September 2020

Rimavská Seč

Barča and I would like to tell you how we are doing and what has been happening in our lives lately. I will not write too much about how things were under the quarantine lockdown as you can easily imagine how it is to be locked in a three-room apartment with six kids at the eleventh floor. We have all survived with a happy heart although I do seem to have a couple of new grey hair. As you may have heard in our last video update during the quarantine, Jozef and I had been praying intensely and I believe that helped us organize two online Kairos courses and after the strict quarantine rules about social gatherings we also organized a physical one in the city of Kosice. I believe that the prayers also helped move the things with the land which we posted about at our Hawran Ministry Facebook page. This is what the most of this newsletter will be about, as it strongly shakes us as a family. At the same time, we want you to be a part of the whole process at many of you don’t just watch us from the distance, but you are an active part of our mission thanks to your prayers or your financial support.

Back in 2018 when I wrote down my wishes and dreams for Slovakia, I couldn’t even tell Barča about them. When I was reading them afterwards, I was laughing inside. I realized I must be very careful with whom and when I will share the dreams that God has given me for Slovakia. Yes, I believe these are God’s dreams, for which God has called us back to Slovakia in this period of time. One of my wildest dreams is a missionary embassy in Bratislava and a missionary training center. I have already chosen a house for the embassy on the castle hill and now I am waiting for God to open the doors. Apart from praying for it there is not so much I can do about it. Then there is the missionary training center. Every time I thought about it, I always thought that we would first need people who would be willing to manage the center and then we would need people who would be interested in world mission. So I didn’t really put too much thought into the center. Once when I had lunch with Patrik Higgins – a pastor of an international church in Bratislava, we accidentally ran into Cyril Melot who also used to pastor an international church in Bratislava until God called him into a different kind of ministry. Patrik and Cyril were good friends, but I saw Cyril only three times in my life. He came to Slovakia when we already were in Lower Brule and left Slovakia before our return. However, we knew about each other and kept in touch via Facebook. When Cyril asked me what I was up to in Slovakia, I tried to explain to him in few minutes what God has called me to do. He told me that he knows about a piece of land whose owners are looking for Christians who could use it for ministry. It was a really interesting information but I couldn’t really imagine that we would take any action as back then we were starting the Kairos course, we were trying to start a mission network and we were in a reentry process ourselves. At that time I saw our place in Bratislava and that’s why I was intensely praying for a missionary embassy that could serve missionaries that just returned back to Slovakia or are about to leave the country and need a place to stay for a shorter or longer period of time. Towards the end of 2019 we realized that us a family we already spent almost a year in the apartment that we were living in whereas our original plan was to stay there for no more than a year. That’s why we did not remove the old wallpaper and did not do any major changes to adjust the place to our big family. Therefor we started to pray intensely for a new place for our family. We were thinking of moving to Banská Bystrica where we got an offer to rent a house from missionaries. We went to see it before the quarantine lockdown. We applied for a place for our first grader Sinai at the Narnia school in Banská Bystrica because we got the best recommendations from our missionary friends, the Brenkus family. She was not admitted, and we were not successful in renting the house either. During the hardest lockdown, Jozef Brenkus and I started to pray very intensely, and we also prayed for a missionary embassy and the training center. I once had a call with a Czech missionary who lives outside the Czech Republic and he shared his dream and wish to have a missionary village in the style of the one from the time of Moravian brothers. As he was telling me about it, I was overwhelmed by passion for a training center. I realized that the greatest obstacle to moving forward with the piece of land was people and suddenly here I was, having the people it takes. My family wants to move, our children are ready to move and that all our commitments in Bratislava were finished. Everything was gone – school, afterschool activities, hockey and even our grandparents who could not help us with the kids during the lockdown. There were no obstacles. I decided to contact Cyril and we started to talk about the land. We went to see it at the end of April together with Brenkus family and Marinic family. The day before our trip Barča got an assurance in her prayers that if we would be allowed to live in the immediate neighboring house, it would mean a green light. She did not mention anything about it to me though. It took us about 3,5 hours to drive to Rimavská Seč from Bratislava and the sun was shining when we reached our destination.

