Shocked - as only a muppet can be.
Shocked Muppet
Originally uploaded by MegaGoosey.

So here is part 2 of an ongoing series about Culture Shock!!! In this particular entry I would like to address the Language Barrier issue.

The Language spoken in Slovakia is Slovak. During my first 3 weeks in country I spend 2 weeks in the village of Velky Slavkov studying Slovak. I learned a lot about conjugating verbs and declining nouns (which is very difficult if you’ve never done it before.) The course was very fast passed and I thought that I would be able to pick-up enough to get by. This was not the case. I found when I arrived in my village that I was back to square one. Simple phrases that I thought I’d be able to understand or speak we’re difficult.

Much of learning a language is based on context. I am learning new words everyday and forgetting them just as fast. It is a lot to absorb and it takes real effort and practice to get the basics. With a new language I am finding that I do more listening than talking. I can usually pick-up a small fraction of a conversation based on body language and expression. Being is this context my language skills are reduced to that of a child. I feel like I should be understanding some of the simplest things. It is difficult to have in-depth conversations, which is frustrating for me. I am meeting many members of the village from Children to Older Adults who are fascinating. I only wish every-time I see them that I could understand and communicate with them better.

One of the most difficult things for me to deal in regards to the language barrier is participation in Church. I am very fond of liturgy and music, I find the many words and phrases help me to understand and worship God. It is difficult to participate in something such as worship without really knowing what is being said or what I am singing. I often zone out because paying attention when someone is speaking and you have no idea what they are saying is difficult. (The average Slovak 2 hour church service is daunting enough). I have this intense desire to understand but, there is no magic pill or formula to solve the problem. Only time and study will help.

I look at this difficulty as a challenge and opportunity to expand my faith. I can only imagine what it was like for the early church trying to assemble a fledgling faith in a time and area when they were vast amounts of languages and cultures. The thing that gives me hope is that despite this challenge God send his spirit to help break the barrier. We read in the very first part of Acts how the holy spirit descended upon the apostles so they could speak in many languages. I am confident that despite my lack of Slovak language skills God will give me his grace, patience and understanding to eventually understand share the Good News.

So ends Part 2…Check back later for Part 3

Car Ride
Originally uploaded by themoltron.

Hello, this is will be a quick post.

Recently Flor and Oliver (the germans living with me) and I were getting rid of a lot of junk around the parish. They were having thier once a year large garbage pick-up in Vrbovce. We came across some stuff and we got bored. So we made this pretend car to pass the time. It was very funny and I felt like a kid again.

Here is the link for all the pictures I took
http://www.flickr.com/photos/themoltron/sets/72157602497904053/

Sign for Embassy of Slovakia

DSCN0030.JPG
Originally uploaded by themoltron.

OK so I haven’t updated in awhile. I apologize for that. I do have some exciting news, actually it is quite a lot of exciting news.

So After applying to do Global Mission work in February I was accepted. I then attended a weekend event in April where I interviewed for several countries. I now know I will now be going to Slovakia. This is really exciting. I will be spending a year in Slovakia learning the language and spreading the love of Christ. It will most definitely be a challenge. Related to this is that this past weekend May 12th, Washington DC had an event where a large majority of the European Union nations embassies were open to the public. I was able to visit and see the Slovak Embassy and meet the Ambassador.

The other exciting news is in June I will be starting summer camp. I will be a camp counselor at Caroline Furnace. This is a new experience for me and I am psyched about it. I will have plenty of fun in the outdoors teaching and leading kids. This is a great opportunity to prepare me for my service in Slovakia.

On a lesser note I found a job until camp starts. I was looking for one for quite awhile. I am working back at Professional Healthcare working in the Personal Care department. It is interesting and harried work. I am learning just how much our healthcare system needs improvement and realizing that many immigrants who come to our country work very hard for little pay. We complain all the time about but many things these hard working people do we wouldn’t even think about doing for the pay they receive. I am learning and understanding a different side of economic divide that many being overlook.

