This is the official Serving Slovakia 2009 Blog. As I’m sure you can see, it is still under construction. Nevertheless, this will be a vital resource in keeping up with the ServingSlovakia2009 Team through both their training, and their time overseas. -Matt

Under Construction

With less than 42 days to go until departure, the team is really starting to come together. Each “classroom” has been holding meetings so far to plan and prepare for what they’ll be doing in Slovakia when we get there. With only a few more group meetings before departure, we’re using every moment together to better prepare for what is to come. We recently set up a facebook fan site […]

42 Days

The youth camp has been planned, and is nearly ready to go! The Elevate team has put a lot of hard work into figuring out what aspects of our camps we will be able to bring over to Slovakia, and are really excited to get there and actually do this thing! Less than two weeks to arrival in Martin, less than three until the Youth Camp actually starts!

Youth Camp

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

I am sure I’m not the only member of this year’s Slovakia team wondering where all the time has gone! It is already less than five full days before we leave! I spent most of today buying luggage, comfy clothes to travel in, and shoes that are hopefully decent for walking everywhere. I am excited and a little apprehensive. Suddenly it seems like I have no time and too much […]

So little time!

61 hours from now we’ll be together at the airport. Wow. Can it be that we are really so close to actually being in Slovakia? Where did all the time go? It seems like only yesterday we were all just coming together and meeting for the first time, still unaware of how things would work out, how this would change us, how we would change Slovakia. For some, this may […]

T-minus…61 hours…and counting…

Tonight I am reminded of the verse from Psalms 1: “Blessed are those who delight in the Law of the Lord. For they are like trees planted by a stream of water which yields its fruit in its season and their leaves to not wither.” I know God wants me on this trip. I’m not sure why yet, or the purpose He has for me, but I am delighting in […]


Not too long now and we’ll be in Slovakia! However, for the college students hosting the youth camp, the work has just begun. We do have a rough idea of what will be going on for the camp, but we still have a lot of work left to do. We will be talking and working the whole first week in Slovakia with our Slovak counterparts who are helping to make this […]

Almost there…

i hope everything is going well for everyone. packing is nearly done ( and that no one forgot anything). i just sent an email out to all my family and friends asking them to pray for us and giving them this site. i’m so excited! i just hope we’ll have a peaceful flight over. God Bless this adventure!

Crunch Time!

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. […]


I found an intriguing perspective on a familiar verse at a website I visited recently: “Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:11-12 When Moses asks, “Who knows the power of your anger…” he’s saying that we humans just don’t get […]

Relying on God

Well, we’re here. Sitting at the gate, everyone is present and accounted for. Smiling faces on all. I want to say thank you to everyone who came to see us off today, it was a great way to start the trip. I especially liked the “wave” from the last few people to see us off. Definitely made those of us who saw it laugh. Please be praying for health, safety, […]

Your gate is D11, we hope you enjoy your flight

Well, we’ve arrived in Martin!! It’s 8pm local time here, and we’ve just checked into the hotel. We’re headed out to dinner now. More info to come soon (hopefully from several people!). Thanks again for all your support! **edited for new content** After a 10 hour plane flight, a 9-hour forward time change, a 5 hour layover, a 2 hour flight, a 4ish hour bus ride, we are FINALLY in […]

We’re here!

Today we decorated our classrooms. We also had church outside. hopefully matt will publish a picture of outside church. hint hint Matt. Some of us are still pretty exhausted, I would be included in the exhausted list, so prayer would be extremely useful. Students also come tomorrow, so prayer for the students and the lead teachers.

the night before

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

Dearest Family and Friends, This is long overdue, so please forgive me!! The tech thing here has been less than optimal, yet today, for some unknown reason, I am able to connect with you!!! I consider it a “God-thing!” Life here in Martin and at the Bible School has been so wonderful. I don’t know where to begin to describe the warmth and love of the people, the beauty of […]

Day 5

600 steps up and down through an ancient castle in the glorious Slovakian countryside followed by great food and conversation at the adjacent restaurant!  It is truly a reminder of the love God has for all of His children that he would fill our vision with such examples of his creation!  But this afternoon was special as well since I got to walk the town square with 2 of “my” […]

What a beautiful country!

