One thing about being a missionary is that we have people we love in the United States and people we love in Slovakia and those two worlds don’t often overlap. When they do, there’s a certain kind of joy in making that connection. That’s going to happen this summer when Jana’s cousin and his family (Draho, Zuzana, Oliver, Johanna and Viktor) arrive in the States for some very special ministry training.
All of a Sudden, Lots of Polohas in Banská Bystrica
When Jana was growing up in Prešov, Slovakia she enjoyed a close relationship with her cousins. She has a lot of them, but Draho and his brothers and sisters lived pretty close and were about the same age as Jana and her brothers. Unfortunately, when they were still very young, the cousins moved to Yugoslavia. After that, they didn’t get to see each other much.
That’s why it was a special blessing to move back to Slovakia in 2011 and find out that Draho and his family were also moving to Banská Bystrica to start a new youth ministry (Fusion). Their kids are about the same age as ours (their oldest, Oliver is one month younger than Elisabeth) and would be attending Narnia. As a family, they would be attending the same local church as we would be–where Jana’s brother is the pastor.
From Youth Ministry to Marriage Counseling
It’s been a blessing to have the Polohas close by and especially have them involved in the ministry of our local church. Draho is a gifted worship leader and a gifted mentor with youth, Zuzka is a catalyzer and organizer. This past year Draho has been working with a youth praise band that Elisabeth has been playing in.
The whole time they’ve been here in Banská Bystrica, the Polohas have been promoting healthy marriage relationships. They started by organizing a Valentine’s banquet every year. They’ve invited special speakers with expertise in marriage counseling and encouraged couples to keep growing in their relationships. Over time Draho and Zuzka alse started meeting with couples to help them deal with issues in their marriage.
Applying for Wheaton
Recently, their passion for healthy marriages became a calling. This has also coincided with our local church starting a counseling ministry to come alongside families, especially from Narnia Elementary School. Then the Lord led Draho and Zuzka to act on this calling and so they applied to Wheaton College’s Marriage and Family Counseling Program at the graduate school. Not only were they both accepted into Wheaton’s program (I’m sure because of their excellent preparation at our seminary here in Banská Bystrica 😉 ) but they also both received a Billy Graham scholarship that would pay for all of their tuition.
Pray for the Polohas and Counseling Ministry in Slovakia
Unfortunately for us, we’ll be giving up the Polohas for one or two years. But we’re sure this is an important step for them, for our local church and for the church as a whole in Slovakia and beyond. Counseling ministry is still in its infancy here in Slovakia so this is an important opportunity to advance the church’s ability to bring healing and health to marriages and families.
They’ve got quite a transition ahead of them as they move to Wheaton this July and everybody starts new schools in the fall. Their oldest (some of you may know Oliver from the Nashville-Chicago mission trip two years ago) will be attending a private Christian school in Indiana through a one year exchange program.
I don’t envy all the arrangements and adjustments they still have ahead of them and they also have some financial needs to help cover their living expenses while in the States. I’m sure they’d appreciate it if you kept all these things in mind as you pray for ministry in Slovakia.