Reporting Live from Martin, Slovakia

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. A door opened and it seemed the right thing to go through it.

Doors that open and lead to adventure are recurring literary themes, and vitally important in two of my favorite books. In one story, there is a great need to hide and an old wardrobe, with its door opened just a crack, beckons. In the other, an uncle tells his nephew “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Even more importantly, God Himself reached down into my life long ago and called me to follow Him. I told Him I would, not knowing where that path would lead, and it’s led to some pretty interesting places.

This is the second time I’ve let myself be swept off to this seemingly insignificant country in central Europe. With the New Heights group, I’m tasked with teaching conversational English to whomever wants to learn it. 25 years past communism, Slovakia is eager to find its place in the world market and English is seen as a necessary step. Well, if there’s one thing I can do, it’s talk. In English, even. A perfect fit, then.

But English is only the beginning of the story. I just returned from an evening spent looking out over rolling green hills that could well have been part of a Narnian or Middle Earth landscape (or a heavenly one, even). I ate and drank with people–some of whom I’d just met–who are already good friends. Earlier in the evening, we had a church service in a tiny, circular building from the 13th-century where the music was so pure and the acoustics so perfect, all I could do was weep.

When I came to Slovakia two years ago, I thought it was so that I could reach out to others with the love of Christ. It was and it is, but I learned then and I’m sensing again this time that these visits are as much about me learning to bask in His love as they are about anything I can do for others. Yes, it’s a dangerous business going out your front door, but you have to do it if you want to follow Him into life’s many ‘big adventures!’


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