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Cross Cultural Trip to Honduras

Cross Cultural Trip to Honduras

poor honduran home
Jeannie Noble
poor honduran home

I have been selected to participate in a christian mission trip to Honduras with Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. We will be working along side the Honduran people, building, community organizing and providing a medical clinic. We will be working with Heifer International. I am hoping to raise around $2000 to help with the team’s expenses. We would appreciate your support and partnering with us. The dates for our trip will be Jan. 16th-26th, 2012. We are hoping to raise all our funds by December 20th, 2011 , so that we can purchase supplies and get ready for our trip. I would love the opportunity to share with you more about what we are doing.

I decided I wanted to be part of this particular mission team because it is an opportunity to travel as well as building relationships with the Honduran people. This more than a tourist trip it is an opportunity to serve. We will be living and working with Honduran people and I expect to learn a lot from them.The mission trip is also part of a class. The trip is led by our Professor of Ethics Dan Bell. Before and after the trip we will have a variety of discussions on what it means to serve the poor as a Christian both in the US and abroad. The trip is designed to help us engage in conversations with the Honduran people on the issue of poverty. I expect to share a lot with you about what it means to live out the Gospel both here and abroad especially related to poverty issues.

Our team will consist of about 12 people. It is made of up of mostly seminary students but there will be a doctor, pharmacist and nurse accompanying us as well as some local guides and translators. We will travel to Honduras which is the 2nd poorest country in Central America. The country is mostly mountainous and much of the population is rural. We will be working with Heifer International who has identified several rural villages that we will partner with to help on building projects and provide a medical clinical. We will be working with men, women and children in various capacities. Part of  our mission will be joining the Honduran people in worship throughout the project. The villages where we are sent to, are some of the poorest and remote places. They have asked for assistance and we are there to provide for their needs. Your support will help us obtain a variety of supplies including medicines, building supplies and gifts for the Honduran people.

This project is only possible with your support. If you would like to me to speak to you more about our project or visit please let me know. We can use any support you are willing to give, especially prayer. If you would like to help financially please write a Check to Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) and Write: Honduras Project on the memo line. Then mail to this address
Mark Molter 4201 Main Street #243 Columbia, SC 29203
If you would like to help with a donation of supplies you can contact me via email molterma@ltss.edu and I will give you a list of our needs.
Thank you for your consideration and please keep our team in prayer.

Mark’s Missionary Notes April-May 09

Mark’s Missionary Notes April-May 09

Ahoj and Greetings from Slovakia, Thank you everyone for your prayer and other support.

Mark Molter
Funny Bones

My time here as been very full and very fast. A lot of exciting things have happened. I feel like I am just starting to get to know the students. Each student has a unique personality and brings something special to the classroom. In many of the classes I teach the level of English they know is varied. I have to be constantly aware so that I can make sure I am addressing all of the students’ needs and prepare them for the years ahead.
I have also learned a lot about my faith, church here in Bratislava and the Slovak Church.

Near the end of the year, the 5th year students take exams called Maturita. These exams are subject specific and cover everything they have learned over their 5 years of study. These comprehensive exams consist of a written part and an oral part. I teach a few 5th year students and they definitely get nervous around this time of year. Taking these Exams is a huge deal. They weeks studying and on test day they where suits, ties and dresses. There is quite the pomp and circumstance. Many of these tests will determine if they will attend university or not. We try to study and prep them as much as possible, but it is up them. It has made me more aware of the challenges and skills I need to teach to my younger students. It is definitely something I will take with for next year.

The written portion is standardized by the Slovak Ministry of Education. The Oral part is conducted by their teachers and a representative from another school. I participated in the grading process for the oral examination of English Language. They are supposed to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to communicate based on a topic that is selected on the day of examination and they are given 20 minutes to prepare notes. The students I taught did very well.

Another thing I have been enjoying is the summer weather has it gets close to summer. It is nice to see be able to sit and chill in an outdoor cafe. I have enjoyed going to see some of the other American teachers play baseball in a Slovak recreational league. They aren’t pro-player by any means but, I have seen some nice double plays. Since it is the end of the year the students have been hosting several events to celebrate the end of the and the 5th students who get to leave school 3 weeks earlier because they have completed their exams. The only downside to all this nice weather is the students don’t want to be wasting their time in class. I try my best to make my lessons exciting but, there is only so much I can do.

I only have several more weeks of school. I feel like I just got here and now I’m leaving. I feel like I just have gotten to know my students and started to enjoy teaching. I am looking forward to a new experience next year as I move to a smaller town called Tisovec to teach.

Next year will be quite different for everyone because Pastor David Schick and his wife Karla, will be leaving after 6 faithful years serving the Bratislava community. I haven’t been in Bratislava long but, they are definitely a light of Christ that will be missed. They have done a lot to reach out to the English speaking community to give them a place to worship and experience faith. They have made connections with the Slovak church, learning, teaching, sharing how different cultures experience God. They have truly been a blessing and we hope dearly that God will bring a new pastor just as amazing.

