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IMG_0179TORRINGTON, CONN (SZS) Our Synod, in partnership with the leadership of the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia (Evanjelická Bohoslovecká Fakulta, Univerzita Komenského), is hosting three seminary students as this summer’s participants in the Student Immersion Program of the Slovak Zion Synod. The program, which is part of the Synod’s mission in Central & Eastern Europe and organized by the Synod’s International Relations Committee, brings students of the Seminary for a summer immersion internship in a United States congregation each year. This program helps these future pastors and church leaders experience church life, ministry, and mission in an American Lutheran congregation; at the same time, they serve as witnesses in their host congregations of the global church in their home country.

This year’s students are Simona Kapitanova, Zuzana Chocholová, and Lidia Zloh. They will be joining the more than 140 to-date student exchanges which have taken place since 1991.

Simona is a fourth-year student at the Seminary in Bratislava, and is the daughter of a minister in the Slovak Lutheran Church, who feels the Call to Ordination as well. She is remarkably proficient in English and has a deep interest in American cultural differences and the corresponding differences in church theology and mission. She is also very interested in Youth Ministry in American congregations. Her hobbies include studying Hebrew and playing piano, as well as singing in choir. Simona looks forward to bringing back her experiences from the States to enrich her ministry in Slovakia when she is ordained.

Zuzana is a third-year student at the Seminary in Bratislava and is also on track for ordination. She has great conversational ability in English and has traveled to the United States before. Like Simona, she is also interested in Youth Ministry in American congregations, but is also just as interested in learning about church community in American culture as well as the social dynamics between members within congregations.

Lidia is an Alumna of the Student Immersion Program, returning for further enrichment by completing a summer unit of Clinical Pastoral Education under the tutelage of our Slovak Zion Synod pastor, the Rev. Silvia Misina, now serving as a CPE Supervisor in the Metro New York area. 

Congregations in Muskegon and Whitehall, Michigan are hosting Simona and Zuzana, while Lidia relates to our Connecticut and Metro New York congregations during her summer unit of CPE. They will be writing every week about their experiences in their host congregations. You are invited and encouraged to read more about their experiences in the Student Immersion Program pages of our site; just look for “Seminarian Sentiments” under Mission & Ministry > Global Mission > Student Immersion Program.

We wish God’s blessings on these students as they complete their immersion experiences in their host congregations before returning to Slovakia later in September. And we thank all those who have supported this vital ministry with their prayers, as well as their physical and financial support. You are making a difference in the lives of these future pastors and leaders in Slovakia; and, by extension, you are making a difference in the lives of all those whom they will touch in their home churches and in their lives.