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News from the Belanger family in Slovakia October-November 2022

Conflict and price hikes

Until recently, the conflict in Ukraine had affected us little. However, deprived of its usual influx of Russian natural gas and oil, Slovakia is now increasingly affected. Diesel has been up 70% since January, currently selling at C$2.60/L (US$7.30 a gallon). This increase has, among other things, increased grocery prices.

The conflict has also raised the price of firewood by 20% to 50%, and created supply difficulties, as demand has greatly increased. As far as we are concerned, instead of paying Can$2400 (US$1800) for our wood this year, we will have to pay Can$3000 (US$2200). Moreover, while we were supposed to receive our wood in August, more than half has yet to arrive. However, we consider ourselves blessed as some suppliers have doubled their prices.

Pray with us for this need, for God’s provision, in His way and in His time, for what we need to meet this rising cost of living. We pray, of course, also for the return of peace between Ukraine and Russia.

Our first

Our first youth group meeting, mid-September, was a wonderful time. After a time of welcome, games and praises, we began a series of studies on what Christians do and why. Our first lesson was on why Christians read the Bible and was an encouragement to all. It was the perfect opportunity to distribute our first devotional. The evening ended with pizza and more good time.

The meeting was not yet over, and the young people were already looking forward to the next one. We thank the Lord for Nikolas, Myriam, L'uba and Slavic, who are present and enthusiastic about the youth ministry. Let us pray together that other teens, including Noemka, would soon join us.

You can also pray more specifically for our relationship with Slavic and L'uba. We want to connect more with them. However, they arrived from Ukraine only a few months ago and communicate with some difficulty in Slovak for the moment. In addition to this, they are rather shy. Pray with us that God would show us how to move these relationships forward.

The last weekend of October, our church had a baptism. We were very excited because Myriam and Andrej, from the youth group, were both baptized. Andrej is one of our leaders and Myriam, a 17-year-old girl.

You can pray for the latter. We thank the Lord, her grandparents and parents are all committed Christians. In addition, she grew up in the church from her childhood. Currently, she is studying the transverse flute intensively in a specialized school more than an hour from home and church. She does feel a little lonely there, struggling to find other Christians and living there all week in residence. Despite everything, she radiates her love for God when you meet her.

Training up leaders

We started going through the foundations of youth ministry with two men from the church. We want as much to equip them so that they know how to run the ministry well, as to communicate to them a passion, an urgency, for the ministry with young people. The goal is for them to understand how to have a fruitful youth ministry for God. That is why we look together at the biblical principles and elements that are part of good youth ministry, and the role that each of these elements plays. We pray that a woman would join these two men eventually for the sake of the ministry in the long term.

Mid-October, I was able to complete two more courses towards my Master’s degree. It was very interesting, and formative, to explore the counseling relationship and the systematic doctrine in greater depth. Until Christmas, I will be studying the Hebrew language and doing the second part of the systematic doctrine course.

Thank you for your prayers, it is quite the challenge, but, by the grace of God, things are going quite well and this training allows me to grow, preparing me to be even more useful for the work of God.

Andrej and Janči, our two first youth leaders!
Andrej and Janči, our two first youth leaders!

Our little family

Isabelle and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary at the beginning of October. It's amazing how quickly it went. We are immensely grateful for all that God has allowed us to go through as a team during these beautiful years.

More years, more love!
More years, more love!

May the Lord bless you!

Philippe and Isabelle

phil_et_iza@yahoo.ca

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