Lenka and I have been very busy over the past few weeks. This has meant no time for me to sit down and write a new blog. We hope that you have been able to survive up until this point. We know that you have been sitting at your computers waiting for us to post a new one. So, here is your wish.
About two weeks ago we had a group of Americans come over to do sports missions. We went to different schools in the morning to talk to the kids, let them hear about us, teach them a little English, and encourage them to come in the afternoon to play some American sports.
You may not know this about Slovaks, especially if you know Lenka, but they tend to be very shy. It was hard at time to get them to speak up in class, but after a while some of them opened up. We had a lot of fun telling the kids about what life is like in the States, what we like to do, eat, and our interesting traditions. I am sure that the kids walked away with a totally different idea of Americans than what they see on TV. This may or may not be a good thing!
In the afternoon we would have sports for the kids to play. They could choose what they wanted to play. There were about 3 or 4 different places with sports, ranging from American football to tennis. We taught the kids how to play new games, and then let them play. The kids had a lot of fun!!
In the evening we would have a program in DEPO, which was centered on sharing the Gospel. We had worship songs followed by a short sermon, with an opportunity for kids to make a decision for Christ. It was amazing to see kids respond to the Gospel, and receive Christ as their Savior! It was a blessing to have this team come here to Hurbanovo. It was very encouraging!
The next weekend we went to the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope in Budapest, Hungary. We had been telling the DEPO kids about it for a while, trying to get them interested. We had a full bus, around 45 people, from both DEPO and church. We were very excited, especially to hear our favorite band, Casting Crowns. If you do not know who they are, you need to check them out!
So, we loaded up the bus and headed to Budapest. When we arrived there two hours before the event started, it was already packed with people. We got in line and headed inside to get our seats. It was an amazing experience! Most of it was music, with bands from all over the world. There were also some testimonies, and then a message from Franklin Graham. After the message there was an invitation to accept Christ. It looked like half of the stadium went to the front! Please pray for all those who made a decision, so that they would be strengthened as they begin their journey with Christ.
The week after that we had Bus 4 Life. Bus 4 Life is a mission run by Operation Mobilization. It is bookstore with Christian books, Bibles, and movies. In Europe there are not many places to buy Christian literature, unlike in the States, so this is a great way to reach people. The bus travels all around Europe. Tuukka, who is from Finland, is driving the bus this year, and has already driven over 15,000 km since February! He will be gone for about 10 months!
During that week, Lenka and I would go around telling people about the bus, and hand out fliers with information. We had an interesting mix of responses from the people. Some would just keep walking and not even say anything, others would smile and take a flier, and a select group of people would announce that they did not believe in God. If anyone said they did not believe in God, I would ask them why. I would listen, and then I would present the Gospel to them, as well as explain how we know there is a Creator. Everyone we talked to was at least willing to listen, and I hope that the Holy Spirit will continue to work on them and bring them to Christ.
Over the past few weeks we have had more kids start to come to DEPO, and especially with Bus 4 Life. They would come after school and play different games in front of the bus. Some have even asked to come on our youth trip this summer!
This past Sunday we had a Regional Conference for the churches in the southern part of Slovakia. We met in a town about an hour from here in the morning, and had a service with music, presentations from different churches, and a short message. We took a break for lunch and then had an afternoon program, which was mostly music, but also some testimonies. It was nice to meet new people, and the cakes were especially good!
In the next few weeks we will be busy again. We are continuing to prepare for the two weeks of English camp in Nové Zámky. We will have a lemonade stand in the town square to hand out information, as well as an open gym for kids to come and meet us. I will have a pastor’s retreat (For the group that meets once a month) in a week. We are also preparing for the youth camp this summer, which will be in the Tatras!
The summer is a very busy time for us, since schools are out, and that is when kids have the most free time. Even though it is very busy, we feel very blessed, and encouraged to see how God is working in the lives of these youth. We hope that He will continue to bring new youth to DEPO, and that they will be led to give their lives to Christ.