In just two days, we are connecting with our students. We already see progress with their English. Just for fun, we had a balloon race popping balloons by sitting on them. Everybody was laughing and rooting for their team. After class, we went to our first castle, Orava Hrad. This is where the first Dracula film was done. The castle was built on a rocky hill and had many levels. […]

Day 2 at school in Slovakia

Filip is back! Filip came to English classes two years ago for the first time. He spoke only a little English but was placed in the intermediate class. He liked to keep his hat pulled down over his eyes and wouldn’t smile much. Last year Filip returned to English class and begged to be moved into the intermediate class when he was placed in beginners. I knew Filip needed to […]

Relationships continue…

Hello from Martin, Slovakia.  I arrived here on Monday evening, which was a couple of days later than the rest of the team.  Upon arrival, I immediately joined right in with the rest of the group.  Some of my team members would tell you that I was a little bit loopy that evening, but that’s what 24 hours of travel and a nine-hour time difference will do to you.  The […]

And so the planning continues…

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

Just imagine: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” ala bossa nova (OK, so that may not be spelled correctly, but you get the idea!). Add a rhythmic What a Friend to the gorgeous acoustical effects of a centuries-old Lutheran church. Stir in Slovak, Zambian, and English worshippers, and the effect is astounding. You can only imagine. We, on the other hand, experienced it– just moments ago. I’m breathless! God […]


It has been very hot here, and humid too. We went to an aragonite cave, a several hundred year old chateau and visited one of the oldest churches in Slovakia. The church is a forgotten jewel in Europe, very beautiful and full of very old artifacts. The Slovak people are very courteous and helpful even with us “crazy Americans”. Back on Wednesday we had a memorable service at another very […]

Tourist in Slovakia

I never thought I’d stay home to sleep while here in Slovakia(!!!), but after a whirlwind week, I apparently needed to and until 9am. The week has been rich with connecting with our students, fellowshipping with the Bible college staff and their families, getting to know one another better as team members and seeing some incredible Slovak sights. We have been very well cared for and loved and our hosts […]

Saturday at “home”

Sunday was a surprise treat as Jill and I were invited by a church member Vera (sp)to be guests for lunch at her home.  The name of the town, hmmm.  We were welcomed by our hostess, her husband, grandson (our interpreter), his parents and an uncle!!!  Essentially all of the food (including the chicken) were literally home grown!  They make their own wine so we sampled of course.  We were escorted […]

cooler weather!!

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…

I don’t know where the time has gone, but the fact is, I failed miserably with my blogging on this site! so sorry! This trip has been an amazing adventure…  The students are wonderful!  They dig in to what ever project we are working on…  and though they aren’t willing to volunteer, they participate very well (especially if they have to get up and speak in front of the class!). […]

Joy in Slovakia…

…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…

Well, we’re back in the good old US of A.  We got in right around noon yesterday, and I know that most of us were fighting to stay awake till 9ish last night.  I figured out that I had been awake for about 26 hours when I went to bed, and for me, I only slept about 15 minutes while traveling.  So it was a long day for sure. But […]

Back in the homeland

I’m still “processing” all that went on in Slovakia.  There is so much to absorb.  The number one surprise for me was how urgently and compelled I feel to change for the better – in a way that glorifies God (tears come thinking how blessed those two amazing weeks in Slovakia were).   Certainly I had been told it would be a great experience and that ministering to our Slovak students […]

Amazing Love

Slovakia—what an awesome experience. Having never been to Europe or Asia I arrived burdened with a full-blown case of new-traveler anxiety and three overstuffed bags as uncooperative as toddlers on shopping day. Yet, Slovakia’s similarities to the Pacific Northwest immediately surprised and comforted me. With the exception of ancient castles that here and there dominate the mountainsides and drew my mind back to days of knights on horseback and damsels […]