“Protect me, Christ, till thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.”—
Once upon a time I traveled to the country of Slovenia and fell in love with the beautiful, picturesque landscape, the friendly people that lived there and a mission organization whose aim is to bring the gospel to the youth community.
Summer of 2008, while I was living in Germany, I traveled with my dear friends and partners in ministry Brad & Laurel Jenkins, their son Landon, Rich and Melissa Short and their son Jayden to the country of Slovenia. Brad & Laurel had worked for Cadence International for 4 years and were about to make the transition of switching over to the ministry Josiah Venture (JV). The purpose of this trip was to transport some of their belongings to be stored there while they went back to the states to raise support. It took them an entire year to raise this support and now they are living in Maribor, Slovenia as missionaries with JV.
On this trip I met the Jackson family, who have been serving in Slovenia since 2001. A wonderful family who were extremely hospitable and welcoming. I instantly felt the community & unity among the JV people and how excited they were that Brad & Laurel would soon be joining the team. We also did some amazing sight seeing while there. We went to the city of Bled where there is this beautiful, crystal clear lake and jutting out from the side of the lake is this mountain where the oldest castle in Slovenia is perched and still intact. Then in the middle of this lake is an island and on the island is a little chapel. A popular place where weddings take place. It is tradition there that the groom carry his bride up the 90 steps to the doors of the chapel. wow! We also visited the Vintgar Gorge which is one of the most popular natural features of Slovenia. We also ventured to the beach town of Piran which is located on the Gulf of Piran on the Adriatic Sea. From the coast you can see on the horizon a little sliver of land which just so happens to be the country of Croatia. We spent an afternoon at the beach and I & my friend Juliana forgot our swimsuits, so we spent the day as the only two fully clothed on the beach. At least we had each other. We ate amazing Slovene cuisine and spent our nights camped at this little vacation camp spot near in the capital city, Ljubljana.
We ended our stay on a Sunday where we attended a Slovene church which was so amazing. I tried to follow along as we sang worship songs in Slovene, but of course, I was butchering the complex language. I just felt a sense of home and somehow knew that this would not be my only time I would ever be in this great little country.
I kept up with Brad and Laurel as they raised support in the states and when they eventually moved to Maribor where they have now been for a year. It has been amazing to keep up with their journey and how God has evidently been there through it all. All the while they would say to me, “Gwynne, you should come intern with us during the summer.” Last summer I almost went, but with me being a bridesmaid in two of my dear friends weddings and my sister moving to Lynchburg, it was not looking like it was going to be in the cards, so instead I got a job at Starbucks. Not an ideal alternative to going to Slovenia but a job that was needed at the time. I had put Slovenia on the back burner of my mind and thought that it would never come to pass, but alas God had a different plan. As my time in Seminary is drawing to a close I started researching some options for ministry, including moving to Korea to teach English. God quickly shut that door. Then I got a message from Brad after a lengthy period of no communication saying, “Hey, are you still thinking about interning with us? We are and we think you should.” So Slovenia moved from the back of my mind to basically being written on my forehead and I began the application process. This process was quite lengthy but I was excited every step of the way. Along the way God made it clear that I would not only be staying for the 3 month summer internship but I would be extending my stay to 8 months.
Fast forward to the present:
As of Thursday March 3rd I became an official extended intern with Josiah Venture. The total amount of support that needs to be raised by May 1st is $11,644 that will cover all of my needs from May 18th-December 11th. I know God will raise this money.