Tokens of Love and Gratitude to Christ | Part 11

Originally posted on

New Life in Christ

It was time for us as a family to head south to the country of Slovakia, once part of a two-state confederation called Czechoslovakia, but now its own country.

For the journey, we had the delightful company of Eunice (pronounced A-o-neeka) Sinko, daughter of CBC missionaries born and raised in the southern Slovakian city of Lucenec, whose ministries in that city we are eager to visit. Eunice had been living briefly with a Christian family in Krakow, brushing up on her Polish. She is a university student majoring in languages, and already knows at least four foreign tongues. It is a blessing to drive her home, and listen to her expert commentary on her country and culture.

Right foot in Hungary, left foot in Slovakia — favoring the latter in deference to our hosts!

Right foot in Hungary, left foot in Slovakia — favoring the latter in deference to our hosts!

Pavel and Jane Sinko, together with their children David, Eunice and Esther, could not be more welcoming. We treasured the long talks we had together at their dining table and in their living room, and the games of cribbage. Most of all, we cherished the evident evangelistic zeal of Pavel and his family. Here are five people who yearn to see Slovakians come to know salvation in Jesus Christ.

The first morning Pavel took us to a public school near the city center of Lucenec. Remarkably, Pavel has full access to the classrooms, and he shuffled us from one to another during the next few hours. Without instruction, Pavel thrusted Lesli, Jon and me in front of high school students and told us to start speaking. Thirty pairs of youthful eyes were certainly amused by the awkwardness each of the three of us standing before them.

Every Slovakian student learns English, but rare is the occasion when they can hear English spoken by someone native to the language. ‘So . . . just start speaking English,’ Pavel told us. ‘Anything that comes to your mind!’ Without prior thought, my first words were: ‘I was born in Hollywood, California.’ That produced a spate of giggles and I could tell I was off to a good start. Other superficial details ensued, and, then, about half way through my ‘presentation’ I felt a clear tug of the heart to begin addressing a matter of utmost importance – Jesus Christ and how he has changed my life. To my words at this juncture the students listened very attentively, and the teacher quizzed them afterwards about my testimony. It was a routine we would repeat from room to room . . . in a public school!

I must say Lesli and Jonathan acquitted themselves extremely well in this context. After the unspoken sentiment all three of us shared – ‘I can’t believe this is happening!’ – my two companions became entertainers, in the best sense of the word, drawing the audience to their hearts through their loving words. It was very inspiring to listen to each talk so naturally and winsomely about Jesus Christ, and to see the students soak up every word. When they heard Jonathan relate that in the Fall he would be going to study theology at Cambridge or Oxford, the teacher asked if that meant he was going to be celibate the rest of his life, like Slovakian priests in the Catholic church who study theology. The girls in the front row found it amusing when Jon responded emphatically, ‘No way!’

At the end of class, Pavel stood up and invited students to summer camps presented in English at a church facility in the Tatar mountains of northern Slovakia, in which the subject would be – as Pavel unabashedly made clear – Jesus Christ and the newness of life he offers. Several of the students signed up for these camps and, if past summer camps are an indication, many will become Christians and be baptized.

Praise God for Pavel’s commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, his boldness in declaring the grace of our Lord in the public schools of Slovakia, and his desire to draw new people into the body of Christ in the local church.

What Pavel is doing is exactly what we are praying for at Camelback Bible Church – to draw the lost, the strayed, and the broken into the body of Christ.

Blessings in Christ!


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