by Eva Mergl - CRU Communications
I hurried to the mezzanine of the main hotel of the expansive resort nestled in the secluded, rocky shore of Turkish Cyprus. It was the site of the triennial Eastern European Staff Conference. There were over 1000 staff and volunteers in attendance, so meeting up with someone you didn’t know took some doing. The mezzanine was just right, because it was quiet and out of the way. A perfect site for an interview!
Eva Majerova arrived first. She is a motivated, humble staff mom with a heart that burns for ministry. She and Viktor Repasky make up the Digital Strategies Team in Slovakia. This ministry dedicated to approaching people on the internet is barely a year old, but it has made inroads into Slovakian hearts like nothing before it. A few minutes later, Victor arrived and joined the conversation.
Slovakia has historically been one of the more difficult countries in the Eastern Europe and Russia Area for sharing the gospel face-to-face. People tend to be private about their faith. They are generally skeptical and need much time to consider the facts of the gospel before making a decision for Christ. Both Eva and Viktor had been active in campus ministry and knew firsthand how difficult it could sometimes be. If only there were some other way to connect people to the gospel…
Then they were introduced to Digital Strategies – a new Cru ministry track dedicated to using the internet for evangelism, and even discipleship! They were each captivated. The idea of approaching people via the internet seemed like it might just work in Slovakia. Because people can ask questions anonymously and it’s private and they can be as transparent as they want, with no fear of being laughed at or criticized.
For example, a high school student stumbled upon the Slovakian site. After asking questions and going through the gospel presentation, she received Christ. Upon completing the “Spiritual Starter Kit,” her mother wrote Viktor to ask where her daughter could find a group nearby which had similar values. Her daughter had changed so much that she wanted to help her stay on the same road. Viktor connected the daughter with a local staff woman and when they got together they cried and shared for 2 hours about the work of God in both their lives! In the end the whole family came to Christ and have become members of a local church!
Another key partner is Jesus.net. This is a web-based ministry developed by Dutch believers, which offers an in-depth course called, “Who is Jesus.” The exciting thing about the course is that each participant is matched with a live mentor from his/her area by a local ministry partner! As Slovakian Digital Strategy Team is one of the over 70 church and mission partners of Jesus.net around the world, Viktor and Eva are responsible to find trustworthy local mentors for the contacts from Slovakia.
And they are finding them through partnerships with local churches. Eva and Viktor each present the idea of digital ministry as often as they can and include a challenge for believers to consider mentoring Jesus.net contacts from their local area. So far, they have recruited 20 volunteers, who mentor participants ranging in age from teens to 74 years old!
As Eva and Viktor rush off to a meeting, I sit in the mezzanine reflecting on the amazing work of God. He brings together the heart desires of individuals and opportunities to accomplish His plan in the world… The hum of people talking in the lobby wakes me from my reverie and I also pack up and go on to my next interview, excitedly anticipating the next amazing thing I will get a peek of…. through ordinary men and women ready to take the next step God puts before them.