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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Visit to Teen Challenge Slovenia

vegetable garden & chicken coop
When we attended the Europe Teen Challenge Conference in Gdansk, Poland last April we met with our friends Matjaz & Magdalena from Teen Challenge Slovenia and promised to visit them this summer. So, last Thursday evening, after work, Jan took off for a short trip with the sole purpose of encouraging and helping the staff of Teen Challenge in beautiful Slovenia. Although he had planned to go on his BMW motor bike, he had to go by car due to extremely bad weather in this part of Europe.

Communal kitchen & dining room
About a year ago, in April 2010, we visited the newly rented house in Nova Vas. At that time we were able to help with cleaning up the yard and planting a vegetable garden. Last winter the first students arrived, men with serious life controlling issues crying out for help. Currently there are three men in the program, who are serious about following the Teen Challenge curriculum and growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Jan was invited to share a message from the Bible each morning during morning chapel. Sharing from the Word of God is as encouraging for Jan as it is for the students, because they are so hungry for God's truth.

hard work under the sun
Teen Challenge operates a moving and cleaning company, so during the day the guys also work. The money earned pays partly for room and board and utilities. This is not a government sponsored program and, as elsewhere in the world, Teen Challenge depends on donations from supporters, churches and other organisations. The truck you see in this picture was donated by a family in California!

Ready for church
On Sunday morning they all attend an Assemblies of God church in Ljubliana, which is about 75 miles away. Why so far? There are not that many evangelical churches in Slovenia, a country that has been oppressed by communism for many years which left no room for God. The official recognized church in Slovenia is the orthodox roman catholic church. It is such a blessing to see these former drugs/alcohol addicts leafing through their Bibles and learning more and more about the life they can have in Jesus! 

Teen Challenge Slovenia is a small ministry. The work seems insignificant on a larger scale: still so many addicts, still so much crime, still so much pain and hurt. But let us not forget that every life counts for the Lord. He cares for the individual, so much so that heaven rejoices over every lost soul that  comes home to Jesus! How awesome is that. God is patient, He doesn't give up. Let us behave likewise. As Jan said: was it worth it to drive 3000 km to pray for someone to be set free from bondage? YES!
Men @ work

A small scale, local project where lives are being changed, one at the time. Although under the flag of Teen Challenge, each center has a responsibility to raise funds and keep things going. A helping hand is always welcome.

From Slovenia Jan drove to Vilsbiburg, Germany, where he visited another Teen Challenge men's home. But we leave that story for the next post.

Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation [2 Peter 3:15]