It has been awhile since I last wrote a blog. We have been busy with things around Christmas, as well as enjoying time off in Košice with Lenka’s family. It was my first Christmas here in Slovakia, and I was very excited to see all the different traditions.
One of the first things that we did was to buy the traditional carp, that is eaten on Christmas for dinner. You can usually buy it on the street in downtown Košice, but we bought it a bit earlier from a village close by. After you buy the carp, you then take it home and put it in the bathtub. It stays there for a while, and then you take care of business, so to say. Lenka’s grandma had the honor.
Another tradition that Slovaks have is the Christmas market, that most larger cities have. We went to the one in Košice. It is set up downtown, and there are a lot of stands selling all sorts of things, from food and cooked wine to presents. They also have live events, such as concerts.
In Hurbanovo we had our monthly English lesson in the school, and our topic was Christmas. We talked about why we celebrate, and how Americans celebrate. It was a great opportunity to share the Gospel, and our faith in Jesus.
The week of Christmas was really busy. We had several missions that we did with the church. We handed out gifts for the less fortunate people here, had a presentation at the crisis center, and also a Christmas party at DEPO. Most importantly we were able to share the true meaning of Christmas, and share the Gospel.
On the 23rd I preached in the morning, and then we left for Košice. In Slovakia they celebrate Christmas on the 24th, with another two days. On the 24th we went to church in the afternoon, and then came home for the Christmas dinner. The main dish is the carp, but we also had two soups, turkey, potato salad, sardines, bobaľky, and plenty of cookies. Before the meal we also had garlic And honey with a wafer. It is for good health in the new year.
The other days we went to church, and then had a meal after. It was pretty much like having Thanksgiving three days in a row. However, I was not one to complain!
The rest of the week we were able to relax and be with family. It was nice to have that time off. My birthday was also during this time, December 29. On Saturday we had halušky, which is my favorite Slovak meal. On Sunday family came over and we had lunch to celebrate my birthday. Lenka’s grandma made a coffee/Oreo cake for me, which was delicious!
We came back to Hurbanovo, and celebrated New Year’s Eve. We had a service that night, where I preached, and then went to DEPO after to have fun and play games. We left before midnight to get home and see the fireworks. Our apartment has a view looking towards the main square, which is where the main fireworks display was, but also other people can set off fireworks. At midnight everyone all over the village began setting off fireworks. It was so beautiful, the whole sky was lit up!
We also have some important news to tell you. I had written before that the Slovak Baptist Union ended Lenka’s practice. Well, we also just got news right before Christmas that I would also be finished after February, and not be hired. Lenka also found out that she will be able to finish her year internship. It came as a shock to both of us. We still do not have all of the details, but they have told us that it is because they need church planters, and not missionaries who work alongside an existing church.
At first I was shocked, then angry, and then sad. Coming into the internship I had great plans and ideas of how we could serve here in Slovakia. However, this is not the end of our mission. I have always said that I have been called by God to Slovakia, and that has not changed. God places people in service, not mission boards.
For now we do not know what will happen after February. We have begun to look for another organization to support us. We will also be moving to Košice, and look to serve in the church there. Another option is to teach English, which we were not able to do while working with the Baptist Union. There are plenty of opportunities to do that in Košice, which will be very helpful.
We are very grateful for the people who are supporting us, and praying for us. We would like reassure you that we will continue to serve, and that what you have given us financially will continue to help in spreading the Gospel to the people of Slovakia. We know that God has an amazing plan for us.
Please continue to pray, that we would see God’s plan, and that doors would be opened for us to continue to serve.