The village of Rimavská Seč is situated in the Southern Gemer about 6km away from the southern highway between Bratislava and Kosice, about 20 min. away from Rimavská Sobota. The Hungarian borders is probably less than one km away. The village is pretty charming and the first thing we see upon arrival is the church which was not far from the land. It is a large piece of land – about 43000 ft² - including an old granary ruin and lots and lots of trash. One side of the land is occupied by the building of the municipal office and at the other side is a big house. After we walked around the whole land, we prayed together and at the end I said that if we manage to buy the house next door, then this was the right place for the training center. Jaro and Jozef knocked at the door and asked the owners if they were willing to sell their house. The older lady could not speak Slovak and her husband told us in broken Slovak that they did not want to sell the house because they were rebuilding it so that it would accommodate their children also. He told us to go ask at the house opposite theirs as that was for sale at some point. So, we walked around a bit and asked people if and for how much they would sell their houses. None of them was for sale. One of the reason I consider Rimavská Seč a perfect place for a missionary center is because there is not so many areas in Slovakia where you might have trouble being understood in Slovak and where you would meet Hungarian and Roma culture apart from the Slovak one. We were full of impressions as we were leaving. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by the thought that the village is totally at the end of the world. I realized that I’d never actually lived outside of Bratislava in Slovakia. (I do not count the village of Malinovo, as we still spent most of our time in Bratislava in terms of work, school or friends). Barča started to pray for this place together with our children and even found a school for our kids in Rimavská Sobota and even registered our daughter Sinai, as that is mandatory for a first grader. At the same time, she was registered at a Lutheran school in Bratislava which our kids attended last year. A huge fight started to rage within me. On one hand I said I would go anywhere, on the other hand, two years ago I wouldn’t even have thought that “anywhere” could mean Slovakia, too. Not at all a mostly Roma village next to the Hungarian border 300km away from Bratislava. I thought that it would almost be easier for me to move into the Amazonian jungle with no electricity than to move to Rimavská Seč. God has a sence of humor and it could easily happen that Rimavská Seč would become my home one day. There were times where I couldn’t imagine even visiting the US and I ended up being a missionary there. God’s ways are obviously not our ways.

Afterwards we visited Rimavská Seč three more times. We also started to talk to the owners of the piece of land with the ruin. They live in Germany. We discussed the circumstances under which they would be willing to give us the land. They really want the place to serve God and are praying together with us for God to either open or close the door. During my second visit of Rimavská Seč I left my phone number at the neighboring house even though they told me they were not planning to sell the house. Four days later I got a phone call to come with an offer and they might reconsider. Our third visit included a tour of the house. It’s basically quite empty and looks like it’s just about to be remodeled. A small part of the house where the parents live, is already remodeled and furnished. After our third visit we again had a call with the owners from Germany and they told me that there is another neighboring house on the very back part of the land which was built illegally and possibly could be bought at the cheaper prize. So, when we visited the village the fourth time – this time with Ria Beničáková and Mrva family – we also went to see that house. It looked a bit unfinished. When I asked if they wanted to sell the house, you would not believe how many people suddenly came out of the house and anyway, they did not want to sell the house.

This is one of the eight videos we took during our fourth visit of Rimavská Seč on July 21st 2020. At the end of the video, you can click on the next video.

Together with the Mrva family we went to see the building of the old granary to see if we would have to demolish it or if it could possibly be used as a construction for the new building. Maťo’s first judgment was that we could use it. We visited the first neighboring house again. This time we found out that the house has two wells and Barča took a few videos.

We spent a couple of days in Lučatín in July in order to pray and seek if the area of Banská Bystrica was possibly the place to move to, as we originally intended. Danny tried to warn us that if we move somewhere completely alone, it would take a lot of energy just to “survive” and we would not have too much energy left for the ministry. It was therefore important to move as a team together with other families. I started to think if it would make sense to move closer to Brenkus family and other missionaries in the area. Our priority for next two years is still the Kairos course and not the training center. So, the question is, when will the training center have the priority and what will it actually serve for?

I think that Kairos is a great way to wake up and revive Christians but it’s not an answer to how to send missionaries abroad. We expect to see the fruit of Kairos in few years when more and more people will rise from our churches that do not settle for Sunday services anymore but will want to be actively involved in the Great Commission starting in Slovakia and all the way to the ends of the Earth. I know that we already have many of those people. It might be that the word that I received from God in Jordan earlier this year, will come true – that a hundred people from Slovakia will attend the discipleship school in Jordan and 500 people from eastern Europe will move to Muslim countries. We have to be prepared for those times. Thinking about a training center is comparable with the moment when Noah was supposed to start building an ark when there was no rain.

