We’ve had our share of transition challenges since moving to Slovakia but we’ve had our share of ministry opportunities as well.
Narnia Elementary School
The first three weeks we were in Slovakia we focused on getting the kids adjusted to school. In the process we got to know Narnia Elementary School a lot better and we’re glad that it’s going to be the center for a lot of our ministry. The school is the brainstorm of Slavo and Martina Poloha (especially Martina) and is sponsored by the local church here in Banská Bystrica where Slavo (Jana’s brother) is the pastor.
Most of the students come from unbelieving families and the reputation of the school is outstanding. That means it’s a great opportunity for building relationships and sharing the gospel.
Jana is going to be most heavily involved with Narnia. She’ll be directing the English language musicals performed by the students at the end of the year. Her Music Together classes will also be held through Narnia. We’re hoping these activities will give us plenty of opportunities to build relationships and share the gospel.
A big part of the ministry of any local church in Slovakia is retreats. Right after school was out we had a weekend all church retreat. That gave us an opportunity to get to know our brothers and sisters a little better. The very next day Jana and the kids left for a youth retreat where Jana was the head cook for about 35 picky eaters. But everyone was happy, including Jana, who was up to the challenge.
While Jana and the kids were at the youth retreat, I spent some time writing a sermon I’ve had the opportunity to preach on three different occasions in Slovakia. The first was in Prešov, the second in Banská Bystrica, and the third was at the volunteer training for Campfest, a large Christian music festival held every year in Slovakia. I was supposed to preach tomorrow in Nitra, but since I’m in exile in Croatia that won’t be possible. Hopefully I’ll be back in time to preach in Banská Bystrica on September 25th.
At the end of the last school year I also had the opportunity to teach at one of the youth meetings. Early on Slavo asked me to take on a role in the leadership of the youth group (high school and college) and to represent that ministry on the elder board as well. Since many of the youth are students at the seminary that seems like a natural extension of my teaching at the seminary and have agreed to take on a small part of the leadership. I’m looking forward to some of the opportunities that are opening up for outreach among the youth in Banská Bystrica (more on that later).
The day after we arrived in Slovakia Slavo got a call from the seminary, asking if I would be able to meet with them on Tuesday. So I did.
They welcomed me to the school, and we started to iron out some of the details of our working relationship. I’m looking forward to the beginning of the semester and teaching students in person!
On Sunday evenings, Slavo has implemented a time of discussion about the Bible based on various themes. These are both outreach oriented and education oriented for the people in the church. In October he’s asked me to teach a four or five week series on the story of the Bible.
One of the ministries I’m hoping to gradually develop while I’m in Slovakia is the teaching of Scripture for lay people (especially in the church). This will be a chance to test the waters. It would be great if it will help gain further opportunities and also gain some direction in terms of how I should proceed on this ministry path.