Slovak Lutheran church paper about American volunteers (builders´ group) at CCE

A group of 16 American volunteers came in April to help with the reconstruction of the „new building“ of the Lutheran elementary school in Martin.

One of the builders, Lawrence Paul Turner (64), answered some of our questions.

It is difficult for an average Slovak person to understand why an American flies across the Atlantic in order to work as a volunteer in a small European country. How would you reply to him?

It is a question of faith in God. In this way we want to share with others that which was given to us in the Gospel – the good news for each one of us. We believe that our service will help the Lutheran elementary school and the Bible school in their mission.

How does your daily program look like?

I get up at 6 am, and then we have breakfast, followed with a short devotional and prayer time. We work on site from 8.30 till 4pm, with short breaks. In later afternoons we go for short trips around Martin. We take care of our own dinners, usually in a good restaurant downtown. With my roommate, Jeff, we talk till late night.

Some people from your group travel to Slovakia regularly. How did this tradition come about?

It all began in our church. Our pastor got to know the leadership of the Bible school and we began the participation on various projects. I came for the first time in 2007. I was coming with the expectation to see a new country and experience different culture. I was awe-struck by the people and the atmosphere. I came again in 2008 as a photographer, with our church choir. This year it is my third time here.

What does your cooperation with the Lutheran elementary school consist of?

One of the visiting teachers of ESL, Emily Ender, is a member of our congregation. I talked to her; I even visited one of her classes. I was amazed how the young students were engaged and how they could use English language in everyday conversation. They were competitive and very much „into“ all the activities. We also support some of the socially disadvantaged children by partially providing for their tuition. All-in-all it is fascinating to see how the school is thriving and growing.

Will you come to Martin also next year?

My desire is great! I sure hope so.

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