Interview with Professor Sharon Reichenbach
She has worked at many different jobs over the years – teaching junior and senior high school history, part-time teaching in colleges in the U.S., China, Kenya, and Liberia, teaching adult immigrants English and preparation for high school graduation, and various library positions. She and her husband Bruce are in Slovakia for three months. Read about her first steps in our country ☺
1. What is the purpose of your visit to the CCE in Slovakia?
My husband and I came to the Martin Bible School and Academy to work with the faculty, staff, and students in any way they needed us. Specifically, with my skills and training in teaching English to immigrants, I help those I work with to feel more comfortable in using English. Our over-arching goal is to assist God’s body, the church, to become effective witnesses to His love and salvation offered through Jesus Christ.
2. What are you doing at home, in US?
I am retired from teaching. Since retiring from teaching English to adult immigrants, I have taught English for 2 semesters at a Christian University in Liberia, West Africa, and now in Martin, Slovakia. We also enjoy traveling (camping) around the U.S. and visiting our children on the West Coast.
3. What do you do while you´re here?
I am teaching 2 conversational English classes at Zilina University, 2 conversational English classes for teachers at the Martin Academy, and am assisting in 4 Middle School classrooms as a native English speaker. To prepare for teaching all the different classes and levels I spend many hours each week planning and finding materials. I also walk to the grocery store twice a week, cook our meals, wash clothes (there is a washer and dryer ☺, shared with others in the dormitory), etc., with my husband’s help.
4. What have you found the most challenging in your ministry in Slovakia?
Probably all the preparation for the multiple classes and levels has been the most challenging. Another challenge has been not being able to converse in Slovak. The staff is very accommodating in speaking English, but naturally they feel more comfortable in speaking Slovak when they are with other staff. My husband and I enjoy entertaining friends, so this presents a third challenge. Because our apartment is very small (though very adequate for the two of us, especially with our “own” kitchen), we can’t have friends over for meals.
5. Have you managed the overcome these obstacles? If so, how?
In general we have overcome the obstacles. We spend most of our time preparing for classes. There are several English-speaking young adults here and we get together occasionally to play games or share a meal (young adults aren’t very fussy; they just like food). Several of the staff have been very generous in inviting us to their homes or to do things with them.
6. What is your energy source for your life? What charges you?
I am motivated by my faith in Christ. My energy comes from serving – God and others. I really want to expand Christ’s kingdom and help its members become effective ministers of His grace in their own cultural context.
7. Are there occasions when you feel like „the tree growing close the water“? What helps you to nourish this feeling in your everyday life?
When I am with others whose goal is to spread the ministry of the church, I feel invigorated. Studying the Bible is an encouragement for me.
8. What do you find most rewarding in you ministry here in Slovakia?
Working with the staff and students is definitely the most rewarding aspect of our ministry. Slovaks in general, and those at the Bible School especially, are very helpful and friendly. It is also rewarding when the adult students and teachers tell me that they like the types of curriculum that we use to practiced conversing in English.
9. Is there anything you have learned during your stay in Slovakia?
We have found that winter in Martin is similar to winter in Minnesota – cold and snowy. Thus, it is not the season for walking around interesting old towns – no flowers, green trees, benches to sit on, and many castles are closed. Definitely walks in Martin can be cold – but we like to explore the town. On the other hand we found that our apartment and the classrooms are nice and warm. That is a real plus.
10. What is your favorite part of the Bible (yours favorite verse). Why?
Philippians 4:4-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will keep your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.” Since I worry a lot, this verse assures me that God will give me peace, both in my spirit and in my mind.
Profile of Professor Sharon Reichenbach
I am very fortunate to have a wonderful husband who shares my passion for teaching and helping to build and strengthen God’s people to be effective witnesses of His love for all people. We also have two children, both married, and with our first grandchild to be born soon.
I have worked at many different jobs over the years – teaching junior and senior high school history, part-time teaching in colleges in the U.S., China, Kenya, and Liberia, teaching adult immigrants English and preparation for high school graduation, and various library positions. The jobs vary depending on what the needs of my family are. While our children were young and in elementary school, I was able to be at home and do lots of things with them. Now that I am retired, I am free to travel overseas and teach, along with my husband. I particularly enjoy doing background research on the culture and history of places that we travel to.