If all goes as planned, in August 2021 Rob & Heidi Scott along with their daughters, Eliana and Malia will be moving to Prishtina, Kosovo in Eastern Europe. They are also making a job change to become vocational missionaries with the Alliance Missions team on the ground in Kosovo.
How did they make this big decision to move overseas and what will they be doing once they get there? What are their biggest challenges and what are they looking forward to?
Global Connections Ministry Assistant, Lori Loux, interviewed the Scott family to learn more about their decision, the process, and what's next.
Lori: On your new webpage, scottlink.org, you stated that after 25 years of marriage, God started to nudge you in a new direction. Can you tell us what that looked like?
Rob & Heidi: We both sensed God stirring our hearts to serve Him in a bigger way and began praying about it together. At first, we felt drawn to short term missions but when we pursued different options to serve as a family, nothing was coming together. So, we decided to wait and pray. After several months we were unexpectedly asked to host a family for about a week in the summer of 2019. It was through hosting a family from Kosovo that God began speaking to our hearts and minds in a very big way.
Lori: I have fond memories of the summer the Kosovar’s visited Appleton Alliance. You hosted the Cakolli’s – Pastor Femi and his wife Belkize and their three children. How did God speak to you that week?
Rob & Heidi: Through hosting the Cakolli’s we learned about how Pastor Femi and his wife, Belkize grew up in Muslim families and what their lives are like now as Christ-followers in a Muslim majority country. We also learned about the terrible aftermath of the war with Serbia 20 years ago. In many ways the country and people are still in recovery physically and emotionally. Our first response was, “How can we help? “
Lori: What did you do differently as a result of your desire to help?
Rob & Heidi: We began to pray intentionally for God to show us our next steps. Initially, we thought that meant a short-term trip to Kosovo. We met with Pastor Byrom here at Appleton Alliance and Pastor Femi in Kosovo along with Merita Krasniqi, the Discovery Land director in Kosovo. Plans for the trip really started to come together. We had a great team of young adults joining us and we were all excited for the outreach kids camp we were planning. Then… Covid put an abrupt stop to our plans.
Lori: Ugh! Covid set-backs affected us all.
Rob & Heidi: Yes, but God had bigger plans! Through confirmations both from the Perspectives class we took and speaking further with pastors and missionaries in the Alliance we began considering long-term mission work. One day last spring we looked at each other and said, “What are we waiting for?” That day we submitted our applications to the Alliance.
Lori: Can you tell us more about the confirmations?
Rob & Heidi: One confirmation was hearing Tim Crouch, CMA Vice President, U.S. Missions, speak at Appleton Alliance Church in October 2019 during the missions conference week. We were encouraged and inspired but also challenged to hear that the Alliance is looking for people with diverse backgrounds to serve with Alliance Missions. Not just people with seminary degrees, but also people with business and teaching experience and many other backgrounds. God is opening doors in places that are closed to “missionaries”, but welcome to vocational workers.
Lori: Your first year in Kosovo will be focused on language study. What will you be doing after that?
Rob & Heidi: Our roles on the mission team in Kosovo are in development and we get to be a part of that. While that is a little exciting—to see God unfold a plan for our work there, it’s also challenging to not have defined roles yet.
Lori: Do you have some ideas of what you might want to see happen there?
Rob & Heidi: We feel led to work in the community, perhaps through a community center setting, to reach Muslim Kosovars with the gospel. The most effective way to do that is through building relationships. We hope to offer business classes and coaching, English and music classes and mentor young adults as a way to make lasting connections with people.
Lori: Will you also be working with the local church?
Rob & Heidi: We have a strong desire to support the national church network as they plant churches in unreached areas of Kosovo. This might be through helping bi-vocational pastors start and grow businesses to support themselves as they minister. We have a lot of ideas but are committed to watch and wait for God to show us the path! Learning Albanian is intimidating and that needs to be our first and primary focus, in order to share in the Kosovar’s “heart language”.
Lori: Tell us a little about the Alliance Team in Kosovo and where they see God working right now.
Rob & Heidi: The Alliance has aXcess workers in two cities in Kosovo. One couple in the capital city of Pristina. That is where we will be living. And a single missionary in a smaller city called Gjilan. She is there to assist with planting churches in that region.
The Alliance team has been able to help with things like food and clothing distributions as a way of outreach. The women on the team have also taught English classes at a center for women who are sexual assault survivors. By meeting physical and emotional needs, doors have opened to share the gospel. Gjilan is also a site of a small NGO (Non-Government Organization) that offers woodworking classes for older children. We are praying for entire families to be reached through this ministry!
Lori: What are some challenges that you’ll face as you begin your ministry in Kosovo?
Rob & Heidi: Most Kosovar Muslims are not devout but the cultural and family ties to Islam are very strong. There is a saying “to be Kosovar is to be Muslim”. Becoming a Christian can come at a cost to them personally, sometimes losing ties to their family. In addition, because most people are “secular” Muslims, there is not a spiritual mindset. This can be a barrier to understanding the need for salvation.
Lori: Can you describe your daughter’s reaction when they first learned that you might be considering the mission field in Kosovo?
Rob & Heidi: Eliana and Malia have mixed feelings, of course. They are excited to see God working already, opening doors for us to go. It is hard, though, to think about leaving friends and family in Appleton. They understand “the why” but are also processing what it really means to “go”.
Lori: What are some things you’re looking forward to while living overseas?
Rob & Heidi: We really enjoy the relational mindset of the Kosovar culture. They value an unrushed time of talking and of course… getting coffee! We love Kosovar macchiatos and some of the local dishes. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat are inexpensive and easy to find, which is great because prepackaged foods are harder to find.
Lori: How can we stay in touch with you? Will you have a newsletter?
Rob & Heidi: We would LOVE to stay connected!! Please sign up for our newsletter here: ScottLink.org
Lori: How can we pray for you?
Rob & Heidi:
Pray for wisdom as we prepare to go.
Pray that we bring what we need and leave the rest at home.
Pray for our hearts and minds as we prepare to say goodbye, especially for our daughters.
Pray for our extended family and friends as they do the same.
Pray for Eliana and Malia as they transition to a new school. Pray for solid friendships.
Pray for God’s provision as we begin building our support team, for both prayer support and financial partners to come alongside us.
Lori: Is there anything else you want to tell us?
Rob & Heidi: We feel very blessed to be part of a “sending” church that has supported and encouraged us each step of the way. We are praying for others at Appleton Alliance Church to be open to God’s leading so that more may go to the ends of the earth to proclaim the gospel!