Thursday, March 06, 2014
God causing growth
Years ago when we first moved to Petofibanya, one of our means of outreach was an English club where we met Judit. At that time, Judit was open and asked for prayer that she might be able to have another child. Joplin (her husband) and Judit had already seen specialists but found no success.
Above: Picture taken in 2005 of our English Club. Judit is pictured third from the right.
After prayer, God blessed her with a baby boy, a gracious and powerful answer. Judit ended up drifting away for a time but last year began attending Bible studies again. She put her faith in Jesus, was baptized and began reaching out to her family. Her daughter Réka was able to attend English camp last year and has since regularly attended church and youth group meetings.
Above: Réka in green scarf at worship service.
After many months of prayer and Bible study, her husband Joplin put his faith in Jesus last week! Today, at an early afternoon Bible study, I stood in a kitchen with Joplin as we broke into groups for prayer. What a blessing to see him smiling in a new way, and expressing how he sought to live out the same love that He has experienced in Christ. One prayer request that he had a few weeks ago was for his son, now a student in elementary school who had been struggling with behavioral issues and problems learning. God has since been giving Judit and Joplin wisdom as to how to better help their son and there have been clear changes brought by God’s grace. Who could have known that seeds planted in Judit in 2005 would flourish and grow moving her entire family to know Jesus as Lord and Savior! Praise God for causing growth that will continue to bear fruit through this family!
We rejoiced along with heaven at the baptisms of Irén and Edit two Sundays ago in Petofibanya. Edit has been a prominent teacher for years in Petofibanya and Irén is the mother of Tamara, a young woman who saved and baptized in May of last year in Petofibanya.
Above: Irén and Edit choosing to be baptized into Christ on Sunday.
Above: Edit told me today in a small group study that up until the point she got into the water, she felt physically and spiritually oppressed. She said the moment she dipped her foot into the water, it was as if the Spirit swept over her and she was completely freed and felt joy and peace fill her up. She said she just couldn’t stop smiling. Here is an excerpt of some of Edit’s testimony on Sunday:
“...Time passed and I found myself going for the first time to their Bible Camp with my grandkids. While there, I was even more amazed with how much love the members of the church poured out. My grandkids loved it so much that soon after they planned to attend next summer as well.
Above: Edit at our 2013 VBS (far right)
Edits testimony continued: “The following year, there were seven of us that attended. This time my brother came with his grandkids. After the end of this camp, we visited the Sunday Worship Service. This was something completely different than I had ever experienced compared to [my past religious experience]. The prayers were not repeating something memorized but coming with full emotion from hearts turned to the Lord. I felt I needed to come back. I wanted this. I wanted to be united with these humble people. I saw nothing but the love of God in them. Every time I met them I experienced the same thing.
My first Bible that I received from Brenda is here in my hand. She said, “You don’t have a Bible…” and moments later she put into my hands this gift. From that moment on, the Bible became the central part of my life. I received so much help from meeting with Miki and attending the small group meetings with Allen. I asked Jesus into my life and He received me. I confessed my sins to Him and He forgave me. Every day I need to give thanks to the Lord that He has shown me The Way and ask that He would help if I find myself in doubt. I believe God has plans for me and I just want to be an obedient child. I’m just one among the many lost who have been found.” — Edit
Edit is a prominent teacher in our local elementary school. Both the principal of the school Gabriella, and a fellow teacher Angi came to Edit’s baptism. The next day at school, Edit shared that they both came and asked to talk in private. They both expressed a recognition that Edit has completely changed and wanted to know more about the new life that Edit has in Jesus Christ. My prayer for Edit is that she become a brilliant light in Petofibanya’s school that pours out the the same love and shares the same Gospel that has reconciled her to God through Jesus Christ. We praise God for our VBS not only reaching children, but even grandparents for Jesus Christ!
Above: Edit’s husband (smiling in the middle) seated next to Angi, one of Edit’s fellow teachers.
Before coming to Bogacs on Tuesday night, I had been in prayer asking for more opportunity to pray for Dadás, a relative of Puljka who’s house we have small group in each week. Instead of Puljka and his wife Katyus joining me, they thought it best that I go by myself to Dadás’ house a few blocks away. Their grandson accompanied me as we walked to Dadás’ house. On the way, another young boy joined us. I recognized him, but didn’t know from where. He then said, “Allen, can you pray for my dad. He’s in prison.” Then I remembered. His dad Robi was one of the men who would visit when I first began attending Bogacs over a year ago. This boys name is also Robi and I just felt sorry him. It seems like this is the normal life of many boys in this community. I prayed for his dad as we walked.
Above: Taken in February of last year, Robi (now in prison) on the far left and his son Robi to the right of me.
We were welcomed by Dadás’ family. Entering into the back room where Dadás lay mostly paralyzed with no ability to speak, I knelt down and explained that I would like to read from the Bible to Him. I felt earlier in the day that God wanted me to share the Gospel with Him. However, when I said this, he began shaking his head no. I wanted to make sure he understood what I was saying, and it seemed clear he understood and did not want any more prayer. I left the room with his relative and spent some time talking with them. They were very receptive and thankful for prayer and invited me back sometime to discover what God’s word teaches.
