<![CDATA[The Arnolds in Slovakia - Home]]>Sun, 25 Jun 2017 18:49:51 +0600Weebly<![CDATA[March 2017 Update]]>Sun, 12 Mar 2017 14:02:21 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2017/03/march-2017-update.htmlPicture
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.

Picture
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.


Picture
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

]]>
<![CDATA[October 2016 Update]]>Sun, 30 Oct 2016 17:08:28 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2016/10/october-2016-update.html
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
]]>
<![CDATA[August 2016 Update]]>Sat, 27 Aug 2016 14:00:48 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2016/08/august-2016-update.html
Picture
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. 

Picture
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
]]>
<![CDATA[May 2016 Update]]>Mon, 16 May 2016 14:56:33 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2016/05/may-2016-update.html
Picture
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.  
Picture
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. 

Picture
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
Picture
A full house in the Kosice congregation on Mother's Day
]]>
<![CDATA[Feb Update]]>Wed, 02 Mar 2016 08:44:49 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2016/03/feb-update1.html
Picture
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.
Picture
Jim with Ryan and Jordan, or, a rose between two thorns

Picture
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
]]>
<![CDATA[Jan/Dec Update]]>Sat, 09 Jan 2016 09:35:51 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2016/01/jandec-update.html
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
]]>
<![CDATA[Happy Thanksgiving! November 2015 Update]]>Tue, 24 Nov 2015 14:13:05 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2015/11/happy-thanksgiving-november-2015-update.html
A tiny kaplnka (chapel) in the forest, Košice
Thanksgiving greetings from the Arnolds in Slovakia!  This marks now the second Thanksgiving holiday we've been away from our family in the States. It’s a bit emotionally tough.  But, while it's no substitute for a hug, video chatting online with friends and family does make the distance a bit more bearable.
 
The days are getting colder and shorter, with sunrise at about six thirty and setting by four thirty. It gets dark even sooner because our city lies in a valley.
 
The forested hills were spectacularly aflame with autumn until just this last Tuesday when the first hard freeze and wind snuffed out the last of the leaves. At the height of fall Natalie and I went on a long, chilly bike ride with a couple from the church, Slavo and Kveta, the parents of Peter (the leader of the church here in Košice . The Červený Kláštor (Red Monastery) national park hosts a bike trail through a river gorge in the Tatras mountains on the Slovak/Polish border. It was Natalie’s first 25+ mile bike ride.
At Červený Kláštor national park, in front of the Three Crowns and Seven Monks
Regarding the immigration crisis in Europe and recent terror attacks in France, which several have asked about, there is a palpable sense of anxiety, familiar to those of us who remember the uncertainty of those weeks immediately post 9/11. The western part of Slovakia, where we formerly lived, is more directly impacted by the Continental politics than where we currently reside. And in the poorer East, where we live, there is frustration with the open door policies of wealthier central and northern Europe.  Angela Merkel is the butt of most jokes these days in Slovakia. We must reapply for residency ourselves in August, but we're hopeful that the populist and anti-immigration tack of the Slovak government won't create too much trouble for us. Reportedly, there are some former Guantanamo detainees who the US Administration dumped off on Slovakia in a hush-hush deal living somewhere in the country.  Still, Slovakia is not very likely on the radar of Islamic terrorists (There’s not a single mosque in the country.). But we've changed some our plans to attend large public gatherings in Central Europe out of caution advised by the US State Department.  For example, we'd been planning to attend an upcoming rock concert in Budapest, and last weekend Jordan and his good friend from the Bratislava church decided against going to the International Auto Show in Milan, Italy.        
 
Regarding our work, we've seen both setbacks and successes over the past month; but all in all at least it's been busy.  Last weekend we were forced to call off the regular Sunday assembly last minute, as apart from us sickness and travel had each one of our families out of pocket. The previous two Sundays we visited the churches in Bratislava and in Banska Bystrica. There were eight besides us present in Bratislava and twelve in Banska Bystrica.
                   
Last Thursday,  a sweet older couple, who are pensioners as well as students, mentioned in previous posts, invited us over to their place for lunch.  Their flat is in a typical working class "sídlisko" of the city built during the Communist era.  Everything is concrete and gray, hard and colorless. In front of the flat is a fountain basin along with a crumbled piece of public art, relic of the socialist paradise.  The fountain is empty and overgrown with tussocks of weeds and clumps of moss growing from the silt.  
 
"Škoda," he says, meaning “pity.”  
 
We climb up the several flights of stairs.  She greets us at the door with a kiss and seated us at a table spread with white linen, their finest porcelain (handmade in Poland, and only used for special occasions), wine flutes, lit candles and the food, a four-course spread. "Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty through Christ, our Lord."  Apéritif and cheese, chicken and parsnip soup, cordon bleu, not one but two different types of risotto, steamed vegetables and garnish, smoked and sautéed tofu, and, the pièce de résistance: champagne apple sauce and chocolate parfait with lady fingers and whipped cream for good measure.  
 
