Shelly Johnson

Two planes, one bus ride, lots of laughs and no sleep later – we’re here!! It’s Sunday morning as I type and the gang is about to gather at the Lutheran Church for services.  We have to pick up our headphones beforehand – since none of us is fluent in Slovak – so I better go before they’re all gone. Thanks for praying – more to come…

We’re Here!!!!

We’ve just met with Michal and Katka Valco.  Michal is the director of the Bible School in Martin and Katka is the coordinator for the trip.  They say we’ll have over 100 students!  Our group of students will include the director of the Slovak National Library and… the Mayor of Martin!!!  Please pray as both of these men can have a major impact on the future of the Bible School. […]

Time to Pray!

Wow!  What a great day – and a great job by the team!!   We started our day with a time of devotions together and prayer for our teachers.  After a quick breakfast, it was time to go meet our students.   The team did a great job of jumping right in and getting to know the people who came – even without knowing who would or wouldn’t be our […]

“Getting to Know You…”

We moved into our permanent classrooms last night.  It’s great to be in them, but, after two full days of classes and the effects of jet-lag and lack of sleep, it was challenging to find the energy to get them ready.  I think they’ll be a work in progress this week. 😉   The quick request?  Pray.   As was true last year, the combination of lack of sleep, jet […]

Quick Request

As I looked at our site, I realized we haven’t told you much about our activities over the last few days.  So, here’s a quick recap… Sunday – Church services and classroom set-up Monday – Recovered from first day of classes. Tuesday – Cleaned up temporary classrooms.  Went for a hike and barbeque at a local village. Set up classrooms when we returned – at 9pm. Wednesday – First day […]


Yesterday, the majority of us went to Auschwitz and Krakow.  We left early in the morning and drove straight to Auschwitz.  I think a softly spoken “wow” is the only way to sum it up.  It’s hard to imagine the atrocities that were committed there even when you see the artifacts – hair, shoes, suitcases with victims names, shaving kits.  I found myself remaining emotionally disconnected as we walked through […]


Well, maybe not like flies, and maybe not really dropping, but, as we end our second Tuesday here, we have another person out sick – and maybe another on the way.  We’ve either brought a bug with us, or picked up a new Slovak one, but either way we need prayer as we continue our second week. Rather than mention names, please pray for everyone to either get or stay […]

Dropping like…flies?

Tonight, Mark and I had the privilege of having dinner with four amazing men – Bohdan Hrobon, Adrian Kacian and Michal Valco (the three men who lead the Bible School) and Jan Hrobon (the pastor of the local congregation).  All four are true visionaries and missionaries in every sense of the words.  They get what ministry is about; they live every day by faith; they give their hearts and souls […]

Water Walkers

These are some of  “our girls” as we call them.  Each day, they faithfully, cheerfully and selflessly serve us by making us breakfast, lunch, snacks for breaks, and coffee. They clean up after us and the students. They look for opportunities to help and serve. They’re a delightful group of young women and, as was true last year, they take very good care of us. The group of girls may […]

Our Girls

Wow. I can’t believe we’ll be leaving for Martin in just 9 days! I know everyone’s excited. Some are a little apprehensive. I think we’re all feeling a bit overwhelmed at all that needs to happen between now and departure on the 10th. I know for sure we’d all appreciate your prayers as we make our final preparations. Please also be praying that, even now, God would be preparing the […]

9 Days

As I’ve been busily running around getting things done, my mind went to our two previous trips and those who’ve traveled with us. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for each person on the previous teams. If our trips to Martin have fewer speed bumps – or roadblocks! – it’s due, in large part, to the graciousness of our previous team members and their willingness to let us experiment with them. […]


Today was our first day of school – and all the feelings associated with that were present!  Many of our students were nervous and shy – especially during the assessment process – but by the end of the day they were settled in their classrooms and having a great time. (The same could be said for our teachers and coaches, as well!)  It was fun to hear laughter pouring out […]

First Day of School

So, it’s really, really hot.   Really.  I keep reminding myself that it’s not nearly as hot as our first year here – and definitely not as hot or humid as it is in Indonesia right now (where the Impact Indonesia team is serving at this time) – but somehow that doesn’t seem to be cooling me off, although it is a great reminder to be praying for that team. […]

