3.4.2019

COURSE MPD - ministry partnership development

Last year I met with one of our Slovak local missionaries for a cup of coffee. He was telling me about his ministry and among other things he also mentioned fundraising workshops which I thought sounded interesting. Barca and I never took any training and I knew that there were things we could be doing differently and better. At another meeting, while I was having lunch with Samo Lacho, I mentioned to him that I would like to organize such a workshop for our Slovak missionaries that had been abroad or are planning to travel abroad. He told me that as a part of Trans World Radio he took part in a 4-day workshop and he promised to ask the lecturer, a woman from The Nederland’s, if she would be available. These talks and plans took place towards the end of 2018. God told me to fast and pray the first days of 2019. God also told me not to work on any projects which I did not fully understand. I knew that the beginning of 2019 would be the key to planning of the agenda which I wanted to do for God for the whole year.

In January I did not do any planning for the future apart from reserving the 4th weekend in March based on the date suggestions Samo provided me. This date was agreed with Jojo Brenkus and Matej Mrva. The date was unfortunately not working out for our lecturer, as she was to hold an MPD in the US at the same time. Her plans however changed in the middle of January, which meant that Eileen was available for the requested weekend. At the end of January I started to think about who could participate in this fundraising workshop and I contacted some people. I prayed that we would have participants that really could use the training. We were 17 in total including me. Some of us were pastors, others missionaries, yet others were working within non-profit Christian organizations.

The main topic of the workshop was about building relationships between the missionary and their supporter. Eileen and her husband have been working on a mission field for many years and have had personal experience within the matter. The lectures were based on the book called “Funding the family business” by Myles Wilson. I believe that we will have more of these kind of courses and workshops in Slovakia so that we can build up a new generation who will not consider finances to be taboo but will have firm Biblical foundations in this area. Jesus has been teaching more about money than about love. I was actually really encouraged to see and hear that there were other people facing similar struggles as my family, for example the Levites, prophet Elijah, one of the first modern missionaries, apostle Paul or even Jesus himself when he came to the Earth and became one of us. It was also encouraging for me to realize that within the last 8 years, we have been fulltime missionaries abroad and now in Slovakia as well. It is great to know, that we are not alone in this, because all of you that support us in any way, have the same share on the ministry. You are a part of everything we do and we will all stand in front of our heavenly Father as one team who lived to reflect his glory. After this MPD course we decided to change the way we do our newsletter and improve some other things so that you all can realize how big of a share of God’s work you actually carry.

3.4.2019

THE BEGINNINGS OF THE SLOVAK MISSIONARY NETWORK

In the summer of 2018 I was obedient, not too excited though, and accepted a challenge from God to stay in Slovakia. One of the first things that came into my mind was to find out what the situation was like in Slovakia in regards to missionary ministry abroad. I met with a lot of different people who have a heart for ministry abroad. I quickly got a basic overview over what works well and where there is room for improvement. Diaconia (ministry with the widows, orphans or poor) is quite widely spread all over Slovakia. There is, of course, a lot to improve, but there are many churches and organizations that support church and help diaconia do a wonderful job throughout the country. Local missionary work is a little less developed but is still growing either due to missionaries from abroad living in Slovakia or due to Slovaks who bring the gospel to Slovak towns, villages and settlements. I did not, however, found too much about the missionary ministry abroad. There is no specific structure or organization that would help future missionaries or churches that would like to send out their church members. That’s why we all met March 22nd in Bratislava to brainstorm together and help each other send out more missionaries from Slovakia.

I’ll be honest with you. Standing there in front of all those people and sharing my heart made my knees shake, because I was talking to giants of faith who had done an amazing job within the missionary work in Slovakia. I really appreciate to be a part of what God is planning to do for Slovakia and what our great grandfathers were praying for in the times when Slovakia was still a destination for missionaries from abroad. After thirty years of freedom it is about time to give the best of us so that every single ethnic group gets to hear about their Savior and Redeemer. The meeting took about three hours and I am thankful to Sheldon Armitage who hosted the event very professionally. Common activities helped us define challenges and suggest some possible solutions of how to help Slovakia send out more missionaries. It was a great start of future cooperation and I already can’t wait to meet again and grow together. Sheldon and I will sit down and evaluate this meeting and we will create a concept of how to continue in the future.

3.4.2019

WE’VE GOT A NEW VEHICLE!

When we returned to Slovakia last year, we didn’t have a car. Blaho family, Barcas parents, lent us their 7-seat car which we have been using all the way until January 2019 even though we no longer stayed at their house in Malinovo. Since our son Nehemiah was born in December, the whole family could no longer fit in the car. Our car related story began back in the US last year when we thought that we would stay there and I would be employed at school and would be able to afford a decent used car from my salary. We desperately needed a car that would not break on the road like most of the cars we’d had so far. We started to pray for a car that would be no older than three years. We kept praying after we returned to Slovakia, although it was really hard for me to imagine that we would ever be able to afford a new car. To be honest, I have a thing for old cars, especially those from the 80s. However, at the same time, I cannot repair a car myself which means that I have to pay a lot of money for all the service and reparations.

In the month of August I started to travel around Slovakia to attend all kinds of meetings and was paying attention to the cars I saw. One of them I liked in particular. There was this thought at the back of my head, what would people think if we as missionaries bought a new car. In September my family and I attended a Christian conference in Nitra and Peter Protero was preaching about the mentality of poverty. I had to repent from my attitude when I thought that as a missionary I could not buy a new car. On our way home I apologized to my kids for my lack of faith and on Monday we all walked into the Citroen store where they had the model I was hoping for. We have already told you about our faith-shopping.

