<![CDATA[The Arnolds in Slovakia - Home]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 02:13:34 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[NOVEMBER 2017 UPDATE]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/november-2017-updateHello friends and family,
It’s technically still autumn, but we are experiencing Jack Frost nipping at our noses a little earlier this year! The days grow short and the evening comes earlier these days, although this is quite normal since we are so north. We hope it is not too cold where you are, but if it is, we hope that you are enjoying it.

Winter Wonderland

At the tail end of October we had the privilege of spending four days in the literal winter wonderland of the Vysoke Tatry, or High Tatras, of Slovakia as well as revisit charming Zakopane, Poland. While the cold and snow was overwhelming for Natalie, originally from Florida, it was hard not to be in awe of the beauty of the peaceful, snowy scenes straight from a Christmas card. Addie enjoyed it immensely, yet it took quite a lot out of her. We also had the fortune of again meeting with Ruth and Atti  and their children, believers based in Miskolc, Hungary, close to Kosice.

Our Sunday morning attendance has grown, and we anticipate the average will be artificially higher in December with all the former Kosicians living abroad coming back home for the holidays to visit. Jordan has decided to pare down his one-to-one Bible studies to three individuals twice per week; the weekly evangelistic group study, however, now has up to 14 “outsiders” attending along with former members. Jordan continues to teach 50+ students at the local high school eight hours/week, and for him it has been exciting to introduce many of the students to biblical concepts for the first time in their lives. 

Peter Halustok, an aforementioned brother in the church, led a very successful conference with 90+ attendees called “Finances God’s Way” last weekend. We’re hopeful that at least some of those in attendance will have more interest in studying scripture. Peter also continues to lead two personal Bible studies weekly with Gabi (Addie’s Hungarian uncle) and his cousin. It seems Peter's cousin is quite close to making a decision to be baptized. 

Our dear friend whom we mentioned was baptized in July is hoping to return to Kosice next month. Please continue to keep him in your prayers as his life and the lives of his family have become more complicated since his decision to follow Christ. Yet he remains faithful and is eager to see us all again.

Addie continues to blossom and run around in circles, full of life and curiosity and a love of dancing, and striking up conversations we don’t fully comprehend yet.

Encouraging the Brethren in Poland

In the middle of November, Jordan spent 4 days traveling through Poland with Jaro Marcin of Eastern European Missions. They visited and encouraged congregations in Krakow, Warsaw,  and the seaside towns of Gdansk and Sopot. EEM’s mission is to not only aid congregations with properly translated Bibles and biblical materials, but to help in any way possible to keep these churches strong. The elders of the Sopot church, which also has a Bible school inspired by Sunset Bible School, asked Jordan if he would be interested in returning to teach a course at the school for a few weeks; this is a distinct possibility as Jordan enjoyed his trip up north (way, way up north) very much.

While Jordan was away, Natalie stayed with a sweet friend who used to attend the church in Kosice but grew busy with life and a child of her own. Natalie first met her last year, when the preacher and an elder from our overseeing church came to visit. They knew her from previous visits several years prior and introduced the two. When she learned that Jordan would be away, she immediately invited (insisted even) Natalie and Addie to stay with her and her child. It was a wonderful time of fellowship in motherhood and for Addie to be with kids her age. Natalie hopes to stay good friends with her and encourage her to return to church. 

Coming Up

December will be busy. We’re hosting a singing when Jaro arrives from Poland, expecting 50 or so to attend. We’ll be celebrating Christmas with the Halustoks, who have always embraced us as family, and plan a day trip to Budapest for the Christmas market. In Feburary, Jordan will be teaching three classes at the Advanced Bible Studies Series in Germany. In the springtime, we’re expecting visitors from the a supporting congregation in Texas for a few days.  In the summer, some supporters from west Texas plan to stop by for a visit for a week or so. 

We pray you have a wonderful Christmas season full of love and good tidings. God bless you and keep you. 

Prayer Requests

For our recently baptized brother, for Natalie's friend, Gabi and Peter's cousin, for Addie, and for the Church.
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<![CDATA[HAPPY FALL FROM THE ARNOLDS!]]>Tue, 24 Oct 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/happy-fall-from-the-arnolds
Happy Fall from our little pumpkin to you and yours!  
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<![CDATA[SEPTEMBER 2017 UPDATE]]>Sat, 30 Sep 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/september-2017-updateAll Moved In
Hello friends and family,

We are currently under the thumb of a toddler! Soon after moving in to our new home, Addie took off, taking steps and (unfortunately) climbing stairs as if she was born knowing how to do it. She (and our dog Bella) has no doubt been taking advantage of all the space the Lord has given to us to enjoy. We celebrated her first birthday about a month late; we decided to wait until Natalie’s parents arrived to host the special event. We are now all settled in our new place and getting to know the neighbors. We have already been using the house as part of our ministry and hope to do more with it soon - although Addie has already decided to help decorate it in her own special way!

