbers of evangelicals in Croatia has grown tremendously in the past 20 years.
Then I picked up some missionaries at the airport and was encouraged by them.  Today I play tour guide with them for a few hours before they go to Osijek.
Ana and Kristina are well. Sorry this rambled, but am excited to share good news.  Tonight we have a Reformation Day service.  I preach on Romans 3:21-31.
Hope you have a happy Reformation Day!  Be creative and dress up like your favorite Reformer!
PS: you know Oct.31, 1517 was when Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the church door.”
Tom’s Weekly Prayer from Zagreb, October 30, 2013
“Dear Heavenly Father,
God of all good, Father of all mercies, to you we come in Jesus.  In union with Jesus your son, we are given your Spirit and all the blessings that you bestow. Thank you for giving us all that belongs to Jesus.  It is his blood that cleanses us and frees us.  It is his righteousness that clothes us.  It is on his account that you hear us.  The requests we make, we make in his name, for his sake, for his glory and honor.  But we are sinners who are selfish, prideful and fearful, and so our prayers are tainted with sinful motives.  Even greater is your Fatherly love that sees through our requests and petitions, in love you give us what we need, what is for our good.  We want to see people all around us come to know you and the abundant life you offer.  We pray for the people in Zagreb, in this spiritual desert who are dying of thirst.  May your Holy Spirit rain down on people here, give them repentance and humility to come to you.  Give us boldness, clarity, and grace in proclaiming the message of Jesus to them.  Help us to intersect with the people in whom Your Spirit is working and moving.  Give encouragement to Pastor Jasmin, to Almir and to others when it seems so few are interested in the Word of God.  Hunger for the Word is a God-given gift, so we ask for it. Bless your church, not for our pride and satisfaction, but for your glory.  In the name of Jesus we ask. Amen.”

Update from Tom Smith, September 28, 2013

“Dear brothers and fathers of Brave Men,
Greetings from Croatia.  At the moment I am staying at Good Shepherd Church in Osijek waiting for Bishop Milic to arrive. Later today, I go with him to a village, where he will officiate a wedding. I was on Facebook this morning and saw this posted by a classmate from Covenant Seminary.  Dr. Bickel often talks of vigorously fighting sin in our lives and I thought of you all.  I have copied and pasted it for you to read:
“Grace-driven effort is violent. It is aggressive. The person who understands the gospel understands that, as a new creation, his spiritual nature is in opposition to sin now, and he seeks not just to weaken sin in his life but to outright destroy it. Out of love for Jesus, he wants sin starved to death, and he will hunt and pursue the death of every sin in his heart until he has achieved success. This is a very different pursuit than simply wanting to be good. It is the result of having transferred one’s affections to Jesus. When God’s love takes hold of us, it powerfully pushes out our own love for other gods and frees our love to flow back to him in true worship. And when we love God, we obey him. The moralist doesn’t operate that way. While true obedience is a result of love, moralistic legalism assumes it works the other way around, that love results from obedience.” – Matt Chandler via Bret Crenshaw

(The following day, September 29th) At present, I am visiting Bishop Milic in Osijek.  In a few hours, we go to a gypsy village, where he will do a wedding.

Tomorrow, I preach on Luke 16:19-30. What a great parable! I found in my exegesis the keys to understanding this parable are in the preceeding verses 15 – 19.
On Monday, I go with Bishop Milic to meet with Dr. Peter Kuzmic at ETS (Evangelical Theological School).  I will turn in my application.  The only thing is I do not have a sample of my academic writing.  Its been 11+ years since seminary and all my papers were done on an old PC back in PA.  So, I will need to find out what I can submit to satisfy their requirements.
My registration process with the MUP (Croatia’s Homeland Security) is going well so far.  Next step is to get registered with the national health insurance and report back to the MUP in 30 days.  Then I think I might get an identity card and 5 year temporary residency. Thanks for your prayers for us here.  Thank you for providing me with all types of help.
Grace and peace to you all.
your brother in Christ, Tom Smith
PS: Tell Dale Thurston, we are giving away Gideon Bibles on the street in Osijek.”

