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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Like mushrooms after a rainstorm'

Young Slovak Christians breathe new life into a repressed church

Michal Jesse Valco's mother kicked him out of the house when he decided to enter the Lutheran seminary in Bratislava, Slovakia, last fall. "Being a pastor is a job with no future. It's not profitable," she told Michal, 19, threatening to disown him if he didn't go to business school.

Michal said he agreed with her. "Even after I became a believer, I wanted to be a business manager. I kept saying no to God's call. But when I got involved being a youth program leader, I decided to say yes." So he traveled 200 miles from his village to the seminary , which is part of Comenius University in the capital city.

As a child Michal grew up in a non-Christian home in communist Slovakia (the eastern part of what was once Czechoslovakia). He was staying with a Baptist family in Vancouver, Wash. , as a high-school exchange student when he became a Christian.


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