A Special Visit

Natalie’s parents had a short but sweet visit their first time in Europe. Although Addie was the main reason they came, they truly enjoyed our beloved city Kosice, nearby sights in Slovakia and Hungary, and getting to know the Church here. They of course had their doubts, as with anything unknown or unfamiliar, but as soon as they broke bread and had fellowship with the Church it was if they had been here many times before. Natalie’s dad made fast friends with Slavo Halustok, Peter and Majo’s dad, and said it was if they had always been friends. While it was hard to see them go, they no doubt were eager to return home to assess the damage hurricane Irma left behind at their home in Florida. While their property sustained some damage, it was nothing they hadn’t gone through before in past hurricane seasons and we thank God that their home is safe - and continue to ask God to aid and comfort those in Florida and Texas who are now carrying heavy burdens and have to start over.
Jordan started his teaching position teaching high school English with Bible a couple of weeks ago and it has gone very well. His students (16-18 years old) enjoy his lessons and teaching style, which he no doubt has honed during his one-on-one lessons. They are very inquisitive about American and Texan traditions and culture, and have already made him promise to cook a traditional barbecue feast for them at the end of the school year.
We thank you for your prayers for our friends. Our new brother in Christ mentioned in the last newsletter,  has returned home to tend to his business and take a sabbatical from his studies here. He will hopefully return to us safely in a couple of months. Our good friend Gabi continues to take his duties as Addie’s uncle very seriously and has also begun a Bible study with Peter.

Praise and Prayer Requests

We ask that you continue to keep the Church here in Slovakia in your thoughts and prayers, and that we continue to serve it in ways it needs the most; also please remember those in our group study and Jordan's one-on-one lessons. Also that we can continue raising Addie in the way that she should go, and that we have continued strength and bravery to be the parents she needs. Also that Jordan continues to have a good influence upon his students during his time volunteer teaching.

Also, here is a great article on how to keep in touch with us. 

Thank you once again for your thoughts and prayers. We thank God for you. (1 Thessalonians 1:2)

Yours in Christ,
J & N
and Addie

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<![CDATA[August 2017 Update]]>Mon, 14 Aug 2017 07:00:00 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/august-2017-updateHow Time Flies!
Hello friends and family - 

It's amazing how quickly time goes when you have a full time ministry plus a baby who is discovering new things every day! Our Adelaide continues to blossom and grow, and within two months has accomplished several courses in advanced babbling, plus taking several unassisted steps. She is becoming braver and braver as she continues to test her limits. Like most toddlers, she is a great supervisor but a little hard to understand sometimes - although she is able to say "bye bye," "hi, baby," and an abstract rendition of "thank you." She has proven herself to be quite the little missionary; it's amazing what an icebreaker she has become. We will be celebrating her first birthday very soon! It seriously seems like it was yesterday when she first entered the world, and it was never the same!


So far, Kvetka and Dixie are well. Kvetka must do daily exercises to strengthen her back and shoulders, and Dixie will eventually go in for more testing. We thank our God that they are enjoying better health now. 

The Church here continues to meet faithfully every Sunday morning and Jordan continues to preach completely in Slovak (or switching between that and English if we have English speaking visitors). We have had four regular guests attend, including a precious sister who used to attend the Church long ago but had departed due to some disagreements and hurt feelings. Now she attends often, including the weekly Bible study, and it appears her heart is changing.

Springtime

Not too long ago we celebrated Jordan’s thirty-third birthday with a surprise party after church services, and again with our Bible study group. They have become a very close group of friends, getting together outside of the Bible study for sharing meals, bicycling trips and other outings, and embrace us as part of their family. They especially adore Addie. Right now we are studying the gospel of John; while they've all read through the chapters, they shared that they didn't truly understand it until they had the opportunity to study it within the group. Now they are starting to understand scripture and getting to know Christ.

Our annual Easter retreat fell in April this time, with a new location that we scouted. Figuring out logistics and lodging for everyone was a challenge to accomplish, as can be any significant change to an ongoing tradition, but everyone made it and enjoyed the new location. We welcomed once again Tony and Leslie Coffey of Ireland to be the speakers. Leslie led the women's breakout sessions after Tony spoke. Kristina and Rudy Koncok, and sisters in the faith Natalia and Lucia bravely handled the kids' classes and crafts, even over a barrage of different languages (Slovak, English, German and Hungarian). Overall we had around fifty to attend. 

