Back "Home" at Last!
We had a wonderful time in the U.S., visiting with many churches and individuals who are investing in God's work among the Roma in Slovakia. We put the word "home" in quotation marks above, because we talked often this summer about the fact that we have many places that feel like "home" to us... and that's great, because it means there are many places we can find the peace of being and working among friends!
Here's a summary of what you'll find in this latest newsletter:
- Prayer updates
- A report of our time in the U.S.
- What's going on this fall
- Ways you can pray with us
As always, we are very thankful for your prayers on our behalf and on behalf of the people we serve among here in Slovakia. Our time in the U.S., as you'll see below, was filled with wonderful reunions with old friends and joyful meetings of new friends... we experienced very few travel problems, we feel we accomplished our goals, and we also got some time to rest with family and friends. Our daughters also did very well during our busy trip, and they have resumed school here this week in Kosice. Thank you again for your prayers - God heard and answered them!
A Fruitful Time
We like to use the word "fruitful" because this summer was truly a blessing for us, both personally and in our ministry. We spent so much time connecting with ongoing partners and new partners - some of you are receiving this newsletter for the first time as a result of those meetings this summer! We enjoyed times of worship with several church families, had many engaging conversations, and ate way too much potluck food!
Our prayer was also that our visit would be a blessing to those we visited. Our hope is that people were encouraged as they learned what God's doing here, and challenged to take a courageous step in their part of God's mission. Several churches were in times of transition, others were dealing with recent losses or struggles... we felt honored to laugh, pray and sometimes cry with these church families and ministers in anxious times.
You can't count success by numbers... but it has certainly been fun to look back at the numbers from the summer:
- We told the story through 35 presentations that incorporated music, stories and skits.
- We had more than 40 informal meetings with small groups, families and individual partners.
- We visited in or with 30 different church congregations.
- We drove about 7,000 miles through seven states.
When people heard our schedule, they were often surprised - "you really didn't come home for a vacation, did you??" No, we didn't... but we still took every opportunity we could to spend time with our families, to see some amazing sights, and to relax. It was full summer, and we're delighted we could spend time with so many of you!
For more pictures and reports from the many people and places we visited, check out our blog - prayingwithfeet.wordpress.com - or look on our Facebook page (search "Jon & Tanya Parks").
Once again, we thank God for safe travels and for so many people who made it possible for us to have a fun and fruitful summer!
Now that we're back in Slovakia, we have slowly begun to get back in the rhythm of things. We plan to re-engage with some of the activities we were doing before, including:
- Teaching and tutoring English at two schools for Roma students
- Teaching English classes for adults here in Kosice and in nearby villages
- Resuming our discipleship groups with Roma children and teens
- Serving alongside our brothers and sisters at Devleskero Kher church
Because language learning will take less time this term than previously, we will have more time to devote to ministry activities. We have some ideas about new activities and projects, and we ask for your prayers - that God would open the right doors, and that we would be patient for God's timing.
Prayer and Thanksgiving
Here are some ways you can rejoice and pray with us in the weeks ahead:
- Join us once again in thanking God for a safe and fruitful trip to the U.S.!
- A number of people and churches indicated interest in financial partnership with us - pray that God would move in people's hearts who want to be a part of what God's doing here.
- Pray with us for several of our partner churches and ministers in the midst of transition.
- Thank God with us that we all made the "re-entry" and are doing well in our first week back.
- Join us in praying for a few of our friends here who experienced difficult trials this summer.
- Please pray with us as we reestablish our work and begin planting new seeds.