Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's Next in Trnava

Greetings from Trnava!

I'm so happy to finally be able to update you all on what has been happening over the past few months. Since I first found out about the ministry in Slovakia in 2006, I knew that July was the busiest month of the year. For months leading up to the summer, all of the staff prepares for this one very intense month of English camps. I had personally started projects for camp, such as logos, posters, English class booklets, t-shirts, daily themes, English lessons, and videos & songs of the day, back in January.

Everything that we chose, from the themes to the videos to the t-shirt designs, all beautifully connected to one another, giving us many opportunities to reiterate Gospel themes in a subtle, yet clear way.

For high school camp, which was titled "Into the Daylight", one of my jobs was to choose songs that correlated to our daily themes which were twilight, darkness, starlight, dawn and daylight. We not only studied the English during camp, but I was to form a "band" that could perform these songs on a daily basis at camp. For one month, I along with a band practiced, and when it was time to perform every night, we had so much fun and the kids loved connecting to the music.

Another task I was given was to teach an English class every morning. This was a very intimidating job for me, as I don't believe I'm skilled in this area. However, after being told some tips by our resident ESL teacher on the team and much planning, I felt confident in what I was doing and the classes went incredibly smooth (below).

For the last two weeks of camp, my main duty was to film and edit daily videos as well as staff-led themed videos. You are welcome to see the daily videos I made and all of us make fools of ourself for the staff-led videos by clicking the link to the left!

Before those weeks started, my computer crashed, making it very difficult to do my job. I was able to use another computer, but this problem and the incredible amount of technical difficulties I had led to much stress for those two weeks. We could all feel so much spiritual warfare happening to each and every one of us. Though this was hard to bear at times, we prayed through it, encouraged each other, and realized that spiritual warfare was something we had to go through during such an important and effective part of our ministry.

Making friends at camp was very important to not only the kids, but the staff as well. Because we had spent so much time preparing and organizing in previous months, we were able to relax and connect with each other. One girl I especially connected with is named Sylvia, or Sisa. Sisa has told us that camp was one of the best weeks of her life and it is so obvious that God is doing amazing things through her life because of that week. Another girl that came who was in my cabin, did not know that we were all Christians until she got there. She said if she had known it was a Christian led camp, she would not have come. The week after camp, she showed up to The Building for a few nights to spend more time with us. We are praising God for so much answered prayer and these are just a few examples of how His goodness is so abundant here!

For months we have been praying that God would provide a meeting place for the church. After so much time of searching, the Lord provided a place at the last minute. We will now meet in a building located underneath the Lundgaard's, a missionary family here. The week after camp ended, we started moving things out of The Building into the new church. We are still continuing to move so many things from The Building into the new place which is significantly smaller as well as into each other's homes due to lack of space.

This has been an emotionally trying time for me, and all of those who have invested so much of their lives into The Building, or have grown up going there. We are constantly reminding each other that it is not about the building we're in, it's about people.

Please continue to pray for us as we finish moving and for our attitudes and hearts as well, as we say goodbye to a building that we love, and adopt a new place and type of ministry. Our first church service will be Sunday where we'll be celebrating God's provision.

As my ministry time becomes shorter and shorter, please pray that God will provide a job and housing for me in whatever city is best. I have already started this search process. I want to also thank the Lord for answering so much prayer this summer. Despite the amount of physically demanding work and stress, I did not become sick once!

Thank you for all of your prayers and support.

Ande Truman

Friday, June 12, 2009

Learning Slovak

I wrote this sometime in December and I wanted to share it, since I wrote it and never remembered to post it! I'd say I'm not nearly as frustrated as I once was with it, but only because I've changed my attitude to NOT stress about it:

Slovak is a beautiful language. I love to listen to it and try to speak it. However, it's absolutely one of the most difficult things I've ever tried to learn. It's so hard that sometimes I don't even TRY to speak to a Slovak because I know before hand it will be wrong! I know this is the wrong mentality but my fear of man's opinion has me in a bind here. For those of you wondering, I can understand much more than I can speak or write, mostly because it's easier to get the idea of a sentence from someone else than make it up from scratch yourself.

I think what makes it so difficult is that the endings on the words are always changing! For example, we have one word for Slovak. That can explain the people, places, the language, it can describe food, culture, etc. In Slovak though, the word for the Slovak language is Slovencina or Slovensky, depending on how you use it. The word for a male Slovak is Slovak, but the word for a female Slovak is Slovenka. The words Slovenska, Slovenske or Slovensky can be used as an adjective, for example, Slovenska Banka. The word for Slovakia itself is Slovensko and the plural for Slovaks is Slovaci So that gives you a peek into how words can change so much in this language.

I'm totally used to seeing billboards and signs in Slovak too, and it doesn't bother me much. Sometimes it's frustrating when I really need to know what it says, but normally I find it challenging to try and figure it out. I was thinking last night how odd it will be to see these things in English when I return to the States.

Praise: That God's given me the desire to learn and listen to this beautiful language.
Prayer: That God will give me the gift to learn and speak it.

_______

Again, I'd say that at this stage of my learning process I find it really fun and challenging. Everywhere you look here, you're involved in a sort of game to see how many pieces of the puzzle you know. When I first started I could say I recognized maybe 5% of the words I see regularly on billboards and menus and such. The longer I'm here, the more my percentage goes up and the more I recognize. I love that. I also just love getting better at it and love having Slovak being the first language on my mind other than English. For example, now when I want know what someone is doing, I first think or say "Co robis?" or "Kam ides?" (where are you going).

I would love to continue to learn Slovak even when I go home, as well as getting back into Spanish. Learning languages is challenging but fun!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Perspective on Filth and Beauty

Right, so something strange about me is that I find dirty things fascinating. One of my many goals in taking pictures is to find depravity in all that I see. It may sound a bit... cynical, but I believe that we live in a fallen world- a world that was once created for God's glory and beauty, but it has become a place of filth, grunge, sin and despair. Many people try to only take snapshots of beauty so that they'll remember only the pretty stuff. I take pictures of depravity so I always remember and remind others to remember that our place is not in this world, but beyond it--and that filth is the opposite of Christ. Consider it my small, strange contribution in attempting to point others to Christ in a visual way.

I can see, however, where some may get the wrong idea about this. Some may see that I'm trying to make their country or city look dirty and poor. I've actually gotten quite a few comments about my photography even in the States about how I make their city look bad. Rest assured I mean no harm in this and I think all that yucky stuff beautiful.

So I'd like to take the opportunity to show a few pretty pictures of Trnava, where I live. I could find much better ones but they're mostly on a hard drive somewhere, so these were taken a few weeks ago. Slovakia is a beautiful place, despite all the grungy photos I post. For you Americans, I hope I haven't given you the wrong representation of this awesome place.








Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Water Fights & a Whip: Easter in Slovakia

Something very interesting happened to me over Easter weekend and I'd like to share it with you. There is a tradition in Slovakia when men (or boys) seek out women (or girls) early on the Monday morning after Easter Sunday to perform a certain...ritual. It's traditional for the boys to drench the women in water and whipping them with thin willow branches, and if the girls wanted long and healthy (fertile) lives, they should not avoid this process. It's also normal for the boys to throw the girls in the bathtub and soak them that way. In return for this 'act of kindness', the boys were to receive some kind of treats from the girls and then invite all the girls over later for a party of some sort.


Well, from my understanding this tradition has been going on here with my friends in Trnava for years. Some like it, but most hate it....and through that hatred some have started turning a helpless drenching into an all out water war. So this year there were 4 of us girls who did NOT want to be woken up early to be drenched and be mad about it. We also didn't want to cower away in a hotel somewhere (as that would not be of good sport). So we decided to find a happy medium.

Somehow in the midst of random brainstorming for this particular morning, we decided to stay up all night in preparation for the boys coming to our apartment so that we would be "awake" enough to get THEM wet too and fight. We thought it was a brilliant plan. The girls came over and we had a very entertaining girl's night, full with hair styling, Napoleon Dynamite, games, junk food, etc. We prepared the hall way for a total soaking, taking out electronics and clothes. We filled pitchers of water and put them in strategic places so that during battle we could defend ourselves. Our idea was that we would all be waiting in the bathtub with buckets of water so they couldn't throw us in, and in the meantime we'd be drenching them too which they wouldn't expect. I even wrote a provoking poem and taped it on the door so that they would know we were not going down without a fight.


This was still a good idea to us, until about 4 am when we were all incredibly tired and irritated that the boys would put us through such an ordeal. We heard from a credible source that they would be coming to our flat at 5 am. So we made it through that hour and were totally ready for war. Then it turned to 5:15, 5:30, 5:45 and we were dropping like flies. I texted Dan (the ring leader) about that time and asked when they would be there to do the deed. I got a text that said, "6:30". By this time were not happy and thought this was a terrible idea....but we were good sports and made it through till 6:30.


Around 6:40 I see their car outside and we lock and load for war. Some of us in the bathtub with Anya ready to open the door. We were READY, let me just repeat that.

After a little coersing Anya lets the boys in. I peekd through the closed shower curtain and saw them with nice clothes on which was my first giveaway that something was wrong. Then I saw some of them with a flower, oh jeez. So they come in the bathroom and we have buckets in our hands ready to throw. Ethan comes in with 3 flowers and that whip thing and gently hits our legs a few times. In the meantime, us girls have a stupid deer-in-the-headlights look on our face, buckets in hands, looking at about 10 guys in our hallway looking at US taking pictures and laughing. I'm sure our jaws were dragging on the ground by this point.


I say something like, "ARE YOU SERIOUS!?" and get out of the bathtub with my bucket and they all start moving a little closer to the door. "WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT JUST HAPPENED HERE! SOMEBODY'S GETTING WET!!!" and by this time they were briskly moving out of the house and going down the stairs. I go out to my bedroom window and look down at all of them and say, "Thank you for the flower but WHAT?!" and threw a bucket of water down 8 floors.

So we stand there for a while looking and feeling ridiculous, ticked off at the fact that we stayed up ALL night for that....not mad at the boys giving us the flower (cause it was SO SWEET!!!!) but mad at ourselves for actually staying up. We made breakfast and went to bed and crashed till the afternoon.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Grocery Shopping

I will never think that going grocery shopping in the States is a pain to do anymore. I say this because grocery shopping here is SO much more of an irritant than I expected. Not just grocery shopping, but errands in my daily life. Without a car, life can be simple. I love the exercise and being able to be outside for a minimum of 30 minutes a day by walking. Sometimes though, it can turn an average day of life into a big fat pain. Take today for example...it's time to go buy more food at home. But instead of hopping in the car and getting it over with, there's a slew of complications at hand. First, I empty out my backpack and put inside a large woven bag made for carrying large loads. I walk only about 10 minutes to the grocery store called Tesco (which I am extremely thankful for). So I walk in whatever weather is presented in my coat, scarf, gloves, hat, etc. You must pay to use a cart though, so I dig through my abundance of change to find the right coin to insert. I take off my layers of warmth as I enter the building and put everything I brought in my cart. I have a list of things I need, but I usually don't know where any of it is, so I just walk up and down the isles till I see something recognizable. Most of the labels are in Slovak so I had to quickly learn some staple food names. I remember I don't have a car to lug everything in, so I put back the bottle of oil or toilet paper because I don't have room in my backpack for it. I buy only necessities, because after a certain amount of weight in my hands and on my back, the 10 minute walk home turns out to be a little more difficult.

I push my way through the crowds of people, usually getting my ankles run over by a babka (elderly woman) on a rampage with her cart. I make my way to the International Foods section to see if any new American food has arrived, but remember that it's very expensive (such as peanut butter we just got in stock which cost $6 for a tiny container.) After at least an hour of shopping I go to the front counter to check out. I try not to say anything much, because if I open my mouth I get some interesting stares from the surrounding people. I quickly pack everything into my backpack or the woven bag, put on all my warm layers, return the cart, walk home, dig out my keys and up the tiny 2 person elevator, while spending more money on 2 bags of food than anyone ever should! Another quick transportation problem is when I need to travel outside of Trnava to a nearby village. Taking a bus is fun if I'm not alone, but it's quite confusing if you don't know what you're doing. The other night, for example, we walked 20 minutes to the bus station, waited for 10 minutes, got there 20 minutes later, and walked another 5 minutes to the person's home. It can be frustrating when you're in a hurry and just want to get there!

Prayer: That I would find the joy in seemingly frustrating/different situations.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Crutial Ministry Changes

To my churches, supporters and friends,

Below is the letter that we read to our church here this morning (in Slovak). It sums up some huge changes to our ministry. If you're wondering what's been going on here, this has been the very important main topic of discussion...


Our dear brothers and sisters of The Fellowship,

Solomon wisely advised, “To everything there is a season….”
Over the past 12 years we have gone through many “seasons” with you. Today we are writing to describe and explain to you about a new “season” which has arrived, and with it certain changes to the mission of our team to Trnava and throughout Slovakia in general. We are excited about these changes, because they represent new milestones for both our team and for The Fellowship. They are signs of God’s blessing on us and you—and of his leading for the both of us.

The primary change is that we are forming two MTW teams: one team will remain in Trnava, but with a different mission (which we will explain below); the second team will move beyond Trnava in order to establish a new base of operations and, with God’s blessing, plant another church.

The mission of the team that remains in Trnava will be to serve and nurture The Fellowship. They will no longer plan programs independently for The Building; instead, they will work alongside the pastor and other leaders of the congregation to nurture The Fellowship toward maturity and fullness in Christ. Its mission is described in Ephesians 4:7-16.