Easter Monday heralded a tradition going beyond dying and hunting eggs. Here and in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, the boys "whip" the girls with switches made from willow bark and douse them  with water (or if they were merciful, a bit of perfume). It is all part of a yearly blessing for health and happiness. Natalie did not escape this blessing, but she appreciates that she is so loved. 

The following month we embarked on a hiking trip to the Tatra mountains - perhaps one of Slovakia's most prized natural possessions. If you live in Slovakia, one of the things you must do is visit the Tatras. We went with our precious Bible study group and spent the entire day in the sun and crisp air. 

Later we attended a Christian business retreat in the lovely mountain village of Zuberec, 125 miles northwest of Košice, orchestrated by our brother in the faith and church member Peter Haluštok- an entrepreneur who is very talented in starting and growing businesses. The retreat was led by Christian businessman Wouter Droppers, president of Europartners, an organization linking Christian business people with each other. He and other presenters spoke about how to not just be a business person who happens to be a Christian- but letting being a Christian affect your business, your motivation, and how you treat and work with business partners.
In June we were fortunate to meet up with Attila and Ruth Levai, a Hungarian-American couple who live and work with the brethren in the nearby  Hungarian city of Miskolc. We have known them for over a year and look forward to staying close friends with them. 

We also celebrated our seventh anniversary with a short getaway near Lake Balaton, in Hungary, four hours from Košice. Balaton is the biggest lake in Europe and very popular and coveted vacation spot. We were very happy and fortunate to enjoy God's beauty there in the form of sunsets, strolls along the lake, and a laughing baby in the water. Our good friend (and Addie's Hungarian uncle) Gabriel (Gabi) accompanied us and has been allowing the Lord to soften his heart. He has been praying with us often and attending church, and we hope that he will continue to be open to Jordan's counsel when he has questions. (Gabi does not speak much English, so Jordan must do it all in Slovak- double duty!) Also in June, Patrick Boyns of the British Bible School came to visit us after a long trek from London to Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, to us and back. He traveled the entire excursion by train. It was a delight to have him with us as we showed him historical sites in Kosice and nearby and listened to him discuss his deep love of tea and Monty Python with Addie. 

Sadly, the wedding of our friends Juan and Adela fell through to several complications. Please remember them in your prayers as they have a lot to work through. We continue to bring them to the Lord for comfort and guidance. 

Summertime

July welcomed our second group of Let's Start Talking volunteers- Andrea, Melissa and Katie. They were a delight and we enjoyed getting to know them. While the crop was small due to the timing of their visit (it seems literally everyone leaves for vacation during the summer), it yielded a good harvest. Our LST volunteers were hard at work reading with old and new LST readers and pursuing new leads. They in turn were able to enjoy the lovely city of Košice and the surrounding sights, and got to know the locals. And we are so proud of our group here- they welcomed our LST volunteers with the friendliness and warmth that is a trademark of the Slovak people. Not only was the Word of God shared while teaching English, but some lifelong friends were made. We praise the Lord for the harvest to come and look forward to the next batch of LST folks! 

We also celebrated another birth - the rebirth of a brother into Christ! Our good friend had been studying with Jordan over a year after randomly meeting him at a bus stop and, after an overnight trip to and from Vienna with Jordan in which they discussed Christ and baptism, he decided that he was to be buried in Christ. After game night (orchestrated by our lovely LST volunteers), we blew up the inflatable pool specifically meant for baptisms (and heated up the water using two tea kettles) and celebrated his decision to become a new creation.  Rejoice with us as we welcome a new brother! 

Praise and Prayer Requests

Since Addie arrived, we have been searching for a new place to live, and God granted us one that went beyond what we had hoped for! While we have been grateful for the inexpensive rent for the small house we live in now, and Peter as our wonderfully attentive landlord, it became steadily apparent that we needed more space for Addie to roam, walk, run, and get into trouble. We pray that God continues to give us his divine wisdom to guide our choices as we move in to our new home and continue our ministry here. You can find our new address at he bottom of this newsletter.

In September, Lord willing, Natalie's parents are coming to visit; it will be their first trip to Europe! Isn't it amazing what a grandchild will make you do? 

Also, coordinated by one of our students named Rado, a man who is quite passionate for Christ and studying the Word, Jordan will begin volunteering teaching English with Bible at a high school in Kosice for the 2017-2018 school year. Please, pray that many doors will be opened during Jordan's time there.

