Under the spotlight
We asked Pastor Peter Pristiak from Slovakia to go under the Spotlight.
Peter, can you please tell us something about your family, home and background?
I grew up in a Christian family so I knew the Bible from my childhood. My father was Pastor of a Brethren (Evangelical) Church and this influenced my understanding of God’s greatness and love. Even when we used to live under Communism we experienced a lot God’s interventions in activities done by our churches. I was educated as a mechanical engineer and after graduating from school I went into military service for one year. Later on in 1990 I married Renata. We have three children: Anna (20), Dorota (18) and Samuel (15).
How were you converted and called into the ministry?
When I was 9 I asked the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins.Since then I grew up in the knowledge of Scripture. Besides my parents I had several Christian mentors. For example, there was a young married couple (Misko and Marta), who opened their small flat to 10-15 teenagers every Thursday night. Misko was a very obedient follower of Jesus Christ. He always kept telling us he wanted us to outgrow him in the knowledge of the Lord and in ministry. Later on I became a member of the leadership team of a teenage group. It was good preparation for future pastoral ministry. Even when I started my mechanical engineering career the church recognized that I had some gifts so they invited me to help as an assistant pastor in a newly established church. I accepted this calling on 1st May1991.
In what particular ministries have you been involved?
The Velvet Revolution in 1989 brought changes to our country and opened up new possibilities. Together with other believers, we realized it was a time for reaching out to new people. There were open doors to schools, hospitals, even prisons. We started a new church plant in the nearby district town Ziar. After 8 years I moved to East Slovakia, where I pastored a church in Vranov and finally in Hermanovce, my current location. The church in Hermanovce has constructed a new building and we are able to start some new ministries.
What role has SGA played?
Right at the beginning of my pastoral ministry I was accepted as a full-time student of All Nations Christian College in Easneye, Hertfordshire for a one year programme (1991/1992). It was only possible with the help of SGA who sponsored my study. During that time I came to know people such as Trevor Harris and Peter Barrie, who were my “personal SGA tutors.” Since then our relationship has continued, with SGA workers coming to Slovakia and helping us, especially by teaching God’s word. There is one special ministry which is run with the help of SGA and it is the Opal Camp. In 2005 we called a young man called Slavo Krupa to the full-time ministry of this facility. The Opal Camp is used by many churches in Slovakia to organize their camps and other activities. It gives our church an opportunity to organize special summer camps for teenagers with at least half of them coming from non-Christian families.
What blessings have you experienced and what challenges are you facing?
With the help of SGA we were able to minister to many teenagers and make new contacts with some of their parents. It is good, because we are seen as a slightly sectarian group. But by this ministry, parents can see their kids are not only well cared for but also touched and changed. Yet many parents are still hesitant to send their kids. So we need to be courageous and flexible enough to prepare a good programme for teenagers and develop a good relationship with their parents. Our culture is quite religious, almost everybody goes to church, but not many know Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
How can we pray for you?
Please pray for Slavo (and Miriam his wife) as he prepares the programme for this summer. Please pray that the parents from non-Christian homes will overcome their religious prejudices and send their teenagers to camp. Please pray for our church, as we desire to share the Gospel with parents, that we will develop ways to make deeper contacts with them. May the Lord be glorified by this ministry. We desire to be a light of God for people around. Thank you for your participation in prayers and support!