One thing this means is that by 1 September 2009, MTW will no longer operate The Building and its programs. Instead, the team which remains in Trnava will focus its attention on helping The Fellowship find a new place to meet, and it will offer its gifts to your pastor in order to assist him in the development of a vision and mission for The Fellowship. The important new thing is that we now want to focus on you, The Fellowship, helping you to achieve what God has called you to do for him here in Trnava. With that in mind, the “MTW church-nurture team” will remain in Trnava committed to aiding you to achieve these objectives so you will bear much fruit for God’s glory.

We know that over the years The Building has been used by God and has been a wonderful gift to many of you. Some of you came to faith in Christ through relationships that started here. Many of you now serve the Lord wholeheartedly in the different programs of The Building. For all of you this is your place of worship, fellowship, and instruction. It would not be saying too much that some of you even grew up in it. We know that it will be hard to say “goodbye” to it. But every parent knows that such “seasons of life” bring with them not only sorrow, but changes which open new opportunities. Remember what the Apostle John wrote: “I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the truth.” It is our joy to see you take your places and serve God together. We trust that taking these steps will serve to help The Fellowship grow and mature and begin to shape the whole city for Christ.

Think about what this means: you will now be able to take what you have learned from your service in The Building and step out in faith. You yourselves could be leading new ministries and building new relationships for the church. You will be able to shape new ministries according to the insights and imagination that God has given you as part of this culture. You will have the joy of seeing what God will do through you as you trust in him and exercise your skills and gifts as a ministry and outreach of The Fellowship.

We want to stress to you that each of us with MTW loves you and we are not really leaving you. As mentioned above, the team that is staying here is committed to serving you until you are fully established as a self-sustaining congregation (from a human perspective—of course no congregation is self-sustaining, since we all draw our life from Christ). The team that will leave Trnava loves you deeply and will miss you. They will ask you to pray for them as they step out in faith as well. This season is truly painful for them too.

Now, about some of the specifics: the current programs of the Building will end (in their current form) with the camps in July. In August the task of emptying the physical Building will begin and as soon as that is accomplished the lease will end. The church-planting team will then take its work beyond Trnava, moving as soon as a new location is determined. The church-nurture team will continue working with The Fellowship to make sure it has a new meeting place so that it can begin its worship services without interruption in August.

Juro has set up a vision team that will be meeting in April and May. His team will work on clarifying the vision and mission of Fellowship. Your pastor has asked us if we would be willing to leave a few missionaries to help in developing and assisting in the work of the church. This we were very willing and happy to do. As of this writing, the church nurture team in Trnava will include the Lundgaards and the Gregoires. I can assure you that they willingly remain and are as excited as the rest of us to see what God is going to do next.

You may be assured that we all love you and will continue to pray with and for you as we take this next step together. May God bless the work of our hands throughout Slovakia.
In the love of the Lord Jesus,

John Lesondak, for the MTW team

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Snow and Things I Miss

Well it snowed AGAIN! We keep thinking that the snow is over, yet on a regular basis someone looks out the window and says, "No way! It's snowing again!". For the record, I love the snow and will miss it when it's gone. What I don't like is when the snow melts and I have to walk everywhere in the nasty muddy slush and act like I'm walking on a ice rink on the way to work. This past snow we got about 5" or so.


Something cool about Slovakia is that it's not SO different from the US that you're in a constant state of culture shock. However, I miss some things- of course I miss people and seeing everything in English and my culture but it's the little things that I miss too.

1) I miss soft towels and clothes. We don't have a dryer in our apartment (most people don't) so all of our clothes have to be dried on a drying rack in my room. The clothes and towels end up feeling like sandpaper till you wear them a while.


2) I miss free refills, fountain drinks, and complimentary water. Whenever you go to a restaurant you have to pay like $1.50 for a tiny little thing of soda or water. Boo!

3) I miss having a car--but not all the time. I love walking here, I really do....but sometimes when I'm in a hurry and need to go somewhere quick, walking across town can be maddening! I just want to hop in my Subaru and get stuff done! Like walking home from the grocery store with all my grocery bags in my hand...

4) I miss being able to strike up conversations with strangers or ask them simple questions or instructions. I can do that here, until I run out of things to say after "How are you? Where do you live? Where do you work?, etc"

5) Sometimes, once in a while, I miss restaurants like Bojangles, Arby's, Waffle House--no explanation needed here :)

6) I miss easy access to good coffee. I get good coffee when I go to Kris Lundgaard's house or if someone is kind enough to send me some Starbucks, but that's about it... and I drink it just about every day too! I miss Cup A Joe's coffee in Hillsborough.


7) I miss specialty shops. Yeah, I miss being able to go into stores who have exactly what I need with someone who speaks English. For example, I needed some specialty camera stuff and outdoor/hiking stuff and I have to find it all online which I hate. It seems like in the States you can find just about anything you want within a relatively short distance.

8) I miss English preaching. Yes I can listen to it on an MP3 or online but it's harder to find time during the week to do this...looks like I'm going to have to just do it anyway!

I'm sure I could think of more but I don't want to dwell too much on what I don't have :) I'm really doing great here--honestly. I don't dwell on the things I've listed above which I miss, but for those of you curious I thought I'd fill you in!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sunday Morning Silence

I've had severe writer's block since the day I arrived and 3 months later I still can't explain why. The task of summing up my day-by-day experiences, my struggles, my joys, and everything in between has seemed to be a nearly impossible task. I presume because Slovak society, though very different on smaller levels, is quite similar to American society on a broader level. It's not as if what I see here on a daily basis is so shocking, so unbelievable that I can't wait to run to a computer and tell you the atrocities I came across. No, life is pleasantly normal and peaceful here. With that said, please forgive how long it has taken to update you on a more regular basis.

What may have temporarily unleashed my writer's block was the sound of silence Sunday morning. Allow me to explain. I'm an extremely light sleeper, to my detriment I believe. Most mornings, especially lately, I've had trouble staying asleep because sound can somehow travel at a disturbing rate in between my apartment building and the building across the street. I hear everything, even 7 stories up. Many mornings I will awake around 6 or 7 a.m. because I hear diesel cars and trucks starting up to get warm before the commute to work. I am even awoken by the sound of shoes quickly crunching through the snow on the sidewalk, yes, 7 stories below. In fact the night before I was rudely awakened by the sound of, what I swear sounded like 5 gunshots at 2:48 a.m., but were not (don't worry, Mom). But that morning I wasn't woken up by these sounds. At 8:45 a.m. it was completely silent. What saddened me was the reminder that this morning was Sunday, and instead of the normal hustle and bustle of people getting ready to go out for the day, they were sleeping in or relaxing instead of running off to church. This silence struck me, as it reminded me that no matter how sophisticated or "religious" a country can appear, it is still in a darkness unseen to the human eye.

Prayer: That someday, those in darkness would see God's light and their cars would wake us up on Sunday morning.





My apartment building- we're on the right side, kinda in the middle, top row.

Catching Up....

I wanted to share my most recent update newsletter if you haven't seen it yet. By the way, thank you to everyone who sent a card or package to me over Christmas- it was appreciated more than you know!

Greetings From Trnava!


I'm excited to share with you what has been going on since my last update! Join me in praising God as I'm happy report that He has given me an extended and wonderful season of peace and health! We serve a great Lord and He has so richly blessed me since I've been here.

I'd love to share with you a few of the many exciting things that happened over the past month and a half, and hope to give you insight about what's going on here in the future. I apologize for the length of time since my last newsletter!

Currency Change
On January 1st, Slovakia underwent a currency change,
switching from the Slovak crown to the beautiful new “Euro”. Slovaks had been anticipating this change since 2004 when they joined the European union, but it has still been a massive undertaking. For months leading up to the switch, stores, restaurants and any thing with a price had both the amount in crowns as well as Euros so that customers could get used to understanding the conversion rate. One particularly frustrating part of this change is that any amount under 5 Euros ($6.50 USD) is all in coins!

The Holiday Season
We've been blessed with a beautiful layer of fluffy snow for the past few weeks. Children (and myself) have used this to our advantage by sledding, making snow angels, snowballs and of course taking photographs
.

Because most of the students were away from the university for the holidays, The Building was closed from mid December to mid January. Much of the staff was also gone for different reasons, leaving me a long stretch of relaxation and preparing for this coming semester's work.

Christmas was a nice time for me here, despite not being home with family. I was temporarily adopted by Kris Lundgaard's family for a few days over the holiday. We opened gifts on Christmas Eve here, which is the Slovak tradition because their Christmas is on the 24th, while video conferencing with families back home. For New Years I traveled to Cambridge, England for a few days to visit a friend.

Reopening The Building
Every Friday night we open our facilities to host themed evenings such as “Coffee House”, Ping Pong Tournament, Game night,
Interactive Movie Night, Culture Night, and our most popular gathering, The Intro, which is a conversation-based evening hosted completely in Slovak. Every Friday the staff takes turns in leading the nights' games and activities and last Friday was my first night to lead. We warmly welcomed over 35 kids for our Dance Dance Revolution night! We had a wonderful time together, socializing, playing games, eating, and meeting new friends.



Upcoming Semester Activities This semester will be a very busy time for the staff and me. As you may know, we offer English classes, bible studies, discussion groups and much more. My roommate, Anya, and I will be leading an advanced English class as well as a class called English Through Art. We'll be using our skills in the subject to teach drawing skills, art terms, and more importantly engaging in conversation over a mutual interest! I am still planning to offer a guitar class and am considering a sort of "Jam Club", for anyone with instruments to come and play music together.

A few days a week I will be assisting in teaching English classes at a high school which is next door to my apartment building. Getting into the schools to meet the kids where they are and inviting them to The Building has always been a key effort in our ways of building relationships with them.

I have posted many photos and videos on Facebook, and all of my photos on this public gallery:
Prayer List
* That I would not lose focus of my purpose and effectiveness this upcoming semester as I face routine busyness.

* For the safety and health of myself and the team. Praise God, I have not become ill yet!

* For DIRECTION as The Building and its' staff plan for the future of the ministry in great detail over the next few months. Please pray specifically for the team leader, John Lesondak, as he leads us through some very important changes.

* That my introductions to so many young people would turn into real loving friendships with them.

* For our pastor, Juraj (pronounced Your-eye), that God would continue to use him to speak with such fervor to the congregation and the youth.

* For Janna Scheflan, the Fredere family, and other new additions to our staff who are arriving in February.

* For the language study of everyone on the team- that our minds and tongues would be filled and for our own personal diligence in learning.

* That attendance at The Building would continue to grow!

* For Slovakia and her people- that a revolution in Christ would cause its' people to arise and walk in Jesus Christ!

Thank you for all of your prayer and encouragement! It means so very much to me to have you be a part of what is going on here in Trnava. I've so appreciated all of the letters, pictures and packages sent to me so far. I look forward to telling you stories throughout the year. If you'd like to read more, I encourage you to visit my blog (www.andetrumanslovakia.blogspot.com). I will strive to update this much more regularly than I have been. Please do take care! May you be richly blessed in Christ!

Ande

Friday, December 19, 2008

Recent Design Projects

Hey y'all- I just wanted to keep you in the loop with what projects I'm working on at the Building. Feel free to click on them for a much larger view!

This first class, English Through Art, is a class in which my roommate and I will be teaching different types of art, mostly sketching, but more importantly teaching English through it.


This is a class that Kris Lundgaard and Gina are teaching called English Through Coffee, where they explain how to roast, prepare, and enjoy different kinds of coffee. More importantly, we're teaching them English through these creative ways.


This is just a postcard that we printed up for the kids to have until March. It's a snapshot of what we're offering to specific age groups.



Many many more to come!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Day in Vienna

Saturday a group of us went to Vienna, Austria for the day. Our intention was to spend most of the day at the Christmas markets- something I had been looking forward to since last year. Half of us visited an art museum for a few hours that morning and then we visited the markets. After that we walked around a bit, especially in the pedestrian zones which was super nice! We actually found a Starbucks too, which was honestly SO nice to just step into. It was so crowded though- and it had 2 floors! The second floor was completely packed with people. Oh, and my coffee was so bad, but it's because they didn't have Splenda and they let my espresso sit too long. ANYWAY, enough about coffee!

I posted some pictures on Facebook, by the way: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=88254&l=a9372&id=728476320.

It was a really nice city though. One thing I really appreciated was being led around by a Slovak and an American who actually knew where they were going. It would have taken me sooo much time to figure out which train and above-ground electric train to use and where to go. It made everything really smooth and nice. Here are a few more shots of the day...










Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Worst, and Funniest Doctor Visit Ever

All foreigners who come to work in Slovakia for over 90 days must come to see the doctor, in my case, in Bratislava. I had been dreading this day because of the many terrible stories I heard from other missionaries who went in years previous. Their stories aren't appropriate for me to post on this site, but lets just say stool samples with other people in the same room were involved. I didn't have to do that, but a group of Afghan men had to that were waiting with me. Friends assured me that the process was not as bad, but still pretty awkward. So please allow me to tell you about my experience in as many details as I can remember- because the details is what made it so hilarious and awkward.

First, we left Trnava at 6:15 am (UCK!). After a 45 minute drive or so, we ended up at a building in downtown Bratislava. We climbed about 4 stories and went through a few random doors and found our way to the doctors office. Through hearing the conversation I figured out that they were saying to Roman (a Slovak employee at the Building) that my appointment was actually the day before. By a miracle they actually let us stay for the appointment.

The first part of the exam was to take blood. I sat down on the table and immediately they asked for the money to cover the exam. I wasn't thrilled about this process because my last experience with giving any amount of blood resulted in me fainting right on the floor. I layed down on the table and they took my blood and it actually was very smooth and not very painful at all.

For the next part of the exam I went to see the doctor, who was an elderly woman. We walked down the hall and the nurse said with a thick accent, "See doctor now". I sat on the table and awaited her instructions and questions. In broken English she asked me my name, where I'm from, if I had diseases in my family, and other medical questions. She then asked my weight and I told her how many pounds... she said, "This too much!" and I realized she wanted my weight in kilograms. So I went back out to the lobby to take my own weight. I came back, told her, and then she asked me my height. I started to say "5'5" until I realized she didn't care about feet and inches, so I went back out to measure my own height by a tape measure taped to the wall.

She pointed to my shirt and said, "Take off please". I said, "Seriously?!" and she of course nodded yes. Let's just say she went through quite unnecessary means to hear my pulse. She asked me to lie on the table again and she starts poking my bare stomach with both sets of fingers to see if I had any massive growths or something (?), and I am giggling the whole time because she's tickling me to death.

She tells me to sit up on the table and proceeds to knock on my head like one would knock on a door and says, "Does this hurt?". I'm about to laugh out loud as she's knocking on my head but I say, "No", then she jabs both sets of fingers under my eyes, on my cheeks, and on my chin, asking me if it hurts. She sits back down in her desk and fills out the information. Her arthritic fingers which are being choked by her tiny rings are pounding on the computer mouse so hard it echoes through the room. Her double clicks sounded like, "CLICK! CLICK!". Hmm I can't explain that well- it was funny though.

Okay so that exam is over. We leave the building and go across the street to another old hospital. We sit and wait for about 20 minutes for them to call me in. This was the part of the exam that was not funny and I was really dreading. This short old mean looking man told me to come in. He pointed to my shirt and said, "Take it off" (which I knew was about to happen), and pointed to a nasty little closet. I pointed to my outside shirt and said, "Can I keep this one on?" and he said angrily, "VSETKO!" (EVERYTHING!). I rolled my eyes and went in the closet. One door in the closet went to the doctor and the other side went to the hall-full of men, both unlocked.

Before I was done doing what I had to do, the doctor flung open the door and said, "COME, NOW" and I snapped back, "CHILL!". I came out of the closet trying to cover myself up and he pointed to the big cold metal machine. He told me to take off my necklace, but as I was taking it off with one hand, it got stuck on my earring!! (Mind you, I'm in a very uncomfortable state at the moment with this angry old man right beside me). So he gives a big mad SIGH, and starts yanking on my necklace- so I say "Pockaj!" (Wait) and get the stupid necklace off of my earring.

He tells me to move the shirt that's covering me up and pushes me against the large cold machine while he take an x-ray. Yeah--there are more details to that story but I'm already on the edge of being inappropriate here so just trust me when I say it was terrible!

So that was the end of the exam and I was sooooooo glad it was over.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Week 4 in Slovakia

As the days go on here, it gets harder and harder to find time to write on this blog! I will do my very best to comment on here more often though.

I can't believe it's already been 4 weeks! That thought blows my mind. I've learned so much since I've been here, whether about the differences in culture, something about myself, my friends, about God, or just life.

One simple thing I learned very quickly was that scarves and hats aren't just for fashion! Ha! I always liked wearing them, but more because they felt and looked nice. I learned quickly that one must wear substantial neck and head wear because it's FREEZING and windy!

For you men and women who do not cook, this may not be an issue for you.... but cooking here as completely thrown me off my culinary balance, if that makes sense. I can't find the same ingredients so often (or can't really read the packaging), and the temperatures are all in Celsius too, which means my oven at home is labeled 1-5 or something. So baking has not been easy.

Getting errands done has not been easy either. One day I needed to go to about 6 or 7 different places to get a project done. With a car, I could have easily done it in maybe an hour or two. With no car and not knowing how and where to buy certain things, it ends up taking forever and a day to do something!

I miss my thick-spring mattress. These tiny foam mattresses aren't cutting it... but I bought a goose down comforter so at least I'm sleeping okay.


The espresso in this particular city has been a big let-down. It's probably a good thing because I was way too spoiled with Joe's Coffee in Hillsborough and my body is probably thanking me for not drinking so much anymore.

I really enjoy walking everywhere I have to go, but I do miss having a car. I walk with headphones on, but unfortunately it's not the safest thing in the world to do. I think I've lost maybe 4 or 5 pounds though, so that's nice. I feel pretty good health wise too. There were a lot of things bothering me when I left the states, and all of which I attributed to stress. Exercise has helped that some. (This is our pastor and his wife below)


In the grocery stores (with a few exceptions), you don't get a grocery bag to take your stuff home. So you better have a bag or bookbag with you to take your stuff! If they do have bags, you have to put everything in there yourself. The other day I went to get some supplies, without realizing I forgot my special shopping bag at home, so I stuffed my coat jackets with stuff and walked down the street carrying an arm load of food. I definitely got some weird looks.

Slovak is super hard! I don't have too much pity for those that have to learn English anymore. I used to be taught that English was THE hardest language out there. I beg to differ! The great thing is that I'm starting to get more and more of it and putting sentences together- a task I assumed was impossible last year. (Here's a picture of a traditional singer singing to my friends)


Much of the team is leaving for the holidays, leaving me with 2 families here for 2-4 weeks. I'll be living along during this time as well. It should be interesting. I'm not sure if it'll be really good for me or really depressing. I hope it'll be a good time to get some work and reading done.

I'm sure there's more but I need to go home because we're having a women's dinner/bible study tonight :)

Miss y'all, hope you're doing well!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2 Week Update

Well any minute now the rest of the team will arrive at our apartment door in preparation for one of the many bible studies/group meetings we have during the week. This one is on Thursday morning at 9 and Miriam has been up since 7 making some wonderfully smelling coffee cake. For the past 2 weeks since I've been here it has basically consisted of me getting used to things with very little work, so I'm a little spoiled I think!

To give you an idea of my schedule (and this will probably change), we have Mondays off but that night we have a women's bible study/dinner/prayer/singing time usually at our house. Tuesdays there's usually quite a bit going on like English classes and I think Senior High activities. Wednesday there's English classes, team "business" meetings, and that evening a few of us usually get together for a bite to eat and read some scriptures. Thursdays we meet from 9-11 for prayer time and after that other things at the Building happen, though it seems to be a relaxed day. Fridays are usually pretty busy as we get ready for big activities. Since I've been here we've prepared for the Intro and also a Thanksgiving meal- so Fridays are fun. Saturdays are our other day off. Sundays we go to church that starts at 10, we have some kind of lunch at home (hopefully sleep) and then meet at the Lundgaard's for a more in depth bible study. So that's my week in a nutshell. You can tell that the week is saturated with studying the word, praying, singing, and fellowship. I'm sure it'll change a bit over time, especially when I start really getting into my behind-the-scenes work here, but that will basically be the general schedule.
Did I tell you already about Thanksgiving? I don't remember if I did. Because we have different groups of kids, we split our holiday parties up in many weeks. So Thanksgiving started last week and will end sometime next week. Last week I cooked for what was supposed to be like 25-30, but ended up to be more like 15. It's definitely a different culinary world to a) go to the grocery store (potraviny) to get your supplies b) on a very tight budget, c) in a small kitchen with 4 burners and one stove. Most of you are thinking "I do that every day!" but see, I'm used to a large commercial kitchen with gadgets and storage rooms and walk-in refrigerators full of food, so cooking for 30 in that kitchen is a piece of cake, whereas this takes much more planning and "strategy". :) So we have another meal tomorrow and I'm cooking the mashed potatoes, carrots, the dessert, and if I can find more sweet potatoes (rare) then maybe my sweet potato casserole again.

Last weekend we went to Ikea and the mall in Bratislava. I had been wanting to go here a while so I can buy stuff to get me feeling settled--and feeling like it was MY space, not temporarily sleeping in someone else's. So I bought a lamp that I've been waiting years to buy, a comforter and pillow, a laundry hamper, some great white square plates and bowls, and a new cooking knife as well. It's definitely done a good job in allowing me to feel more at home.
It's been getting a lot colder over the past 2 weeks since I arrived, which I'm actually kinda thankful for (or at least will be until January when I'll probably be sick of the cold!). I'm thankful for it because when it's cold enough for jackets but not enough for scarves/gloves, etc. is because when you get inside a store or apartment you're so sweaty and hot from walking all over the place. So when it gets really cold you don't sweat as much and don't have to strip all your outerwear all the time.

Today we walked across the big pretty square in what I call "downtown" for lunch. We saw this massive Christmas tree in the middle of it. And I'm not talking about one you'd find in even the biggest of American houses- I'm talking about a TREE like at least 25 ft. high! We walked towards it all in smiles because of the smell. I picked off a tiny piece of a needle and smelled it fervently! It smelled so much like Christmas and for a minute or two, us Americans were gitty about the holiday coming up.
I'll also be starting my design work very soon, which is exciting. We've been thinking about the website and other design projects for a really long time, so I'm stoked to go ahead and get started on things. Oh and P.S.: I now love Coke Blak! (coffee and coke) It's amaaaazing.

Prayer Requests for Me:

1) I am so thankful that I have not become too terribly ill since I've been here, minus some discomfort the first few days- a big surprise! Please continue to pray for my stable physical, mental and spiritual health.

2) Please pray for me (and the team) as I (we) continue to slave over learning Slovak. I'm sure I've said this before, but it is a very complicated language. I am hoping that I won't get burned out on learning it!

3) I will be starting my behind-the-scenes design work next week. Please pray for guidance with this as I work on designing the website, brochures and other needs.

Prayer Requests for the Team:

1) We're in a huge transitional time right now. Miriam, the ministry coordinator here, is going back to the States for 4 months on leave. That means everything she handles on a day to day basis will now be handed down to everyone else. If you knew how much she does, you'd know that this is a big deal! Especially because almost everyone here is either brand new or hasn't been here longer than 2 years. So pray that we'd not only have guidance about how to lead when she's gone, but also that she can leave with total peace about leaving.

2) All of the other interns (Ryan, Anya, and Gina) are also leaving for the Holidays--though Anya will be back in January for a while and Gina will be back after New Years I believe. We're also welcoming back the Lesondaks in December (the family that started this ministry who have been in the states for a year and a half), and also a new family who has one child and will be here in January I think. We're also anticipating the return of Janna Scheflen who will be here for 2 years. So as you can see, lots of people coming and going over the next 2 months, so please pray for safety, for smooth transitions, and that the Lord would provide guidance to those who are considering coming back.

3) Please pray for direction for The Building. We are making very important decisions about our goals and missions, if we should keep raising money for a possible new Building in Trnava, whether we should move to another city as well, and many more long term goals. These are complicated decisions and need guidance from the Lord.

4) Pray for a continuation of peace within the team members here, especially in the next few months in our big transition period.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Acclimation

Well I'm getting started on the second week of living here and I thought I'd share some new random things. First, let me praise the Lord in this smooth transition I've had over the past 7 days. (In fact it's almost to the minute that I arrived a week ago!). Physically, I'm very thankful that my jet lag and sickness only lasted about 5 days. I'm finally waking up at a normal hour, though I still haven't gone a whole night without waking up early. I'm such a light sleeper that a car starting or cat meowing 7 stories down can wake me up!

Mentally/Emotionally things are going well. I don't believe the reality of me being here has actually hit me yet! So for now I'll bask in the naivety of this honeymoon stage :) I was thinking the other day that I spent so long preparing my mind for living here that this transition of living in this country has been really smooth so far. I, for the most part, had a good idea of what I was getting myself into so it wasn't such a shock.
There are still some lingering things that I'm really not used to yet- some good, some bad. It's still a shock that it's completely dark outside by 5 pm, and starts to get dark by 4:30 or so. That is so strange! In January I hear it gets dark by 4, and starts to get dark before 3:30! It really messes with my internal clock.I'm not used to walking everywhere I need to go. I like this though- I enjoy it now. However, I like it more when I can walk by myself at my own pace. People here walk sooo fast so my short little legs are struggling to keep up. It hasn't been too cold yet, which I'm actually kinda thankful for, in regards to my transition. The problem though, is that because I'm walking (and sometimes fast) I get hot by the time I get to my destination- and the buildings are so well warmed that I end up sweating much of the time (something I didn't expect). So there's a lot of putting on coats and hats and gloves and then taking them all off, etc.
I walked around Trnava with my trusty mini camera the other day to take pictures and figure out my way around. I love the size of the city- not so big it's impossible to find your way around, not so small that I feel claustrophobic. I was about to take a picture of a sign near a pedestrian area and this man came up to me and motioned his hand towards the nearby benches and said, "Sandwiches? Sandwiches?" and I said "Nehovorim po Slovensky" (I don't speak Slovak) and he kept asking me so I just left. I really haven't had too many awkward stranger encounters so far, which has been nice! (Had a lot of those in Ethiopia...)

This is my new Slovak teacher/old friend Miska. This was the friend I visited up in Ohio when my car broke down, yay! We had our first lesson yesterday and it went well. We'll start out with 3 lessons a week, then eventually taper down to 2, then 1. I'm glad that I tried to learn some SK words when I was home. It hasn't helped my conjugations at all, but has helped in other ways.

Anyhow, that's about all I can think of that's worth talking about at the moment. Feel free to leave comments on this blog with questions too! Let me know if you DON'T have Facebook and still want to see my photos. That's where I'm posting them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trnava, Slovakia... Travel and First Impressions

For the next ~year you will hear many random ramblings and observations from me. Right now I'm a tad bit overwhelmed and sick feeling (as one would be if they were moving to a foreign country). I'll just write my observations and happenings from the past 48 hours...sorry for the length... but expect me to be longwinded for a while :) Also, I've been too nasty feeling to take pictures so this will all be words.

I flew United Airlines for 2 legs of the trip, which caused me to roll my eyes before even arriving the airport because in my opinion United is a totally incompetent airline. I arrived with my luggage, expecting there to be some sort of problem with my luggage weight. To my amazement, my weight was dead on which was a huge relief. Except, as they were entering in my information the woman behind the counter asked for my visa. I told them I'll get my visa when I get to my destination. They said I was wrong and they wouldn't let me get on the plane without a visa or unless I had a return ticket in 90 days or less. Eventually we found out that we just had to book the ticket back but we could cancel it once I got to SK with no charges. I knew that was stupid but I did it anyway. An HOUR later I got my boarding pass.

The first leg to Washington was alright- nothing special. Once I got off the plane I took my sleep aids in anticipation of sleeping all the way to Munich for 8 hours. Little did I know that for the next 8 hours I would be drowsily dropping in my seat, unable to fall asleep. At this point I was so concerned with making my flights and getting sleep that I was not at all preparing myself for what I was actually doing. The sun was rising and shining bright over the land. The orange sunlight illuminated the fog and the orange rooftops that I found so familiar yet so foreign. It wasn't till I saw the orange rooftops till I realized the weight of what I was doing!

One flight later I found myself in the Bratislava airport. It was surprisingly small and cute- one large room with one baggage claim and a set of bathrooms. Within 3 or 4 minutes both of my bags and my guitar came rolling along the belt. I smiled as I thanked God for proving my very necessary luggage. I could see the legs of my welcome party of two outside, but once you went out the doors you couldn't come back in. So amazingly enough I figured out how to carry 2 50 lb. bags, one guitar, a 30 lb. backpack and a 20 lb. carrying case by myself. Stumbling out of the double doors I met my welcomed my friends and was happy for a safe arrival.

Dan and Petra then took my luggage, hopped in Dan's van, gave me my schedule for the rest of the week, and drove to McDonalds. Mind you, this is one of the most elegant McDonalds I've ever seen. By this time I had been feeling terrible since about 2 pm the day before. So I ate little and didn't finish the weird Diet Coke. By the way, it's like 9 pm the day after I've arrived and I've been feeling bad since then. My stomach has been up and down- my appetite has been weird and I've been just... off.

So for the past day and a half I've mainly just been trying to get settled, went shopping a little, went to the Building, went out to eat with folks and I've been trying to rest too. OH and tonight we went to go to see 007 at the theatre too. I've also walked quite a bit, which is exactly what I've expected. It's weird to come out of a restaurant and just start walking. Usually I stuff myself silly and then sit in a car and feel terrible- so it's kinda nice to walk.

One of the things I'm really thankful for actually are a few things that rarely happen here- things that I believe is helping me adjust quicker. It's unseasonably warm, which is something I don't necessarily love, but I think if I came and it was snowy and rainy and nasty it would be harder to adjust. We're also going to hear Dan (an American) preach this Sunday, which is rare- so the first Sunday to hear the sermon in English will be really nice.

I'm so thankful that people don't share here. In Africa, everyone knows you're a foreigner and they stare at you so rudely. Here, I don't stick out too much and people don't make me feel uncomfortable- that is a really nice transition too.

Okay okay, so random observations...

- Europeans drink lots of water with gas. Yeah that's what it's called- like carbonated water. I must be an American cause I don't like it... YET. So when you order it you've gotta ask for water with no gas- voda ne..something.

- Slovaks are super fashionable! Seriously, I'm like way behind the times compared to many of the people I've seen in the past day. Speaking of which, probably 90% of the people I've passed so far have been under 25 or so. Remember that stat I talked about during my presentation about about 2/3 of the people in Trnava were under 20? Yeah, I totally believe that now. Sometimes I've felt like I was on a college campus!

- I'm on the 7th floor of this apartment building. We've gotta ride an elevator to the top that's built for 2 people, or 4 if you stuff yourselves in. There aren't automatic doors on it either. Instead you open a regular sized door, then push open 2 little doors. I'll have to take a picture.

- We had a team meeting yesteday morning for like 3 hours, but it was nice. We sang hymns and prayed for most of the time. My roommate (literally) Anya and I tried to make cinnamon buns but they didn't turn out so well.

- Just about everyone on the team reminds me of someone back home. Dan reminds me of my friend Joe. Ryan reminds me of my step-bro John. It's crazy...

- They weren't lying when they said everything is more expensive here. I went shopping for shampoo and random stuff today- not enough to even fill a shopping basket and it cost me about 60 EU, which is about $90.

- There is so much more English around town than I expected. On buildings, in the malls, on things you buy at the store... it's weird to see it, but I think it'll actually be really refreshing once I need to experience something familiar.

- Beer is cheaper than water. Yesterday I got a tiny bottled water for like $1.75 in the restaurant (because they don't do free tap water), and then I noticed beer was 17 SKK, so about 70 cents.

- Speaking of free, not everything is free of charge here like you'd expect after living in the States. Shopping carts, use of the bathrooms, ketchup in the restaurant, and water are just a few things that you have to pay extra for usually.

-Did I already say this? People not only walk wherever they go, but my local friends walk pretty fast too. It's totally normal for them, but more of a workout for us Americans! I like it, but it also makes me feel even worse when I feel sick already!

Well there's a lot more but I'll stop for your sakes! I hope you'll join me over the next year as I attempt to recreate what I experience here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Addresses

Hey y'all! I just wanted to post my new addresses to the top right of the blog. If you're ever in the mood to send some cheer my way, there's how!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Departing Soon!

Dear Friends,

Join me in praise! The Lord has provided me with full support!

Thank you so much for all of your prayer, encouragement and support. I can't even begin to express how this past year has changed me and how God has taught me lessons of trust and humility. I am very excited to finally be able to return to the Heart of Europe.

We found an unbelievable price on my ticket to Bratislava as well! My flight leaves around noon on November 4th (Election day....and yes, I'm voting that morning!), and I'd like to spend time with and/or speak over the phone with as many of you as possible. The next 3 1/2 weeks will go by quickly, so if you'd like to get together, please do contact me soon!

While I am gone, I will not have phone access, though I will have Skype which is a program that allows us to speak over the computer, free of charge. If you'd like to be updated on my status, my experiences and the ministry, I encourage you to keep this link handy: www.andetrumanslovakia.blogspot.com. I will be updating this as often as possible, sharing photos and stories regularly. I will be sending an E-newsletter once a month as well.