And finally, Eastern European Mission, an organization we have been working with that is dedicated to translating, printing and delivering the Bible and Bible-based materials throughout Eastern Europe, will be launching Million Dollar Sunday on September 24th. You can learn more at MillionDollarSunday.org.

Yours in Christ,
J&N 
& Adelaide
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<![CDATA[March 2017 Update]]>Sun, 12 Mar 2017 14:02:21 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/march-2017-updatePicture
Back in Slovakia
Hello friends and family-
well, we’ve gotten resettled. Adelaide continues to grow. We recieved all required paperwork in time and flew to the Staes with minimal problems. Firstly, we’d like to thank from the bottom of our hearts each of you who received us so hospitably while we were on furlough. Thank you for supporting us. We were encouraged and refreshed beyond words to spend time with friends and family, even as God sustains us now by your prayers. To the few we didn’t get to be personally reunited with and introduce to our newest member of the Arnold family, we are no less grateful for your continued support and partnership with us in Slovakia.


A Tough Winter
Everyone around here agrees that this winter was the bitterest in years. We hate telling them we spent a good bit of it in Florida and Texas. The first snow of the year was just beginning to fall early in the morning on the first day of December when we left for the States. Addie only cried when we were taking off. It continued to snow here in Kosice while we were on furlough, accumulating a good half-meter. And having never gotten above freezing for a month and a half, the snow we left behind remained in banks waist-high by the time we returned at the end of January.  By now only on the crests of the hills does any snow remain. 

Partially on account of the winter’s harshness, for almost a month after we returned we found it challenging to reconnect with many of our contacts, friends and one-to-one English Bible students. Our Sunday morning assembly and Wednesday evening Bible study group continued uninterrupted, but there was definitely a perceptible loss of enthusiasm from when we’d left. We’re grateful that’s beginning to change. Winter, after all, is thawing and the season of sniffles and sore throats is waning. It’s simply a matter of time and trust in the Lord’s providence to build back up to the momentum we had.

Easter Retreat in Eastern Europe
We’ve been far from not busy, however.  For one, Adelaide is learning to crawl. And, meanwhile, we’ve been planning to host the Eastern European Easter Family Retreat next month.  We’ve had to do a lot of driving around the country trying to find a suitable hotel/retreat center.  We’ve invited as our speakers this year Tony and Leslie Coffey of Dublin, Ireland. Leslie will be doing a program for the ladies, as Tony leads the general assemblies.  In total were expecting around 50 attendees, coming from Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary and Germany. It’s the first real event planning we’ve ever been responsible for, and our inexperience is surely evident. We would ask you to pray for its success.

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More Upcoming Events
Mid-February a couple engaged to be married at the end of June contacted us, first by phone and then we met in person. He’s from the States and has a Christian background, and she’s Slovakian but lives in London. We spent several hours together in Bible study and in pre-marriage counseling, as they asked Jordan to offer a blessing in their state wedding. We all hit it off splendidly and look forward to what new doors God will open through our friendship. 

This summer promises to be an eventful one. At the end of June our friend Patrick Boyns, Principal of the British Bible School, is planning to spend perhaps a week with us in Kosice. Next, throughout the entire month of July we will be hosting our second Let’s Start Talking campaign, with a team of three Americans coming over to work with us. Then in the doldrums of August we look forward to celebrating Addie’s first birthday as well as hoping to spend a couple of days camping and fishing at Lake Balaton in Hungary. And finally, in September we’re hoping that Natalie’s folks will be able to come over for a visit.


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Prayer Requests 
As we close this update, we would ask you for your prayers on behalf of our dear sister Kvetka, her husband Slavo and their family. She is very much the matriarch of the congregation in Kosice, a surrogate mother to Natalie and me and babka to Addie. Last week she was taken to the hospital after a blackout and fall; she is doing much better as it was the diagnosis was much less serious than thought. Yet after a week, her doctor has still relegated her to another ten days in rehabilitation.

Have a question? What's going on in your neck of the woods? How can we pray for you? Don't hesitate to contact us! 


Yours in Christ,
J&N 
& Adelaide

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<![CDATA[October 2016 Update]]>Sun, 30 Oct 2016 17:08:28 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/october-2016-update
Enjoying an autumn walk in Bankov, part of Kosice
PictureAddie sends her greetings!
Greetings from the Arnold Family in Slovakia!

Winter is upon us, nearly in full. We unpacked our sweaters and coats and are expecting the first snow in a few days. It’s been an extraordinarily busy but invigorating and productive two months for all three of us.

