Monday, September 07, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

An intense, awesome week!

Milujem Moje Mesto has successfully come to an end in Nitra! The last day consisted of a 5am start then rain, rain and more rain as our team worked around the fairground area near to the community centre, cleaning up the rubbish and general waste left by everyone the day before. Later on, Kids’ Camp had their own slot on the stage, which included singing, dancing, games and a bit of theatre thrown in for good measure. The team made balloon animals for the kids and hotdogs were given out to the nearby crowd. Throughout all of this, we prayed for the weather to ease up as we could only do so much because of the storm.

In the afternoon, the Canadian teams left to take a tour of Bratislava – taking our numbers from around twenty-five down to seven. This is when the weather really started to dry up, local people started to come out and more rides were switched on. Bags of food donated from Convoy of Hope were given out to surprised passer-bys and coffee was offered to those drenched by the miserable weather. More balloon animals were given out, more food – what seemed to be a day that was going to be a let-down was a joy by the end!

After over a week of painting, mowing, scything, cutting, digging, machines breaking down, intense heat, cementing, keeping our spirits up and imploring God to move within, the icing on the cake was when the Vice-Mayor of Nitra spoke at our church, thanking everyone for what they had done. Lessons were learnt during the week, but more importantly hearts were reached – within the team and around the community. We love our city! :-D

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tomorrow is a better day...

Restless nights (not entirely sure about the quality of mattress I've been given) have so far haunted my stay here, with a few people here and there saying that I look tired. I'm praying that this is now sorted, that I've found the problem and everything will be well from now on in. This is mostly because the type of work that's going to be involved over the next week will be filled to the brim with labour jobs, as we enter the third day of MMM on Monday.

Saturday got off with a flying start, where teams were given orientation lessons, then shown how teamwork within the missions trip can lead to some truly positive outcomes. What filled the rest of the afternoon was the Amazing Race, where four teams from the Canadian missions group (plus one Slovak) competed with each other to finish first and gain the most amount of points doing it (bonus points for creating a human pyramid, catching a pigeon...). Everyone had a great time doing it, including the leaders. Fun part for us was when one of the teams beat Christina and I to a location, where we hadn't quite put down the clue box somewhere...

Sunday was a time for worship and thankfulness, with Ryan (leader of the Canadian missions group) leading in the morning and also again in the 'special edition' evening service. Throughout the day we engaged in prayer together, basing it on our prayer meetings during the week - purpose of the mission; God's faithfulness; opportunities that God provides; people and God's protection. By the end of the night, the congregation was buzzing and you could tell that everyone involved wanted to give it their all.

We finished off Sunday night by celebrating Betka's birthday. Betka is Christina's best friend in Slovakia and it was great to be involved with the making of the cake (last minute preparations included looking up a recipe on Wiki-how) and helping to present. The cake was delicious... I'm blessed with my bride to be! ;-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

It Begins

Yes, the outreach we have been planning for the past year is FINALLY upon us! The Canadian teams have arrived and some of the Slovak volunteers will be making their way in the morning and orientation begins. Crazy. I can't believe it's actually happening! Please keep us in your prayers.

Focus for prayer: Unity. Saturday is orientation - introducing everyone to each other: Slovaks, Canadians and a Brit... various age categories, various experience in ministry and missions. Pray that we will stand together as one. That the Lord would bind us together.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gearing up!

So, one of the teams for the "I Love My City" Campaign is already on their way to Nitra! Next week we will need your prayers more than ever as we team up with 2 teams from Canada, the church here and numerous individuals from various surrounding churches to bless Nitra. We are going to be running a kids camp, cleaning up the playground/park of a community centre, handing out free hotdogs at the fair and doing garbage cleanup at said fair. All this to show love to our fair city and build in roads into the community. Please join with us in prayer as we gear up and believe God for great things next week!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Me, Myself and Crisco


I arrived on Saturday in Bratislava, only to be whisked away once again by my waiting fiancĂ©e to her rented apartment in Nitra. There, Christina dropped me off and said ‘Bye!’ before driving to her friend’s house, where she’s staying until the wedding. This meant leaving me alone with her cat, Krisco.

