Friday, May 17, 2013
English Club in Rozsaszentmarton
We continue to meet every friday in Rozsaszentmarton’s community center for English club. A few weeks ago, God ordained that Mercedez (pictured above center) would be the only advanced student to attend with all other advanced students in our class being church members. In a small circle, as usual, we began our first hour of conversation in English. It was clear that Mercedez was sick. I asked her if I could pray for healing. She said yes, which gave opportunity to explain that I would be talking to Jesus in my prayer. I also talked briefly explained the Gospel and then prayed. Soon after Mercedez began opening up, and in tears shared some personal struggles she was going through in her life. God allowed us to encourage her and through this open a door to invite her to Dezső’s house group. Since that time she has begun attending!
Above L to R: Zsolt, Roger and Gyula. Zsolt’s daughter attends the same middle school as our daughters in Rozsaszentmarton. Most likely she’ll be attending our VBS this summer.
We have noticed that the number of students has been dwindling as the weeks go by, but already two students (Mercedez and Nori) have begun seeking God as a result of meeting here. We most likely will be stopping the English Club at the end of the month as it has served as a good spring board into the community to share the Gospel. Please pray for students Mercedez and Nori to come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
Possible new meeting place for our church!
Last week, Miki and I met with Petofibanya’s mayor to discuss an opportunity for our growing church to move to a new facility. The town’s local government has been discussing how they can help us and have offered a building that couldn’t be in a better place… the town’s bus stop!
Above: Petofibanya’s central bus stop where hundreds of residents gather everyday! The building would have to have major renovation, but we would have freedom to extend the structure for our purposes. We have been praying for some time for God’s provision of a larger meeting place and this looks like His answer.
Above: The mayor giving us a tour of the inside. The structure is definitely larger than our current meeting place and we would have access to it full time as opposed to our current situation. If we agree to take it, we would pay rent, but any money invested in renovation would go toward this cost. We’re excited about this new prospect and ask for prayer as we make final decisions.
News from Bogács
This week, the least amount of people came to our study, but it was a joy to meet. From what I can discern, the three men who attended are the three who seem most interested, most consistent and most active. Our study was on Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. Ödön said with surprise, "So Satan IS real?" The men were able to see how the enemy works to deceive and turn us away from trusting in God. They discovered how Jesus, the new Adam, overcame Satan and how Jesus put His full trust in the Father.
Gyüszi continues to be discouraged in the circumstances that threaten to tear apart his family. I encouraged Him with the Bible story we had just studied. The last verse reveals that after Jesus stood firm in resisting doing life Satan's way, God was faithful to provide for His Son. Gyüszi has been brought up in a culture where turning to illegal options to survive seem to be the only options. It is my prayer that Gyüszi's heart is transformed by the Gospel of Christ and that he personally experience God's deliverance and provision. Please pray for this young man's situation that is truly hopeless unless God intervenes. Pray for these three key men, Gyüszi, Józsi and Ödön to come to understand the majesty of Jesus and the free offer of salvation available to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Pray for their households as well to come to know the Savior!
Above: Józsi, the man that God healed a few weeks ago from what I believe to be a hernia (pain in side when bending and moving), has begun to open up to me more and even asked if we could have the Bible study at his house next week. Please pray that wherever the study is held, that God's word would be central to the discussion and that by grace, the Father would continue to reveal Himself and His Son to these households!
New birth in Apc
Thursday night's Bible study in Apc was encouraging. Just a few weeks ago I had prayed for a young woman's pregnancy and the baby God was forming within her. The following week, the child was born and the couple gave praise to God for His provision of a healthy premature baby. Her name is Lilli and she is just a bit larger than the baby dolls our smallest child carries around the house. The father asked if we could dedicate the child to the Lord and I gladly rested my hands on the baby's full head of hair and prayed. Would you also pray for God's blessing on Lilli?
