The Words of the Reihl Family

ETF Witnessing in Slovakia

Elisabeth Riehl

We (ETF) was witnessing for 3 months in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia. And believe me, a lot of things happened. Looking back at it, I can say that it was another good experience among all these interesting experiences I've already had on ETF. But what made it special?

First of all I'd like to define "witnessing". I'm very sure that there are many different styles of witnessing. For me, witnessing is simply something you do everyday - you witness through your attitude towards life. However, we did full-time witnessing, meaning approaching young people, sharing about experiences, believes, building a common base with the other person, giving and receiving (expressed in DP-words). I liked it that we basically made up our personal "ETF 2001 CARP witnessing style". We were very much involved in planning our schedule and of course, putting our personal touch in.

I still remember setting goals and talking about witnessing at the very beginning. I thought, I would like to have a spiritual child, and I could do it in 3 months. But after one month of witnessing, I realized that this goal will most probably be unachievable in this short time period. So I focused more on establishing good relationships, being a good example by setting a standard and as time passed, I became more and more comfortable and familiar with talking about DP and deeper things in CARP. This became my goal, and of course bringing people to the center to hear lectures. I really like meeting people because I could talk about principles, and everybody needs principles in their lives. So I found something I am convinced of and therefore I could witness for it. I became much more confident in talking about what I believe is important in life, even though you never know what reaction or question will come up, in representing an organization, etc.

It was also really interesting to see how people reacted. Just imagine somebody does a survey on the street with you and the next thing you know is that people constantly call or email you to invite you fore a certain program, either cultural stuff, discussions, movies, new ideas, personal meeting,... These people didn't know how much we talked about them in the evenings, how much we thought about them and prepared to meet them. Often it was not easy for me to accept that they had no time to meet or that they were putting their fitness classes before our wonderful cultural evenings. But I guess I had to learn to be patient and to be prepared for anything.

I am very grateful that I did witnessing. I gained a practical understanding of what it takes to do a mission like that. Although I'm just a beginner I can feel much more compassion and true understanding when I hear testimonies or any guidance about witnessing. As 2nd generation I also didn't comprehend how it is to join a movement, what mission is all about, how valuable good plans, guidance, good team work, team spirit and team leaders are. So I could understand those people better who hear DP for the first time and it's still fascinating for me to see their reaction, to hear what kind of questions they ask, what things they are struggling with and what is totally logical.

What was moving for me see how people applied or related to what they heard at CARP - especially our main principle "living for the sake of others". For example, once we got a whole bag of candies from one girl after she heard the introduction lecture. A funny thing was that so many of our contacts knew one another - the city where we were was that small, yes. It was cool for me to find out the connections.

I also found my connection to Slovakia, since I am half Slovakian - I finally discovered my Slovakian identity and I'm sure I will visit this lovely town that we all became so familiar with.

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