07 April 2015

McNary Newsletter - April 2015

FBC-Athens, Georgia
   The short-term mission team from Georgia had a great week of ministry in Vazec, Slovakia in mid-March.  The helping ministry of providing native-English speakers (Southern accents are really appreciated!) to local schools provides a wonderful platform which benefits the entire community.
   The standing of our local partners in their communities is strengthened through these positive experiences.   
   The afternoon programs with Roma children were blessed with attentive younger children who were excellent at remembering the Bible stories from day-to-day, fun crafts, and crazy dancing. 
   Is God calling you or your church to minister among the Roma in Slovakia or the Czech Republic?  You can utilize your gifts to encourage the gifts of our local partners in forming together communities which reflect the Reign of God.  We’d love to discuss with you opportunities for 2016!

Jesus is enough
   A Christian family living near Bratislava, in the far west of Slovakia, had connected with a Roma family in the far east of Slovakia via a website that matches people with resources with people in need.  After getting to know each other online and deciding to send help, the family from the west needed a bridge to the east.  Through contacts we have made over the years, we received an email asking if we could be that bridge.  Of course we said yes.
   With the money transferred to our account, we went shopping to buy the necessities according to the list we were provided.  The drive out east was beautiful and took me (Shane) to a few new towns I have never visited before.  As we sat down and began talking with Julia, the Roma woman we were delivering food to, she was thankful that we could find her house.  “I have been in this village before,” Dianne explained.  “I led a health seminar at the vocational school.” 
   Julia excitedly interrupted, “I was there!  You spoke about the heart and took our blood pressure!  My daughter was there also!”  Dianne’s involvement in medical education ministry has made her a familiar face in Roma villages across eastern Slovakia.
   The request to deliver the food also came with a request that, if the subject should come up, that we speak to Julia about Jesus.  Of course we are ready in season and out.  Julia asked about what church we attend.  We tried to explain who Baptists were.  Answered Julia’s questions about how we were not the same as Jehovah’s Witnesses.  We tried to place Baptists within a religious landscape that Julia would be familiar with so that she would have some sort of reference point.  “The most important thing we can talk about is Jesus,” I assured her.
   Bumper sticker faith suggests “Jesus is the Answer.”  This simplistic formula often misses the mark.  Though for Julia on that day, it was enough to share with her about who Jesus is and not so much about Baptists, Catholics, or Methodists.