We won the bid, we got our loan, we purchased the property and the deed has been transferred. Our congregation now owns the school grounds at Okružná 2, Banská Bystrica. It’s exciting and the best part was we could see God’s hand in the process all along the way. In some ways, the challenges are just beginning.
Now that the deed of the property is in our name, the loan payments are coming due to the tune of over $10,000 per month. One source of income for paying off the loan comes from rent paid from the various establishments that occupy the school grounds (a music school, dentist, public library, etc.). Generous gifts from Slovak parents and business people also cover about 10% of our monthly payments. In addition, we’ve had generous gifts that have helped us expand our parking lot.
Unfortunately, as of January, Narnia will be bearing the brunt of some significant budget cuts from the city. The city has decided to change the way it finances after school programs. After school in Slovakia starts as early as 12:00 and ends at about 4:00 so these programs are necessary for working parents. At Narnia, these programs are part of what sets the school apart and makes our ministry to families possible. For example, the English language musicals are part of our after school offerings.
For Narnia, the budget cuts hurt a lot. Narnia will be losing out on almost $70,000 of income per year or more than 10% of its operating income.
At the same time, the school is in desperate need of repairs. The cafeteria, for example, is too small for our current capacity. Yet Narnia will grow by 45 students next year and then by 20 students per year for the next six years. So the cafeteria must be expanded and modernized to meet hygiene standards.
There’s much more to say but I suppose you get the point. We appreciate your prayers for the school. We continue to see great things happening here. I wrote recently about the English language musicals and what they do to create a bridge between the school and our congregation, soon I’ll be writing about baptism retreats that are taking place with students from Narnia. The school has become a true crossroads in our community.