One of the things I struggle with here is how faith is viewed by some in the Slovak Lutheran Church. They tend to emphasis Doctrine quite a lot. They tend not to be very Evangelical despite being known as Evanjelicky in name. They have a hard time expressing their faith in the world. But, don’t we as well? When taking a deeper look, this is a universal church thing. We all struggle trying to live a life of faith. The Slovak church had to deal with the repression of religion under communism and is reluctant to be more active in sharing its faith because of this. My job here is not to just to teach English but it is to live and show a life that expresses my faith daily. To my students, to other teachers and to the Slovaks. This should be the goal of all Christians. I struggle sometimes just as the church struggles. But that doesn’t stop me from trying. Part is engaging in dialogue. The English speaking congregation gets many visitors from students at the Slovak Seminary. It is exciting to talk to discuss things of faith and how we can learn from each other to express it. The next generation of Pastors are excited about their faith and enjoy seeing what others are doing to express our faith. I am excited to see how they will lead the Slovak Church in the future.

One of the other things I have been participating in is a Bible study based on “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller. We have had a lot of insight into what faith is, where it comes from, What atheist think about God. We always get a variety of perspective as we have people from Africa, Asia, Europe. Everyone has brought something unique to the table. These discussion have really strengthened my faith.
I recommend taking a gander at this book, it will definitely challenge how to look at God.

As the school year starts to end I must begin thinking about my summer plans and next year. Starting in July I will be working at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp as a counselor and/or various other tasks working with Children doing outdoor and faith building activities. I had worked there about 2 years ago I enjoyed it emensely. In Mid-August I will be returning to Slovakia to teach again. They cost of travel and finding quality English teaching resources can be expensive. I am hoping to raise around $1200 to help with airfare and teaching resources. That’s 100 people who give $12 each. It is very do-able.

Every little bit helps. I want to thank all of you for your prayer support and that you continue to pray for me in the following ways.
– Patience and Perseverance in my teaching.
– My Summer as I work at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp
– Bratislava International Church as it searches for a new pastor this upcoming year and goes through transition.
– The People of Bratislava- that Christ may be known.
– That I would be successful in raising funds to help me with Travel Expenses to Slovakia and English teaching materials.

God’s Blessings and Peace be with you,
Christ’s Servant in Slovakia

Mark Molter

Heading to Slovakia, Again

Heading to Slovakia, Again

Hello everyone I’m just letting you know I am going to be heading to Slovakia to Teach English at High School in Bratislava. I going through a program with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. I will be getting a stip-end and housing is provided. Of course whenever you go someplace? new for an extended period time the initial expenses add up. I hoping to raise about $150, it may not seem like much but, every little bit helps. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  Thanks and God Bless. 

Returning to Slovakia

Returning to Slovakia

Hi, So a quick update…After Spending some time in Chicago to sort through things, and find some direction. I have been given an opportunity to return to Slovakia and teach English. I will be in Bratislava at the Lyceum School. I Should be leaving by the end of January, which is just around the corner. (If you would like to help me out financially you are more than welcome. Please let me know. Don’t get too worried about me though)

My time in Chicago has been fun, I’ve met some amazing people and done some pretty cool things. I’ve been to a Slovak Church, I’ve been to Millenium Park, I’ve riden the CTA, I have eaten Chicago style deep dish, I spent New Years downtown.

I still a list of things I want to do before I leave though. Like eat a Superdawg, actually get some pictures(I’ve been really lazy with that), See a Jazz concert or something and probally more will come up later.

Chicago was just a pit stop, maybe I’ll come back and stay alittle longer next time but for now Slovakia calls. The future looks bright. Who knows where I’ll around the bend, God has a crazy way turning our world upside down.

Last Newsletter from Slovakia…for now?

Last Newsletter from Slovakia…for now?

Last Photo in Vrbovce before I said Goodbye

Last Goodbye
Originally uploaded by themoltron.

Ahoj and Greetings from Slovakia.

I apologize for such a long delay in my newsletter. A lot happened in June, July and August. Summer is a season where more than just the temperature and daily routines change. It has gotten warmer and my usual routine is being replaced by many summer activities. I had my final seminar, done some traveling, finished teaching English in the school, and helped with youth camps. It was rather exciting and at the same time realizing that my time is quickly coming to an end faster than I wanted. And then my leaving came and went. As I reflect on this past year, I have lasting memories of places and people I will never forget.

I also have many more pictures available at
http://flickr.com/photos/themoltron

In the beginning of June I had my final seminar with all my fellow Volunteers in Slovakia. It was fun and didn’t quite feel like we were leaving. We had enjoyed our time sharing memories and frustrations. We shared pictures and experiences and realized each of had a unique story to tell.

