Monday, October 13, 2014
We praise God for His continued work in seeking and saving the lost! Both Arnold (left) and Norbi (right) were first introduced to God over 11 years ago when our church planting team held a children’s ministry in the local community center. Although both drifted away for many years, God in His mercy continued to lead them back to Himself.
Here are some excerpts from Norbi’s testimony:
“I first met Miki 12 years ago in a bible club. At that time, I couldn’t really grasp why I was there but I enjoyed the time with them. A few years later I found myself traveling down a bad path. I hung out with a bad crowd and began drinking, smoking and doing all kinds of things I regret. At the time, I didn’t know, but God was watching over me. He saved me from things that could have turned out to be very serious. I began visiting this church again, but as one who would often wander off. When I began taking things more seriously, a girl came into my life that wanted nothing to do with God and I drifted away again with her. After we broke up, I began to put my full trust in God. I have experienced that He is with me everywhere. He has helped me to make peace with others that up until this point I have considered enemies. I thank God that he sustained me and that he didn’t leave me to perish.” — Norbi
Here are some excerpts from Arnold’s testimony:
“In order to better grasp how I came to know Jesus, it would be good for me to talk about how I lived and what was going through my mind just over a year ago. School was going well. I had many friends. I had a girlfriend. And in January, we broke up. Soon after, I began accusing myself, I became angry toward myself and toward her. And this grew larger and larger and became something I directed toward others as well. So I went on with life and with school, but my grades dropped. I began to believe that my friends were also abandoning me (even though this was not really the case). Everything that I loved and everything that I thought gave me success, my girlfriend, friends and school disappeared. My perspective on my life became more and more sad and I couldn’t even see at that time that my family was still there. This wasn’t just a normal sadness. Looking back I can say these were signs of real depression. And so I tried to solve this problem of depression with partying but found no joy in it. I then began going to a psychologist. The psychologist wanted the best for me and really wanted to help but he wasn’t a believer and didn’t know that I needed to be here (with God’s people). God is the best psychologist. So for months, day after day I experienced this deep sadness. When I traveled to Budapest everyday for school I began planning how to commit suicide by jumping in front of a tram. I began desiring death more than life. I also thought to myself that if I slept more, I wouldn’t have to deal with this sadness. But that didn’t work because then I would dream about the same things. My parents can give testimony to how I thought and how I continually had thoughts of suicide. Looking back, this time in my life was like a long nightmare.
One day, I saw that a chorus was coming to perform in Petofibanya. I thought that I should go. And I can’t explain to you why I wanted to go or what brought me there, but I think God gave me a kick in the pants to get up and go. When the chorus sang and gave testimony, I was really touched. God spoke to me through them. And it was at that time that I decided I would turn to God and ask him for the help I needed. And when I asked Him for help and believed that there was no other path, no other way of help but Him, he didn’t hesitate but healed me right there on the spot! And right away He brought me out of that deep depression. A process began where I just felt He was lifting me out of the depression. It wasn’t because I found some solution in my own strength. It was as if He grabbed me in His love and strength and pulled me up and out. Many others loved me and tried to pull me out but they couldn’t. Only He could. Now, I heard about the basics of Christianity in the past and knew them in my head, but not by faith in my heart. Now I didn’t just know about Him, I was believing in Him. God has given me joy in my life. Before I drifted with no purpose. Now I have one. Before I met Him I was down on myself and angry at myself and the world and God took all these away. When I am in fellowship with God, I can’t be angry like I once was. If He lives in me with His Spirit, He is not a God that holds onto anger, but one who loves and gives forgiveness. Now I can’t (and don’t want to) live without him. I want to always be in fellowship with Him.” — Arnold
Above: Norbi’s father Béla (purple short) and mother Kati (orange shirt) talking with Dezso. Kati has visited our church many times in the past. We’re thankful for her support of Norbi’s decision. It was great to have so many guests come to witness Arnold and Norbi’s declaration of dying in Christ and being raised up to new life in Him.
Above: God gave me an opportunity to talk with Arnold’s mother after worship service. It was clear that the entirety of the service impacted her heart. This was the first time we had met and she had many good questions about how I ended up in Petofibanya. I gave testimony to God’s work in my life to give joy and peace no matter the circumstances. I shared how our (Christian’s) lives have the root of their happiness in Jesus, not in the ever changing circumstances of life. She expressed her heartfelt thanks for the change in her son and said that she may consider coming sometime with him to church. Please pray for her and Arnold’s dad to not only see the works of salvation in their son, but also to find true life in Jesus Christ.
Above: Arnold’s dad came to witness his baptism as well.
Above: Miki and Erika’s daughter Anna with some others from our youth group loving on Ziva.
Above: My glowing wife with Eniko.
I’m posting these a little late (like almost a month late). Here are a few shots from celebrating Sharon’s birthday (Sep 25th).
