Slovakia (MNN) — Only a few
thousand people in Slovakia, or two-tenths of a percent, are evangelical
Christians, but God is at work.
"My husband likes to say that in
the last 10 years, Slovakia has gone through the changes that the United States
has gone through since the 1920s," said Greater Europe Mission missionary Linda
Shattuck. "In a short amount of time,
their whole society has turned upside down.
They used to be a communist country, and now they're becoming more
Changes in the country's economy
have increased the wealth of many people and allowed them to own more
technology, but some are realizing that they're missing something more. Since the government no longer represses
religion, many are seeking to know more about God and various religions. "People are really open to the Gospel,"
Shattuck and her husband, Kelly,
work with and train youth workers all over Slovakia, as well as in other
countries in Eastern Europe. The idea is
"that the next generation of leaders can carry on," Linda explained. "We kind of work ourselves out of a job."
The evangelical population in Slovakia
is not only miniscule, it is also fragmented.
According to Linda, some of the denominations "don't work together well." She sees hope for change in the country's Christian
"They want God to be glorified,
but they sometimes are so stuck in their tradition," she explained. "Actually it's the youth that are breaking
out of traditions and embracing inter-denominational efforts
to see the Gospel furthered. So when someone becomes a Christian, the
important thing is that we have a new believer, not a new member of our church."
The Shattucks have seen God work
in the lives of many youth. On one
occasion, God brought a young man into their lives when they moved to a new
"He, very boldly and
uncharacteristic for Slovaks, decided he was going to come over and introduce
himself to us," Kelly recalled. "He came
over, rang the bell at our gate, and introduced himself. And from that day forth, he started coming over
every day after school."
This consumed a lot of time in
Kelly's day, and he was beginning to get frustrated with the boy, when Linda reminded him
that perhaps God had sent the boy to them for a reason.
"I repented of my
thick-headedness and selfishness, and the next day when he came over, I started
talking to him about where he was headed with his life," Kelly recalled. "His focus was computers, becoming a computer
technician and making some money. So I challenged him to consider looking at something
larger than himself. And shortly
thereafter, he started attending the youth ministry at our church, [and] became
This young man went on to be
leader in the youth ministry and attend seminary. Now, he's going into the ministry.
"In the next two months, [he] will
be launching a church-planting ministry movement in one of the most atheistic
parts of the country of Slovakia," Kelly said. "We look at this young man, and realize that God had his plan in spite
of our thick-headedness. That really
is the nature of ministry in Europe: the key is to wait for the Lord to move,
and join in on that."
The Shattucks have returned to
the States to wait on the Lord and learn what He would have them do next.
The need for Christian ministry and
more missionaries in Slovakia is great. "If you are looking for the
challenge of a lifetime, then you need to consider ministry in the former Soviet
Republic," Kelly said. "Spiritually, it
pushes you like you cannot imagine being pushed in your trust."
The Shattucks also encouraged Christians to
pray for missionaries to Slovakia, as well as for the church there, "that they
would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, but also bold
and not afraid that their friends are going to think badly of them or that they
might be penalized at work," Linda said.