First, an update on Adelaide. Our baby is now ten weeks old!  According to the doctors—and she’s seen a lot of them—the girl is growing like a weed and is as developed as a baby twice her age.  This is of course good news.  Even more so, as when Adelaide was first released from the hospital her doctor had diagnosed her as having mild hypotonia (muscle retardation).  At the moment, Natalie and Adelaide are busy adoring one another on the sofa.

 Last month we spent a day and a half traveling to Bratislava and back, about a five-hour one-way drive, to visit the American Embassy, whereupon the consulate certified Adelaide’s United States citizenship and issued us her passport. It was our first family road trip. She almost instantly falls asleep when the car starts moving.  


For two weeks in the middle of September Debbie, Jamie and Margaret Atchley arrived from Texas. They worked with us for two weeks with the Let’s Start Talking (LST) program. For those unfamiliar with LST, it is a short-term evangelistic missions program sending teams from congregations, youth groups and university student volunteers into a field to work alongside long-term missionaries.  It’s a conversation ministry, using curricula from the gospels to help non-native English speakers practice their language skills, develop a cross-cultural friendship and, most importantly, come to know Lord Jesus through the Holy Scriptures.

Prior to their arrival we did considerable outreach both personally and through social media to garner readers.  In the end, out of the thousands reached hundreds who “liked” the program on Facebook, we had less than a dozen show up to participate. But things couldn’t have worked out any better! From these readers and from old friends have emerged new friendships and the beginning of a community. We are all continuing to meet weekly on Wednesday evenings for English Bible study and sharing a meal together, and then again on Friday evening for coffee.

The three Atchley ladies’ God-glorifying presence and work in Kosice was an answer to prayer.  Their coming also had perfect timing to encourage Natalie, at a time when the postpartum blues had set in and she needed to be “loved on” by sisters, all mothers themselves, who could understand.

One week after LST, Marvin Trice and Larry Keele from Houston arrived to Kosice for a ten-day stay of work and encouragement.  While with us Larry and Marvin helped reconnect us to some friends old and new. In particular, Katka and Marek, with their six-month old son Markus, have become fast friends.  While here Larry preached and presented a three-day seminar on building relationships that last according to the Bible.  It was very encouraging to me personally for Larry and Marvin from our overseeing congregation to be here, to advise me, to get a feel of the work we are doing here, the struggles and progress involved in our situation.    

We are so very proud of the congregation in Kosice, how involved they were, sacrificing their time and putting themselves into the work of making our inaugural LST and the seminar of Larry the successes they were.

Through our friend Katka, Natalie has joined a support group for new moms.  Next week Natalie is to lecture on nutrition needs for mothers, newborns and infants. We’re thankful God is opening new doors for Natalie to develop relationships.             
Seminar: Building Relationships that Last - According to the Bible

This upcoming Sunday we will be working and visiting dear Christian friends in Banska Bystrica, about three hours to the east. While Jordan has been preaching in Slovak in Kosice now for three months, it will only be his second time without a translator in Banska Bystrica. 
           
We are planning our furlough to the States for the wintertime. Unfortunately, we must wait on Adelaide’s vaccinations to be complete. Also we can’t leave the country until we receive our renewed residency permits in the Slovak Republic. Because of the immigration crisis in Europe, the police bureaucracy is really cracking down. We even had detectives from the foreign police office show up both to our house and to Peter's house to inspect our paperwork and confirm our story.  Hopefully our paperwork will clear shortly and we can make concrete plans for visiting you all in the States ASAP.
           
As always, we are grateful to you each for your partnership with us for the sake of the gospel. Thank God for you all.
 
Prayers:
  • Gratitude for Natalie’s and baby’s health.
  • Gratitude for the good works done in God’s name mentioned above.
  • For the Bible study group and each precious soul in it, and their individual journeys of faith.
  • For friends not quite ready for a Bible study.
  •  For the church in Kosice.
  • For our paperwork to clear in time for us to be Stateside for Christmas.
  • For the grandparents who are eager to meet their grandbaby. 

God bless you and keep you,
J&N
& Adelaide & Bella
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<![CDATA[August 2016 Update]]>Sat, 27 Aug 2016 14:00:48 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/august-2016-update
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The view from New Hospital, Kosice

Dear friends and family,

Adelaide (Adelka) Noy Arnold was born in Kosice, Slovakia on 19th August 2016, measuring in at 21.25 inches and 8 pounds 3 ounces. We could not be prouder, nor could we be more grateful for all of your prayers and encouragement. Nat spent 11 days in the hospital this month: first, a four day visit on account of preeclampsia before Adelka was born, then on her second visit, three days to allow labor to happen naturally and then four more to recuperate following delivery. Despite the frustration due to culture shock, hospital policy and procedures, and the language barrier, Nat and Addie received the best of care. Nevertheless, there was much rejoicing once they were cleared to leave and come home. Bella, our Westie, is very curious of the new, strange looking member of her pack and has designated herself as Addie's guard dog. We are very in love with our Adelaide and are eager to begin the next new chapter with her. There has been lots of learning and getting to know each other. 

