Roma Travel Journal - Day 6
We finished our time in Slovakia by worshiping with the Michalovce UMC this morning – a small congregation by our standards – probably 25 in church, counting us. The pastor’s 12-year-old daughter accompanied hymn singing on the piano and did an excellent job. Pastor Pavle Kocev invited us to make our testimony, we sang as best we could using a language that does not come easily to our tongues (even when we have a hymnbook in front of us), heard Pavle’s sermon, and were whisked off to the airport in Kosice in the church van, packed to the hilt. A quick stop at McDonalds provided our lunch; the wait at the airport wasn’t long, and we took off on time (2:40 pm).
We are missing a person on our team besides Michael. Mary Rishel was to come with us, but a quickly deteriorating hip brought orders from the doctor not to make this trip. She had hip replacement surgery scheduled mid-May. If you’re reading this, Mary, know that you made the right choice. There’s been considerable walking involved in all that we’ve done – including our walking tour of Vienna that gave me a blister on my toe. Today’s flights made me thankful that you weren’t suffering through the climbing into and out of planes from the tarmac, lugging all our carry-on suitcases.
Mary’s with us in spirit. She had her husband meet me at our Conference Center Saturday before we left the US with bags full of craft materials. The butterflies made out of wooden clothes pins, decorated with colored markers, pipe cleaner antennae, and snack baggies filled with skittles have been a great hit with children and adults alike. Svetlana complimented us on that craft and stated she’d be using it in the future when she worked with children. The butterflies are fun to make and a wonderful symbol of transformation and resurrection. Thank you Mary!
We landed in Prague (Czech Republic) at 4:30, got our boarding passes for Sophia, went through passport control (I have no stamp in my passport for Slovakia, but now have one from the Czech Republic), on through security and a pat down, and finally boarded our plane to leave on time at 5:25. Whew! Sophia is in a different time zone, so if you’re tracking a loved one, add another hour – we moved our watches ahead to 8:00 when we landed. Another stamp at passport control, all luggage arrived, and our host was waiting for us as we exited the secure area. Vladimir is the pastor of the Sophia UMC which is lending us their van for our time in Bulgaria. Once we got everything loaded, his phone rang with a call from district superintendent Michael Topalski giving me some information about the way the schedule is unfolding. We’ll be picked up at 8:00 tomorrow to be driven across country by a seminary student. But that will be tomorrow’s journal entry. I’m exhausted…