It has almost been a year since Lenka and I began our mission here in Slovakia. We had been dreaming of this for a while, and after praying and searching, God led us here to serve. We came here with your support and prayers, and have felt so blessed to have people back home who are behind us.
Over the past year we have been missionary interns for the Slovak Baptist Union. We have been working in two different towns here in the south of Slovakia. We live in Hurbanovo, and that is where we do most of our ministry, but we also serve in Nové Zámky. At times it has been difficult serving in two places, but it has also been a blessing getting to know the people and churches in both towns.
During our year of internship we were to both learn how to do missions and grow spiritually at home by reading and studying. We had a normal schedule that we would follow each week which included going to church, DEPO, and youth group. In church I would preach and Lenka would teach Sunday School. We both also played in the worship band.
In DEPO we were with the kids to play with them and talk with them. We also organized games or special events there. Recently we have started an English class in DEPO to teach them basic English and various American traditions. Over the past year we have seen the DEPO kids open up and become more open to hearing the Gospel.
In youth group we also played in the band and I would sometimes speak on a chosen topic. Toward the end of the year there was a need to change the youth team (the people who lead the youth group and organize events), so Lenka and I joined and we began to take more of a leadership role there. We encouraged the team to meet once a week and to work on communication. We also wanted to bring youth group to the DEPO kids, so we started having youth group in DEPO once every two weeks. Another thing that we started was free youth group where we would have a special event, such as bowling.
We started a kids club in Nové Zámky that meets once a month and began going to a local high school to teach English once a month. In the same school where we teach our monthly English lesson, Lenka is substituting for a month for the English teacher who is sick.
Besides our normal routine, we had other special events during the year. In the summer we had several camps where we would go into the schools and teach English or invite people to English camps. This was a great opportunity to share the Gospel and invite people to DEPO. We also had youth camp for the Hurbanovo church which was a lot of fun.
Some other events during the year that we took part in were Bus4Life, the Hope Festival in Budapest, monthly pastor meetings, Christmas missions, conferences with the Slovak Baptist Union, and even a trip to Romania for a conference with Precept Ministries!
We came over to Sovakia with a certain idea of what we would be doing and how we would work with the Slovak Baptist Union. We expected to come over and train to be missionaries in existing churches, working mainly with unchurched youth and children. The process by which we were hired was a little different than usual since we were living in the US at the time, and we were not able to meet with Rada, the main group of the Slovak Baptist Union.
During the course of our internship, Lenka and I both felt that things were different than we expected. I began to preach more often and we were not involved with as many ministry opportunities with people outside of the church. Other expectations such as assistance with housing and volunteers from church to assist us were not fulfilled. We knew, however, that God wanted us to serve here so we put our trust in Him and continued to serve, never once wanting to return home in defeat.
Within the past month or so, we received word that after our first year is completed we would not continue with the Slovak Baptist Union. We were both shocked at this news. We were told that the Slovak Baptist Union is looking to hire people who want to plant churches and that we were not ready for that (which of course we never had intended to do over here). Also, my Slovak is not at an advanced level yet, so I would not be able to lead a church on my own.
The feelings that we had been having over the course of our first year all made sense. We realized that we and the Slovak Baptist Union were both going in different directions. The Slovak Baptist Union thought of the internship as a chance to slowly place us in missions, assuming that we were prepared before we came over, while we thought of it as a chance to learn and grow more.
Even though this has happened and we are sad about the circumstances, we still know that God wants us here. We know that He has called us to missions, and we will continue to serve Him and to further share the Gospel. After February our internship will end with the Slovak Baptist Union and we will begin a new chapter in our ministry. We will move to Košice and live with Lenka’s family for a while. They have a separate apartment where we can live. While we are there we will be looking for opportunities to serve in her church as well as other ministry opportunities that become available. We are also looking to find work to continue to be able to live and function in Slovakia, and to help fund our missions.
We know that God has an amazing plan for us and that He is always watching over us. We will never find ourselves without His guidance and support. The God that we serve is not a dead God, or a distant God, but a living and real God who is present with us always. We must continue to look to Him and to put our trust in Him.
We thank our supporters back home for all that you have done for us this past year. We are so grateful and humbled to know that we have such amazing people who love and care for us. We are honored to represent you over here in Slovakia and appreciate your continued support.
Please continue to pray for us that we would find the ministry that God has planned for us and that more people would come to know about Jesus and what He did for all people on the cross.
Grace and Peace,
Robert and Lenka