2014


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This blog serves as the official platform for the 2014 Serving Slovakia team to document and communicate their experiences to the friends, family, and interested community members both home and abroad.

Blog



This afternoon I opened my email and found a message from my friend, Alexandra. I have known her since the first year a team went to Martin, Slovakia. Along with three other students, she was in the small group I led. She lives in a small village outside of Bratislava, the capitol. She wanted to know when we arrive. Last summer I stayed with Alexandra and her parents an extra […]

Message from a Friend




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Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life…. Recently, I was on vacation to my childhood home where there is a piano I am able to practice on. As I was playing through a song book, I was encouraged by this old hymn, “Wonderful Words of Life.” Words have such power both to encourage and to wound. Nothing helps one practice speaking life-giving words more than living within […]

Words of Life




I’m afraid! I’m afraid that in all my planning for the trip I might have forgotten some little item or some minuscule detail. Did I really remember to pack my passport or my toothbrush? And how about my house? Will it be okay? Will the house sitter remember to water my plants or feed my cats?  Did I pay all the bills, charge all the electronics, wash all the dishes […]

The Antidote for Fear


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Breakfast before church this morning. This, and the morning devotions that typically follow, is how we begin most days. It is a special time when the team is all together, talking about the previous day’s adventures and planning for this day. Much of our time is spent with our individual teams, so this is a great opportunity to catch up on how God is working in, and using, the other […]

Our First Communal Meal


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Love this country, I must say. Can’t wait for worship with so many familiar faces later this morning. Now, the language will take some readjustment!!!! :o)

AHH!



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I’m reading J. Oswald Sanders in prep for this trip and allow me share a quote: (John 15:16) “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” Our position is in no sense a reward for merit. It is the sovereign choice of our Master…He chose His disciples in full knowledge of the instability and weakness they would display…He made His selection after a night of prayer. He knew that […]

let’s hear it for our prayer teams!


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We just completed our first full day with over 60 students!  It was very exciting and rewarding – full of both promise and apprehension as the students and our team embark on this journey together. I am tired but can’t wait to spend another day with my small group. They range in age from 11 to 40 and share a common goal to improve their English skills. Their motivations vary […]

First day!


As it turns out, the real international language seems to be “fun”, manifested today in the form of Dum Dum Dee Dee and other games used by our stellar Global Outreach team to break the ice and entertain half of 60+ students at a time while the EFL team conducted language skill evaluations on the other half. The process took much longer than is typical as New Heights is the […]

The Real International Language



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Today was my first ever experience at teaching EFL. I was nervous, especially when I discovered my assignment — team leader for five high school boys!  I am comfortable teaching medical students, after all they are all college graduates.  My three adult sons would probably agree that I don’t interact well with teenage boys! Right away I was challenged by the disruptive one,  “Why do you come here?”   “Because […]

Why are you here?


This is my fourth trip to Slovakia, and sometimes people wonder what draws me back. Certainly I have a love of travel, which was probably the primary reason I came the first time if I am completely honest.  It also serves to invigorate my faith as I focus intentionally on serving God through serving people, and working as a team with other believers to accomplish this purpose. And frankly, it’s […]

Why I Return


For some people, they say the happiest place on earth is Disneyland. Martin is my Disneyland, it is the trip that makes me so much more excited for summer to get here. This place is in my thoughts all throughout the year, I’m thinking, praying, and wondering how it is doing… I try to keep up with my friends I’ve made in creative ways. The last three summers have been […]

HS camp is next week!



Slnečné okuliare! Translated into English means “sunglasses” and is more difficult to pronounce than it is to read if you can believe it, hahaha. A student taught me this after I asked him how do you say sunglasses in Slovak. The students are just as overjoyed to teach us Slovak as we are to teach them English and its been an amazing exchange of language, culture, life, friendship, and Jesus. […]

Slnecne Okulaire!


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My students are very talented!  The Slovak people do love to sing and dance and put on plays, and from what I’ve seen, they are very good at it!  I share with you a skit, written and performed by  a few students from the Advanced English class.   God bless them one and all for they are a terrific group of people!  And God bless my Table Teachers for they […]

A little fun with skits!


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What is this trip to Slovakia? I thought it was called Czechoslovakia? Is the money worth it? Can you really make a difference? Why are you going there? Students will ask “why we are here?“ I believe the answer is that we are here wasting time and not making a difference…if we are here on our own power that is. As John 15:5 states “apart from me you can do […]

Stormy Evening Musings



Words to describe it : scary – my initial concern was ‘What will my students be like?’ I have 2 sixteen year-old, 1 twenty -two year -old university student, an English teacher married w / 2 children, a married mother of 3 who works at the Slovakian National Library here in Martin. I need not have been scared because they are all delightful individuals. Excitement : All of the students […]

First week of English classes – impressions


Do I believe in God — or do I believe God? Do I trust in God or do I trust God? Isn’t the preposition redundant? My Slovakian friend Bohdan tells me that ‘believe’ and ‘trust’ originate from the same Greek root. I can say, “I believe you, God”. Pray that we are His face, His hands, His voice, His love after lunch today.

What do you believe ‘in’?