Above: Vincse with her son and Ibolya. This was not the only new birth we celebrated in this small group in Apc. Ibolya (EE-BOY-YAH) who has been attending and often meets with Vincse to talk about spiritual things asked the question tonight, "How can I be saved?" We talked for some time about what it means to repent and what Jesus Christ the Son of God has accomplished in His death and resurrection. We then read Acts 2 together coming to the point where the same question was being asked of Peter after He proclaimed the Gospel: "What shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:37-38) I then spent some more time with Ibolya explaining key words in this Scripture regarding repentance, baptism, Jesus Christ, forgiveness, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. After reading John 3:16 and talking about the necessity of faith in Jesus, Ibolya was ready to pray to confess her faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Praise God for Vincse spending so much time cultivating this relationship and sharing the good news with Ibolya for months. Praise Him for turning Ibolya's wounded heart from once saying, "I will never believe" to saying, "I will put my trust in the LORD."
Above: Gyozo (red shirt) has continued to grow in his faith. He is now taking on more responsibility in leading various aspects of our teen ministry on Fridays. He also joins Miki and Dezso traveling to the town of Jászfényszaru once a week in church planting work.
Above: Erika talking with Anna Maria after service on Sunday. Anna Maria just became a Christian this past week and is the sister of church member Fanni who was just saved last year. Please pray for Fanni and her sister Anna Maria that their faith would grow abundantly and that their entire household may be saved! Now that Anna Maria has chosen to follow Jesus, she has tough decisions to make and needs God’s wisdom and strength. Please pray for her!
This Sunday we will be having a special baptismal service. Please pray especially for guests who don’t yet know Jesus to hear the gospel and be drawn to Jesus through this celebration. Pray for those being baptized to be blessed and encouraged through their baptism.
Above: Family at AquaWorld in Budapest celebrating Kira’s birthday last week.
Above: Kira waiting for cake after a long day of swimming.
Above: Ben has been playing soccer this year and I was able to attend his tournament on Friday. They’ve got a pretty good team, and like father like son, Ben plays defense.
Conference in Malta
Our family had a great time in Malta with many other friends who are serving all over Europe.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Above: Zsolti greeting some of the kids in Bogács. Tonight I invited Zsolti from Apc to join me to travel to Bogács. It was a great opportunity to encourage each other in the car as the travel time to Bogács is about one hour. Zsolti comes from the same influences and experiences as the Romani families we visit in Bogács. In reality, Zsolti may even be worse off in many ways than these families, yet he trusts in Jesus and has experienced God's gracious provision and deliverance. I was thankful for his company and how God used him to give testimony of how Jesus is trustworthy and how the life of faith in Him brings peace.
Above: Gyüszi with his mother Aranyka. Pulling around the now familiar bend towards Gyüszi's house, kids playing on the streets parted to allow us into his driveway. Today was a beautiful day and Gyüszi's family enjoying the weather outside waved us in to our normal spot to park. The oven that is used to heat his house was now outside spewing smoke as Gyüszi's mother Aranyka made noodle soup. I greeted her with a smile as I could see she was fully recovered from her sickness. She returned a smile and patting her neck saying, "See, look at this. I don't feel the cysts anymore! There is no more swelling!" I told her, it was Jesus who was gracious to heal her. Within minutes, Csali (Ödön's wife) appeared. Last week her spirit was downcast and she wondered, "Has God turned away from us? Is He angry at us? Everything is going wrong." I shard that God was not against her but for her. He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins and He lives to save us and give abundant life, not to make our lives miserable. Satan on the other hand seeks to steal, kill and destroy (see John 10:10). Last week, we prayed for God's help in these tough times. Tonight, Csali shared how the next day after we prayed, God had led her and her husband to find a man who said he was waiting for them to help get rid of iron scraps. These iron scraps are used by Romani to trade in for spending money for food. Csali said they didn't know the man, she didn't know why he was waiting for them and that it had to be God, because the house was not familiar to them. Her husband Ödön sat back and just smiled and added his agreement that God provided.
After Gyüszi's sister Babi showed up, it was time to begin the study gathered around in a circle outside in their driveway. Gyüszi facilitated the meeting, reading from Luke chapter one. After discussing what they discovered in the passage, Ödön spoke about how he learned how nothing was impossible for God and therefore nothing was impossible for those who put their faith in him. Gyüszi learned that since God was able to give Elizabeth (known as barren) a child, that he should not lose hope in his situation, but trust that God can provide in the most impossible situations. Before leaving, I explained to Gyüszi that I would not be able to come next week, but I wanted them to meet without me. After some initial reluctance, he said, "I'll try." Others who were there said they would attend next week as well. Please pray that they would meet (even without me being there) as it is my desire that they continue to read God's word together giving them opportunity to be taught by God. "Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me." (John 6:45) Please pray for Gyüszi as news has gone from bad to worse regarding his efforts to keep his family together and being restored to the house he once lived in. God is our only hope in the matter.