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Vitaj (Welcome), Addie!

Otherwise, relative to the past nine in Košice, the past two months have been rather slow going for the Arnolds in Slovakia. The summertime has dampened down our outreach, with so many of our regular students and friends traveling on extended vacations. At the same time, it's given us an opportunity to fortify other relationships. And this slow period has given Jordan a chance to do some renovation work on the English Bible Study Center, which doubles as the congregation's meeting place. It was much overdue. And work like painting walls and weeding out sidewalk cracks and window cleaning is good for the sake of seeing the instant results of one's labors.

Having now begun to preach in Slovak, it takes Jordan considerably much more time each week to prepare messages. But this transition has been gratefully received by the congregation. We have been richly blessed with friends in this congregation who go above and beyond to help us in various ways, especially now. 

We're getting very excited about the arrival of a Let's Start Talking team to Košice in two weeks; we continue to work with Eastern European Missions and use the resources and books sent to us for LST. On the heels of their visit are scheduled to arrive Larry Keele and Marvin Trice from Champions CoC in Houston for a two week visit in October. Ahead of this we've run a targeted ad campaign on Facebook garnering participants for the English Language Bible program. In a short amount of time we have garnered a lot of interest. 

God allowing, we hope to be on furlough to the US for a couple of months beginning in November or December. The exact time-frame and schedule isn't in stone just now, as we have to arrange citizenship and passport documents for Adelaide as well as reapply for Slovak residency ourselves. We ask for your prayers that we meet the necessary requirements smoothly and in a timely manner as we wade through the red tape as well as for the success of the LST program. 

Thank you, once more, for your prayers and support and love. God bless you richly. 

Yours in Christ,
J&N 
& Adelaide
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<![CDATA[May 2016 Update]]>Mon, 16 May 2016 14:56:33 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/may-2016-update
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Behind St. Elizabeth's Cathedral, on Main Street, Košice

Dear friends and family,

What an exciting couple of months the Arnolds have had in Slovakia! For those of you in North Houston, we have been praying on account of last month's heavy flooding. We pray that God's glory be shown in your good works and cheer.  As always, we're grateful for all of your prayers and are seeing many of them answered day by day. For starters, Natalie's pregnancy continues along healthily. Only good reports from her doctor. Only three months left now! We've picked out a name for her: Adelaide (Addie for short), or Adela in Slovak, and look forward to sharing more news about her with you. She continues to move, kick, breakdance, and remind her parents that she is present and growing bigger each day.

Jordan's congregational ministry and evangelistic outreach is having very positive gains. We've been praying weekly for the Lord to bring us into contact with people whose hearts are open to the Message.  Among regular students are a dentist, an engineer and a young artist, all three of whom are named "Ivana."  One of these students, when asked if she'd be interested in studying the Bible in English, said joyfully, "This has to be a gift from heaven!" Another student, Dana, a laboratory scientist, has taken very fondly to Natalie. We have an arrangement in which she teaches Natalie one-on-one Slovak for an hour-per-week and then she gets two-hours of English instruction. In a powerful answer to prayer, we have also been blessed to find a wonderful friend from the Middle East who is falling in love with the Lord. It's an amazing story but we unfortunately cannot share more information due to the sensitivity of the situation.  Then there are Dany and Gaby, two "lost and lonesome souls" who are gravitating daily towards us and--even more importantly--other Christians in the assembly.  
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At the 2016 Czech/Slovak Easter Retreat in Central Slovakia

PictureWith Beatka downtown
In addition to the evangelistic studies, Jordan has been working in the garden, getting it ready for the growing season.  We have a pear, apple, apricot and walnut tree. We have three currant bushes and need to get some raspberry bushes in the ground before it's too late.  Before Adelaide arrives, Jordan has also been busy trying to acquire his European Union driver's license.  He's been going through driving school and has made friends with his driving instructor. They've become squash partners a couple of times-per-week. And he's had to get an emergency medical response training certificate in connection with his license.  Learning to drive a manual transmission on a narrow city street system designed in the 17th century, shall we say, is a more rigorous process than we'd imagined.  We did finally buy a car, however, a French-made job that's due to arrive either this week or next from the factory.  Many thanks to each of you who chipped in!    