Very affectionate moggy, is Crisco. After about ten minutes I was covered with so much moulted cat hair that I felt like I was wearing a quilt. Lying in bed at 1am, all I can hear is this ‘thrrp, thrrp’ noise as he’s grooming himself. And at 5am he head-butts me in order to get me out of bed and feed him. He doesn’t ‘miaow’, but the noise he makes sounds as if he’s asking one of these questions:

  • Food?
  • Love?
  • Both?

He also likes to play. This usually means scratching you in some sort of way. On one visit to Nitra, he got me all the way from my elbow to my wrist. No hard feelings, right? He’s fit too, unlike some housecats… graceful, effortless movement will take him from the floor straight into your lap or the nearest pillow that you’ve just cleaned.

But the upside is the purring. It’s like the world’s purest contentment put into one furry bucket of spit and hair. It makes you feel good and all the differences that you had ten minutes ago – get off my pillow, get off my clothes, get off my lap, get off the floor looking like a draught excluder – kind of vanish.

I can get used to him. Mostly because the life I'm going to lead later on will have far greater challenges than Crisco. And I can't help but have the nagging feeling that I'd miss him if he went...

JC (under CC's computer name!)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

28 Days...

Unlike the Sandra Bullock movie, my 28 days are counting down towards something great! :) 28 days until I will forever change my name and my life. 28 days of singleness. 28 days of stress and preparation!

But, in the midst of the shopping trips to IKEA, the checking off of names and items, and all the stress that that entails, I was most pleasantly overwhelmed last night with a surprise bridal shower!

Last night, I thought I was going to my friend's Matt and Amber for our semi-regular games night. I had just been to the pool and wasn't looking all that gorgeous, but oh well, it's just Matt and Amber! But, so my surprise, there were 15 of my closest girl friends from several different cities hiding away inside their apartment! I was the object of a conspiracy; apparently this has been brewing for weeks and weeks now!

The night was long and fun, embarrassing and hilarious, sensitive and moving, and overall, a WONDERFUL experience. Thanks guys! You're the best!

Monday, August 03, 2009


Please click on the link above, or look in the Newsletter sidebar to download my BRAND NEW NEWSLETTER!!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Home of Our Own

As you all know, our church in Nitra, Mozaika, has been pretty transient for the past couple years. From my home, to AgroInstitute, to a home, to the VBC and now to its current home, where we share the building of the Brethren Church here. This is something that has been on our pastor, Miro's heart for some time, and that is to buy land. This would end our nomadic days, giving our church stability for growth and for witness, but also to tell the city and the enemy, that we are here that we are a part of this city, and we are not going anywhere!

This endeavour is quite difficult because the Catholic church here owns more of the city than the City does! Also, because no bank will grant a non-profit organization a loan for a mortgage, we have to be creative! :) But, it seems like God is providing a way for His church. In meetings with the city planning council, we have been offered to buy a portion of land in a new development that is being built is the main residential area of the city, Klokocina. Right now, this offer has not been publicized, so, the price is very reasonable. That does not, however, include building costs. This will be a huge undertaking for our small church, but, we believe that God has provided us the favour from City officials, and this opportunity to buy.

This location would be very strategic for the Kingdom, as it will be in the heart of the residential area where most families live. It will also be across the street from a starter-home complex, where the City provides young families who are financially struggling, a home for a few years to help them get on their feet. So, we would always have families, kids and youth. Our church would be a community centre during the week, where we could have kids programs, youth hangouts, a place for mother's to come with their toddlers and much more. Since this property is quite narrow, we would need to build up, and so, we would be able to use the ground floor to host a cafe or another type of business, which would help generate revenue for us to pay off the costs of the building faster.

This is a very exciting development, but please keep us in prayer as our deadline to buy the land is the end of this calendar year.

Pre-Marital Counselling

I have just arrived back from having a week long intensive pre-marital counselling session. James and I went to meet this couple for the first time, and were challenged to be very open and very honest right from the get-go. Our days were full, but I can already see what a difference it has made in our relationship. We were also challenged to talk about certain things that we hadn't even thought of before! It also brought us much closer together, and we are both so excited for the next phase of life and ministry together!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Combinations are Good!

