What challenges face a Pip’n’Jay mission partner when she returns from abroad?
How can we support and encourage Janka as she seeks God’s next steps for her life?
Janka came to live in Bristol about nine years ago and quickly became an active part of Pip’n’Jay church life. She felt called to serve in Latin America and learnt to speak Spanish. Janka applied to Latin Link and travelled to Costa Rica in January 2014, to work also with Students International in San Jose, supported as our church mission partner. She worked mainly with a team helping poorer urban women develop small businesses and sell products using microfinance, also supporting a group of teenage mothers, showing the love of Jesus in each situation. Janka kept Pip’n’Jay informed and involved and welcomed those who travelled out to see what a mission partner does.
Janka continued for a second year and eventually decided to leave Costa Rica after extending to May 2016. It was a big wrench leaving her many friends, colleagues and local church. First she went to Slovakia for three months. She said at the time, “God had put my family on my heart and especially with my dad being ill, I feel I should go back home and spend some time there. Besides that I would like to use this time to reflect on my time in Costa Rica and seek God’s guidance regarding my future plans (or better His plans)!” "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11. Many of us in Bristol would have liked Janka to return to her home here but we joined her in seeking what was His plan.
Janka reflects on what Psalm 18 says: "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.”
“It is a time of transition, changes, re-unions, uncertainty, questions but at the same time it is a time of knowing that God is with me and has me in the right place. After few months of taking time to think and pray, I made a decision to stay in Slovakia. I found a job in Bratislava and moved there as well. God has been there for me and walking with me. It has been good to be close to my family, especially to my Dad. It's been difficult to see him ill.”
It is now a year since Janka relocated to Slovakia. Where she lives makes it possible to visit her father in hospital while he has further treatment and to travel to be with her mother in Trnava, her family home town. Janka has returned to be a member of her Trnava evangelical church and also is linked with a larger church in Bratislava.
Rod & Sue Thompson returned recently from visiting Janka for a week, including a visit to the Tatras Mountains. Janka is learning to trust that God will direct her present and future, her relationships and where He wants her to serve. She sends her love and greetings to everyone at Pip’n’Jay.
Pray for and encourage
Even if you do not know Janka well (or possibly not at all), please consider how the Holy Spirit wishes each of us to encourage our returned mission partner. You might decide to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org , to introduce yourself or, if you are thinking about serving Jesus abroad for a short or longer term, to chat about how to know God’s purposes and timing in our lives.
For our prayers – Janka has asked that we pray for her Dad and for her family; please also pray for wisdom regarding Janka’s future.
- Rod Thompson