Before my trip to Slovakia this year I was asked if I would speak/preach on two different days. I said I would do that. I also said that, since I am not a pastor or preacher, I would speak rather than preach. My speaking, I guess, is more like teaching.
So, I had prepared two talks (sermons).
After I arrived, and spoke at the mission service on Sunday, I learned that the second meeting time would be the mission church home group meeting – 3 families. When I learned this, I realized that I needed to change my lesson/sermon from what I had prepared.
So I totally changed what I had previously prepared, and wrote out my notes over the next two days. I spoke about/taught the story of Joseph, using the theme “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back” or “Good Things Happen / Bad Things Happen.” I then applied the lessons for application to our lives from the story.
You will find this story in the Bible in the book of Genesis, chapters 37 – 50.
On Sunday Michal, Milka, Tomas Spisak, and I toured the Solivar (saltworks) Museum in Presov. The neighborhood is called Solivar after the salt mines in the area. These mines were being worked in the 1600’s, and closed down in 1970. It was amazing to see the engineering that went into the design of the equipment that was used to bring this necessity of life to people.
There were a number of families on the saltworks tour, on a Sunday outing. One family of a mom and dad and young daughter were in the tour group near us. We learned that the mom was from Slovakia and the dad was from England, and only spoke (British) English. The daughter spoke both Slovak and English. When she heard my American accent asking Michal for clarification of his translating the tour guide’s information, the little girl asked her mom, “What kind of English is that?” Since she knew English with a British accent, she didn’t know what American English sounded like.
Had an experience the other day that I had never encountered in my travels on European public transport; although I was aware of it. The transit system ticket control agent came onto the bus and asked every passenger to see their ticket. Bus tickets in Slovakia are time-stamped and are valid for the amount of time you purchased. A 50-cent ticket is good for 30 minutes and a 40-cent ticket is good for 10 minutes, and is validated by inserting the ticket into the time-stamp when you get onto the bus. Each of us handed him our ticket, he checked the time-stamp (and to see if we even had a ticket) and if all was ok, handed it back. If you do not have a valid ticket the penalty is up to a 30-Euro ($33) fine. It is much better to pay for a 50-cent ticket than to risk a €30 fine.
The image below is the steeple atop the “salt miners church” in Solivar. Note the miner’s tools below the cross.
While I am in Slovakia, and am in a restaurant, coffee shop, store, etc. I have learned that it makes any transaction easier if the first thing/question I say/ask is, “English?”
When I say that, as I did in a grocery store today, I usually get the response, “A little.”
Or, when I asked that in the cell phone store today, to purchase additional minutes on a phone, the response was, “Um, yes!”
But, when I went into the Bageteria (similar to a Subway sandwich shop) for lunch, stepped to the counter and said, “English?”, the three workers behind the counter, all in unison, turned to their left and called out, “Sonia!”
Apparently Sonia was the designated English speaker on duty today. And, she took care of my order with no problem.
Here are a couple of things going on in Presov, SK this morning.
Guys were re-roofing a building with new tile.
Pokemon GO is everywhere. Spotted these three guys playing. Apparently they were getting close, as all three of them converged on this one spot near City Center.
I also watched a builder (carpenter, stone mason, bricklayer) artfully carry out his craft with a chainsaw atop a scaffold three stories above the street. He was trimming a large, square beam to fit perfectly to support a new roof. The beam was about 10 inches square.
One of the first things I noticed on the drive into Presov today from Kosice was the number of sections of roadwork going on, including a rebuild of the bus stop I get off at when going to the DEPO in Sibirski neighborhood. There are also several buildings undergoing renovation in the city center area. This is good. It gives an indication that the economy of the area may be picking up.
For all good programs and events to be successful there are a number of parts that need to come together. One of those parts is a group of hard-working volunteers.
The volunteer corps that made this year’s DEPO-Leto in Presov a success included a core group of teenagers. They were the workhorses that set up the bounce house, the inflatable football arena, the trampoline, and carried chairs and tables to the site. They then worked all of the activities and translated for those of us who spoke only English. When it was time to shut down and put everything away, they were the ones who de-flated the inflatables, took down the trampoline, carried the generators and air compressors, and put them all away.
They also performed a drama on days 2 and 3, that presented a powerful visual message about where you put your trust. Good job, DEPO Teen members!