Serving Slovakia has been a good reminder to me about what it means to be a servant. Serving is not about seeking payment for my actions because I will be rewarded but about giving because I am able. Being a servant takes more than our own will and desire but goes beyond our own heart. A servant’s heart looks into the heart of God. To see how He sees, to […]

A Servant’s Heart in Slovakia



There is nothing quite like a 12th Century church service to whisk away the spiritual cobwebs and get the heart and tear glands moving again! I have been to this church many times in the years I have been to Martin, and every time, without fail, I am not allowed to get through it without shedding tears of reverent joy. It is an honor, always, to stand where others centuries […]

Beautiful, Heavenly Music


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What does trying to blow bubble gum bubbles have to do with learning English? Well, take a look at these photos. You can almost hear the giggles as bubbles explode, and feel the smashed sticky bubble gum on faces, and see the fun in the eyes! That’s what brings our students back day after day FUN! Now, just who is having more fun–the students or the New Heights team members? […]

Bubble Gum Bubbles


Wow, what a day! After a wonderful week of teaching English in the classrooms we were given the opportunity to go out and explore Slovakia. First, we visited Terchová and rode gondolas up to Chleb peak and went for a beautiful hike. The whole team made it up to the top of the peak and by the time we made it to the bottom we were ready for our haluśky […]

A Day of “Rest”



In four visits to Slovakia this is possibly the fullest day I have ever spent here! We began the day with a bus ride to a ski area called Chata Vratna-Chleb. We rode gondolas to the chalet, and then hiked to the top of the mountain for the reward of stunning views of the Tatra Mountains and surrounding countryside. Even though the distance wasn’t terribly far, the steep, rocky terrain […]

All Tuckered Out


The first day or two this week felt long but looking back now, the entire week just flew by! I am enjoying time this afternoon (Sunday) resting and reflecting while anticipating and preparing for the week ahead. Two of my students won’t be participating in week 2 (Marcela and Elena) and I’ll miss them both. We’ll likely have new students to inculcate and that will undoubtedly bring both promise and […]

First Week Reflections


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“Jesus came to free us from the fear of the shadowlands – of being swallowed up by the darkness of discouragement, doubt, and depression. He is Light, and He banishes darkness” (Ruthless, Stern, p.127).  I’m so thankful we serve a God who is Light and who shines His Light into our dark places. This year in particular, I have been experiencing some intense attacks from the evil one. He doesn’t […]

Ready, Set, Fight!



God’s unfailing faithfulness and home folks’ ongoing prayer–we simply could not do without either of these! (Oh, and maybe chocolate!!!!!)

Essentials


The campus was a good deal quieter and less energetic this afternoon with the departure of our Global Outreach team, off to lead a 6 day New Heights-style camp for the incoming freshmen of the CCE high school. The EFL team and the Slovak students have enjoyed so much having their lively participation in class during our morning sessions the past week.  We are excited for their opportunity to serve […]

And So They’re Off…


So, here we are after the first full day of camp. What a ride it has been already. For weeks we have been praying for the Lord to prepare the hearts of the students and to give us the words and activities to best reach them. It is incredible how He answers. Our first activity of all camp was to create “physical Facebook” pages with the students. The point was […]

Facebook Friends: Update from Camp



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After 3 pm we had a real downpour!  It has continued to rain (now 11 pm) and it will continue all day tomorrow.  Please pray that our team and the campers will have a rewarding experience in spite of the weather.  May many decide to become Jesus’ disciples…    

Heavy Rain for Campers


Here I sit in a small dormitory room 5000 miles from home. How did I get here and what’s it all about? The how-I-got-here question is easily answered: Delta Airlines. North  to Canada, east to the North Atlantic, across the southern tip of Greenland, then south to Amsterdam. A 2-hour hop on KLM to Budapest, then 4 hours by bus to Martin. The WHY of it is even less complicated. […]

Reporting Live from Martin, Slovakia


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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


We rode the bus to camp to visit and encourage our teammates and the students who have been there since Sunday.  I rode next to 22 year old Anna who asked why so many of us were in Slovakia.  I explained that each of us were ‘called’ to share our faith with them. Paul wrote to Philemon, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that […]

Sharing my Faith


So…it’s over. 2 weeks in Slovakia have flown by and the parting today with all the students, kids and adults alike, was, as Shakespeare said so well all those years ago–“sweet sorrow.” I tried to explain this concept to my group–how something can be both sweet and sorrowful at the same time. For non-native English speakers, it was a bit difficult, but I think they eventually got it. The parting […]

Heading Home



This evening…second to last in Martin for the year! What? Where did the time go? It has already been two weeks?!?!? What started out as a “Cameron with a bad attitude” trip, has turned into one of the most spiritually significant years that I have been on for this trip to Slovakia. I entered the first few days of this trip thinking that perhaps I had misinterpreted God’s will or […]

Aliens!


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We’re back home now.  This was my first trip to Slovakia.  Here are the two main things God spoke to me about. One I expected something big, but received something humbling instead.  How so?  Well first, some background about my loud spring. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March and then watched The Lord fully remove it in a marvelous way. During this same time I watched my consulting […]

Lord of the Harvest


That is how Terka described herself and her friends this afternoon.  Their teen friend Adam was killed last Wednesday when he was accidentally electrocuted.  Sadness was palpable both at camp and the classrooms.  Adam’s funeral was today and many of our students, now our friends, were there.  Our hearts ache for their loss.  As our two week mission ended Friday night, we joined students as they spontaneously initiated prayers for […]

Happy facade but we’re broken inside…



Greeting everyone, I just wanted to say that Serving Slovakia was by far the most life changing experience I’ve ever had.  I enjoyed the classroom experience with the students and have made a lot of new Facebook friends.  I have chatted regularly with some of my students these past couple of days.  I love all the pictures that the team has posted of their own experiences.   I enjoyed the […]

Serving Slovakia