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The Belanger family in Slovakia – Newsletter October-November 2023

Setting the stage

It’s already been two months since we started the school year. We meet every Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. with the youth group. With Andrej, Janči and Isabelle, we began the year with a series of studies aimed at establishing the reliability and inspiration of the Word of God. In this way, we have a good foundation to continue in the study of its content. In the coming weeks, we will begin a series called “Do You Really Believe? ". This is a study of the first letter of John. This little book of five chapters, written by Jesus' closest disciple, invites its reader to truly reflect on the authenticity of his faith. It is, so to speak, a mirror into which we can look so that we can gain insight into our spiritual state/health. After that, we will continue until Christmas with “The Beautiful Women of the Bible”. In this series, we will look at several female characters from Scripture who are great examples of faith and practical Christian living, which is true beauty according to God.

We thank the Lord that since the start of the school year, three new young people have joined our group regularly. First, there is a brother and sister, Semir and Viktoria, who live in Myjava, a few minutes from us. It is therefore with joy that we transport them every week. Their mother is Christian, although their father is not. At the beginning of the month, the latter spent several days in intensive care, and there were even fears for his life. We pray for God to heal his body, but, of course, even more than He would touch his heart.

Térezka, a young girl of twelve years old and the oldest of 8 children, also started coming to youth very recently. Nikolka, Andrej’s niece, also visited us. Let us pray that our team can be used by God to grow all these beautiful people and to be with us every week.

It is also with joy that we see Andrej’s wife getting more and more involved with the youth group. The Lord has answered our prayers for a greater female presence within our leadership team. On his part, Janči finds it difficult to juggle youth, his work, his role as an elder, and his family. Pray that God gives him wisdom.

A new open door!

In the town of Myjava, there is one of several group homes for young people, or “children’s homes”, as they are called in Slovakia. These places welcome not only orphans, but also young people whose parents are deemed unfit to care for them due to various issues. In Myjava, less than ten workers are scattered in three large apartments, each welcoming around fifteen young people from 7 months to 17 years old. These young people go to school, like all the others, but the rest of the time, live together in this building with the few workers mentioned above, who are, of course, overwhelmed by the task of simply preparing food and making the bare minimum for these young people. Once these young people turn 18, they are left to fend for themselves after having had very little parental input. It’s heartbreakingly sad.

Isabelle, the children, and I recently went to spend an afternoon there, thanks to a contact. We were able to get to know the young people and the staff through playing soccer and baking brownies. I never thought I would hear it from a child, but apparently brownies are too sweet! Despite this, everyone seems to have had a good time! The staff were delighted and grateful for our presence. We hope we can repeat the experience in the future, perhaps on a regular basis.

Pray with us that the Lord will give us wisdom regarding this new ministry opportunity. We also hope to have the opportunity to invite these teens to our youth group, or at the very least that they can see God's love through us and come to a personal relationship with God.

Better than we expected

Last month, we told you about an upcoming repair on the van. Well, we were in for a roller coaster of emotions! A few days before our appointment, another light came on, and the dashboard started showing us several error messages. The day before our meeting, the van even started to jerk while going uphill. So we wisely stayed at home until the appointment. In the end, in less time and for less money than the garage had thought, everything was taken care of! It turns out that all these messages and lights had a common cause, directly or indirectly, with the repair already on the menu. We quickly moved from worry, to relief and gratitude. Our God knows how to take care of every circumstance so well.

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

Thank you to each and every one of you who have prayed for Ezekiel since the very beginning of our research into his health problems. As planned, he was admitted to the Children's Hospital in Bratislava at the beginning of October for an operation. Only time will tell if the situation is resolved, but since his hospitalization, the situation seems to be improving. We thank the Lord for everything that has happened so far and for the good news.

WhatsApp Image 2023-10-26 à 19.59.20_53b9ac10

What about the family?

September was busy family-wise, as usual. Thank you for your prayers, Samuel's back to school went well, and he is doing quite well in his new environment with the support of Isabelle. We just got new glasses for him; his broke and were glued together while we were in Canada. On September 3, another teenager was added to the family, Ézekiel now being 13 years old. Our beautiful Laurianne followed shortly after with her ninth birthday, in the colors of emojis. She also just started wearing glasses.

The months go by and do not look the same, even though October was just as busy. Isabelle and I celebrated 16 years of marriage earlier this month. Praise God, every year seems better than the one before. We thank the Lord for health; everyone is doing wonderfully. Laurianne started piano lessons with a lady from church, and Ézekiel takes his first steps on the guitar. There’s never a dull moment around this house!

May the Lord bless you!

Philippe and Isabelle

phil_et_iza@yahoo.ca

* Our support comes only through churches and individuals that God puts at heart to encourage us financially. We do not receive any support from other organizations or missionary groups.

 

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