Monday, September 29, 2014
Above: Bence gives a hug to (grandma) Gizi before being dismissed for Sunday school classes. One of the blessings of this congregation is the unity and family atmosphere.
Erika, a Romani woman who visited our church for the first time a few weeks ago commented on how she just felt loved and accepted by all. I am very thankful that racial barriers that are so prominent in this country between the Romani and Hungarians are overcome by Christ and the Gospel. I would love to see our church filled with a mix of all kinds people who have become one in Jesus through faith in His name.
Above: Kids may outnumber adults in our congregation. Praise God for many parents and young adults who volunteer and serve in our Sunday School classes. It’s amazing to consider many of these kids come from families that are first generation Christians. They don’t benefit from having relatives or a family history of knowing and following Jesus. Please pray for these first generation families to continue to mature in their faith in Jesus. And pray that their testimony will reach many more families for God’s glory.
Women’s Bible Study
Above: Church member Timi teaching after a recent puppet show in Gyöngyös.
As missionaries, it is always our heart that we turn over ministries to native ministers. We are always trying to work ourselves our of a job. This requires a lifestyle of training and mentoring others. Over the past year, I led a small group Bible study with adults that were still very young in their faith. Timi was one of the women that faithfully attended and it was clear that she had a flourishing faith, a humble heart and a teachable spirit. Timi has agreed in this new term of ministry to facilitate a weekly women’s study! This did not come easy for Timi. She is much more comfortable being a participant rather than leading and she dealt with fears that maybe she was not qualified. We are always our worst critic. Timi has already facilitated the group for the past two weeks and as I believed, the women have been very edified and blessed through these times of fellowship. I wish I could say that there are many more like Timi in our body that see an example, participate and then take the bold step of faith to serve in their gifitings depending on God. But that is still not the case. There are others in the body that continue to need heart formation and deeper convictions before moving forward. Pray that God would raise up more and more workers for His harvest field and send them out from our church! Pray for those who are going through hardships and tests that their faith may not be sifted and that they learn to stand firm in their faith in Jesus Christ.
Gyöngyös Puppet Show
Although our normal schedule for puppet ministry is Easter and Christmas, there are times we are invited to other towns to perform in various programs. Last Saturday we headed out to Gyöngyös and did puppets for a small group of parents and children.
Above: Miki leading songs with the help of Jennifer and Timi.
Above: Jennifer (left) is German and moved to Hungary years ago. Timi (purple) became friends with Jennifer and helped her learn Hungarian and adjust to this new culture. Teammates Miki and Erika then began reaching out to them, inviting them to family game nights, volleyball, and various Bible studies. God did His gracious work in their hearts and they both came to know Jesus as their personal Savior.
Above: A grandmother and daughter singing along.
Above: Arnold, also saved recently, served as one of the puppeteers in the show.
Above: Children excited to see Eniko. Brenda can be seen in the background talking with Izabella, the first to believe in Jesus in Bogács. We continue to ask for prayer for Izabella who is not permitted by her boyfriend to attend our Bible studies. Even with this restriction, Brenda is often able to slip out of the study and find Izabella cooking or cleaning and talk one on one with her. This has been a great encouragement for Izabella. Please pray for Süni (Izabella’s boyfriend and father of her three children) and Izabella. Pray that Brenda have wisdom and discernment when speaking to Izabella.
About four weeks ago, I experienced one of the hardest meetings in Bogács. Fighting broke out in the study and I had to leave as I sensed that there was no room for Jesus’ teaching and therefore no hope of any progress that night. Thankfully, I was able to say some tough things to both Katyus and Pulyka in love, seeking to correct them and lead them to truth that would set them free from such a chaotic and tense relationship. The following week, Pulyka asked for forgiveness and confessed how he was wrong. And following that week, he continues to report peace in their marriage! Praise God for his power to reconcile. Since that time, I have also noticed that Katyus is more and more interested in spiritual things. She is asking more questions and more consistent in participating in the study. Last week in our study of John it became clear for the first time that Jesus took on flesh, but had already existed before the foundation of the world. Katyus struggles to grasp the truth that God has no beginning, no Creator. God is eternal. When she began asking more questions about this truth, her husband Pulyka did all of the answering and I leaned back with joy in my heart at his passionate testimony for God. Katyus also shared that God saved her from being electrocuted the previous week. While using her washer (an old cylindrical machine) she felt as if someone was inclining her to move away. She walked away and when looking back at the washer, it was smoking due to an electrical fire. Instead of saying this was just ‘luck’, she made a point to say that God must have been watching over her and rescued her. Please continue to pray for Katyus to come to know Jesus. Please also pray for healing for Pulyka’s brother Gyula who is currently in the hospital recovering from major surgery.
Above: Pulyka with his daughter Maci.
Thank you all for your continued prayer and financial support. We appreciate you all!