Update from Tom after arriving back in Zagreb, September 10, 2013

“Dear prayer partners,
Thank you for praying for us.  We arrived safely into Zagreb last week.  Had a day to regroup, unpack and repack.
Ana went with me to the MUP Police station the day after we got here.  The lady behind the counter asked if I wanted the 5 year temporary residency.  This was never an option before.  So, we must go back in 2 weeks to do the paperwork.  This sure beats 1 year temp. residency.
PRAISE GOD for that – & thanks for praying.
Then, we rented a car and drove to Split and then a 2 hr. ferry to Hvar.
I was able to officiate the wedding of the couple from London.  It went well. PRAISE GOD!
We met a young believer named, Jasmina working at the hotel. We gave her a New Testament and our contact information.  She said she will get in touch with us when she comes to Zagreb.
We also had a great conversation with Branimir the violinist and another musician, both from Zagreb who played in the wedding.  They are interested in our church, Christ Redeemer. I will see if Branimir can meet me for coffee this week.
So, we thought we were in Hvar for a wedding but I think we were meant to be there for Jasmina & Branimir.  PRAISE GOD!
Got back from Zagreb Sunday night exhausted.  Then received a text message from our phone company that our mobile phones were being shut off due to unpaid bills.  Today, I got it all resolved.  It was a bureaucratic snafu, plus we are on a less expensive family plan that should save us 200 kuna ($38) per month. PRAISE GOD!  Plus I was helped by Davor, who has waited on me before.  He invited me to a charismatic Catholic event for this coming Sunday afternoon.  I had a 1 in 8 chance of getting him to help me at T-Mobile. Another divine appointment.
While we were gone for the summer, there must have been a huge plumbing leak in our apartment.  The landlady Mrs. Korolija took care of it, and replaced a few things in the apartment.  None of our stuff were affected.  Tonight, we see her to pay this month’s rent and hear the story.  Problem was resolved without us. PRAISE GOD.
Tomorrow, I go with Pastors Koso & Milic to a funeral of Pastor Mladen Jovanovic of Christ Church in Zagreb who died suddenly of heart failure at age 68. He had retired from active duty pastoring, to focus on writing books, but the Lord had other plans for him.  He was a very talented man who the Lord used here.  “Teach us to number our days,  that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Ps.90:12.
Ana and Kristina are doing pretty good, just super exhausted from jet lag and the Hvar trip.  I am a little tired too.  Ana’s knees are behaving for now.  Kristina is doing cyber school in the Bible Institute library till we can get internet at home (both a praise and a prayer request).
Whether you pray for us daily or weekly or occaissonally, again, we say thanks to God for you and your prayers on our behalf.
love in Christ,

Update from Tom Smith, Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tom and his family are back in Croatia after their summer in the US. 
“Dear friends & family,
We arrived safely into Zagreb 3 hours ago.  Our friend, Janet picked us up at airport.
Ana and Kristina are sleeping.  I am running errands to bank, grocery, etc.
I am on my way to T-Mobile to activate mobile phones and stopped at library to send this email.
If I get a chance, I will write more tomorrow.
Thursday we drive 6 -7 hours to the wedding in Hvar.  So I may not be able to write much till next week.
Trip went well, we are just exhausted – no sleep on the plane.
Got through London Heathrow successfully, a very interesting place!
God through your prayers and support makes this all possible. Thanks be to God and thank you all.
Grace and peace to you all.

Prayer Request from April 26, 2013

“I am giving a talk on the Heidelberg Catechism (its 450 years old) – Friday (26th) in a public library in the center of Zagreb at 6pm (12 noon your time). To me success would be that God is glorified in and through this talk. In talking about the structure & content, I hope the gospel is made clear. This particular public library has an open 2nd floor that looks down on the lecture area. I pray that people using the library will overhear the gospel in my presentation of the Heidelberg Catechism. I  hope to give this same talk later in the year in the nearby city of Karlovac. For now, I desire your prayer support. To God alone be the glory!”

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