We've come to the end of the first month of 2013. Take a moment to find out what's been happening in Europe at the start of the new year.

Hello 2013

Life beyond New Year's Eve

Hi there <<First Name>>,

The new semester has started here in Poland following Winter Break and it looks like it's going to be an intense term for Matthew's teaching schedule. With prep, walking time and in class time we estimate he'll spend over 70 hours a week focused on his teaching job (with over 40 hours of this spent in class). We have a whole new appreciation for teachers. You should all be knighted, then sainted and then put on stamps.

Originally Matthew took this job as a solution to our visa problem. Our thought was that it would be a part-time commitment allowing us to focus on our primary purpose for moving to Poland. Obviously the last few years have been full of the unexpected for us and this teaching position is no exception. It is both wonderful and limiting. It puts a great strain on our time, but has paved the way for relationships with students and teachers. In any given week we have contact with teenagers, single moms and board members of major Polish companies.

We've been pushing the private language school where Matthew works to reduce his hours to the 20 hours a week we originally agreed to, and though they smile and agree to try, his hours keep increasing. They know our visa documents are linked to this job and so we find ourselves at a disadvantage. It's an icky feeling and it leaves us wondering how sustainable this current schedule is.

More than owning our schedule, the current circumstance has raised a question of billable hours for us. Where is the line between our service as Global Workers and the regular expression of our faith? We welcome you to read our thoughts about this and tell us what you think by clicking here.

Momentum in Slovakia

We may not have an address there anymore, but we are thrilled for what is happening in Slovakia

During the Winter Break in the school year here we were able to visit Slovakia. The "Little, Big Country" holds a special place in our hearts and the people there are an integral part of our European family. We're fans - unapologetic supporters of the people and what they're doing for their country.

We spent an evening at Bratislava International Fellowship where our friends, Sheldon and Anna Armitage, have stepped in as interim pastors. Cities, especially capitals, are always so fascinating to us. They're culture generators and full of diversity. It's a great place for a church aimed at bringing together all that diversity.

A highlight was visiting the church in Nitra. We were able to give a brief update to Mozaika about some of the lessons we've learned in Poland. It was great sharing with one church family about another. We hope to be connectors wherever we go. Mozaika has grown so much since we last visited almost a year ago. It's entirely Slovak run and we realized that perhaps part of our move to Poland was to get us out of the way - in a good way. At the end of the service there was a prayer time for leaders and it was fortifying to see friends and people we respect go forward. Keep praying for the church in Nitra. After years of being bounced around, the church has finally been able to buy land to build on. Which leads us to our next item.

Mozaika is building not only a church facility, but a Bible College. Gateway College (this website is in English) will be the first Pentecostal college in Slovakia and one of a handful in Central Europe. The ability to train Christian leaders in their home context is exciting. Seriously consider supporting this project with prayer and finances.

Some of our dearest friends and most respected people in ministry are starting a church in the town of Zlaté Moravce. Michal and Lubi
are the kind of people you want to spend time around and we cannot express how much we've learned from them or how much we value them. They quantify their successes through the stories of others. It's not about their wins, but the victories of their people. It's a hundred stories of breakthrough and rough situations. Matthew spoke there one Sunday and it was great to see how it has grown from a house group to a Christian community within the town. It's been tough slugging (as most church plants are) and so we're asking you to watch their video (even if you don't speak Slovak), look at their faces and pray for them and their work. Also, in this era, there's always a way to support them financially. Write them a letter, send them a team - be a part of church planting.

On the Move in Chełmno

2013 is a going to be a great year for the church in Chełmno as they take steps to keep growing

Just over 100 kms from Włocławek is the town of Chełmno. Chełmno is known as the "City of Lovers" as it is home to pieces of St. Valentine. Really. Chełmno is also home to a great Christian community that we are so happy to be connected to.

Matthew spoke there last Sunday and it was worth the 8 hour round trip in mostly unheated buses. The ice falling from the ceiling was great built-in entertainment. The church there has a lot of young families and youth and we have a lot of fun whenever we are there. The pastors, Kazik and Miłka Juszczak, also serve as the regional evangelism coordinators and they are full of ideas and plans.

One such plan is "Projekt Kaleb" which will see a greater level of cooperation between the churches in the region. It seems to be a mentality shift and we are excited to be a part of it. More pressing is the church's move to a new building. They are in process of signing the papers this week. Pray that they can reach a beneficial deal and sign a 5 year contract. The building is unfinished and still needs wiring, a ceiling, heat, flooring and some cosmetic touches such as paint. In order to keep growing they need this larger facility. It's in a great location near the town centre and if you want to support this project financially, please let us know.

EMERGE: Spain Conference

April will see the EMERGE conference go to Spain as part of the ongoing mission to see 1 million women leaders empowered and equipped across Europe

Part of the NLI Network, EMERGE is dedicated to equipping and empowering women across Europe. Amber continues her work with the EMERGE team as they prepare for their first Spanish conference in Alicante this April. Amber is working as one of the primary organizers for this conference and so right now that means most of the work is done via Skype and e-mail. It's always exciting being at the conference and seeing how all this pre-work takes shape.

The team is in the details phase of budgets,STM teams, booking flights and accommodation etc. and Amber asks that you pray for all of the logistics to come together.

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