Later in that month we attended a mission related conference in Czech republic. There was a call to financially support missionaries who are preparing to enter the mission field abroad. It was a special offering where people were first asked to pray and ask God how much they should donate. After the prayer time, Barca and I decided to give 10 percent of the expected price of our potentially new car. We did not have that amount of money and we had no idea how to get it. We placed pictures of our future car in different colors on the fridge door and kept it in our prayers. After some time we all agreed that we liked the brown version the most. When I was in the US back in November to clear out the house we lived in for the past 6 years, I managed to sell a lot of things. When I asked Barca which loan we were going to pay off with the money, she looked at me with a surprised expression and said that we were going to use the money to support the missionaries as we promised. So we sent them all the money I brought back from the US and it was still only half of what we promised to donate.

I got an email from our rentals at the end of november in which they informed us that they got a new offer and would be moving out within a week. Barca and I bought the apartment thirteen years ago. We went to see it and found out that it was quite damaged and we would have to invest a lot of money into renovation if we wanted to keep subletting it as we’d done the last ten years. We didn’t have money for the renovation so we decided to sell the apartment.

The real estate agency came to take pictures of it and the same week the offer was published on the internet we found a buyer who payed the deposit and signed the preliminary purchase contract. Based on all the stories we’ve heard we expected the process to take several months because the apartment did not have the most attractive location. Due to Christmas holidays things did not get finalized before the end of January, but even before Christmas we new, that if we pay off all our debts and send the second part of the donation to the missionaries, we will have some amount left for the down payment of the car. To be honest, I was really hoping that God would give us a car as a Christmas gift and I was eagerly expecting it to happen every day.

I visited all car sales that had 8-seater models in their inventory. I got all kinds of offers but I still liked the model offered by Citroen, Peugeot and Toyota the most. I thought we would end up buying a Citroen, but it was eventually Toyota that gave me the best offer and the longest guarantee. The offer was made for a 1 year old car that was expected to be released from the leasing company after the 10th of January. I told them that I expect to have the money available by the end of January and if they still would have the car, I would come and see it. I didn’t do any further action after that.

In January I decided to pray and fast, because this period of our lives was not easy for us and I wanted to make sure that my steps would be in accordance with what God wants from me. I also believed to receive and answer regarding the car. On the last day of fasting I still did not have an answer and I was asking God if he wanted me to keep on fasting. The next day I went to see our pastor and other church elders and asked them to pray for us. When pastor Pasho was praying, he was asking for an answer by 10 pm of that extra added day of fasting. Just to explain, I was asking God to confirm if we were to buy the car and commit to paying off the monthly payment. I was not only asking for a mental confirmation but also some kind of a physical confirmation. I prayed for a specific thing as a sign and asked God to give us money in the amount that would equal one month of the payment of the car.

9.30 pm I was already in bed reading the Bible in Matthew chapter 14 where disciples are asking Jesus to send the crowd that was following him back to the city, so that they could eat. Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd instead. They told him they did not have anything but 5 loaves of bread and 2 pieces of fish. Jesus asked for this food. As he blessed this food and gave it out, 5000 men got fed, excluding women and children. As I was reading it I realized that the disciples’ behavior was just like mine then. I was asking God to fulfill my need and when God told me to take care of it myself, I would tell him I didn't have anything. Suddenly my eyes opened and I realized that a few days ago I attended a church service where I was sharing a testimony about the mission among the Native Americans and I was given an envelope from a volunteer offering. I jumped out of bed and hurried to see how much money there was in the envelope. The amount equalled one month payment of the car. I was overwhelmed by the goodness of God.

The next day I called the contact person at Toyota and asked him about the car that was expected to be available in the beginning of January. It was almost the end of the month and the guy told me that they still had the car because they reserved it for us. I was shocked because a one-year-old car with a 15 000 km mileage could have been sold within a few hours for that price. We went to see the car the same week. It was exactly as our dream car looked like. Brown color, longest model and a bluetooth radio. The oil was freshly changed, we got the car including summer tires and a 4-year guarantee for factory errors. On our way back, even though we all were super excited, I again was filled with fear and doubt if this was not too expensive of a car for a missionary family. I contacted a friend from our church who knows a company abroad that sells used cars in a good price. When I saw the offers he sent me, some of the cars might have been a bit cheaper, but they had at least 100 000 km mileage and no guarantee. As I was thinking about the offer, I continued to read the gospel of Matthew. In chapter 15 we can read about 4000 men that were fed with a few loaves of bread and fish. In chapter 16 Jesus criticized the Pharisees and later tells his disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. The disciples, however, forgot to bring bread and were not sure what they would eat. Jesus strictly rebuked them and called them to be of little faith - have you not seen me feed thousands of men with a few loaves of bread and fish and there were even left overs, so why are you scared of not having anything to eat? As I was reading that passage, it was as if Jesus was speaking directly to me - Roman, do not be of little faith. Have you not seen me provide for you and your family the past several years? You have never been lacking anything and you even had enough to bless others. I repented and did not want to provoke God anymore. I knew I had to take a step of faith. On Monday we got the money transferred and we initiated the car purchase. On Thursday night I brought the car home. God has blessed us with a car where we all can fit, a car that is new and into which we do not have to invest every month for it to work. We are very thankful to our heavenly Father for helping us climb another mountain. This testimony is not meant to celebrate our faith or to promote the gospel of prosperity, but to bring glory to our heavenly Father who fulfills all of our and your needs.

3.4.2019

WHERE IS MY IDENTITY?