This past Sunday we had a joint service with the Nove Zamky church, they packed a bus and various cars in order to join us for church. We also had a packed service... a baptism, a commissioning of one of our members into pastoral ministry, a band from Holland, a barbeque and a sports event! It was full, it was busy, but it was a success. A time of life commitments and declarations, and a time of celebration and family.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Open Cities

Today I received the very unique opportunity to talk to some of the regions key people as far as migration to Slovakia is concerned. Open Cities is a 3 year project which "explores how immigration can significantly contribute to a city's success." together with the British Counsil and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the region of Nitra. I was invited to participate in a panel discussion about why and how I came to be in Slovakia, as well as some of the challenges I had to face in coming. So, in addition to speaking about some of my experiences of going for a chest x-ray for the first time, and being sent from one government office to the next, I also shared about why I am here personally. While I wasn't given a lot of freedom to share, I was able to tell them about the grace of God, and the vision that I believe that God has for Nitra and for Slovakia. I also got to mention our church, which still isn't very well known in the city by the general populous.

During the lunch break, I found out that one of the delegates was from our church, but in Bratislava. I was also able to make new connections with a young couple and a few other people who were at this conference.

I was very glad to be a part of this, these people are going to be, over the next 3 years, making pushes to change the way Nitra reacts to foreign migrants. They will be lobbying for the creation of new systems and legislation, as well as pushing for changes to be made in existing structures and patterns. I was very blessed to have this opportunity to share about the kingdom, even if it was just in a small way, to this community of people. I hope that they will call me again!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Spanish Flavour!

Through our connection with the University, I have come to know one young lady by the name of Laura from Spain. She is here on a grant from the Spanish Government and is working in the Institute for Plant Genetics in Nitra. Over the past month or so, I have had the opportunity to share with her on a number of occasions about Christ. Please pray for her, as I sense that a breakthrough is not far for her. The last time we talked, I expressed to her about how great God is, about how He can take a life and change it, make it whole. As I was sharing, she was touched and began to cry. She came with me this Sunday to church, which was a bit of a shock for her. Her only exposure to the church has been through the Catholic Church, so it was definitely not what she was expecting! :) Others have also had the chance to share their life stories with her, and I believe that God will take this seed and cause it to grow. She leaves to go back to Spain in 2 weeks time, please pray that God will reach her heart!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

National Church Business Mtg

Oh, this sounds boring, but I assure you... it was much better than it sounds. Picture this.... one room, 130 people, of which are every pastor of every church in the country plus a number of chosen delegates to represent these churches. These delegates were all in church leadership, most were church elders. We opened in worship in song, and it was such a beautiful presence of God's spirit.

We also had matters of business to attend to, as this meeting only takes place every 3 yrs. But, that was OK. There was also time of reflection on the past 3 years, what God has done, what changes have been made and how we have grown. A time to set vision for the future. Also, a time to look at what we are doing presently around the country. Here were a couple things that stood out to me:

1) Bible Translation into the Roma language. This project has been going on for the past 1.5 yrs and they already have a number of New Testament books already translated. (Acts, Mark, James and a few others) The translator translates 20 verses every day, rain or shine, into a language that has an abundance of verbs, but very few nouns. Good luck!

2) Puchov Church Plant: This is a plant that is in the North-West part of Slovakia. They have built a multi-purpose building as a church, and have received incredible support for their building project... but, they MUST finish the outside of the building and the land surrounding (by order of the city) by June 30, or they risk losing it all. They are looking for someone who can scaffold, and who can do the facade of the building. They had a guy who was going to help them, but just this week he backed out. CAN YOU HELP?

3) Prievidza: population over 60,000 people with no evangelical witness. One of the biggest challenges for the Gospel in the country currently. Who will go? Pray for workers to be sent into the harvest!

This was also a time for me to recharge my vision for this country, and for our city. I recieved a number of ideas that I would like to investigate further. I was also so encouraged just to be with brothers and sisters I don't see very often. So blessed also to be a blessing!

