Connect with us through your favorite social media avenues


Why Slovakia? By Becky Gossett

Why Slovakia?  What did you do?  Why do you keep going back?  

Since returning from our trip to Vazec, Slovakia a few weeks ago, I’ve answered many questions about our time there. For a variety of reasons, it is difficult to answer the questions in a way that honestly and completely conveys the experience.  

Harold Philips has planned several trips to Slovakia to support the ministry of CBF field personnel Shane and Diane McNary, who work in the Roma community.  Harold likes to say “this is the last trip” as he waits for someone to ask if we can go again. Bill and I have had 3 “last” trips now.  

Our time in the village of Vazec each year includes these components: living in a house with about 12 people from all across the US (and also from Romania), teaching English in the public school, leading a VBS-type afternoon with Roma children from the settlement on the edge of the village, meeting with the adults from the local church, and meeting with the young mothers from the settlement. The REAL purpose is to make connections with people… sharing Christ’s love, learning about them, and (honestly, for me) learning about my values. On many levels, the group that descends upon this little village must listen/learn from/adjust to its members while also learning about the people of the place. I thank God for this complicated experience each year.  

Here are some random lessons I’ve learned, and thoughts about my time in Vazec over the three visits:

  • One caring adult can bring hope and joy to another adult or child through continued involvement over time. The best example is the way the people respond to Harold Phillips when he comes in a room. He is like everyone’s favorite uncle. 
  • Music can make anyone smile. ANY music…ANYONE.
  • My limited language skills cause me frustration. Children all around the world speak more than one language. Why don’t I? I rely on translators… and hugs. 
  • I am still learning about the dynamics of this village, which traces its history to the year 1280 and has about 2,400 people. Vazec has endured communism in its not-so-distant past. The village faces the challenges of how to include a people-group with very different ways. The resilient people in the village have come through many changes over time. 
  • Christianity looks different in different communities. We can all learn from one another. 
  • There are incredible people who work every day to make life better for those in the settlement. They are led by an angel named Danka and her husband, Daniel. They created a nonprofit organization, Jekh Drom (One Way), and face obstacles unlike those we have in Liberty, Missouri to provide a better life for those who struggle most. There is now a preschool program for Roma children, housed in a nice facility built with the help of CBF. Because of the tenacity of Danka and a few others, the children who attend will have a much better chance at success in the public school now.  
  • I want to be more like these people.

For more information on the work of Danka and Jekh Drom in Vazec, follow on Facebook.

Share |