Marina grew up in Serbia knowing very little about God. When she was 12 years old she heard from some friends about a Bible correspondence course they were involved in. She decided to enroll in the program and was excited when the first lesson arrived in the mail.

A while later she was surprised to receive an invitation from two CEF workers in Serbia, Ana and Katarina, to attend a week-long CEF summer Bible camp.As Marina carefully watched the believers at the camp, she noticed how different their lives were from hers. She realized something was missing from her life. Through the daily Bible lessons and activities she finally understood that it was Jesus Christ who could change her and give her His life. One day at camp she made the decision to trust in Christ for salvation.

When school began that fall, Marina began attending special classes to learn traditional Slovak dances and songs (she is an ethnic Slovak). Soon the classes were taking almost all her free time. Sometimes she would skip youth group meetings because she had dance team practice at the same time. She felt convicted that she was living a “double life”—with God but also in the world—but she really did not think she was doing anything too terribly wrong.

One evening during youth group Marina began to think about her life and saw that even though she had Jesus in her life and loved Him, something was keeping her from fully walking with God. She realized that “something” was the folk dance classes; she decided that she had to quit the dance classes and give all of herself to the Lord.

Suddenly Marina had lots of free time which she did not know what to do with. In the meantime, Ana and Katarina invited the teenagers who were attending the church to consider helping them in their work with children. That sounded like a good thing to try, though Marina was not sure that she was the person to become involved in such work. “I did not think I had the ability to work effectively with young kids. But Ana told me that if I did not give it a try, I would never know if I could

work with kids or not. I decided to give it a try and began helpi

in their children’s work as well as at Sunday school, and CEF

summer camps.”

More than 12 years have passed since Marina’s first attempts a working with kids. She has no regrets. Marina graduated from th first Balkan Children’s Ministries Institute® held in Serbia in 2010 and 2011 and now serves God full-time with CEF in Serbia.