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TORRINGTON, CT (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 is 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. The program provides these future pastors and church leaders with an immersion experience in 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 Michaela Prihracki, Ivan Klinko, and Samuel Pecka. They will be joining the more than 150 to-date student exchanges which have taken place since 1991.

Michaela (Miška) is a second year PhD student, and an alumnus of our program from the 2014 summer term. She is from the town of Žilina, in the northern part of Slovakia approximately 20 miles south of the Czech and Polish borders. Her interests include youth ministry and social fellowship. Michaela hopes to discover new perceptions of the Lutheran Church and is most excited to be able to experience a new culture and observe the differences between American church culture and the Slovak church at home. Miška looks forward to bringing back her experiences from the States to enrich her ministry in Slovakia when she is ordained.

Ivan is a fourth year student from the town of Kisac (just a short drive away from Novi Sad) in the northern part of Serbia. Ivan was raised in the church. His interests include music and playing the organ, and occasional travels and adventures. He is a deeply thoughtful individual and a great listener. Ivan is certain of his vocation in the Ministry. Although Ivan has traveled much of Europe, he hopes to discover new perceptions of the Lutheran Church in the United States. He is most excited to be able to experience a new culture.

Samuel is a fourth year student from Lubina & Stara Tura in western Slovakia, just a few miles from the Czech border. His interests include travels and learning new cultures through social interactions. He is an avid homebrewer, of both beer and coffee, and is known among his classmates for brewing the best beverages, and even roasting his own coffee beans. Samuel is excited by the prospect of a new church culture and new social perspectives. He’s very receptive of new ideas and methods, and enjoys the respectful sharing and exchange of traditions.

Congregations in Whitehall, Michigan; Schulenberg, Texas; Brooklyn, Ohio and East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are hosting this year’s students and are excited to be part of this mission. These students 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, and 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 with 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 and future ministries.