Returning to Puljka’s house, I was surprised to see his daughter Izabella standing there and saying she would be staying tonight. Although she didn’t have official permission from Süni (her boyfriend and father of her three kids) she said she felt she must go. We’re thankful for the encouragement and teaching she was able to receive in our brief time of fellowship. Katyus, the mother of the household shared a flyer with me smiling. Apparently, last week at a bus stop, a group of women distributing evangelistic materials gave this flyer to Katyus. This brought encouragement to Katyus as she recognized that God knew where she was and was continuing to help her understand more about Himself and a relationship with Him. Please continue to pray for this family and for a new generation of Romani to be transformed by God’s amazing grace as they turn to Jesus Christ.
EASTER PUPPET SEASON RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER
Our team is already talking about scheduling and preparing for our Easter Puppet Ministry where we’ll be able to share the gospel to over 1000 kids in public schools throughout northeastern Hungary. Here is a recent testimony from a fellow puppeteer:
“I went to go visit a family. When we were seated at the table, two of the children in this family brought chairs and proceeded to cover the chairs with a tablecloth. They asked if we would like to see their puppet show. And what happened? The very show we just presented in their school at Christmas they began to present. They didn’t have any puppets, they just used their own toys. They acted the whole puppet show out word for word. They sang and spoke everything they heard at our show!”
We believe that the seeds we sow through these shows will have an impact as God causes growth. The above testimony is just a small glimpse into what remains after we return home after the puppet shows. We have about half of our needed support raised for our Easter Show that will go towards buying evangelistic packets we distribute to kids. If you would like to contribute specifically to this need, you can give toward a special account. Click here. For name, you can fill in: Hungary Puppet Ministry and for account no. use: 150639
ALLEN TRAVELING TO THE US
I (Allen) will be back in the US from the 13-19th of this month. I would appreciate your prayers for Sharon and the kids as I’m away. Please contact me if you would like to meet with me personally. We appreciate your continued prayers and support. Rejoice with us in the great things God is doing in Hungary!
Friday, February 21, 2014
Above: Paul and Jana making a stop at our home as they toured through Europe seeking God’s direction as to where they will be serving long term. Paul was able to join me (Allen) as we traveled out to Bogács for our weekly Bible study. I continue to see Süni’s attitude toward us change as he is now more friendly and accepting, however he still will not allow Izabella to attend our study. Please continue to pray for Süni and for Izabella to grow in her faith in this time she is isolated.
Above: Paul showing Süni and Józsi some pics of his family. Süni commented that his daughter was beautiful.
A few weeks later I returned to Bogács and was asked if we could go to a relatives house to pray for a man who was very ill. It was already dark with midst making things even darker. We made our way up the uneven muddy slope to a house and pushing through fabric draping over a doorway I entered a very small room with family gathered around a man laying on his side. Another family member, who stood with white rubber gloves tending to the sick man with bed sores initially looked taken back that I had come. Pulyka was quick to explain that he brought me over to pray for healing. I don’t know all the details of what happened to him, but he is paralyzed and he cannot talk. He was awake and in pain when I entered. I’ve been learning in these situations not to allow a shocking sight of sickness lead me to fear and anxiety, but rather to allow it to lead me to remember how powerful and merciful Jesus is.
I knelt down and began praying for the man, placing my hand on his head and to the sides of his mouth. He seemed to be comprehending what I was saying and seemed to be comforted by the prayer, but I didn’t see healing yet. Before I left, he was able to make noise with his mouth and move his tongue, but it was not completely loosened and he still could not communicate. Pulyka and I told the family that we would continue to pray and I hope to visit him again next week. Please join me in praying for healing for this man as we recognize that this sickness is not bigger than our God. In Acts 28, we see the apostle Paul stranded on the island of Malta. In a local tribe, “The father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. (Acts 28:8) This man was not a believer and knew nothing about the Gospel. “Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him.” (Acts 28:9) Healing is often coupled with the proclamation of the Gospel. Lets pray for Dadás (the man sick in Bogács) as Paul would have and surely as Jesus would have as well.
Above: Eniko serving in children’s ministry in Bogacs.
BAPTISM IN APC
Above: In Apc a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of baptizing Vivi (you can see her mother Vincse in the background) Vivi is due in just a few weeks. She shared that for the first time she has come to know Jesus in her heart and not just in her head. She also said that God has been showing her how he is a faithful Father who loves her.
Just today I received news that Vivi was sick and after going to the hospital, it turns out that she is dehydrated and needed to be admitted. Please pray for God to protect both her and the baby and bless her with healing!
Above: Ziva in a ‘kid sandwich’ as everyone squeezes together for prayer before heading downstairs for Sunday School.
Above: Hungarian church planting teammate Dezso dancing with his daughter at her graduation dance at Rozsaszentmarton elementary school.
Above: Ben who attends the same school had a performance with his class. Looks like he’s playing a role that matches his character.
Above: Kira with Ziva who couldn’t resist dressing up like a fairy.
Our son Benjamin will be attending a teen conference this weekend and we would appreciate your prayers for him. Pray for him and all the other young teens attending to hear from God and to grow in their faith and understanding of who God is. May the Lord raise up a new generation of mighty men and women of faith in Jesus.
We appreciate your prayers! Thanks for your continued support.