"I know you're on a diet," she says in Slovak, "So I made this all healthy."
 
After lunch, we retire to the study and listen to Leonard Cohen, sing along with Nina Simone and Ray Charles. She appears with yet another, post-desert, course: pear slices, tangerine sections and grapes. And as we leave, she, against our insistence, even prepares a doggy bag for us to take back home to our little Westie Bella. Yet the hospitality and warmth of this couple is not at all rare among Slovaks. We love these people so and are thankful beyond words for the opportunity to be where we are doing what we do.     
 
Last Friday night we held another encouraging "Family Friday" at the English Bible Study Centre. Peter’s wife (who is also a caterer when she’s not busy caring for their three children), prepared sushi.  Natalie's craft project this past week with the kids was making origami.  Jordan and Peter’s brother Majo taught the boys a couple of new paper airplane designs. Previous crafts this month included making creatures using leaves and pinecones. In October, we all gleefully carved jack-o-laterns from pumpkins and ate soup made from their innards. These weekly gatherings are being attended by 8-11 children along with their families, all of whom unaffiliated with any church.  This is for now our primary community outreach program. 
English lesson and crafts for Family Friday
We've also resumed Slovak language lessons with a tutor, a pleasant, incredibly patient woman. We study with her twice weekly for four hours.  
 
The father of our coworker Roman,  who you may remember us mentioning in a previous post, continues deteriorating with pancreatic cancer and is not expected to outlast the winter.  Be praying for the family and especially for the fullness of God’s grace to be with Roman.
 
We thank you, love you and are honored and thankful to be your partners. Happy Thanksgiving!


J&N
]]>
<![CDATA[September 2015 Update]]>Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:45:48 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2015/10/september-2015-update.html
Dear brothers and sisters,

We're just over a month into our new phase of work in Slovakia in Košice. The city is getting all primped and preened to host this weekend's annual Peace Marathon, the second oldest in all of Europe. Foreigners of every stripe and in the thousands are pouring into town. Add to it the gorgeous fall weather, it's an exciting week! 

What's new with the Arnolds in Slovakia? It's safe to say that the church here in Košice has welcomed us with open arms; we have already had cookouts and get-togethers with them all. We've got a week's worth of English Bible students lined up, and we're making new friends by the day. Among them are a policeman, a firefighter, a businessman, a video game concept artist, a computer programmer, and two retirees who are wanting to learn English so they can communicate better with their grandchildren who live in Canada. Additionally, the church is ramping up for a new evangelistic outreach program beginning weekly at the end of this month that we're calling Family Fridays. The ladies will be doing demo cooking classes, the kids will have an English language Bible lesson and activity, and the men will teach the kids a new craft activity and lead a devotional. One of young boys in the church was so excited about that five new families, including his school teacher's, have RSVP'd at his invitation. 
We're still without a car (we're waiting to see what effect if any the Fed's looming interest rate hike will have on the euro/dollar exchange rates). However, we've become bicyclers! And it's only about 4-miles from our house to the office/classroom/church building. And when it's not six inches under snow, Košice does have some very good bike paths throughout the city. It's also having good health benefits for us. 

Last month Team Arnold added a new member, a three-year old West Highland Terrier named Bella, whose former master, a veterinarian, is moving abroad for work. She is a perfect fit for us and also has a taste for adventure. 

This month we plan on being in nearby city Banska Bystrica for at least one Sunday to encourage and be encouraged by our brothers and sisters there. 

Some of you have asked if the immigrant crisis in European is in any way affecting us. Not really, especially as Slovakia is not doling out the same social benefits to Islamic migrants as northern European nations are nor welcoming any but 100 Christian Refugees from Syria.

Keep our coworker Roman in your prayers. His father is deathly ill, his grandmother just had a stroke, and for his own part he's been suffering terrible headaches over the past month. 

Continue praying for our Bible students, for the church to be strengthened, and for the proclamation of the Gospel in Košice. 

The Holy Spirit is helping us pray for those affected in Oregon.

Thank you for reading this and loving us. Pekný deň! (Have a good day!)

love,
Jordan & Natalie
]]>
<![CDATA[August 2015 Update]]>Fri, 21 Aug 2015 10:23:30 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2015/08/august-2015-update.htmlPicture
Dear brothers and sisters,
 
Windshield wipers are keeping tempo for my pecking out of this newsletter on my cellphone in the passenger seat of the van we hired to move us five hours east from Bratislava to our new home, Košice. We got the thing all packed just as the sprinkling started, thank God, and were off just in time for the deluge. Our house is on a street called Orechová, which refers to nuts (walnuts, cashews, chestnuts, etc.). Naturally, we have affectionately dubbed our new home as the "Nut House."
 
