About this time last year I led an XMA team to Bovec, Slovenia. I wasn’t sure why we were going other than that IMB missionaries Joe and Kim Kelley asked us to come join them in their battle for the hearts and souls of the Slovenes. But while I wasn’t sure why we were going, God had a plan.
Bovec is an incredibly beautiful little town at the southern end of the Julian Alps just a stone’s throw from Italy. It’s an adventure sports paradise with skiing, snowboarding, sledding and ice climbing in the winter. The adventure really cranks up in the summer with mountaineering, trekking, mountain biking, trail running, rock climbing, kayaking, rafting and much more.
It’s also an incredibly lost place. According to Operation World 2010 Slovenia is .09% Christian which makes them the 14th least evangelized country in the world. That’s right, out of 196 countries in our world Slovenia is 14th from the bottom in percentage of evangelical Christians. That’s less than Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and almost all of the countries we think of as non-Christian. And it gets worse. They are experiencing negative growth in Christianity. Every year there are less Christians in Slovenia.
That’s why the Kelleys are there and that’s why they asked XMA to come join them. Joe challenged us to come pray “on site with insight” for the salvation of the Slovenes. He challenged us to come play with them in their adventure sports so we could get to know them, pray for them, live out a vibrant Christian life before them and earn the right to share Christ with them. And so we did. We prayed for many, gave out literature and had conversations with a few.
Then one evening God began to reveal what I now believe was the primary reason we were in Slovenia. We were at the Kelleys’ house enjoying conversation as Joe began to share his frustration in not being able to get the Gospel of John printed in Slovene. He had been working for years to get it printed but kept hitting walls and just couldn’t get it done. Brad Nevil, one of the guys with me on this trip, said, “I have a friend in the publishing business back in Dallas and I think we can get it done”. Joe was skeptical but asked Brad to give it a try. Six months later the Kelleys had Evangelij po Janezu (Gospel of John) in their hands and we are now getting it into the hands of Slovenes.
This is just one example of the many ways God has used XMA, our volunteers and our Ministry Partners to spread his glory throughout the world. The simple act of our obedience to his command to “Go” makes us a tool he can use in ways we never imagined.
Come join us on an adventure with a purpose. There’s no telling what God will do through your obedience.
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