The Fruit of Language Learning: Discipleship in Slovene
January 2022

By a member of SEND’s Slovenia | Europe team

When I moved to Slovenia, I thought there would be a day I just understood everything in Slovene.  I have since realized that is not true. Though I learn every day and improve all the time, I am usually timid meeting people here because I never know if I will understand them until I start talking to them. Sometimes even Slovenes don’t understand each other very well because there are 46 different dialects in Slovenia! In the grammar itself there are 6 cases, 3 genders, as well as singular, dual, and plural endings which means there are 36 options of endings to a word. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, just know that language learning has been tough for me! However, I pray for the words and understanding, and marvel at the conversations and explanations God gives through me in a foreign tongue. Lately, I’ve been enjoying these kinds of conversations in Slovene with Mia*. 

Mia is my Slovene friend and neighbor.  We met through our Bible study in the city of Ptuj, but we got to know each other better when I walked her dog for her for a few weeks after she had surgery.  That was late spring and then during the summer we got busy; work, life, camps, etc. got in the way of us really meeting and spending time together more until fall.  I asked for people to pray that we would be able to start getting together again and now we are meeting to study the Bible together!  

In a recent group Bible study, we read Mark 9 where Elijah and Moses appear with Jesus at the transfiguration. Mia asked me, "who is Elijah, and how can I know about him? I don’t understand this passage." This conversation led to us reading the Old Testament together one-on-one!

In our one-on-one meetings, we discuss any questions or insights from what she has been reading, read aloud together, and then she keeps on reading between our meetings. At one point she was reading Genesis and the account of the flood led to a discussion about the gospel. I used 1 John 5:11-13 and Romans 10:9-10 to share the gospel with her. She says she already believes it, and I pray that this is true! She is very aware of God’s presence in her life, and is quite eager to understand the Bible better.   

All of these conversations are in Slovene, which is amazing to me! I may not ever understand everything in Slovene but that doesn’t mean I can’t be fluent. Up until now, I have heavily prepared and rehearsed most of the spiritual lessons or conversations I have given in Slovene. This, however, is just two women drinking tea, talking, reading and praying together. 

Millions of people in Europe remain unreached, whether they are lost in a post-Christian world or are recent immigrants from countries closed to the gospel witness. Learn more about SEND’s teams in Europe. 

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*Name changed for privacy.
Photo by: Alexis Brown on Unsplash


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