Prayer request and a miracle (or two)

Saturday, the team took a trip to the southeastern part of Slovakia.  It was the first time we’ve ever been to this part of the country, in the three years we’ve come here, so it was exciting to explore new territory.  Our first stop was a cave – after a very winding and hilly drive. (Prayer request – we have some team members who suffer from severe motion sickness. Most […]

A Cave, A Church, A Castle

I’m sure we’ve taken hundreds of pictures, so far, but thought I’d show you my favorite. You’ll be able to tell why things seem so quiet around here now, with six, of the seven students who came with us, gone…

Favorite Photo Op…

My computer died the other day, something about a “cpu” being fried. I don’t know what that means in techno-speak, but I know it means I’ve been unable to update/communicate via my computer.  Between that, and the very busy schedule we’ve had, we’ve been pretty silent on our end – but not for lack of things happening!  The biggest news, especially for those of you connected with the students who […]

Sorry for the silence…

…which means the tears have begun.  As I type this, I can hear the laughter and applause coming from the classrooms as the students thank their teachers – and the teachers return the favor. The appreciation shown by the students is quite overwhelming. Gifts, tears, speeches, hugs, kisses – it all happens on the last day.  It always feels like two weeks is such a short amount of time to […]

Last day…

I’ve been reading through the Bible this year with the leaders of the various women’s ministry groups at New Heights. One thing that’s stood out for me in the Old Testament has been the number of times I’ve seen the phrase “but God…” It usually seems to occur during a difficult or challenging time in the life of the people of Israel. A time when things seem completely overwhelming and […]

But God…

Yesterday, our Elevate team – along with their Slovak teammates – left for Camp. The parking lot was filled with families saying good-bye to their high schoolers.  However, in the midst of all the good-byes, there were several reunions. Campers from last year were reuniting with various folks from the New Heights team. You could see the excitement and joy on the faces of the various parties as the reunions […]

Class Reunion

We’re almost at the end of our time in Slovakia – and what an incredible two weeks it’s been. The first week was filled with some challenges, but God as always was faithful and things worked out – perhaps not as we would have wanted but certainly in such a way that our goal in coming here could be met – serving the folks in Slovakia. The second week was […]

The End… Almost

On Tues, the Serving Slovakia 2011 Team meets for our last training. While it’s been great to get to know the folks on this team, it hasn’t been easy. NOT because this isn’t a great team filled with amazing individuals – it is and they are –  but because various circumstances have presented some interesting challenges causing us to have to reschedule several meetings. However, there has been a graciousness […]

New Team – New Adventure!

Week one is over. It’s hard to believe that just seven days ago, we were unpacking our suitcases and getting ready to spend our first night here in Martin. Since then, we’ve worshipped with friends – old and new, set up classrooms, greeted 35 anxious and excited students, reconnected with previous students, successfully completed a high school camp, painted buildings, seen some gorgeous countryside, ridden a train to a beautiful […]

A Great Week

    This weekend the Center for Christian Education celebrated 15 years of God’s miracle in the life of the school. There was a dinner reception to thank all the US teams for their past involvement – it was really quite amazing, a day of lectures about the history of Christianity, God’s word coming to Slovakia and the story of the CCE, a huge outdoor church service, an all-church goulash […]

Weekend fun

Two of our dear friends here in Martin will be getting married soon. Ita will marry this Saturday; Sisa on September 21. We were thrilled to be able to do a shower for them – an idea that’s fairly new here in Slovakia. I promised them no silly games – and stuck to my promise. Instead, I asked each of the women on the team to write out two things […]

Bridal Shower

Each year, in preparation for our time in Slovakia, the Serving Slovakia team reads a book together. This year we read and studied Ruthless: Knowing the God Who Fights for You by Bo Stern. It’s one of those books that packs a whole bunch of eye-opening spiritual truth in a deceptively small and simple package. The overall theme of the book is this: when battles come our way – and […]

Magic Wand?

  “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh It’s hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of another two weeks here in Slovakia. And, as always, my brain goes into overdrive as it tries to process all that’s happened. Here are just a few thoughts:  God is the God of the WHOLE world. Seeing what He’s doing here always […]

Nearing the Finish Line