Words: Ashley Rydberg Bright ’10
Photos: Tony Hughes
The Polohas have a love story reminiscent of a Shakespeare play. When they met, Drahoslav was engaged to another woman and Zuzana was in a relationship with Drahoslav’s roommate.
Fast forward, and after more than 20 years of youth ministry in Slovakia, Drahoslav and Zuzana Poloha’s lives took another dramatic turn. They uprooted their lives in Europe to chart a new course of ministry as the first-ever married dual recipients of the Billy Graham Center Scholarship Program in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at the Wheaton College Graduate School in the fall of 2019.
The Polohas met working in youth ministry and have pursued ministry together ever since. As they served Slovak youth and youth leaders, they discovered a gap in the Christian ministries available to Slovaks. Even as youth were being led to faith in Jesus Christ, they were going home to unstable environments where their faith was not nurtured or sustained.
Although they were thankful for the church’s role in young Slovak lives, Drahoslav and Zuzana saw that there appeared to be no Christian therapy being practiced in Slovakia and nowhere to turn for Christian family counseling. With this need in mind, the Polohas began their Wheaton College journey. While pursuing their master’s studies, they are also raising their three children, Oliver (17), Johanna (15), and Viktor (13). Upon completing their degree programs, they plan to move back to Slovakia.
“The program has transformed our perspective on faith-based therapy,” said Zuzana. Drahoslav added, “From this study, we’ve discovered ourselves more deeply and have reframed how we will bring the gospel into our work through our own faithful living.”
With extensive discipleship experience, the Polohas will apply their marriage and family therapy studies to the vast need for Christian therapy in their home country. They continue to seek guidance through prayer, and they hope to be salt and light in Slovakia, serving their country as marriage and family crisis navigators.