DSC_0764.jpgGrace teens and adults will travel to Slovakia this summer on a mission trip

For many years Grace Church has had a continuing relationship with the Center for Christian Education (CCE) in Martin, Slovakia. The CCE's mission is to bring the gospel to people who live in post-communist Slovakia. Volunteers from Grace Church have helped to renovate buildings and to lead sessions of Vacation Bible School. Teachers from Grace School have taught in the CCE's elementary school (photo) and high school. Last summer Grace’s Youth and Family Ministry welcomed four high school students from Slovakia who spent the month of July living with Grace families and participating with Grace teens in the ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit.

In the summer of 2016 a team of Grace members, youth and adults, is traveling to Martin to serve at the CCE and, in the words of high school senior Katarina Modrich, “to experience life in another country…understanding how faith is involved in their daily lives.”

We will be working with the staff of the CCE in the VBS program, teaching, singing, playing, and creating with preschool to 4th grade students from around Martin. We will also get to reconnect with our friends the exchange students from last summer. We are working hard to prepare a VBS curriculum that will help us to communicate God’s love even if we don’t all speak the same language.  We will choose stories that tell about God’s love, practice communicating these ideas through simple language, and create engaging activities for the kids. 

Senior Pastor Dave Lyle, Children’s Ministry Coordinator Julie Modrich, and Youth and Family Ministry Director Logan Kruck are leading the team, bringing experience in education, Sunday School, and English language instruction. Erika Lyle, who has previously taught English at the CCE, will be joining them, along with Kathryn and Bob Jandeska and Pat and Sue Allen, Grace members with volunteer experience at the CCE. Also traveling to Slovakia are Mary Paulsen, and nine Grace youth – Ben Ho, Camille Luckett, John Beck, Natalie Roder, Fabyan Holloway, Peter and Katarina Modrich, and Bjorn and Kaitlin Vogen.

This group of teen-age volunteers has been working together around the church, cooking for an Advent supper, and serving coffee on Sunday morning. We are diligently raising money for this trip.  Our students are working hard to make it possible. They are babysitting, working after-school jobs, working on fundraisers at church, and writing letters asking for support.

Why are these teens intent on this trip? I think Camille summed it up the best, saying, “I’m going to Slovakia because it’s an experience of a lifetime. Also, because I can continue to grow in my faith by helping others grow in theirs.”

We invite all of you to participate with us in prayer, conversation, and individual sponsorships.  If you would like to sponsor one of our students on this trip, please call or e-mail Logan Kruck at 708-366-6900 ext 212, or lkruck@graceriverforest.org.