Serving Slovakia is a short term mission experience that provides an opportunity to see God at work while sharing the love of Christ and serving the people of Slovakia.
Since 1998, the Center for Christian Education (CCE), located in Martin, Slovakia, has been a place where people of all ages can learn and experience the love of Christ in this post-communist part of the world. New Heights has had the privilege of partnering with them in a variety of ways, including sending our first short-term mission team in 2007.
In 2007, New Heights sent its first team of people to teach two-week Conversational English as a Foreign Language (EFL) courses for the people of Slovakia. Since then, we have been blessed to be able to send a team to serve in this and other capacities every summer.
Traditionally, our EFL team is broken into three or four sub-groups, each comprised of a lead teacher and several helpers to serve as table leaders and teaching assistants in their classrooms. Each head teacher is responsible for teaching a different level of English, which varies as the age and English proficiency level of our students drastically changes from year to year. The primary motto for our team is to “Be Flexible” and ready to adjust to whatever the specific needs are each year.
Global Outreach and Youth Camps
For the summer of 2009, our group was presented with a new opportunity: pulling together a team of college-aged Americans to plan and assist with an “American-style” summer camp. While the primary objective of this camp was to assist students with developing their conversational English, the camp also had the objective of serving as a youth outreach program. As with the EFL courses, many of the students who came to this first camp had no affiliation or relationship with the CCE or the Lutheran Church in Martin. In fact, several students came from the other side of the country (and a couple even from the Czech Republic) just to attend the week-long camp. New Heights has been blessed to be able to send a team of five to six college-aged people every summer since in order to assist with similar youth camps, most recently working with incoming freshmen at the Lutheran Academy of Martin.
Classroom Preparation and Facility Development
Since our first summer assisting with the EFL program in Martin, the programs offered by the CCE and the church have continued to grow in popularity. This, of course, has led to a significant increase in the number of participants and amount of space needed to facilitate these programs. We are grateful to have been able to send a team of individuals during the summers of 2011 and 2013 to assist with some of the manual labor necessary to build and prepare the CCE’s facilities for the needs of the future. If you’re interested in reading more about the explosive growth the CCE has experienced, please click here.
This summer, our Serving Slovakia team will again spend two weeks in Martin. Some of the ways we’ve been asked to serve are:
- EFL: Teaching conversational English to Slovak citizens of various ages.
- Global Outreach: Week One – Planning and staffing a week-long camp for the incoming freshman class of students at the Lutheran Academy of Martin. Week two – Volunteering with Lutheran Academy students and staff at a community outreach center focused on serving Roma children in the Martin area, by playing games, doing art projects, etc.
While our hope is that we’ll show Christ’s love in all that we say and do, the Serving Slovakia team has two main purposes. First, we want to connect with the Slovak people in relevant ways (through conversational English classes and camps), so they’ll be open to hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Second, we hope to be an encouragement to our friends at the Center for Christian Education, who faithfully serve and love the people of Slovakia in Christ’s name.