The end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia was brought about during the peaceful Velvet Revolution in 1989. On December 31, 1992, the Czechoslovakian parliament voted to divide the country, and Slovakia became an independent nation. Slovakia became a member of NATO and the European Union in 2004.
The majority of Slovakians are ethnically Slovak (80 percent). Hungarians are the largest ethnic minority (8.5 percent). There is also a large population of Roma.
The official language is Slovak, a member of the Slavic-Language Family, but Hungarian is also widely spoken in the south. Many people also speak Czech. The Roma language is used in the Roma communities.
The Slovak constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The majority of Slovak citizens (62 percent) identify themselves with Roman Catholicism; the second-largest group are people without confession (13 percent). Almost seven percent adhere to Lutheranism, 3.8 percent are Greek Catholic, affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, other nonregistered churches 8.8 percent. About 2,300 Jews remain of the estimated pre-WWII population of 120,000.
1946-1949 (Czechoslovakia). Missionaries re-entered Slovakia in 1993.
Slovakia was Baptist Mid-Missions’ first European field. Dan and Ida Feryance were assigned to Czechoslovakia in 1946. Many were won to the Lord before the Communist coup in 1948 led to the departure of all BMM personnel by 1949. The Feryances then began ministry in France.
After the door to Slovakia opened again in 1989, the Feryances reopened the ministry in Slovakia, even though they had officially retired. Each return visit brought excellent reports of people being saved and discipled as well as ministry opportunities waiting for a new generation of God-called, equipped missionaries.
John and Lydia Gouge arrived in Slovakia in 1993 and settled in the town of Kezmarok. Phil and Dianne Schmitt arrived in Slovakia in 1995 and assisted the Gouges until their move to Ireland. Don and LeAnne Waite arrived in Kezmarok in 2001. Following the Gouges’ retirement in 2005, the Waites remained as the only BMM missionaries in Slovakia. Baptist Mid-Missions has acquired a 100-year lease on property in Kezmarok, providing church, office, and housing facilities. Baptist Mid-Missions is officially registered in Slovakia, giving us a wide-open door for service. The congregation in Kezmarok has been organized into a Baptist church.
In recent years there has been an increase in interest in sound biblical and theological teaching. The work among teens and young adults has grown. There are several weekly Bible studies and discipleship classes, and two home Bible studies have been started in other parts of the country.
Teaching English as a second language (ESL) has been the most effective way to reach unsaved in the community. Classes are taught in local area businesses and in the Waites’ home.
Prospects for ministry in Slovakia are great. Pray that God will speedily provide additional missionaries to assist in the ministry of planting churches as well as to serve in a Bible institute and with youth ministries.
Church planting missionaries are vital to the future of evangelical missions in this former communist nation still greatly in need of the gospel. Join a functioning church planting ministry to gain understanding of ministry. Then, as doors open, you can explore needy cities in Slovakia for the next church plant. Slovakia is located in Central Europe, the former fountainhead of Christianity, which is far from its Christian past. Secularism and immigration have created a largely un-Christian culture with little knowledge of the truth of the gospel.
You can make a difference. Contact us today to inquire about church planting in Slovakia.
Join church planting missionaries in the early stages of training church leadership by focusing on teaching Bible doctrine to the youth. Investing in youth today is proving to be an effective strategy for reaching Europe.
Slovakia, like many surrounding countries, carries the marks of a once religious society. Young people, especially, are disillusioned with empty religion and classic cultural traditions making them ripe for gospel harvest. Your help and expertise in working with youth can make a big difference in the maturity of the church.
Follow God to Slovakia, and you will enjoy a ministry with unending potential. Contact us today.