Everyone benefitted greatly from the Czech and Slovak Family Easter Retreat as the theme was "Liberated Parenting." It was more in the style of a discussion group and everyone was eager to share and listen to other parents and their experiences. One of the highlights was watching each of the children run around frantically in the hunt for candy filled easter eggs in a nearby field.  The teachers had the privilege of nearly 20 kids to teach and wrangle - each one a blessing, of course!

We also had the privilege of two sweet young women from the Bratislava congregation visiting us last week - Janka, a teacher who works with mentally handicapped children, and Beatka, a math teacher who now works and lives in Vienna, Austria. Both of them love the Lord and pursue his likeness daily. It was their first time visiting Kosice and we were thrilled they made time to come and see us and our beloved city. 

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With Janka and Beatka on Artists' Street

The summer and early fall promises to be an eventful one for us. We plan to visit and encourage the congregation in Banska Bystrica/Martin (near the middle of Slovakia) at the end of the month. In August, we will be welcoming the third Arnold in Slovakia,  and then in September a group of three sisters from north Texas are set to arrive and to  work a couple-week shift in connection with the Let's Start Talking program. In October, we look forward to the possibility of hosting some Houstonians in our fair city who are eager to encourage and work alongside us.

We continue to ask for your precious prayers for the work here in Košice. Be praying for Natalie's and Adelaide's continued health and that the delivery (as well as the arrangement of everything in between and beyond) will go smoothly. Aimee and Branyo continue to wait for their little one to arrive as well as Jordan's younger sister - they are both due any day now. Continue to intercede for the growth of each congregation as they embrace both challenges and blessings.

God bless you and keep you. Thank you for loving us.   

yours,
J&N
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A full house in the Kosice congregation on Mother's Day
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<![CDATA[Feb Update]]>Wed, 02 Mar 2016 08:44:49 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/feb-update1
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Snow capped Tatras, Eastern Slovakia

Dear friends and family,

The past six weeks have been exciting and fruitful for the Arnolds in Slovakia. We announced last month that we're expecting the stork's delivery of our first child in early August. Natalie's four visits to the doctor since then have given us only encouragement and ultrasound pictures of a healthy baby. Whether it's a boy or girl we will be certain near the end of the next month.

Some marvelous folks have asked us about how/where to send shower-type gifts to Natalie and baby from the States. Unfortunately, not only is international shipping exorbitant, but any package we receive in Slovakia originating outside of the European Union is opened, inspected and we are required to pay a 20-40% VAT tax on the contents. Also, trips to the post office for an international package, waiting in line and going to the tax office average between 45 minutes to an hour. We unfortunately must decline your generous intentions.

In other news, Jordan broke his foot (first metatarsal) playing squash at the end of January. The cast is off now, but he is still favoring his left trotter. But during the first couple of weeks when he was not very mobile, Jordy was able to conduct his classes with Bible students via Skype. He has since returned to swimming and eagerly awaits his first squash game after full recovery.

We now have an annual ritual! In mid February we flew to Frankfurt, Germany, rented a car and attended the Advanced Bible Study Series (ABSS) as last year. This year's keynote presenter for the week-long retreat was Jim Mcguiggan. Acting as Jim's sherpa was another dear friend, Ryan, of Midland, Texas. The retreat was rich in Gospel and sweet in fellowship with brothers and sisters from at across the Continent. Jim spoke of a gospel and "God worth talking about", the image of God in the human family - united although individual, and the sacredness of communion. 

In addition to hearing from folks from Germany, Belgium, Scotland, England, Ireland, South Africa, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and Albania, we also had the privilege to hear from a delightful brother named Raj from India who was attending an exchange program in Germany. He made a great point that instead of spending resources to send Americans and Canadians to continue to minister to a well established church in India and neighboring countries, the focus should be on training Indian Christians going to those neighboring countries themselves.
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Jim with Ryan and Jordan, or, a rose between two thorns

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Jordan and Raj

The trip home, however, was an exercise in stress management. We missed boarding our return flight by five minutes, and as a result, we enjoyed an 18-hour overnight train trip with three changes back home. But, despite the stress, we were able to see the Lord's gentle hand guiding us each step of the way back. Plus, it was nice to see the Alps as well as the Tatras again. 

We are absolutely in love with Slovakia, the people of Košice and the church with whom we are blessed to work. As disappointing, frustrating and slow that the evangelistic task is where we labor, the work is going extremely well, in as much as busyness is an indication.

