Many South Floridians were touched by Andrew and Daniele Vuksic as they reached out to people imprisoned behind bars, young children in foster care and single adults through ministries at Spanish River Church in Boca Raton.
Now, the couple is working to conquer an entire country for Christ.
Shortly after saying their wedding vows in 2007, the Vuksics waved goodbye to hundreds of friends and supporters in Florida and boarded a plane to Croatia with the Gospel message deeply planted in their hearts. Their Life, called Gospel on the Go, was created in an effort to share the love of Christ with the unchurched people of that nation. However, their choice to minister in Croatia may have been influenced by Andrew’s familial heritage.
In fact, Andrew’s parents immigrated to the United States from Croatia, the country formally known as Yugoslavia, in the 1960s.
But he says, “We didn’t know the language. We had so many adjustments and obstacles. Our first church service was held on our balcony in an apartment neighborhood.”
“We sent out flyers inviting people, and no one showed up. Andrew preached to me,” Daniele recalls with a smile.
“We didn’t have anything no furniture no worship leader no people,” Andrew said.
One year later, all that has changed.
Going and growing today
Now, just one year after settling in Croatia, more than 70 people attend the church’s weekly activities.
“You could consider us a megachurch in that neighborhood,” Andrew chuckles.
Most churches in Croatia are not nearly as crowded as they are in America.
In September of this year a missions team from South Florida ventured to Croatia to assist Gospel on the Go Ministries. Together, they reached out to a children’s home filled with foster kids and hosted a spa night for girls of all ages, with gifts donated by Beauty Control representatives in the U.S.
“We gave them some great gifts, and the participants were so amazed to receive nice things knowing we expect absolutely nothing in return,” Daniele says.
With the help of prayer volunteers and financial supporters, along with Andrew’s commitment to master the Croatian language, the Life is growing. The couple hosts college and career nights on Fridays, teen events on Saturdays, and they coordinate two services on Sunday.
Gospel on the Go also hosts “Go Healthy” on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In this class, Andrew teaches kickboxing and the Word of God.
Daniele also teaches English to Croatians who want to master another language and Andrew leads a training program for young pastors.
They also organize a monthly service project and e-mail a daily devotional written by Andrew around the globe.
“People have turned their lives over to Christ, couples are getting closer sharing the devotional, and many are forwarding it to their friends and family,” Andrew says.
Visibly humbled by God’s grace, Andrew quotes Proverbs, saying, “‘The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.’ That’s exactly what God has done with us.”
Life before Life
Prior to turning over their lives to God, Daniele was in management for Wal-Mart, and Andrew was a former financial executive. Before enrolling in seminary and becoming an ordained Presbyterian minister, Andrew was living the good life “chasing the almighty dollar” in business. One day, feeling empty inside, he noticed one of those “religious nuts” handing out tracts at a bustling Boca Raton intersection. While stuck in traffic, Andrew read the tract and decided to turn his life over to
God. Life would never be the same.
Andrew was raised in Pittsburgh, Pa. Daniele, the youngest of eight children, was also raised in Pittsburgh. She came to Christ, because a Christian co-worker witnessed to her.
Sadly, Andrew’s beloved father, a popular professor in Pittsburgh, passed away this year on Valentine’s Day. The couple and their supporters from America have created the Vlatko Vuksic Memorial Fund to help needy children in Croatia, in honor of Andrew’s father’s passion for family and education.
For more information, visit GospelOnTheGo.com.