22 May 2014

Howard Payne University Team Report

We were blessed beyond measure to have a team consisting of a professor and five students from Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, come and serve with us in Važec, Slovakia.  Dr. Melody Maxwell along with students from the International Missions Practicum class spent a week ministering and learning.

Their days began by teaching English in the local school.  As we had shared with the team beforehand, this was the first time we had offered something like this in Važec and were concerned about how it would go.  The HPU group were so well prepared and taught so well, they opened the doors for future ministry teams to serve the community in this way.  Excellent job!

Each afternoon the team conducted a children's club with Roma children from the settlement in Važec.  Activities were followed by a Bible Story with the theme of the lesson reinforced with a handmade craft.  It got more than just a little loud in the room when we had more than twenty children show up on day one!  The children were so excited to spend time together with the HPU team that some of them began to show up more than an hour early.  Because of really bad weather, we had to cancel a cookout planned for Thursday.  Instead, we enjoyed the hot dogs and s'mores indoors.

On Friday we were all treated to a special dinner at the home of Danka Šeďova.  She made a fantastic pot of goulash and homemade dessert.  But that wasn't all that was homemade.  As is common, a salty snack was put on the table after the sweet dessert.  Danka's husband Daniel had made korbačiky, little whips made of cheese, from the milk of their cow!  After dinner we had a blessed time of worship and games with the youth/young adult group at the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church.

The team relocated to Krakow, Poland after saying all our goodbyes and stopping by a very foggy Štrbske Pleso.  In Krakow, we visited the Schindler Museum as well as Auschwitz-Birkenau.  It is difficult to process everything you experience after witnessing these places and realizing what took place.  However, the memories will stay with the team for a while as they have opportunity to think about everything they saw.

This post just tells the facts.  In a day or two, I will share something about the importance of short-term ministry teams like this one from HPU.  For now, enjoy the photos from this week: