Slovakia has two Independence Days, sort of. On this date in 1990, in the immediate aftermath of communism, Slovakia was declared a sovereign republic. Thus, many consider July 17 Slovak Independence Day. On Jan. 1, 1993, Slovakia and the Czech Republic peacefully separated into two countries, often called the “velvet divorce.” Happy 28th (or 25th) birthday, Slovakia!
Suicide. Alcoholism. Crumbling marriages. No, not today’s headlines. Rather, these are all-too-often hidden realities among pastors in a former communist country in Europe. Now, several regional pastors are finding mutual hope and encouragement in a mentoring group with Entrust’s Mark Van Bebber
Look what they’re saying about Facilitating Relational Learning (FRL) in Barcelona, Spain!
- “This program has broken all paradigms I had about learning. I will put this in use immediately in my small group.”
- “This has opened a new horizon for me which includes forming other leaders to continue and multiply our groups.”
- “I always thought of myself as a teacher: I teach, you learn. This training has given me a new way to impart knowledge while relying on the Holy Spirit to go much further than I ever could as a teacher.”
Ten men and women took FRL at IBSTE seminary, facilitated by Entrust associate Soraya Marin and second-generation learners Dámaris Zafra and Rachel Wilson. Leaders are multiplying in southern Spain!
Our Serbian learner and talented baker is at it again. Dora produced not only a cake decorated with symbols representing our Discovery Bible Study course but also, cookies beautifully emblazoned with the title of our Developing a Discerning Heart course in Serbian. Entrust’s Sandy Shaffer and Beth Van Bebber, who travel to Serbia to co-facilitate these courses, are delighted not only with these Serbian confections but with how the women are taking to heart what they’re learning. Dora is now co-facilitating a second-generation group of Serbian women taking DDH. Sweet!
On Feb. 25, 1983, Rob and Sandy Shaffer and their 5-month-old daughter boarded a plane heading to Austria. Thirty-five years later, Rob and Sandy continue to serve God faithfully with Entrust from their home base in Vienna. They’ve traveled to meet with, teach, encourage and shepherd men and women in ministry in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Serbia. They’ve invested their lives in people of all nationalities living in Austria. Sandy has written and edited training materials, including Entrust’s hugely influential course Walking with Christ. They added two more daughters to their family and have gained a first grandchild.
Join us in thanking Rob and Sandy for 35 years of effective ministry. Only God knows how many lives have been impacted by this faithful couple.
European peninsula, home to Spain, Portugal and Andorra; location of one of Entrust’s newest training centers.
FAMOUS PEOPLE: Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Benicio del Toro, Rafael Nadal, Miguel de Cervantes (Spain); Vasco de Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, Carmen Miranda (Portugal); many skiers and soccer players.
GEOGRAPHY: separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees Mountains; surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the east and west; Andorra’s mountains draw skiers from across Europe.
FASCINATING FACTS: home to endangered Iberian lynx–only 200 or so thought to remain in the wild; one of Europe’s stormiest regions–Spain has an average 10,000 storms a year; the most lightning bolts on record for one day in Spain was 60,201 on Aug. 17, 2003.
CUISINE: primarily Mediterranean cuisine high in olive oil, fish and seafood, tomato sauces and rice. Regional specialties include various “paellas” (rice dishes) and “jamón ibérico” (Iberian ham).
SPIRITUAL CLIMATE: majority Catholic (increasingly secular) with pockets of Jews and Muslims.
PRAY FOR: Entrust staff laying groundwork to launch ministry training in this region; continued excellent relationships with biblically-sound churches and seminaries.
Many of our most intense moments with God happen at camp. Even if that camp is coated in snow and may involve skis. Pray as Entrust’s Dustin and Miriam Combs spend time with young Slovaks through Saturday at winter camp in northern Slovakia. Cold hands, warm hearts!