Thrive blog graphic 2016

Sergeja: A Woman of Courage

Several years ago, I meet Sergeja.  She was visiting the US and stayed in my home for several days.  We quickly became friends, and I learned that Sergeja is one of God’s faithful servants who has dedicated her life to reaching the people of her country, Slovenia, with the gospel.  The first time I heard about Slovenia, I had to pull out my map.  Little did I know, a few years later, I would visit this beautiful country to see firsthand the ministry of my friend.

     By Amber Parker

Slovenia is a small country in central Europe bordering Italy, Austria, Hungry and Croatia. According to Joshua Project research only 0.13% of the people of Slovenia are practicing evangelicals, and in Operation World’s list of countries with the lowest percentage of evangelicals, Slovenia is number 14.  Compelled to reach her people with the gospel, Sergeja serves on staff in one of the few evangelical churches in the country.

After several years of Sergeja’s invitation, I boarded a plane for Slovenia.  From the time I landed until I departed, Sergeja extended the most amazing hospitality to me.  I was able to see that she truly is a servant-first dedicated to serving God and then to serving the people God has surrounded her with.  Sergeja chooses to live a simple life so that she can focus on God’s purpose.  As I watched her, I noted that she is selfless, hardworking, and full of compassion.

Sergeja began her career working in a bank, but after several years, she sensed God calling her to dedicate her life to full-time ministry.  She left Slovenia to attend seminary, and when she returned began serving full-time at her church located in the heart of the capital city Ljubljana.  Sergeja serves alongside the pastor and his wife leading Bible studies, translating Christian books and curriculum, organizing and giving administrative support, and providing care.

One highlight from my trip was joining Sergeja’s Tuesday evening women’s group.  The women were working through a study called Cleansing Streams.  Sergeja’s life was impacted by Cleansing Streams when she went through the material in English.  When God used this study in her life, she wanted to be able to share it with her people.  She obtained training and permission and then translated Cleansing Streams into Slovene.  I witnessed how this study is bringing freedom to each individual as well as building true community and accountability among them.

Sergeja is not serving in an easy place.  Often there is little fruit and many lonely days, but she presses on.  Just like the apostle Paul, Sergeja is compelled by Christ’s love to give up her life to God’s purpose.  Paul said it this way, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).”  God uses Sergeja’s life as a reminder of His love and faithfulness. Will you pray for her as she shares the gospel with her people in Slovenia?

Amber Parker is a member of the International Women’s Ministry team.

1/11/17