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July 2, 2022

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

Greetings from Bratislava! Our mission team, eleven members in all, is ready to make the journey to Martin today via train. We are, it seems, more or less rested and ready to go. I’ve had a harder time than usual adjusting to the time difference. Last night I was still awake at 2:00 in the morning; fortunately, I had the GameChanger app so that I could follow along live to the boys’ baseball games (Anders struck out the side and faced the minimum of four batters across 1.1 innings to lock down the win!). But I did finally fall into a lovely seven-hour sleep, followed by the sort of breakfast buffet that makes me love Europe so much. Also, I’ve already had bryndzové halušky; this concludes the culinary section of the blog.

The journey began with a bit of anxiety. For reasons unknown, Austrian Airlines wouldn’t issue me a seat assignment. My status was given the dreaded label, “standby.” I planted myself at the gate desk two hours before takeoff and waited for an agent to appear. Ninety minutes later (a long line now formed behind me), a gate agent cleared things up and gave me a seat. I ended up in a window seat next to a woman rerouted in an attempt to get to Paris. She looked at me like I had two heads when I told her that I was a Lutheran pastor. She had long since renounced her Roman Catholic upbringing and faith in general. I hope that our conversation and my witness to Jesus as a loving, freedom-giving Savior, leads her to give faith a second look. Who knows? She also mistook me for a fellow Millennial, and I’m still trying to figure out how I should feel about that.

I keep thinking about being on standby. It’s an unsettling feeling that seeks resolution. But perhaps it is not a bad posture for the faithful to assume. We’ll be spending the week ministering to and with 115 children (17 of whom are refugees from the conflict in Ukraine) and our Slovak counterparts. We have a curriculum and the best-laid plans. But if previous trips to Slovakia have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. All we can do is be on standby, ready to go when God calls, ready to receive when God is ready to give. Whatever happens, this week – like all weeks – is in the Lord’s hands.

May the Lord bless the work of our hands!

Finally, a word of thanks to the people of Grace Lutheran Church and School: Thank you for supporting our mission team with your prayers. Thank you, also, for your generous giving at the close of the fiscal year. The dust is still settling, but it looks like we will end the year with a modest surplus. Well done, and thanks be to God.

From → Slovakia 2022

One Comment
  1. LaNell Mahler permalink

    Thank you for your words. I’ll standby for more words in the days ahead. LaNell Mahler Koenig

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