Martin | Slovakia | March | 2023
Dear Friends and Partners,
March was the month of Lent. It is a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. As Slovak Lutherans, we do not have a strong tradition of practicing self- control through fasting. We tend to overdo self-edifying spiritual activities such as prayers and reading the Scriptures with the outcome of neglecting practical help for the needy. To be frank, it is easier to pray and read the Bible in a comfy chair than to go out and deal with the world. However, God will hardly answer cover-up prayers! As the prophet Isaiah says, our prayers must be accompanied by us sharing our bread with the hungry and helping those in need (Isa 58,6-9). Such is the proper fasting and preparation for Easter!
In accordance with this understanding of Lent, the Center for Christian Education (CCE) participated in a program called Boxes of Blessing. Each cardboard box contained groceries and hygiene items with a value of $100, providing the basic monthly supply for a Ukrainian family. CCE served as a logistics center for collecting 60 boxes from the neighboring congregations, 10 of them from Martin church members. These boxes were part of 11 tons of supplies which the American missionary Bevan Stein hauled in his semi-truck over to Ukraine directly to the needy people in the war zone. We thank Bevan for his courage and look forward to adding more boxes for his next trip to Ukraine.
The Auction of Servants organized by our students was also an appropriate expression of Lent. Our students offered their services (e.g., baking a cake, washing a car, giving a piano lesson etc.) that could be bid on in an open auction by teachers and other students as well. It brought about a lot of fun, interesting competitions, and ultimately 700€ for Women in Need, an organization that supports abused women.
In March we had the privilege of hosting Mr. Ján Horecký, the Minister of Education. In an official briefing, he thanked our school and our principal Jozef Sopoliga for the successful implementation of a Regional Teacher Support Center. Two years ago, when our school launched one of the two pilot centers, it was a step of faith into uncharted territory. Based on the successful story of our center, the minister proudly announced the establishment of 36 centers across Slovakia that will help to reform our education. These centers not only create a network of teachers but also provide mentoring and continuing education activities in order to help them to be better educators.
As a matter of fact, we are proud to have great educators also among our staff. Two of our teachers received awards from our church for their excellency. One of them is Alena Sivoňová who teaches History and Slovak language and literature. She is known for her passion for turning dry historical facts into a living presence. The other is Alena Ondrušeková, our primary school teacher. Students and parents appreciate her patience, kindness, and the professionalism she demonstrates in every lesson.
Dear friends and partners, in March we were trying to practice our faith by helping those in need. Doing so we realized that the need is much greater than our abilities and power. On the other hand, we know that there is nothing greater that our God and His power as Easter demonstrates. Such understanding of reality and openness to God’s help is the proper outcome of Lent.
Please save this date – we would LOVE to see you here!
Yours in Christ,
Adrian Kacian, Director of Development Bohdan Hroboň, president of CCE
If you want to use the CCE contacts to help Ukraine, donate money as usual with the memo “Ukraine”. We will keep you informed how the money is used.
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