Summer in Slovakia
"I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 1:3-6, NIV)
The summer months in Slovakia - and Eastern Europe in general - are usually slow. Schools and universities are out of session, and some offices (both public and private) are closed or have reduced hours. In Kosice, only the tourist areas look busier than usual... most other places seem eerily still
But some things never slow down. People are hungry for the Gospel in every season. Poverty and need have no holiday. The situation among the Roma people here in Slovakia is still as difficult as it ever has been. We are thankful for your prayers for us, but most especially we are thankful for your prayers and partnership in the work among the Roma people!
We hope these newsletters are as good for you as they are for us - staying in contact with you reminds us of the many reasons we have to give praise to God! Here are a few ways you can rejoice and thank God with us:
- Because of the faithful giving of so many partners, we were able to purchase a vehicle in April. This has been a tremendous blessing for us in many ways - and opens the door to many new ministry opportunities.
- In May we enjoyed a visit from a six-member team from CBF Virginia. They helped us finish out our spring English Conversation Courses with a fun party, taught English and American culture for a day at the school in Kezmarok, and joined in an impromptu house-church celebration in a Roma village. We were energized by their visit, and look forward to future partnerships with CBF Virginia churches.
- In June we relocated to a new home here in Kosice - while smaller than our previous home, this house has a yard! It is also cooler and quieter than the city center, and has more efficient heating for the winter months. To top it, off, we have a wonderful landlord and good neighbors! We are so grateful that God has brought us here!
- The girls completed their second year in Slovak schools with good marks and high spirits. It's amazing how much they've grown and learned... we are very proud of them!
- This summer we celebrated two milestones - three years since our commissioning (June 2012), and two years since we moved to Slovakia (July 2013). It's simply amazing to think of all we've experienced and all God has done in these last few years!
Here are a few ways you can join us in praying this summer:
A Time to Explore
Much of our first two years has been devoted to learning the Slovak language, and about the Slovak and Roma cultures. We believe this time of learning has been vital to our future ministry here in Slovakia. It has placed us in the role of learners, giving us a deeper understanding of the complicated issues here. And of course, learning Slovak has helped us feel more comfortable in this place God has called us.
There's still a lot of work to do - language learning never really ends. But now that we are more comfortable in the language, we believe it's time to change our focus a bit. This fall, we plan to make as many visits as possible to organizations, churches and individuals in Slovakia who work with and among Roma. We've heard about so many of these in our two years here, but we've been limited in our time (heavy language learning) and transportation. Now, we believe, is the time to have some important conversations and build some of these partnerships.
Please pray with us for fruitful visits, deep conversations, and insights into possible ministry opportunities to come!
While we are looking ahead, we also have ongoing work that we want to continue to nurture - at the Roma school in Kezmarok, resuming work at the school here in Kosice, and the English Conversation Classes at the Roma church in Kosice.
Please pray with us for deepening relationships in these places, and new ways to share the love of Christ.
As we pass the crucial two- and three-year milestones mentioned above, we are also aware of some challenges that come with those milestones. About three years ago, several of our partners began making three-year commitments to support us financially. God has been faithful to provide for all our needs here on the field, and we believe that God will continue to provide.
Please pray with us that our partners will renew their commitments, that we would find new partners who can join us in God's work, and that we would find new and creative ways to stay connected with our partner churches back in the U.S.