Slovakia. Just the name both thrilled and frightened me. My husband and I were going on our first Missions trip together. I was excited for the opportunity, but at the same time intimidated. I mean, I’m just the Pastor’s wife. I don’t teach and I don’t preach. I sometimes sing and I do book-keeping. I maintain the church website and had been looking into social networking. But what was my purpose in Slovakia? And what could I do, if anything, that would impact the ministry taking place there.
May 5, 2009 arrived quickly. Our time in Slovakia was busy. Every morning, afternoon, and evening we were ministering to cell groups, individuals, leadership groups, etc. My husband and another minister who traveled with us handled these meetings. I still had no idea what I could offer…
In between all of these meetings, I got on the computer. There were always people around when I had time to update our blog, and Facebook, and they began to get curious about what I was doing. I explained to them, that even though we were away from our home church, that we were able to keep them updated about what we were doing in Slovakia. This opened the door to my being able to share what was truly on my heart with the church in Slovakia.
I shared with them video of a song my daughter wrote that I have embeded into our website through YouTube and Tangle. They were very excited to learn that I had takes these videos with an inexpensive point and shoot camera and that the use of Tangle and YouTube are free. Most of their worship songs are original works because of the lack of materials in the Slovak language. This allows them to post videos of their songs without violating any copyright laws.
But this is what I was most excited about. You see, in Slovakia, there is not a church on every corner. There are many places of worship, but very few Christian churches. We ministered out of Prielom (Breakthrough) Christian Center in Bratislava, Slovakia. What we came to learn is that many members live in towns as far as 2 hours away from the church with Prielom being nearest Christian church to them. What I found interesting is that everyone of the members had a computer with internet access, even in the farm town of Trebula, where there are only 2 homes in the entire town. So, they have a need for reaching their members through the internet. I was able to share with them ways to share their services through audio or video via the internet. They already have the technology to make great MP3 audio of their service, but they weren’t aware of simple, low-cost ways to share the audio through the internet.
During my time there, I was able to share with the church leadership, the impact that social networking had made for our church. I began to recall the information that I gained through the series of articles from Ourchurch.com on Social Networking to share with them. Because of my recent Adventures in Social Networking at our own church, I was able to share with them simple ways to connect with their membership, no matter the distance between them. And because of those same tools, I am now able to keep in touch with Prielom and be a help to them as they begin their own adventure.
Something that I did not know until we returned home is how our blog impacted our church. They were able to keep up with what we were doing in “real time” and pray for us accordingly. They were also accessing our blog on our multi-media computer at church and sharing the blogs on the projection screen during worship services. This was also very instrumental in helping our over 60 crowd to understand the need for a website and for the church to have a presence on the internet.
We may not always know why God is sending us, or what our purpose is when we get there, but He does. He had given me a desire to begin an adventure of social networking for our church in Glenpool, Oklahoma, so that I had the opportunity to help the church in Bratislava, Slovakia to begin their own adventure.
[image by peterfenda]