How 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.
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.
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,