As of last week we have, through your intercession and support, lived in Slovakia for one year as missionaries. Thank you for your partnership in God's mission for the sake of the gospel. As far as tangible progress we've seen in the country over the past year: three baptisms, three restorations, the demonstrable maturation of leaders; we have found such fraternity and friendship here it is impossible to say, and we've become semi-fluent in Slovak speakers. We are sad to have to say goodbye to our precious friends in Bratislava. Just this last Saturday we had a sending-off lunch with our Slovak teacher (and disciple of Christ), who gave us her blessing plus a certificate stating we'd been in our private Slovak classes 360 hours--not to mention the hundreds of hours we've spent with flash cards and, as Natalie says, "inflicting our Slovak" on unsuspecting shop clerks and little old ladies on the trains and trolley cars who get stuck next to us on the inside seat. 
 
We're eager to get to work in Košice and have every reason to believe we'll hit the ground gospelling! And, God willing, we will still get to travel monthly, as we've done the past half-year on invitation, teaching and preaching in other assemblies throughout the country. We're also looking forward to organizing short-term campaigns with you and folks from your congregations with us in Košice, hopefully involving as many of you as possible. Be praying about this possibility, as we discern it’s a door the Lord is opening up for us all. And make sure to have your passport ready when God lays it on your hearts. 
 
Unfortunately, with moving and future plans come extra expenses. The public transportation system in Košice, unlike Bratislava, is not entirely dependable. We are hoping to purchase a car in the near future. We humbly ask for any support you would like to share with us to help offset the costs, in whatever way God places it on your hearts.

Picture
Be praying for our previously mentioned Slovak brother, whose recent decision to be baptized has caused considerable consternation in his family. Be praying for the church in Košice, that her enthusiasm for growth would result in openness to change. Be praying for a sister living in Vienna, whose recent loss of her job is causing her hardship there. Be praying for contacts we make; next week, Jordan begins Bible studies with a new friend from Michalovce (one town over) that he met while exploring Košice. Be praying for one of Jordan’s English students, whose wife is hospitalized on account of a difficult pregnancy. And also, be praying for Roman as he continues to work with the church in Bratislava.

In the next couple of months, we’re hoping to have at least 3-4 English Bible Study Center (EBSC) classes-per-week. The EBSC program uses Bible lessons for teaching English free of charge. Be praying also for the several brothers and sisters in Košice who have, over the years, fallen out of duty, that we would in some way be able to encourage them toward a return.   
 
Thank you for reading this and loving us,
Jordan & Natalie

]]>
<![CDATA[June 2015 Update]]>Mon, 06 Jul 2015 19:49:05 GMThttp://arnoldsinslovakia.org/1/post/2015/07/july-07th-2015.htmlPicture
Greetings everyone,

It's finally begun feeling like summertime. All of the kids are out of school, everyone is traveling for holiday and the public transportation lines are all packed to the gills. We had visitors this month. Dear friends from Robert Lee, Texas flew in via Istanbul to visit us and the area. It was strange but wonderful to visit with, in a sense, the old life we left in Robert Lee.

Over the past month we've taken a break from full-time language study in order to prepare for our move in August. This break has also given us the opportunity to travel around the country to visit and encourage congregations in the cities of Banska Bystrica, Martin and Košice. 

Picture
Last week we were in Moravia (Czech Republic) and had the privilege to attend the Central European Family Retreat, where the passionate Dino Roussos, a preacher and speaker based in Athens, taught us how to speak and sing (and even dance!) in Greek. There were 101 of us in total, from at least a dozen different nationalities. One evening we were up until midnight singing in tongues: English, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Dutch, Polish, Greek, German, Croatian and Romanian. We were blessed to have another glimpse of what heaven must be like.

We were also blessed to meet another couple, Paul and Katie Crook, who are based in Romania and working for the Lord amongst the Roma (gypsy) population. 

We're all set to move to Košice next month. A moving truck comes for us August 14th. God enabling, were looking forward to buying an automobile when we arrive. We will be taking driving school lessons from a brother who owns a driving school in Košice. It's been a year since either of us has driven, a lot of years since either of us drove a stick shift or had to do any European-style parallel parking. Several of you have asked us about how the move will affect our financial situation. It shouldn't, really, not beyond the moving cost (est. $3,500 - any contribution will be gratefully received). We will have auto expenses we didn't have in Bratislava, but the somewhat lower cost of living in Košice should offset the difference. Also, we'll be renting a house with a yard and garden, near downtown, from a brother in the Košice church who was mentioned previously.

We ask you to pray for the church in Košice, that the upcoming transition would glorify God, help bring peace in relationships and many lost into the kingdom.

We ask you to pray for our good Slovak friend and brother who's facing genuine persecution for his new faith: his wife is using his ongoing conversion to Christianity as a pretext for divorcing him. 

Please pray for Europe, that the widespread anxiety over the economic fallout over Greece and the war footing in Ukraine would somehow open the hearts of precious souls to the good news of King Jesus.

Thank you for reading this and for loving us. 
love,
Jordan and Natalie

]]>