In addition to preaching and working to strengthen and mature the assembly, Jordy is conducting several personal English Bible study classes each week. The truth is, we have more prospective students, people interested in studying the Bible both in Slovak and in English, than we can possibly manage. To tackle this, we're figuring out how we can partner Slovak students with instructors from congregations in the States with online video conferencing. In addition, we're partnering with the Let's Start Talking (LST) ministry with the hope of receiving short term mission teams from the States beginning in the Summer. We encourage you to prayerfully consider being a part of this life changing ministry or share it with others.

Coming up at the end of March is the annual Czech and Slovak Family Easter Retreat at a mountain lodge in the central highlands of Slovakia. The congregations of Bratislava, Košice, and Banská Bystrica/Martin will be attending. It will be good to be reunited with so many of our Christian friends in worship and learning from all over Slovakia and neighboring countries. The presenter will be Dr. Todd Patten, a family psychologist and Christian counsellor from Harding University. The theme is "Liberated Parenting." Among Christians here there's enormous interest in Biblical parenting skills. This is because they are all first-generation Christians, and many of whom are also young families.

In earlier newsletters we asked for your prayers for our brother Roman's father, Rasto as he battled cancer. Sadly, his battle ended earlier this year; yet his final breaths were lived humbly, courageously, and as a lover of the Lord. We ask for your prayers of comfort for Roman and his family. While he and his family continue to heal, they cling to the hope and truth that Christ has already conquered death. Also, please remember Branyo and Aimee, also in the Bratislava congregation, as they are expecting their first child in May. Andrej and Katka's son is thriving and has learned how to walk - keep them in your thoughts as they baby proof their home!

Thank you all for your support, prayers and kindness towards us. We wish you all a blessed beginning of spring. 

Yours,
J&N
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<![CDATA[Jan/Dec Update]]>Sat, 09 Jan 2016 09:35:51 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/home/jandec-update
Greetings to all our partners and friends,

May 2016 be a blessed year for each one of you.The past month has been an exciting one for us in Košice. First, the big news story. For any of you who hasn’t heard, the Arnold family is due to have a new member arrive this summer! Thank you for all of your past and continuing prayers. Baby’s E.T.A. falls in August, the same time we had intended to be on furlough. We’ll not want to travel so late into Natalie’s term nor soon after delivery with a newborn. The silver lining, however, is that maybe we can be in the States for the 2016 Holiday Season! The plan currently is to deliver here in Košice. Perhaps one of you philanthropists in the Lone Star State will send us a vial of dirt from your garden which we can place under the bed in the maternity ward, enabling the little one at least to be born on Texas soil.

This holiday season, we weren't able to take advantage of all of the social events due to Natalie's "adjusting" to the pregnancy. We missed out on an intimate Christmas Eve party held by Matuš and Viki, a sweet couple around our age, but we were able to attend a lively Christmas family gathering with Slavo and Kveta, Peter's parents. We have been whole-heartedly accepted into their family, which has been an invaluable source of encouragement and support to us, especially during this time. For New Year's, we decided to stay home, keep warm, and listen to the fireworks our neighbors set off to ring in the new year; like last year, it sounded like a war zone, but was oddly comforting.

The little church in Košice, 14 baptized believers and a slew of little children presently assembling, is plodding along to the glory of God. Since our arrival it’s fair to say the congregation’s passion for reaching lost souls with the saving message of Christ has been rekindled. Already we’re seeing visible evidence of this in terms of visitors and evangelistic studies. That’s not to gloss over the difficulties of this field, only to say that the Gospel still captures the imagination when preached in this uttermost part of the earth! 

So, what’s involved in a typical weekday for Jordan in Kosice?
5:00 AM - Wake up for prayer and Bible reading
6-7:30 - Go to the gym, play squash game or swim laps, eat breakfast
9-11:00 - Go across city by bus for Bible studies with (currently 3 students) at English Bible Study Centre
12:00 PM - Eat lunch with Natalie at home or meet with church leaders (once/week) to pray and plan
1-3:00 - Prepare for Sunday sermon and classes or plan for Friday night program (Family Fridays)
3-5:00 - Slovak language class with Natalie
6-? Very typically we have a guest for dinner or go meet someone in the city

And what's the current schedule for Natalie?
8-9AM - Try to wake up
10AM-11PM - Try to eat, rest, send Jordan to pick up random foods

We’re looking forward to attending the Advanced Bible Study Series, an annual international lectureship/retreat for missionaries working in Europe, in Gemunden, Germany next month. It’s one of the high points of the year for us. Not only will we get to reunite with dear colleagues, this year’s key note presenter happens to be a good friend, so we’re especially excited.

Thank you all for everything, and thank God for you. 
Yours, 
J&N
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