After the seminar a few of us took a trip to Prague, Czech Republic. What a beautiful city. It is a mix of old and modern. It quite crowded in places. The Prague castle with its huge cathedral in the center was inspiring. We were there for only for a few short days and there was more than we could take in. We arrived around the time of the European Cup for Soccer. So it was great seeing all the football fans throughout the city. I took a night train from Prague to arrive in my village so I could attend a gathering of all the Church choirs in the district, despite my tiredness I enjoyed the celebration of music and faith and seeing many friends from other parishes.

After this I spent some time working various projects we had started and not completed and preparing for the next big adventure Camp. The pastor in Vrbovce owns a small Cabin or Chata in Kova?ova. It is near several spas and water amusement centers. This particular camp was for adults learning English or German. It was a fun experience. It was nice for a change to have students who were eager and interested in learning and speaking English. It was a challeng trying to teach a moment because my mind would be thinking in Slovak so I would switch words randomly. For example Once upon a time because Once upon a ?as. Of course I had some help from the lovely vicar Zorka. I didn’t spend all my time teaching. We enjoy going to the pool and spa. On the last time we went to see an Opera in Zvolen. The entire week was a great experience and I made many new friends.

Upon my return from camp I had to prepare a short sermon to present to the church in Slovak non the less. With alittle help translating from Zorka I gave a simple lesson on love, how the simple things make all the difference. How through people opening their homes and hearts I have learned to accept grace. I stumbled through some of the words but, everyone was thrilled.

My parents came to visit me in July. I was wonderful for them to see, hear and meet all the people and things I have been sharing about this past year in person. We spent time in Bratislava and in my village, Vrbovce. Most of the people who met my parents commented on how young they look. They stayed with one of my favorite people who was a like my slovak grandmother Kristina. We took some time to explore the hills around the region and visited a few castles. We then spent a few days in Vienna. I think most slovaks assume americans are fat and wrinkly. My parents thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

I spent two weeks at Kova?ova again this time with Youth. The ages ranged from 4 to about 16. It was difficult at times to control such a diverse group. Luckily I was alone. There were about 3 students from the Seminary in Bratislava there. They were a fantastic group mainly because their slovak was much better than mine. We sang song, played games, went to the pool. At the end of the week they had a special festival where all the kids got to wear a costume. Some kids brought theirs, the cabin a a box full and other made their . Many of the costumes were rather creative. I chose to be a Mexican Merichi and I sang La Bamba. They got a kick out of that. Camps in Slovakia are less structured than they are in the US. But, we weren’t lacking in Fun.

After camp I spent time packing and reflecting about my time in Slovakia. My time here has changed me. It has opened by eyes to a variety of things. To how to the world works and a desire for a simpler life. A desire what is important. I have learned to worship and hear God’s voice in new ways.

On my last night in Vrbovce we had a small going away party. It was fun to just sit around and share stories. Saying Goodbye was difficult but, it had to be done. The following day I left with my friend Oliver to spend some time in German with his family before I headed home. Miroslav(the pastor) gave me a bottle of Slivovica for my future wedding.(we’ll see about that one). I said my goodbyes and I left for Germany. In Germany I traveled to Wittenburg and saw the Luther house and then to Liepzig and saw St. Thomas church where Bach was cantor. They both we spectacular. I was only there for 2 days and then I caught my plan to the US from Berlin.
I had a stop in Frankfurt, I almost got bumped from my flight but, at the last minute they gave me business class. Needless so say they 8 hours over the Atlantic were bliss.

I’m currently working for the ELCA Global Mission until mid November as a Short-term recruiter. I will be promoting the many vocational opportunties Global Mission has to offer and sharing my experience. It will be a great experience. I spent a few days at home and then headed off to Chicago for 2 weeks. I got to help orient the new volunteers in the YAGM program and make contacts for my recruiting position. So now here I am at another chapter in my life. I am just now starting to adjust to being back in the US.

The hard part of living in another culture is coming back to your own with new eyes. One of the first things I noticed was the vast amount of choice. 14 different kinds of ketchupwhat for? I was sorting through the boxes of things I had packed before I left a year ago. Half of it I don’t need. I had lived for a year with two large suitcases of stuff. Why do I need more. I’m sure I’ll discover more things as I continue this strange new journey in a familiar land.

A part of me is still in Slovakia. I’m adjusting to what was once normal but, seems alittle foreign right now. I’m straining to hear Slovak at every corner just because I’ve grown to love this once alien langauge. I grown to love the people hear as family and I think of them often and I can see them again. I’m hungry for things I didn’t even know existed before like Haluky and knedla (potatoe dumpling noodles and Dumplings). So this now is a new faith journey, Learning how to take my experience share it and continue learning from it.

Thank you all for your Prayers, that have helped me in ways that I’m not even sure I’m aware of yet.

God’s Blessings and Peace be with you,
? Christs Servant in Slovakia

Mark Molter