This is will be my fifth trip to Slovakia in 8 years. Although we have a few team members who have returned every year, I am definitely considered an old-timer. As I read the blog posts of some of the “newbies” I am a little envious of their excitement and that hint of trepidation that comes from facing the unknown. Like many of life’s experiences, the first time often seems to come with an extra measure of thrill and wonder, and sometimes fear.
I can honestly say that I have no fear of what is to come in the weeks ahead of us in Martin. I’ve had some setbacks in the past, most notably forgetting critical parts of my wardrobe back home 3 years ago, and having my wallet stolen on the first leg of our journey last year. But you know what? I survived. Even more than that, I thrived! Do you know why? Because God is with us! And, because we are a team! It really is an “All for one, and one for all” kind of experience. Also, because I know that many of you will be praying for us, and we all appreciate that more than you know.
The picture above represents a major reason I am very excited to return to Slovakia. I’ve been wearing these tokens for nearly a year now. One is a friendship bracelet expertly and lovingly made by a very special Slovak girl that I have adored since my trip in 2012. The other reminds me of the fun and goofiness we participate in while in class. It is part of a bandana we received upon completing (and winning!) a scavenger hunt that took us all over the town square. It was ripped apart for each of us in my group to have a reminder of our time together. They are both looking a little ragged now, but they have served the wonderful purpose of reminding me daily of the precious lives I am privileged to be a part of halfway around the world. I can’t wait to see my old friends and the new ones I have yet to meet!