On the Top of the World (or close to it)!

Since we last checked in, Joyce and I have transitioned from the bustling city of Budapest with its 2.5 million people to the serene, almost idyllic village of Hermanovce, Slovakia … population, 660!!

Friday started with another exhilarating taxi ride and a trek into the Budapest train station. We got our tickets with no problem and waited for the announcement to board the train. Track 12 was our destination, so we climbed on board with a few hundred other travelers and settled into a nice “cabin” for the 4 hour trip to Slovakia. The train ride through the eastern European countryside was very nice; including a fun conversation with a 17 year-old Hungarian/Slovak girl named Esther, who was returning to Slovakia with 50 classmates who had been on a school trip! Meeting new people is becoming a real highlight of our time here. Our arrival in Kosice, Slovakia meant that we had to hoist our 50 pound backpacks and carry them through the train station. For those who have been praying for our ability to lift those packs … well, mission accomplished!

Even though we had a small delay on our connecting train, we eventually arrived in Hermanovce for a wonderful reception from Pastor Peter Pristiak and a delicious late supper (10 PM!!) prepared especially for us by his wife, Renata.
After supper, Peter announced that Saturday they would have a “brigada” … or work day at the church and camp which is adjacent to prepare everything for the summer camping season to start this week. Dave joined with a group of gypsy believers (men) who had come to the camp for a retreat! We dug a ditch to bury a gravity-fed water line that would supply water for an outdoor shower! An very interesting sidelight is that Dave and his partner were using shovels that were brought from the US by work teams that Dave organized 9 years ago. It was obvious that they had been well used!

After lunch, Dave and Joyce visited some families who had hosted teams and worked alongside them as the church was being built from 2000 – 2003. This time was great blessing (but a little “stretching” for Dave’s old noggin’ … translating Slovak for Joyce and then back to Czech/Slovak for our hosts)!

We got a good rest Saturday night, which was needed in preparation for the hike up to the mountaintop on Sunday. This is the gathering that we told some of you about … a tradition started many years ago when the church was more clandestine and met in obscure places. At least once a year, people from all over the region would hike to the top of a 3500 foot mountain in order to gather together for food, fellowship, worship and to hear the word of God. What a privilege it was to join with this group and share in their tradition!

After hiking 5 or 6 miles (actually, Joyce got an exciting ride in a 4X4 jeep-type vehicle … they didn’t have to twist our arms to take part in a traditional Slovak “weenie roast!” Only these weren’t your typical hot dogs, these were kolbasy and spekacky … kolbasa and smoked pork belly (real fatty bacon) threaded on a stick! With some wonderful brown bread and horseradish mustard, this was a feast fit for a king and queen! And we enjoyed every bite!

Today (Monday) we are going to the nearby town of Hlinne to participate in a childrens’ club and an evening service with a congregation of Roma (gypsy) believers. Please pray that as Dave shares from God’s word that the words will bless and challenge these brothers and sisters who are from such a different culture.

Tomorrow we travel to the English Camp, so we’re not sure when we’ll be able to check in again, but keep praying! We’re so thankful for each of you as you journey with us this summer!

1 comment:

Chris E. said...

Hey, that Hermanovce mud looks familiar...I still think I have some of that crusted on a jacket from a few years ago. I also have the green rocks sitting on my desk. Hopefully your boots weren't 3 sizes too small...

It's great knowing God has allowed the Summer Camp to progress...what an inspiration.

Still praying that you continue to be a blessing for those you meet. Also praying that God lift both of you up as you continue His work.