Friday, 15 March 2019

Geeking Out About Archaeology...

Nope not going to apologise. I guess I still need to geek out every so often. Today I decided to take a cultural trip to the City Museum of Ljubljana mostly because I wanted to see this blue bowl. It was found during excavations in central Ljubljana last year. This bowl was found in a grave of a Roman woman dating to the mid 4th century AD. Apart from it being a stunning find, it may link to early Christian activity in Emona (the Roman name for Ljubljana). The woman was found within a structure that has been identified as a burial chapel. What is fascinating for me is the detail on the bowl. You may be able to see that it is decorated with vines and grapes. The Greek inscription translates as: "Drink to live forever, for many years." There are two possibilities, either the bowl is referring to Dionysus, the pagan god of wine, or it could be linked to the Christian celebration of Communion. Given the location of the burial within a chapel, I prefer the latter explanation. Whatever the significance of the bowl, the archaeology reveals a small glimpse of life and death for Christians in Ljubljana 1,700 years ago. Times have changed, life moves on but praise God that there is still a Christian presence in this city.

I realise that I'm a week late with this post (if you'd even noticed) but I got very confused with my weeks when I was away for training with ECM. Two weeks ago I spent half a week in Jeruzalem in the north east of Slovenia. It is an absolutely stunning part of the country with rolling hills and grapevines as far as the eye can see. I was there for Essentials Training which was basically a short course run by ECM and is required for all missionaries in their first term of service. I was there along with people from Austria, Poland, Serbia as well as Slovenia. It was a good chance to make new friends and to catch up with those I already knew and to hear how God is working in their part of the world. It was an encouraging time of fellowship and it was helpful to know more about ECM and how the organisation works.

Last time I wrote about how my schedule had been turned upside down. Fortunately I seem to have settled into my new routine. I'm still finding it quite tough in the language school but the teacher understands that I'm a bit behind everyone else. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not stupid but it's just that everyone else has been learning for a lot longer than me and I'm actually doing well for the length of time I've been here! Please be praying for me especially since my sister pointed out that it's probably the first time I've been at the bottom of a class. It's easy for my pride to be hurt and also easy for me just to be quiet and lest everyone else speak around me. Neither is a healthy response!

The rest of my work here continues on as normal. I have finally finished the book I have been working through with the teenage girls. We started it before Christmas and although I know they found it helpful, I was a bit tired of the book. Next week we will be starting a Bible overview with stops for studies in Ruth and Esther. I've calculated it will take about 21 weeks to get through it all! I've also asked one of the girls to write and lead one of the studies in Ruth. I will go through with her how to prepare a study and how we can prepare one for the specific passage. She will then lead the study for the other girl in Slovene. I will be there if they have any questions but I think that it is most important for them to study together in their own language. Please be praying for me as we start this new series but also for the girls that they would be willing to learn and for the older girl as she learns how to lead a Bible study.

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