Friday, February 27, 2009

Breaking and Entering

Our apartment door comes with a unique feature: to lock it from the inside there is no knob; you must use the key. If you leave the key in the lock, you are unable to lock or unlock the door from the outside - yes, two keys makes for potential trouble.

Today, as we left for our language lesson, we did the unthinkable and left a key in the lock. After brute force failed us, we sought out resources from Sheldon and Anna. When our attempts with screw drivers and bobby pins proved equally ineffective, we turned to our building manager for help.

Using nothing more than a tiny screwdriver and a long piece of thin metal, he had our door open in 2 minutes or less. VICTORY! Though we were greatly relieved, we now question the security of our door. We figure that since we live on the top floor and there is no elevator, if any thief gets away with our stuff then they have earned it!

6 Days in the Old Country

We returned to Slovakia on Tuesday evening after spending 6 days in BC. Amber's cousin Courtney got married and Matthew was asked to perform the ceremony (a first, and a true honour), and we were both asked to be the MC's. Amber's bloodline teems with ambition and so her uncle reached into his bag of tricks (and by that we mean travel points) and pulled out 2 plane tickets. Life in Slovakia does not come with a pause button and since we had been in Canada in November and the PAOC conference in January, we had to make this a quick trip.

With such limited time we tried to focus on connecting with friends and family, but even still we missed so many people. Each time we're back in Canada we learn more about balancing our visits (though appointments, traffic and shopping runs seem to consume valuable time). We returned to Nitra quite physically tired, but stocked-up on some great new memories.

We've received positive feedback from the wedding and reception, but there was nervousness going in. At one point during the ceremony there was a bit of a mix-up with kleenexes camoflauged amongst a white bouquet that led to flower petals and the kleenex hitting the floor - Matthew will admit that his first thought was "oh, I'm so happy it wasn't me who made the first mistake". He later acknowledged that the day was not all about him.

We also had the chance to share at ET Family Church in Nanaimo. We felt very welcome there and the warmth of the people was tangible - as in Matthew did not bring a coat, was wearing a white shirt on a cold, rainy day and so was given a loaner jacket for the day. We talked about how mission is something we, as Christians, are all required to engage in. As such, it then becomes a matter of the attitude we bring. It was a healthy motives check-up for us too.

So now we are back in Nitra missing the sunshine of BC, but happy to be home.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

There's Nothing Like the First Time

We are in process of settling into our newest church home. Mozaika had it's first service in KZ last Sunday. There are some technical aspects to work out, but nobody could deny that it was good to meet in a building that had the heat on!

In some ways it is tempting to relax because the immediate pressure is off, however there is more than a mailing address to be gained by having a permanent home. Stability and a presence within the community are still things we are working towards. The journey goes on...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another New Home

We just got off the phone with Miro (the local church planter we work with) and he had some good news....insert suspense.....

As of last Sunday, Mozaika had nowhere to call home. Since the Turbulencia conference was happening, it was not a big concern. Though we still do not have a place to call our own, the local Brethren Church, Kresťanske Zbory (KZ), has agreed to rent us their facility (pictured above) for the time being. Our Sunday program will start at 11:11am following the conclusion of theirs at 10:30am.

Located near the downtown their building has an auditorium, a kitchen facility and room for kids programs. We will be moving Mozaika's stuff from the VBC into KZ this Friday. This will be our home for now, but the search for a permanent facility for Mozaika continues.

Thank you for praying with us. Even though the immediate stress is gone, please continue to pray for us as we journey towards establlishing roots in our community.


Turbulencia is an annual conference hosted by the mother-church in Nové Zámky (which originally planted the Mozaika church here in Nitra). The conference saw people come from across the country to start the year with worship, preaching, teaching, workshops, panel discussions and kids programs. It was exciting to see so many Slovak Christians come together to celebrate their faith.

We missed the first night of Turbulencia as we were still making our way back from the Global Business Development Conference (nothing says fun like travelling for 24 hours and then plugging into another conference 12 hours later). The conference was well organized and we felt bad that we had not been there to help more....

Amber has been sick since our return to Slovakia and so was unable to attend. Matthew had the chance to serve as part of the hospitality team. Overall, the conference was a great opportunity to share the vision for this coming year.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A First

We returned home to Slovakia on January 30th after spending 6 days at the Global Business Development Conference (aptly named for those working in restricted countries). There were services, workshops and some practical business meetings. It was the first time in the history of the P.A.O.C. that every worker came together. Attendance was mandatory, but we are so glad that we were a part of this event.

As cross-cultural workers we know that we are part of a larger, global team that is involved in many initiatives around the world. Knowing this is completely different than actually being able to see everyone all together. It was exciting to see the scale of what we are a part of. Being able to switch off the translation portion of our brains and engage in teaching and worship in English was energizing. We were also able to connect with great friends who are life-giving and meet new people and listen to their stories. We're not trying to make ourselves out to be so different, but there is such great connectivity amongst people who have walked a similar life-journey (it's hard to discuss culture shock with someone who has only moved Pickering to Ajax or Maple Ridge to Langley).

The conference took place in Indonesia (a brief 48 hours in transit round-trip). When people are coming from all over the entire world, there are going to be travel winners and losers. It was interesting to be exposed to another culture and it was Amber's first time in Asia. It was a good reminder to us of how diverse our global team is. What we do in Slovakia would not work there. How one lives out there faith would look so different there - how one lives in general would be so different. Amber's gratitude for living in a cockroach-free country was repeated several times by the end of the week! There was also a lot of crispy flesh on display as Canadians are not accustomed to sub-equatorial sun...

It was super-fantastic to be a part of this!