Well that’s all the news I have at the moment.

Waiting…
Originally uploaded by Neogene.

Over the past few days I have come across several things that remind me of how important women are to the Christian faith.

Among them was a Movie, One Night with the King, about Ester saving here people from Destruction. A blog entry about Bishop Brigid, one of the few female Bishops and another Blog entry from Jr Woodward about a new blog for Women leaders.

It strikes me that God’s power is not limited by gender. God designed everyone to be called to his service in some way. The Movie One Night with the King is a dramatization of the story of Ester. Originally a jewish slave and then chosen to become Queen to King Xerxes. She discovers a plot that all the jews are to be killed throughout Persia. She pleads before the King in a way that only a women can do and saves her people from destruction. It is a rather good movie and fairly accurate with the story in the bible. Read the story if you get a chance.

The entry about Bishop Brigid is from a Priest in England. The Protestant faith has many ties to Celtic and English tradition. Among them many of the Feast for Saints and Bishops. Feb. 1st is actually the Feast of Bishop Brigid of Kildare. Here slice from his Blog.

Brigid was ordained a Bishop when she and a group of women went to Bishop Mel to receive the veil, a symbol of clothing to demonstrate their commitment to a life of service as religious women. As the other women were receiving the veil, Brigid held back so that she was the last to whom a veil would be given. Instead of saying the prayer as he did to the other woman, Bishop Mel spoke the words that ordained Brigid as a Bishop. Such an event was unheard of in the church given that only men could be ordained priests or bishops, yet Brigid was recognised in her lifetime as a Bishop of the church.

—excerpt from MadPriest Blog.

The other Entry I read from Jr’s Blog was about the new Blog sponsored by Christianity Today called Gifted for Leadership. I’m excited about this new resource for women. Of the women I’ve known in ministry most have a powerful faith and devotion to the Lord. Women definitely have a unique perspective and deal with Issues Men can’t fully comprehend. Women are something to celebrate. I read again and again of women who are strong and courageous. When a Woman is mentioned in the bible is usually for acts of great faith and strength. Here is an excerpt from Amy Simpson, Executive Editor of Resources about some of the things she hopes this Blog with Highlight.

Biblical truthóWe always look at leadership issues through a biblical lens.
RealityóWe are realistic about the issues, struggles, challenges, opportunities, and joys women leaders face.
HonestyóWe are committed to addressing reality with honesty and without apology.
RedemptionóWe express ourselves without bitterness. When speaking from personal pain, we point to hope and
Healingóeven if our healing process is incomplete. This is not a forum for mere arguments or expressions of personal anguish.
LoveóWe care about women in leadership and want to make personal connections with them.
EquippingóWe help women get better, and more confident, in what they do.
EncouragementóWe want women to feel good about the gifts God has given them, and we help them see how they can use those gifts. We love and root for the church and its people.
ChallengeóWe challenge women to use their leadership gifts, pursue spiritual growth, and think deeply.
UnityóWe help women rise above the arguments and judgments about where they should lead. Instead, we agree that we are all obligated to use our gifts in the ways God has called us to do so.

I would like to close this Entry with a short prayer.

Lord,
Help us all to recognize and cherish the women in our lives
encourage their hearts so that they may do great things
Amen!!!

Elements | Fire | Blessings
Originally uploaded by Kymberlee della Luce.

I was reading through Matthew 5 the other day when I came across the “Sermon on the mount”. I have a habit of skimming through the bible. For some reason I was struck at this simple passage.

“You’re blessed when your at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”
— Matthew 5:3 The Message

Amazing!! At this moment in time I feel like I’m at the end of rope. It is not easy getting laid off and having to look for a new job. But, God tells us we are blessed during these times. We are blessed when we can rely on God to get us through. This passage in James is an echo of Jesus’ words in Matthew.

“Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes our way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow, so let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.
–James 1:2-4 NLT

So when we feel like we are poor, helpless and at the end of our rope. We are blessed. We should live like we are. We are children of God. And that is what I plan to do.