Slovenia 6/4 Prayer Update

IMG_9538

Hey there ministry partners!

Thanks so much for all of your prayers through this first week of ministry. I wanted to send you all a list of updates and prayer requests that summarize how this first week has been in Slovenia. I’m pretty tired and pretty drained, but God is showing up in some major ways both for this country and personally for my life. The prayer requests are separated out into different sections, please feel free to take one section or all of them and pray over them. I appreciate all of you so much and could not be doing this without you.

Students I’ve talked to this week:

  • Maja – She is a Religion and Ethics major in the Theology Faculty. We talked to her earlier this week and asked her what her background was spiritually. She told us she calls herself a Catholic, however, she has not been to church in a while and only goes when she has time to. We asked her, “Who is God to you?” and her response was pretty heartbreaking to me. She told us, “That’s too personal.” It was the first time that I had ever heard someone say their faith was too personal to be talked about. Remember Matthew 28:18-20 while praying for Maja.
    • “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'”
  • Peter – He showed up to a party that we threw in Tivoli Park. We invited students we met throughout the week, but Peter actually was not someone we had met before. Peter is a strawberry salesman in Ljubljana who offered our team and Slovene friends the leftover strawberries he didn’t sell that day. Peter then stuck around and played volleyball with us (he was SO GOOD if you were curious). My friend, Nathan, talked to him afterward and Peter noted that something was “different” about the way our community interacted. He told Nathan that he wanted to meet up again and introduce us to his 5 friends and kept mentioning how different and loving our community was in comparison to everything he had seen in his life. Remember Romans 12:9-21 when praying for Peter.
    • “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
  • Klemen – My discipler, Drew, and I talked to Klemen this past week in the Economics Faculty. Klemen is a slalom kayaker who has competed internationally in the sport (it’s a BIG deal here in Slovenia). We haven’t had a chance to meet up with Klemen again, however, he is extremely interested in showing Drew and I around and showing us the kayaking course that is just outside Ljubljana. Pray that we could meet and build a friendship with Klemen and that he could be met with the gospel too. Also pray for his passion for slalom kayaking and that he could excel in it as well. Remember Hewbrews 12:1-2 when praying for Klemen.
    • “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
  • Nina and friend – Another staff member, Emily, and I had the chance to talk to Nina and her friend this week while they were studying outside the Economics Faculty. Nina talked to us for a while about how upset she got over how religion could be twisted by people. She talked to us about how angry she felt when people take Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism and perverted them to justify hurting and killing people. Nina is interested in meeting up with us again to dive a little deeper into these things (and to talk about American politics too since Melania Trump is from here too (they don’t like her very much here)). We also found out that her friend’s brother graduated from OSU this year! SMALL WORLD! Please pray Nina could keep sharing her heart with us and that God could provide answers to her questions. Remember Matthew 22:37-40 when praying for Nina.
    • “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
  • Predrag – Emily and I also talked to Predrag who is a second-year Economics student at the university. Predrag comes from an Orthodox family from Bosnia. He says that his family is not particularly religious, but participates in the various celebrations and festivals throughout the year. Please pray for Predrag to see the truth in his tradition and to reach back out to us about meeting up again. Remember Colossians 2:8 when praying for Predrag.
    • “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

Stuff going on in Slovenia:

IMG_1372

  • Community – Please pray that our community could continue growing closer to God and closer to one another. Pray against anything that could hinder us from being grace-filled with one another. Pray we could set our eyes on Christ and see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Remember 1 Corinthians 1:10 when praying for community.
    • “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
  • Distance in relationships – This has been one of the hardest things since being in Slovenia. I wish I could be with all of you and all of my friends and family back home. I miss people and don’t get to see them for five more weeks. Pray against this anxiety and any guilt that can often come with this feeling. Remember 2 Timothy 1:3-5 when praying for this.
    •  “I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith…”
  • Softened hearts – Please pray for hearts to be softened and transformed in this country. Pray for the hearts of the people we have already encountered and pray for the hearts of people we will encounter. Overall, pray that this country would have walls broken down to spiritual conversations and belief in God. Pray that they would desire to know God and see his overwhelming desire to know us too. Remember Matthew 13:14-17 when praying for this.
    • “In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

  • Meeting Slovenes that love the Lord – I pray every day that while I’m here I will meet Slovene students that already are chasing after God with their whole heart. Please pray that we could find the students that are seeking Godly community and that we could introduce them to our partner organization and local churches. Pray that we could encourage one another in our walks toward Christ. Remember Romans 1:11-12 when praying for these interactions.