Again, thank you to all of you who have been encouraging me since one year ago when this process first started. I'd appreciate your prayers as I prepare for departure and especially while acclimating to Slovakia next month. If you have any other questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact me.

Your Sister in Christ,
Ande

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Why Did You Move to NC?"

So many people have been asking me that question since I moved back to Mebane. So for those of you reading this that still don't know the answer to that, I will explain it...

I got fired for going on this mission back to Slovakia. They gave me an extended grace period of 4 weeks because they needed to use me so I could finish some important projects. This "Christian" organization fired me because they didn't like the idea that they didn't have the upper hand and I could leave whenever I raised enough support. My lease ended on my apartment on that exact same week. So with no job and nowhere to live, I could have either stayed in Orlando, found another job, found another apartment (both of which wouldn't have worked because I had NO idea how long I would have been in the country), and somehow worked full time plus raising support.... OR I could have moved home with little to no rent, got a very flexible job and spent more time raising support. To me, the choice was easy. So I hope that answers everyone's question. I just wanted to clear that up :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Frequent Flyer Miles as a Donation

Have frequent flyer miles you'd like to donate? Ask me if you'd like to know how to use your FF miles for my ticket to Slovakia next month! andetruman@gmail.com or reply to this message.

Monday, September 8, 2008

86%!

That's right, 86%. I'm very excited! At this point I only need....

3 people at $100 per month
3 people at $50 per month
3 people at $25 per month

Will you be one of the 9 people to help me meet my goal?

andetruman@gmail.com

www.fizzthat.com/newsletter

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Important Departure Update

Dear Friends,

I'm writing to invite you to both rejoice and pray with me over the next two months. I want to share with you an important update regarding my mission to Slovakia. I hope to call or speak face to face with many of you so you can hear this first hand from me and ask me any questions you may have.

This September will mark one year of support raising. With prayer and also guidance from Mission to the World, we have decided to schedule my departure approximately around the last week of October, Lord willing. This is a cause to rejoice with me! I am so very eager to finally start my service!

However, I heartily covet your prayers. I am still lacking 18%, about $675 per month. I will still be able to receive gifts on the field while I am there, but it is important to leave with 100% so that I can focus on the ministry and the Lord's work, rather than support raising. Over the next two months I am hoping that you will join me in prayer and/or giving as I prayerfully seek the remainder of my necessary support.

I respectfully ask that if you intend on, or have verbally committed to supporting God's work in Slovakia, please send your support in to the address below. If you have already sent in a one-time gift, would you consider matching that gift for same time next year? If you would like to, click here to view and print an online pledge card (www.fizzthat.com/pledgecard. II Corinthians tells us to not give grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Friends, my job is to simply ask and whatever your decision may be, I trust the Lord in His provision!

Please join me in prayer. Thank you so very much for all of your encouragement and support. Take care!

Online Pledge Card: http://fizzthat.com/pledgecard

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

76%, Rising Dollar, and Depature Goal

Due to recent developments, my support now stands at 76%. It was higher, but the church I mentioned in my previous post (read the post from a few days ago) will not be able to give as once promised, bringing me down from 82%.

Over the past few weeks, the dollar has actually started to go up compared to the Slovak Koruna! That's good for me- please continue to pray for this.

Hopefully this week I'll be able to tell you more details about my departure goal date.

Right now with the support I have, I could serve for about 7 months. As you know, I've committed to 12. Though it is tempting to leave now and get started, I feel as though I should wait upon the Lord's provision and hope that 100% comes in. If you're confused about when I'm leaving, and why I could technically leave now, that's normal. :) I'll explain it in a few days.

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 15, 2008

82% and Important Prayer Request

Here's an updated breakdown of supporters needed! By the way, I know a lot of you can't commit to monthly gifts, and any gift whatsoever is so appreciated, no matter how much. So don't think that since you can't do monthly gifts it wouldn't make a difference! This is just an easier way for a lot of people to see it.

$585 per month (or $7,025 total) still needed

3 people at $100 per month
4 people at $50 per month
4 people at $25 per month


Prayer Request: As you're probably aware, the dollar continues to drop steadily compared to the Slovak crown. My MTW representative and I are going to be looking at this soon to see how much it has dropped and how much more support I'll be needing because of it. Please pray that the drop will be small and I won't need to raise a substantial amount more.

Also, a church that had committed to a substantial amount ($2,400) will probably be pulling their donation completely. Their financial situation at the church is VERY bad because of certain events over the past few years with their congregation. Please pray that -their financial situation would improve and they would be able to follow through with their commitments... or that God would provide this loss to me soon. By the way, this loss is not included in my support still needed because it's not 100% sure.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

79.5% and Saturday's Total

For those of you who don't know, we had an excellent turn-out yesterday at the car wash! At one point we had 28 workers! I'm not exactly sure how many cars we did, but we didn't really get more than a minute or two of rest working from one car to the next- so a nice steady flow from 8:30 till 4 pm. We made $1,030! That boosted me up to almost 80%. Now, I believe my numbers are:

4 People at $100 per month
4 People at $50 per month and
3 people at $25 per month

This is feasible to obtain before my goal of the end of September!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

77%

Hey y'all! Yes, we're over 3/4 of the way there. Only $750 per month left!

We'd love to have you come out this Saturday to the car wash, either to get your car washed or help scrub with us. This event will be hosted by the Grace Reformed Baptist Church youth group.

As most of you discovered, my goal is to be in Slovakia starting my service before October. Would you prayerfully consider being a part of this and sending me to serve in Trnava?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Almost 3/4....

Just wanted to let y'all know that I'm at 72%!

In the next month, expect my percentage to go down some due to a few factors--1) the dollar is still dropping, and their currency is strong, SO that means more will be needed. We're going to look at that in a few weeks though. 2) A church that was going to give a substantial amount is more than likely going to have to retreat from their pledge because of unforeseen severe financial stress.

In the meantime, I'm going to rejoice in my status now :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Car Wash! Saturday, August 9th in Mebane


Hey everyone! I wanted to invite you join us while we scrub cars to raise funds for my mission to Slovakia! It will take place Saturday, August 9th in Mebane on Mebane Oaks Road at the Advanced Auto Parts (in front of Lowe's Foods, beside Blue Ribbon).

We'll get started pretty early, probably arriving at 8:30 or 9 and staying until we get tired or run out of business :) So far the GRBC youth group is going to be heading this up. Whether you'd like to actually scrub the cars, hold signs and/or dance by the road and try to get people in, or go out on your own entrepreneurial excursion and sell lemonade or watermelon or something, you're welcome to do that too.

If you can make it, we'd love to have you. Also, if you have any scrub brushes, buckets, soap, etc. please bring them so we don't have to buy them. Not exactly sure what we're doing for lunch, but if someone, or a few people, would like to donate a few pizzas or something that would be excellent!

Comment on this post or send me an email at andetruman@gmail.com (or call me at 407.739.8571) if you want to come help. Thanks!