Tamara Henkes, an Assemblies of God missionary to Romania for 13 years, was attending a conference where she heard about the need for Christian workers in the country of Montenegro.
Montenegro is about the size of the state of Connecticut and has a total population of about 620,000 people. Out of those, perhaps 200-300 are evangelical believers. There are only 6-8 evangelical churches in all of Montenegro. And none of those evangelical churches in Montenegro are pastored by a Montenegrin national.
When Tamara heard about the need in Montenegro, her heart was captured and a seed was planted. But why would she leave Romania where she had a very successful ministry, spoke the language fluently, and had close friends?
But when she gave her heart to the Lord at the age of twenty, Tamara told Him she would give Him her all and that has been the focus of her life ever since. Whether it was initially teaching a Sunday morning class for two-year-olds, receiving her Master of Arts in Christian Education and Church Leadership from George Fox Evangelical Seminary (after earning a bachelor’s degree in business/accounting with a minor in speech communication from Portland State University), serving as the Early Childhood Children’s Pastor at Portland Christian Center, or serving as the Co-Director of the highly successful Kidz Romania ministry for 13 years, her life has been characterized by obedience to God’s call. As she likes to put it, she is “all in” for Jesus. That means being willing to step out and do things that are out of our comfort zone, that we don’t feel equipped to do.
And so even though she didn’t want to leave Romania, God gave her a love for Montenegro, and she wanted to obey God more than she wanted to stay in Romania. She began to pray and fast about her future service for several months until she was convinced that God had called her to move to Montenegro to make disciples who would make disciples.
She then approached her leadership with Assemblies of God World Missions. When she told them she wanted to move to Montenegro, their eyes lit up. Unbeknownst to Tamara, they had been praying specifically that God would call a veteran missionary who was already living in the Balkans to work alongside Benja and Jessi Bock, newly-appointed Assemblies of God missionaries who are in the midst of language training in Podgorica, Montenegro in preparation for future ministry in the nation.
In Montenegro, Tamara will obey her calling and do what Scripture commands us to do. She will follow Jesus, obey Him, preach the good news, and make disciples. She will learn the Montenegrin language, learn the culture, and build relationships. Individual lives will be transformed, people will be discipled, churches will be planted throughout the country, national leaders will be trained, and ministries focused on the next generation will flourish.
Join Tamara’s Team
To apply a principle from a message Tamara recently preached, Paul speaks in Romans 9:1-4a of the sorrow and anguish he experiences for those among the Jewish people (his “kinsmen according to the flesh”) who are without Christ. That same level of sorrow and anguish for the lost is to characterize our lives. Like Tamara, we can choose to be “all in” for Jesus. And one of the ways we can give our all for Jesus is to be a part of Tamara’s team and help her reach the lost in Montenegro.
If you’ve read our pillar articles (which can be reached through the tabs at the top of the site if you are using a desktop or the three-bar/”hamburger” menu if you are using a mobile device), you know that our conviction is that all believers should be part of a team seeking to reach the unreached. Some will go, some will pray, some will provide financial support, some will provide logistical support.
- Do we have passion for the lost? Are we willing to give up our time to intercede and pray for Tamara? To stay informed of her needs, sign up for her newsletter at her website.
- Do we have a heart for those who don’t know Jesus? Are we willing to give of our finances so that Tamara’s ministry in Montenegro can flourish? To make a monthly commitment or one-time gift, visit Tamara’s giving page.
- Are we “all in” for Jesus? Are we willing to leave our home and go so disciples will be made in Montenegro? Contact Tamara for more information on how you can serve.
- Are you a lead pastor of a church? Would you be willing to have Tamara come to your church and speak to your congregation, Sunday school class, women’s group, men’s group, small gathering, etc. about Montenegro and Jesus’ heart for missions? You can find open dates on her speaking calendar and then contact her to schedule a service.
And remember what Tamara says: “It is a blessing to give up your all to obey Jesus!”