Pilgrimage to the Hometown of the first Missionary
WPU Europe: Bratislava, Slovakia, 27. September 2014
Emilie Steberl, who went as the first missionary to communist Czechoslovakia in 1968, was born in a small town close to Bratislava. The town of Sv. Jur was settled mainly by Germans until 1945. Like ten thousands of other members of the German minority, also the Steberl family was forcibly deported out of the country after World War II. The family lived in Vienna when Emilie joined our church in 1966. She was blessed with a Korean and lived with him in Korea until she became sick of cancer. On December 23, 1981 she died and was buried at the Lutheran cemetery in Vienna.
WFWP Slovakia decided to establish a tradition to honor this brave pioneer by making a pilgrimage to her hometown to commemorate her birthday on September 27. The weather was perfect, and together with the HARP youth and blessed families we met at the main square next to the Lutheran church which the Steberl family used to visit. Then our group went to the wine yards on the outskirts of Sv. Jur to find a nice place for our Sunday service. There we heard testimonies of Emilie ´s spiritual daughters, about our meeting with her twin sister Gerti last year. Stefan Jakubac preached about the meaning and value of missionary work in general. Afterwards we had a picnic and enjoyed the wonderful view. We walked on a hiking trail through wine yards and forest to the romantic castle ruins of Biely Hrad. Our children liked to explore the mysterious remnants of the mediaeval castle. We hope that next year more members, from Slovakia and abroad, will join the pilgrimage to this picturesque place.