What would the missionary training center serve for?
I was once asked what I would do if a family with two children came up to me expressing their desire to join the mission field. And I stared to think. It’s easy for young and/or single people to try out being missionaries but what about those who already have kids and a carrier - it’s not so easy for them to leave. I have been praying for years that not only young people or individuals would leave Slovakia, but whole families. I would mainly like the training center to serve those, while it of course would still be open for young people and single people.

Please join me on the journey of my dream: Imagine it’s 2023, imagine a family of four. The husband is working to provide for the family, the wife is on maternity leave. The couple attended the Kairos course two years ago and God put Syria on their hearts, which they had been praying for ever since. They spent the last two years serving in their local congregation. They share their thoughts with five other couples at a prayer group and they start to pray for Syria regularly, too. A few months later another family from that group shares that their hearts are now beating for Syria. It is a couple that is soon to be retired, their daughter is married, and their son is studying at the university. Both couples start to think what to do next and they approach their pastor and leadership and ask them to pray for this kind of ministry and calling. Their pastor and the elders recognize their calling and even though it’s hard for them to lose such good people in ministry, they are happy to tell them that they will support them. The leaders of the church contact The Slovak Missionary Network, which is a cross-denominational organization connecting people associated with the world mission. A representative of the Network organized a meeting with the church leaders and the involved couples in order to discuss the upcoming steps. It probably starts with trying to find “support” in the form of fundraising. It is pretty easy to find the first 30 - 40% of the support, which comes from the families of the couples, as well as from the local church members that know the potential missionaries well. All this can be done while having a full-time job but after some time more radical decision will have to be made. It is not possible to live out of the amount of the 40% missionary support but at the same time it’s necessary to invest more and more time into different kinds of preparations. Here comes the chance to use the missionary training center that would provide accommodation and space for missionaries that are in the process of fundraising and are close to leaving into the mission field. I have always dreamed for this center to be built together with some kind of business. I don’t wish to create business with The Slovak Missionary Network. Instead I would like to invite an already running business that would benefit from the location, to help us with running the building that they would also utilize. I don’t want to be doing fundraising to be able to run the training center or to look for events in order to survive. I really wish for the center to be independent. That’s why I started to communicate with some businessmen and ask them about possible ways of cooperation at this project. We are trying to find a common way forward and solutions to cooperate. I am not sure if we will end up cooperating with these specific businessmen, but we are trying to see if it possibly could work somehow. When the mission center stands and our two families have 30-40% of their personal fundraising, then they will be able to come to live in the mission center. They would have free accommodation, as that would be covered by them working at that business 2-3 times a week or a few hours a day. Part of the mission center will be preparation for leaving for a foreign culture. I am not talking about a language course. That should be available in the country of destination or close by. It wouldn’t really make sense to teach people Arabic here in Slovakia, as there are so many dialects and it’s important to learn the one that’s being used in the respective country. An important part of the preparations would be the teambuilding between the two or more families. That’s potentially one of the greatest challenges to try out even before leaving Slovakia. Rimavská Seč is one of the few places in Slovakia where it almost feels like being abroad, as it’s sometimes difficult to communicate properly without being able to speak Hungarian or Romani.

I am trying to share this vision with you because it really moves our family life. The decisions we have to make about our housing, schools for our children and other important personal things in our life are influenced by this dream of ours. I believe that we are supposed to spend the upcoming years in Slovakia, in order to be a part of Kairos, The Slovak Missionary Network, as well as the missionary training center in Rimavská Seč. We will then see what God has planned for us. If all that things that we dreamed about Lower Brule will take place right after this dream, or if it will be a whole different place which I am praying for already today. Only God knows.

Thank you for supporting us and not letting us being alone in this. We appreciate it more that we can express.

September update:

God has not opened any door for our accomodation in Rimavská Seč, nor in the area of Banská Bystrica. Those that were partially opened, he closed. Our four older children have started their new school year at the Lutheran school in Palisady in Bratislava, which they already attended the last two years. We fully trust God that he would make us move in his due time. We are continuing to cherish the vision He gave us, and we want to be the best influence wherever we happen to be.

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