Sending a missionary…or adopting a nation?!
When we moved to Slovenia, our home church did more than send missionaries…they “adopted” Slovenia! Our church had supported many missionaries for decades, but this was a broader, fresh emphasis. Over the years it has been expressed in many ways, especially through numerous short-terms teams who worked with us to help church plants across Slovenia.
Six weeks after we arrived, our first short-term team came, led by some close friends, focusing mainly on prayer and helping us network with churches and pastors. The next month a friend from church contacted us about bringing a music group over; a group of twelve came in October –just after September 11, 2001. Together we toured a concert program celebrating Reformation Day, October 31, giving church planters an event to which they could invite their communities. That group grew, returning five times with a gospel concert in the Slovene language.
Our second summer a triple team came to serve in three individual church plants in different cities – two teams teaching English classes, and the third helping to encourage and train a new recovery ministry. Later we started a Performing Arts Camp that continues today. Eventually another family came from our church and served here for several years before they headed back due to health issues. The church financially supported some Slovene church planters as faithful servants in our needy nation, even though they were of a different theological stream.
All together we have had about 150 people come and serve from our home church and other churches in the region. Many have come multiple times, with an ongoing passion for Slovenia; some of these people stay in regular, weekly or daily contact with Slovenes via the internet! There is now a team of about 35 people who are intercessors for the teams who come.
A key factor in all of this was that not only did the missions pastor visit regularly to build relationships, even to serve alongside us, but the senior pastor came as well! When we visited one church with him, he met a pastor who seemed to be his long-lost ‘twin’; similar in age, heart and vision. People in Modesto began to hear comments about Slovenia in sermons; short examples that were not forced, but just natural as his love for Slovenia and for this pastor shone through.
Recently our teammates began a three-way partnership with a U.S. church, their church, and another church plant in their unreached region. These churches have committed to ten years of short-term teams and assistance!
It is a wonderful thing for a church to send out a missionary. CrossPoint Community Church has stood with us these 15 years, and the majority of our support comes from them. But the church has done more than send and support us – it has embraced Slovenia and continues to work with our partners here in many ways.
Whether you “adopt” a nation or send a missionary, let us encourage you to come work alongside them and the nationals they work with. Make it happen! But beware – there is something about laboring here that is contagious!
By: Todd Hunnicutt, Serving in Slovenia