Ahoj and Greetings from Slovakia. Who would have thought I’d be back in Slovakia again. Last year around this time, I remember thinking “It’s nice here but, maybe not another year”. Well, so now here I am teaching English.
It is amazing how God changes your expectations for life. I am continually amazed at how he provides things for me and leads me. One of the things I said around august of last year was “I’m not quite sure I’m done with Slovakia” I had this feeling God still had more for me to do. I considered coming back to teach the following august. Shortly after thanksgiving I received an email about the need for some replacement teachers in Slovakia. My first reaction was one of surprise and then disbelief. Needless to say I was thrilled at the possibility. After about of a month of anxious waiting and searching for other possible work if it all didn’t work out. I said yes and here I am back in Slovakia.
I am teaching English at 2 different schools. Both are in a newer more modern part of Bratislava called Peteržalka. One school is a bilingual german school Spojena Martinia Lutheran Škola where I am teaching English to a wide age range of skills and age levels and the other school is the Bratislava Lyceum which is a bilingual English school. There I teach something similar to a highschool freshman english class in the states. Both schools present their challenges but, I definitely feel like I am needed. This is my first time teaching and I am enjoying it. It is quite tiring sometimes and I’m always trying to figure out how to do things. My students always surprise me so, I have to be on my toes. There are some days I think “am I doing this right?” and other days I am more confident. I am lucky to be in an enviroment with other teachers who are supportive and helping me learn the ropes.
I am discovering everyday just how amazing and confusing the english language is. The students have many questions that require me to take extra time relearning grammar and then explain it in a way they can understand. I am constantly saying to myself “I should have paid more attention in High School”. Despite these challenges I enjoy engaging the students. I often spend time trying to explain certain words or phrases that are sometimes lost in Translation. Here is a rather funny example. Have you ever heard the phrase “All my t’s are crossed and my i’s are dotted.” Well in Slovak cursive, they don’t cross their t’s or dot their i’s. So trying to explain this phrase took some work, about as much trying reading their papers sometimes.
The economy is a big topic among the staff here at the school and students. It is stated very often that the average Slovak teacher salary is rather low. I am living fairly modest and I am lucky that my housing accomodations are taken care of, for me. Some of the other native slovak teachers aren’t so lucky. Slovakia has been weathering the economic situation rather well but, there are still many people losing work and investing has slowed alittle. Please continue to pray for all people effected by this economic climate.
Besides teaching English I have become involved with the Local English speaking congregation. Bratislava is a very international city with people from all around the world. It is not surprising to see Asians, Africans, Europeans and Americans. I have come to realize that my mission here is not just teaching English but reaching out to others in the English speaking community. Pastor David Schick, the pastor often describes the role of this church as a beacon and sending place for people along God’s journey. Many come just to be around english speaking people and end up encountering God in the process. I have had opportunities to speak with and get to know many of the Americans who are working here. Going to church can be put to the wayside and forgotten about. I have been able to share alittle of my faith and to invite them to be in God’s presence. I am truly blessed to see and be witness to such a wide variety of people.
I would also like to mention that I have decided to stay and teach another year here. I have been enjoying my time and I believe that God has called me here. So I’m staying put until God says otherwise. He hasn’t failed me yet. 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
– Economic stability throughout the world especially in Hungary, Ukraine and Czech Republic.
– Bratislava International Church as it searches for a new pastor this upcoming year.
– The People of Bratislava- that Christ may be known
– That I would find comfort in times of loneliness and sadness
– That I would find cheap tickets for my return ticket to Slovakia in August
– That I would be successful in finding work for the summer
God’s Blessings and Peace be with you,
Christ’s Servant in Slovakia