God bless you as you pray for this country!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Change of Plans

Yesterday was our final discussion club night of the semester. What we didn't realise was that the school year finished last week... so, we weren't quite sure how many people would even show up. In the end, only 1 student came. But we had 4 other people there, who were of working age. So, students or not, we still had a decent turn out. And, they were all men! Betka and I were the only females in the room! So, the girls ran the show for the guys!

Anyway, our theme was Honesty and Integrity. I am not even sure how it happened, but we started to talk about God quite directly. My colleague from the language school, Lubo, came and he always comes with a lot of questions... about everything! So, when the topic was moving onto more spiritual matters, he latched onto that and started asking about faith and Christ and how we experience God and salvation and everything in between. Our pastor, Miro, was also in attendance, and he ended up sharing his testimony and giving him a very clear presentation of the Gospel. I know that the Holy Spirit was present, because typically Lubo doesn't give you a lot of time to answer the question he's asked you, before he gives you another one! But last night, he listened and asked, and listened some more. He also seemed very touched by what he was hearing. Please pray for him, that the Holy Spirit would lead him to Himself!

Thank you for your prayers for us and for this ministry, it's because of those prayers these opportunities become available. And it is only by prayer that this will follow through!

God changed the plans on us last night, but, we didn't mind at all!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Jailbird Evangelist!

Peter Slany is a young man from Teen Challenge, a Christian drug/alcohol addiction rehabilitation centre. Before entering the program, Peter had been convicted of a crime, and a couple months ago, he began his jail term. He was a little nervous about going to prison, he had given his life to Christ and was afraid of slipping back into that old lifestyle. But, now we see that he has done the exact opposite. While in jail he feels himself growing closer to God, and he even led one of his fellow in-mates to Christ! Peter's last name, Slany, means "salty". We can see that he is living up to his name by being salt and light, even in prison! Please continue to pray for Peter as he continues his sentence.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Yes, it is true, my marital status is changing! For the past number of months I have been seeing a very wonderful man, and this weekend, he proposed! :) His name is James Clapham, and he is from Leighton Buzzard, England. He is 30 yrs old and is a Technical Quality Officer by trade. He loves Jesus with his whole heart, and has also found that he has a heart also for Slovakia and Nitra. After getting married he will move here, and we will stay here and serve God in His vision for the city until we're told otherwise! Please pray for us as we seek the Lord and enter into a marriage together. Thank you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Discussion Club Update

In one of my last emails, i asked for your prayers regarding our Discussion club. We were experiencing a drop in numbers, but also, a drop in regular attendance. I am pleased to report that while our numbers aren't where they once were, we've gotten more people coming back regularly, which is very encouraging for us. We are able to really invest into these people and to build a strong relationship with them.

If you're curious about the content of the club, here's the recap from the last one! :)

100 years ago, it was not so rare for a person to be born, live, work and die in the same place. Now, with open borders and cheap airline tickets, the whole world has become accessible to us, and now it is more likely that people will live, study, marry and die in totally different places. The concept of "home" has now changed. This was the theme of our talk this week.

Discussion 1:
- What would cause you to leave your city? country? (wife/job/opportunity/adventure)
- Where would you go? Not go?
- Have you ever lived in another culture? What did you like? Not like? Was it hard to adjust?
- Is immigration in your family?
- What are your thoughts about immigration?
- How do you view other cultures in your nation? How has it changed your home culture/country?
- What has your experience with travel been?
- Do you have friends who are a part of a visible minority?

But, living in such a "small" world does have it affects on us. We are introduced to new things such as, jet lag, culture shock, home sickness and the like. Things that our ancestors never had to deal with. Also, the whole concept of "home"...

Discussion 2:
- How important is your nationality to you?
- How does it affect your identity?
- Have you ever experienced jet lag?
- If you live away from home, how do you relate to your friends/family back home?
- Do you have the travel bug?

Our guest, Sheldon, concluded our club by telling us about his experiences with traveling a lot for work and life. He said that for him, wherever you go, you have to know what home is for you. For him, it is where there are people who love and accept him. He could be anywhere in the world, so long as he had that. Also, being a believer in Christ has caused him to have "family" everywhere in the world, and that's a great thing!

