Like other areas where Fellowship is involved, Andrej and Nina cannot sustain their family with three children on the tithes of Maribor church. Our small amount each year helps supplement Andrej’s income to allow him to do the work he’s called to throughout Slovenia.
Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia on June 25th, 1991. For the first time in history, the Slovene people had the opportunity to govern themselves. Historical ties to Western Europe, a strong economy, and a stable democracy have assisted in Slovenia’s transformation to a modern state.
Less than 1,500 people in all of Slovenia, a country of two million people, claim to be evangelical Christians. This places it among the most un-evangelized countries of the world! Of 192 townships, only 25 have an evangelical church and only 10 of those churches have functioning teen youth groups. The largest youth group is in the capital city, Ljubljana, with 15-20 youth in attendance. Most of the youth groups are made up of just a handful of students. This means that only a small percentage of youth in this country are presently being reached with the gospel. One pastor lamented, “Our youth are rotting on the vine with no one to harvest them.” The cults on the other hand, are making tremendous head way. Jehovah’s Witnesses out number all the evangelicals combined by a margin of three-to-one. The Lord has given us the opportunity to be a bright light in a dark place. We are beginning to see winds of change blowing in.
Our History of Involvement in Slovenia
Since 2008, Fellowship has been privileged to partner with Josiah Venture (http://www.josiahventure.com/) and the local evangelical church in Celje, Slovenia, Calvary Chapel of Celje. After much ministry throughout Eastern Europe, they have found the work is slow and exhausting, but they are beginning to see a growing number of Slovene youth with a passion to change their world with the love of Christ. The ministry focus is on learning language, sharing the gospel, developing youth groups, building relationships and trust, and assisting the local church.
In 2013, the Fellowship team put on a music camp for the Slovenes called Fusion in Austria. At this camp students learned how to play different instruments, sing, choreograph, conduct, read sheet music, and much more. We all worked together in preparation of a final performance in front of family and friends in Slovenia. Approximately five of the 20 folks that attended camp gave their life to Christ, and many of them continue to attend the weekly Fusion gatherings at Calvary Chapel throughout the year.
We recently strengthened a growing partnership with a native Slovenian pastor, Rev. Andrej Lovse, who has planted a small evangelical church in Maribor. We look forward to seeing how that partnership can grow and develop, to equip and launch more native Slovenes to make disciples.
Andrej and his family
Andrej and Nina shepherd a church of 30 people in Maribor, Slovenia. The congregation is mostly young students and young families. The constant thread of their church is they want to be disciples who make disciples. This is what they see Jesus calling them to in Matthew 28 and this is what they believe can be the thing that transforms Slovenia; when people will really get that with the Lord they are always on a mission. Andrej is also the national leader for youth ministry organization called Josiah Venture. Together, Andrej and Nina have three children—Eva, Tim and Izak.
Each year, we work with our global partners to refine how our involvement might support their essential ministry efforts and projects, and learn about their kingdom-advancement and ministry expansion dreams—if God would provide the means to make them happen.
Last year, God provided resources for our partners' efforts with over $700,000 from our Global Christmas giving. Our plenty, providing for their needs. We encourage you to pray and ask for the Lord’s leading in how your generosity can have an impact all around the world, all to the glory of God!
Stipends for Andrej
We want to provide more therapeutic opportunities and therefor an outreach ministry for people in our community. Our daughter is already providing a safe and fun place for girls in the village, enabling them to learn how to take care of the horse, how to ride, and other farm life experiences.
Last year Eva was able to build relationships with 5 neighborhood girls as they joined her in working with our horses. We were also able to run a children's camp and Eva was led children through a bible study. We would like to continue with this mission but as it is growing there is need to renew some gear and keep making the barn safe.
As part of restoration, we believe it’s crucial to invest in our marriage. So, we’d like to attend a retreat for couples that is just 3 hours from our village. These funds will help cover the cost to Barnabas Centrum.
Computers are essential tools for our work, especially these days as most of our meetings are online. Since both of our computers are getting old (over 8 years) and starting to have problems (broken speakers, scratched camera, overloaded processors…) we need replace them.
Connected Families is a christian organization that helps coach parents around the world. This year we were able to benefit from their services and have seen that their approach and their resources are very helpful and useful. To serve other people that find themselves in similar situations with parenting, Nina would like to be trained by Connected Families so that she can gain more knowledge and get tools to serve families with young children.
Church Leadership Training
As young people in the area start taking on more leadership roles, we want to train them and help them grow deeper in their relationship with God. These funds will help cover half of their camp fees, conference fees and training program fees.
Marriage Ministry Retreat
One of the first areas that was attacked during the pandemic was marriages. We want to organize a marriage retreat for all the couples in our church, bring in a guest speaker, and allow couples to connect with each other and with God.
We lead a discipleship program for college students that is 2 years long and helps students think theologically and practically how to be disciple makers. These funds will subsidize the cost of the training and help pay for the location where we host the training.
Translation of Christian Literature
Slovenia is still lacking good books in Slovenian language. We would like to continue with translating and printing more literature.
In order to keep serving churches with summer activities and train more young Slovenes for the ministry we would like to find 8 Slovene summer interns and 2 extended Slovene interns. These interns will serve local churches in preparation and execution of all the summer youth activities that the churches will run. They will also help each other and connect churches together as they all serve God through youth work. We believe that this will be a first step toward longterm ministry for many of these young people.
Nationals entering the ministry - initial support
As the organisation grows and the need to serve churches is bigger we would like to hire some more Slovene workers. Each of us is tasked to find their own support, but we would like to be able to help them at the beginning. We would like to make their start easier by providing some initial funds for support raising traveling, some minimum monthly costs as some are stepping out in faith and are cutting their jobs in half.