Józsi (above photo far left grey t-shirt) was silent throughout the meeting saying he had a tough day at work. As I mentioned previously, Józsi has gone from being one of the most antagonistic members of the group to agreeable and more open. After Gyüszi finished our study, and before we packed up to leave I asked if there was need of prayer for healing. Józsi looking at me with a slight smirk said, "Well, yeah, my side hurts. It hurts everyday at work. It just hurts all the time." Asking him to stand up, I put my hand on his side and began praying for healing. The others continued in conversation behind me. My prayer was only as loud for Józsi to hear as I professed the truths of Jesus' authority, truths about His Gospel, His grace and how He never turned anyone away who came to Him for healing (Luke 4:40). Removing my hand, I asked, "How are you? Feel the same, or is there any change?" He felt just a tad better, but the pain was still there. I said, "Would you allow me to pray again?" After the second time of prayer, I asked the same question. This time, he moved around more flexing and bending over and said with a big smile, "It's getting better" looking at the others now watching he said, "It REALLY feels better" (as if he couldn't believe it himself). He told me that there was just a bit of remaining pain in a different area. We prayed one more time and afterwards, he was healed (and amazed). I then said to Józsi, "Remember when you said to me weeks ago that you just couldn't believe unless God worked in a way that was tangible to you and not just written in some book?" He remembered. I said with a smile, "You have no excuse now." Jesus is showing the same grace to Józsi that He was showing his disciple Thomas. He is saying, "Do not disbelieve, but believe."(John 20:27) I called Gyüszi on the Friday following our meeting and he told me more about what happened when I left that day. Apparently Józsi came to him right after I pulled away and couldn't believe his back pain was gone. He kept repeating, "I can't believe it...it's gone." He said to Gyüszi, "Something is going on here, something really is going on here." Gyüszi told him, "Yeah, God is here and now He's shown you that He is here." God's grace is amazing! I await the day when Józsi will with Thomas say, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
On our way home that night, I shared my story of how God lead me to Hungary with Zsolti. It is always refreshing to remember God's faithfulness then and how He has continued to be faithful to this day. One question that Gyüszi's sister Babi asked me tonight was where I would most like to be if it were up to me. I said that I simply want to be where God wants me to be. As I celebrate my 41st birthday on Wednesday, I rejoice that God has graciously led me into His plan for my life. A plan so much bigger than me and a life I could have never imagined.
"Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long." (Psalm 25:4-5)
New work in the town of Apc
On Thursday, I was off to Apc to help Zsolti and Vincse with the new Bible study in their home in Apc. I was thankful to see many new guests, including Zsolti's adopted daughter attend and Zsolti's nephew attend. After briefly conversing with the guests, I found out that three of them had no Christian background.
First we studied the account of Jesus telling Peter to cast his net into the deep to catch some fish. Peter had just spent the whole night fishing without success but said, "But at your word I will let down the nets.” (Luke 5:5) We learned about the importance of faith in Jesus and how His way (although different than what we would consider normal or what we are used to doing) is the best way.
Above: Ibolya, who was among those who were not believers attending, asked some important questions after the meeting. She lost a child over seven years ago and it caused much confusion and questions to arise about God. The Lord was gracious to bring encouragement to her after our conversation and she wants to continue seeking. Just as in Bogács, I won't be able to attend next week so Zsolti will be facilitating next weeks meeting. Please pray for this new group of seekers and Christians to hear from the Father through reading His word and be transformed by His grace as they follow after Christ.
Above: After struggling for a few weeks with sickness and teeth coming in, Ziva is now well and enjoying the sunshine outside. She loves going outside to take walks with dad, picking flowers and locating bugs on her journey.
On Sunday, our family is off to another country to have fellowship with fellow PI missionaries from all over Europe. Please pray for our souls to be refreshed, built up and equipped in our week together.