Thank you for keeping us in prayer! :)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I just want to thank you all for your prayers and encouraging emails! My surgery went well with no complications. My gall bladder was successfully removed, stones and all! I was in the hospital for 4.5 days, and then was sent home! I am getting stronger every day, but I am still in a bit of pain and my energy levels are still lower than normal. But I PRAISE GOD for His goodness, and also for how fast I am recovering and for His protection over me while on the table!

Please also pray for our Young Adult Club, we are experiencing a drop in numbers, and really need your prayers! But even at that, there is still always at least 1 non-believer, so, that is still encouraging!

Hospitals and Churches

On the morning of March 25 at 8:30 Slovakia time, after midnight
Alberta time,I'll be going for gall bladder surgery. Please pray
for a smooth operation anda fast recovery.
I'm in the Bratislava hospital if anyone feels the desire to
fly over and pay me a visit!
My Dad has come over to help me at this time,
for which i am thankful.

In other news, I have a huge praise item. The church in
Nove Zamky won the bid to buy their building! For the
past 12 years they have been renting one part of a
3-part building. There was also an administration
building and a disco in addition to the space we used
for church. We knew that we wouldn't be able to rent
forever, and the time came where we had to
either buy or move out.

There were 6 other companies bidding for this
property, God have the leadership a number to submit
on the bid, and we won by a very thin margin!
This property has so much potential and is such a
huge blessing! All we have to do now is to find the
money to pay for it. But we believe that if God made such
a miracle for us, He isn't going to leave us now holding the bag.
We need God to provide 1.13 million Euro. Which is a
big number to my eyes, but not for God!

Please join with us in praising God for His provision!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Turbulencia and a New Home for Mozaika

Mozaika is the name of our church, and we have a new home. Oh, the history we have. Last Fall when we started meeting at the VBC, they told us, "For sure a month, maybe till the end of the year... maybe 2 or 3 years." So, at the end of Dec, they told us that Jan would be our final month. Just recently have we found a new solution. God has opened the door to us to share Krestanske Zbori's church. This is the same church where the AB Women's Team went to to wash windows! They have generously offered us the building to meet in after their services, they have also made available to us the kitchen and the rooms for the kids. This is an AMAZING blessing and answer to prayer. This is also a huge step as far as the Church in Nitra is concerned. In the past the churches haven't had a very good relationship with one another, so this offer of partnership is a massive gesture. They have always been very kind and welcoming of us, and this is one more sign of the Church of Christ coming together!

Turbulencia 009 was our first ever church family conference, where the congregations of all the churches in our network (Nove Zamky, Nitra, Sala, Zlate Moravce, Komarno)meet. In the past this has been a regional youth conference, and it still had that flavour to it. It was a great time of experiencing the Holy Spirit together. I had some really cool moments praying with various people, and the presence of God was incredibly tangible. It was great! Praise God!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy 2009

Well, the bells rang midnight, signalizing the beginning of 2009... which brought many new things, a new day, a new year, a new currency... Yes, Slovakia is now officially in the Euro Zone, and whether or not that was a good decision, only time will tell. It was very interesting though, I went to the store to buy some juice and although I can pay in Slovak koruna, my change will be given in Euro. But not only that, but my Slovak koruna which I paid with, was placed into a locked box, just like a raffle ticket. That is it. That is the last time that that bill will be used as legal tender. It will get passed onto the bank and who knows what they will do with it. Destroy it? File it? Get stamped five times before being put into the depths of the mountains perhaps?

To start off the new year, I thought that I would start with a fast, to seek God and His will for the future... this year in particular. If anyone wishes to join me in such, please do so!

I think one of my favourite moments in New Years though is watching the fireworks from up the mountain. Everyone in town buys fireworks, and so the whole city looked like it was on fire! There were so many coming from so many different places, I didnt even know where to look! One of my friends made the observation that if Nitra was ever sieged, this is prob what it would sound like. To which I replied that he was probably right, but unlikely that we would be standing up there to watch it!

Happy New Year! God bless you and yours in 2009!