    •  “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.”
  • High School Campers – I have the chance to work with Slovene high school students at an English speaking camp this summer in Slovenia. Please pray that I can connect well with the students in the high school over these next few weeks and that God will draw a large number of them into this camp. Pray over the community that is being built in this camp too, that it could be an encouraging place to learn about English and the gospel. Pray that there would be chances to share the gospel with these Slovene students and that they would become leaders of faith on their college campus later on. Remember Exodus 4:11-12 when praying for this camp.

    • “The Lord said to [Moses], ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.'”
  • Future conversations – Please pray for all of the future conversations that we will have in the remaining weeks here. Pray for the people we will be talking to and for the endurance to finish this good work. Remember Colossians 1:9-14 when praying for these future conversations and this work.
    • For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Stuff going on outside Slovenia:

IMG_9545

  • SpringHill Camps – Please pray as campers arrive to camp for their first week of the summer. Pray that the campers would encounter God and godly role models in their counselors in a way that they understand. Pray that the counselors would have a zeal for the work set out for them. Pray for strong leadership and mentorship throughout the summer. This camp had a tremendous influence on my understanding of the gospel and my walk with God and I’m excited to see the way God works there this summer. Remember Hebrews 13:7-8 when praying for SpringHill.
    • “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
  • Family – Pray for my family back home. Pray for their perseverance in chasing the Lord. Pray for their health and for our home. Pray that God’s presence, peace, kindness, patience, and self-control would reign over any pride, conceit, hatred, malice, guilt, or shame. Remember Galatians 5:19-26 when praying for my family.
    • “The acts of the flesh are obvious…impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness…and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
  • Mr. and Mrs. Hawk – I’m SO excited to say two of my good friends and brothers and sisters in Christ are GETTING MARRIED this Saturday!! Please keep them in your prayers. Pray that they could seek God and celebrate SO MUCH on this beautiful day. Tanner and Megan are incredible individuals that walk closely with God. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to learn from and alongside both of them in Cru at Ohio State and I’m beyond thankful for their influence in my walk with the Lord. Remember Colossians 3:12-16 when you pray for Tanner and Megan.
    • “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselveswith compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
  • My missionary sister preparing for India – Pray for my sister, Emma, as she prepares to travel halfway around the world to spend a year in India. Pray God would continue to provide financially and build a team of prayer partners for her as well. Pray she would encounter God’s strength and peace and endurance in the work she is pursuing there. Pray for her safety in travels and living in a new country. Pray against any fear, anxiety, or anything else that may hold her back from seeking God on this journey. Remember Exodus 33:12-14 when praying for her.
    • Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Things to praise God for:

IMG_1532

God has blessed me in so many amazing ways on this missions trip. Please give Him praise for all the works He has done thus far and will continue to do. Below is a list of a few things.

  • Good friends that are here on this trip that know me deeply.
  • Good friends that are not on this trip to encourage me regularly.
  • Piran, a seaside coastal area of Slovenia I was able to visit this past weekend.
  • Šrmna Gora, a mountain I was able to climb two weeks ago just outside the city of Ljubljana.
  • Ice Cream and coffee culture in Slovenia (I love ice cream and coffee so it’s perfect).
  • Church community here – the community of believers in our small church is incredible. The teachings have been encouraging and thoughtful. The Lord is at work in this church.
  • God’s faithfulness to show me that he’s using me, pursuing me, and loving me in SO many ways.
  • Remember Psalm 150 as you praise the Lord for these things: “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre; praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”

Thank you so much for your continued prayers. I cannot wait to keep you all updated on the Lord’s work here and to share more stories in the upcoming weeks. You all are so loved by a God that seeks to know us deeply and personally. Thank you.

IMG_9562

God Bless,

Sam

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s