Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Milujem Moje Mesto - I Love my City

If you get our e-newsletter [the Ongoing Adventure of Matthew and Amber] or follow this blog, it is likely that you have heard us talk about the I Love my City (ILMC) project. With the project starting one month from today, we would like to share with you more about this project as we believe it is already serving as a turning point for Mozaika.

Throughout our first year here we found that the leadership team here often dreamed about what we would like to do in the city, but we were limited by our lack of visibility, influence and permanent address. We could keep this pattern going, but it is obviously time for a change. ILMC is the bombastic beginning of that change. ILMC is a city-wide project with a focus on children and families that is designed to increase Mozaika's visibility within Nitra, build new relationships with people in the community, and increase our connectivity with city hall.To do this we have several international teams and Slovak volunteers from surrounding cities coming to join Mozaika. We will be running a kids camp in the most densely populated borough of the city rife with wee ones looking for summer fun. In conjunction with the City Works Department, we will be sprucing-up parks and public spaces across the city. In partnership with Athletes in Action we will be hosting 2 Family Fun Days. We have been given a performance time at the main stage in the city park for the summer kids program. ILMC volunteers will assist with the running of the Klokočinský jarmok (Klokočina festival where an estimated 10,000 people attend), performing on the festival stage and running a free BBQ and food parcel distribution provided by Convoy of Hope. Also, there will be events that allow Christians and non-Christians to connect in neutral spaces such as the Picnic in the Park evening and Foreigner vs. Slovak sports night (at which we expect the Europeans to dominate in soccer).
The project will be preceeded by a week of prayer. Already we have seen the benefits of this project as City Hall has expressed their amazement at a church wanting to do something for them (and not the other way around). We believe that by serving the city we will see their mindset towards us grow into that of a partnership (click here to read more about the city's shift in perception).

We want as many people as possible praying for the success of this project - we invite you to be a part of ILMC from wherever you are in the world. Check this blog during the event for updates. You can also join the Facebook group "I Love my City - Milujem moje mesto", to get current information and show your support.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Not to be outdone by the universally popular "euro" prefix (euro-trip, euro-style, euro-chic etc.) or the rapidly innovating "i" prefix (iPhone, iPod, iLife etc.), we would like to draw some attention to the nationally popular "slov" prefix.
  • Slov-air: was a national airline for Czechoslovakia but dissolved in 1990
  • Slov-matic: a soccer club in Bratislava
  • Slovakryl: a company that manufactures acrylic paint
  • Slovnaft: a chain of gas stations
  • Slov-Alex: a company that produces custom rubber stamps
  • SLOV-CHLAD: a refrigeration company (everything from freezers to ice rinks - it should be noted that "chlad" means "cold")
  • Slov-Energia: is an energy and natural gas consulting firm
  • SLOVinteriér: builds custom made wooden doors and window treatments
  • slovLED: specializes in L.E.D. technogies
  • Slov-forest: we looked at their website, but we sill aren't sure what this group does....we think they are Slov-enviromentalists
  • SlovMAD: a freight business specializing in shipments between Slovakia and Hungary (the Slovak word for Hungary is "Maďarsko")
  • Slov-TAT: custom car painting company
  • Slovaktual: sells doors and windows

Monday, July 6, 2009

All Things Mozaika

It has been a while since we have given a thorough update on the life of Mozaika, and there are some pretty great things that we would like to share with you.

On June 21st Mozaika hosted a "Church Day". The people from the Nové Zámky church, the church that planted Mozaika, joined us here in Nitra for a great day. Together we filled our current meeting location with 120 people. The two main highlights from the day were water baptisms and a BBQ. We also played a soccer match from which Mozaika emerged the victorious, yet humble, winners. The day was a lot of work on the organizing end, but it was worth it. We really want there to be a collective sense of community between the two churches and time spent together is an essential part fo the bonding process.

We are generally excited for the things happening at Mozaika. Though the city is more quiet with the school-year concluded, there is good momentum to church life: national kids and youth summer camps are about to begin, a couple from Mozaika are moving to another town to step into a pastoral role, a young man involved in the Teen Challenge program has concluded a prison sentence and has returned to Mozaika with quite the testimony, and City Hall seems to favor us like never before as we prepare for the I Love my City project in August.

Within Slovakia most evangelical churches, being small, do not own their own space. Here in NItra, as the seat of Catholicism for Slovakia, the Catholic Church owns more property than the city does within the city limits. As you know, not owning our own space has been an adventure for Mozaika this past year as we were evicted from one place, transitioned into a persons home, then into a business facility which kept the heat off all winter and now into a Brethern Church in between their services. As if this was not enough nomadic experience, small churches around the country learned a valuable lesson when a church in the northern town of Martin lost their meeting place (and pastor's home) to the ambitious plans of their landlord.

Owning a space not only creates a stable venue through which to connect with people, but delivers a strong message to the surrounding community that we are rooted here too - we are a part of this community together.

In Nové Zámky they have been renting part of a larger building for approximately 12 years. They have done renovations, run a Mother's Centre and maintain the adjoining city kids park. The owner had announced his intention to sell and the church won the bid to purchase the building. This process is still ongoing as financing for the bid is not fully resolved (churches must be creative as banks will not provide mortgages for non-profit organizations), though through a course of events it looks as though they will be able to purchase the building for 300,000 Euros less than originally expected. Furthermore, the church is set to acquire occupancy of the rental space next to theirs (within the same building) by the end of August. This will be an answer to over 10 years of prayer as a night club has been the tenant. Pray that the financing will be completed soon.

Red Dot = location of our apartment
Yellow Dot = location where Mozaika currently meets
Green Dot = location of potential property

For Mozaika, the city architect has offered Mozaika a piece of property on the edge of Klokočina (pronounced klo-ko-chee-na). This borough of Nitra is home to over 30,000 people and is currently dominated by apartment blocks. The city is wanting to expand in that direction and has scheduled the construction of family homes and starter homes. By setting roots in this area of the city, Mozaika would be surrounded by families. Talks are still very much in the beginning stages, so please pray that Mozaika would have wisdom and keen insight as we make decisions about where we will call home. We do not simply want to jump on the first opportunity that comes our way.