Monday, March 10, 2008

Prayer, Praise & a Hair Stylist

Greetings from Trnava in southern Slovakia. I didn't walk as far this past week as I had planned but that was becuase of a very full schedule meeting people. I received a very handy Slovakian language lesson from 4 youth workers in Kysucke at the start of the week & I've been practising since. The Slovakian people have been very patient with me & generous with their time. The youth workers at Kysucke rang ahead to the city of Zilina to some counter-parts who welcomed me & organised for me to attend an eccumenical meeting being held that afternoon. Luthern Pastor Rad drove me to the meeting where I was invited to attened their prayer evening the following night. I walked on that night & again the next day so at 4pm I had to find a bus & ride back to Zilina, 50km behind me. Pastor Rad was very hospitable & offered me a place to stay & cooked up some great food for me. The meeting was very blessed & had contirbutors from many denominations. It was a beautiful first step towards unity in truth & love. One or the women attending the evening, Tracy, then invited me to travel down to the capital city of Bratislava for a major "Unity Concert" in 2days time. I couldn't afford the time to just hang around so after a careful look at the map we agreed on a pick-up point some 130km from Zilina. That plan had a spanner thrown in the works though when a journalist wanted an interview the next morning as I was preparing to head back to where I'd finished walking. The interview took a few hours & so Pastor Rad was very kind in throwing me in his car & speeding me out to my starting point. I only made a portion of my allotted distance for that day, leaving me with a 44km day to my 1:15pm pick-up point. So I began the marathon at 4:30am & pushed through, praying all the way & arriving 5mins late at 1:20pm. I-was-stuffed. I felt like I was going to self-combust over the last 15km. Tracy & her daughter shouted me to a quick lunch & then we were off to Bratislava. The concert, a night of praise & worship, was very re-focussing & up-lifting. A journalist came & met with me just as the evening was getting underway but after that I was free to just 'be'. Vlad, one of the guys there, invited me up to speak for a few minutes but spent the majority of the night sitting beside me translating everything. I now know how to say, "Holy Lord" quite fluently. His future sister-in-law, Ivana, also chipped in to help with translating while Vlad was leading up the front. They have a 24hr house of prayer in Bratislava & the shifts are taken up by people from all over the city & spectrum of churches. Again, a brilliant first step towards the unity of Christians in truth & love. Ivana made a phone call that night & organised a place for me to stay back where I'd finished walking (it was her home town). Tracy & her daughter drove me back that night & I was welcomed by Lucas, who didn't speak english, but we communicated just fine. The next morning we prayed together & then he took me to the local Evangelical church for their service. I then walked to Trnava, where I am now, & made it just in time for the Catholic mass. I had been given a contact here but that fell through & so one of the young women at the church simply offered me a place to sleep at her paretns place. I couldn't believe that she would just open up her home to a complete stranger, but then again, I really shouldn't be suprised at anything. I got a haircut the other day, my first since Snyder, Texas back in mid September. I ended up at a salon where haircutting is an art rather than a job. I really should have just asked for it to be all shaved off. Instead, the hairdresser (or should I say, 'Stylist') played with my hair for a minute & then started hacking at it with a cut-throat blade. She didn't use scissors once. She swiped, she sliced, she scared me half to death. I thought I was going to loose an ear. I've noticed that the mullet is very fashionable in Slovakia & she was very keen to not touch the back of my head. It's almost as if it's a fashion-declared national park & thus for viewing only & not for the taking! It took a few minutes of debate but I eventually convinced her that a mullet was not on. She sliced & slashed a little at the back & stood back as if to say, "How's that?" She'd given me a mini-mulllet. I insisted that she had to take more off it & so reluctantly she did. By the time I walked out of the salon I had a roughed-up just-got-out-bed back & a nike swoosh sweeping across the front & it was all held together by some sort of bizzare hair product. If anyone has seen the movie Dumb & Dumber you'll proabably remember them walking out of a salon & ruining the stylists good work by running their hands through their hair & bringing it back to normal. I did the exact same thing, & then put my cap back on. The Nike swoosh across my forehead greets me each morning now when I wake up so I just convince myself that I'm the most fashionable missionary on the face of the planet (apart from Blair McWhinney) & walk on. I've really enjoyed meeting the Slovakian people & they have certainly made the long distances on the road feel a little easier. I particularly get a kick out of the road signs here. All the signs with the typical bubble head person on it have been out-fitted with a hat of sorts. The figure on the pedestrian crossing is wearing as top-hat & the workman on road-works sign is wearing a beret. It's brilliant :-) Also, I few very big thank you's to a few poeple who have assissted me lately in acquiring a few new items to replace my old or damaged equipment. To the covenant community in Lublin, Poland, to Wojtek & the covenant community in Bielsko Biala, Poland & to the Pollard's in Australia, thank you so much for the new, walking poles, head-lamp, beanie & boots. I'm still wearing the boots I had delivered to Nicaragua & they are well beyond wearable. I have to grab a few stones out of them each day as I have 'ventilation' on the sides. The new boots should arrive next week & to Dave Batten who organised them for me (it took 3months to find a pair of size 16 (50 Euro)) thank you very much. I'll cook a nice dinner for you in late July. So with my 8000km old boots hanging on by a thread, I'm heading into Bratislava over the next 2days & then across the border into Austria. God bless & peace be with you, Sam.
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." Matt 25:35

1 comment:

Wojtek S said...

Hi Sam! I wish I could see you wearing the mullet! It would make your walk through Slovakia much easier;) I'm glad you're ok and you find wonderful people on your way. We remember you in our prayers. And your (our!) intention, too! God bless you on your journey. We're with you wherever you go and whatever haircut you have!