September Update

Streams in the hand of the LORD


P1144608.jpg

Above: Some of our children singing before being dismissed for their Sunday School classes.



Since we rent a space in the local community center, holidays that fall on a Sunday can be problematic to keeping our normal space for meeting as this same space is used for celebration events. A few weeks ago, we were displaced into an adjacent room on Sunday. Miki had just been told by one of the local community center officials that we would have to find another solution for the chairs we had been using since they were scratching the marble surface on the floor when we set up and tore down each week. As we set up the adjacent room we were in this week because of the holiday, Miki and I began talking about how much nicer this space was for Sunday worship. The acoustics were superior, the space was more cozy and there were new chairs in this particular room that had no issues with scratching the floor. Also, this room is enclosed which would have given us freedom to keep all of our equipment set up instead of setting up and tearing down each week. We continued talking and thinking about how much better this space would be and talked about the things that most likely would prohibit us like a raise in rent, problems with permission from the local leaders, the most likely resistance we would receive when asking permission to use the new chairs in this particular room and so on. In my heart, I just put it in the category of ‘no-it-won’t-work’, but it would be great wouldn’t it! In hind sight, wouldn’t it have been more productive to stop and pray and ask the Lord and believe in His power and generosity and provision? Long story short, the community center leader happened to run into Miki very soon after this conversation on Sunday. She said, “I was thinking, why don’t you guys just use the room you are using today instead of the other. It would be much better for you.” What!!?? God reminded us of His supremacy, His generosity and His constant gift of giving. "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” (Prov 21:1) And so our problem with having to buy new chairs was solved and we received by God’s grace a new meeting place that is much more suitable to our needs! Praise God for moving in the heart of the community center leader and giving us favor. Praise Him for this gift of a new meeting place and doing in an instant what we thought was in the category of ‘no-it-won’t-work’.

P1155127.jpg

Above: The new meeting place God recently provided for our church body in Petofibanya.



P1144634.jpg

Above: Things I love seeing. Groups gathering together after worship service to pray together.



P1144627.jpg

Romani Ministry


In my absence while in the US, church member Peti began to visit and spiritually care for a small group of Romani believers in the neighboring town of Apc that I had visited weekly. The Romani family he visited had other family members in another village where there were believers and those interested in God but no leadership to plant a church. Peti visited and met with them in a small group and could see how God was at work in their lives. The following week, a young woman named Dia from that town decided to visit our church in Petofibanya. It turns out that Dia had been hearing about Jesus for the past few months and had come to understand that she wanted to leave behind her life of drug use and separation from God.

P1155128.jpg

Above: Dia seated in the back row in red.


After service, Sharon and Eniko sat to talk with her and it was clear that she was ready to put her faith in Jesus. Dia’s hometown, may be a new area in the future where we can help existing believers to mature and become spiritual leaders in their community. Please pray for our us as we seek to discern where God is directing us as a team to focus our energy and time in this season of healing from a church split and having reduced capacity to meet various needs. Pray for Dia and those in her hometown to find freedom in Jesus and grow to be shining lights in their communities!

Baptism in Jaszfenyszaru


P1155249.jpg

frame-010863.jpg

Above: Adam’s baptism in Jaszfenyszaru.


Jaszfenyszaru continues to be a focus and Miki has had the opportunity to teach ‘religion’ classes in Jaszfenyszaru’s public school. Students in most public schools are given the opportunity to decide between choosing ethics class, or one of the various ‘religion’ classes based on denomination that are offered. By God’s grace Miki has been teaching in this town’s school for the past few years and Adam shared that he came to a commitment while learning more and more in these classes about Jesus. Adam’s family also attends the church plant in Jaszfenyszaru and his parents are active members in the core group. His baptism was a day of rejoicing as we celebrated God’s gracious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

P1144530.jpg

P1144567.jpg

P1144547.jpg

Little league


IMG_6731.jpg

Above: Roger throwing a pitch to Kira on the newly ‘built’ field in Petofibanya.


One of the ways our team has continued building relationships with the community is through a little league baseball team that began last year. Baseball is an intriguing and new sport for kids who mostly have only been exposed to soccer in Hungary. Teammates Roger and Tom set out to bless the community a few months ago by bringing in a short term team from the US to build a baseball field and hold a baseball camp.

DSC_0045

DSC_0190

DSC_0129

DSC_0021

DSC_0035

DSC_0095

DSC_0204

DSC_0186

The whole process turned out to lead to more relationships being developed in the community and more opportunities to share the Gospel. I was thankful to see children of parents who were part of the split and left the church six months ago at the first practice! I’m so glad that they were allowed to continue to participate and benefit from the fellowship and friendships we have made with them over the years.

Sitting with the lost


God has given our church a good reputation in the community and we are often invited to participate in various village celebrations the local government organizes. On Saturday, we were called on again to do some face painting and hand out balloons for the kids in Petofibanya. We get to see many of the kids who have attended our VBS, interact with their parents and simply bless the community.

P1155083.jpg

P1155124.jpg

P1155096.jpg

Above: Our tent set up at Petofibanya’s Village Day Celebration with balloons and facepainting for kids (and adults).


God opened the door for Gospel seeds to be planted with one woman who asked for her hand to be painted. After finding out that she didn’t like the village life compared to living in the city, she asked me what I thought about living in Petofibanya. I was able to share my joy in living in a place where God had led me and how I enjoyed serving others. She was curious as to whether people treated me the way I treated them, if they gave back the love I was giving them in the community. I told her that this was not the reason I love others. I shared that I was simply trying to show them the love that God has freely given to me in Jesus and I didn’t expect them to give that back to me. I told her that I only hoped that they would see more clearly the depths of God’s love.

P1155151.jpg

She then began asking about origin. Did we evolve from monkeys or from the dust? I was able to share about the power of God, creating our bodies from the dust and creating us in His image with a spirit. As the conversation went on, I did less and less painting and was answering more and more questions with God’s help. Her daughter, who is sixteen, sat down next requesting the same design for her hand. She said in a very curious and quiet way, “What would you tell someone who was not a believer in God to convince them to believe?”

P1155166.jpg

I asked her a few questions before I answered and found out that she was asking for herself. In like manner to her quietness and curiosity, I asked, “Can you tell me why you don’t believe in God?” Her answer boiled down to her not seeing God. She believed in what she could see. I began sharing about how the creation itself, which everyone sees and experiences reveals the awesome power and creativity of God. The intricacy of the earth, the sun, the moon. The beauty of trees, the ocean, the animals and our human bodies. I shared about the invisible things we cannot see but believe exist like love. I also shared about changed lives within our church and finally shared about Jesus coming to earth, taking on a human body that could be touched and seen and heard. Jesus who died for us and was risen from the dead.

She was very attentive and had an attitude that was very humble and listening. When I had asked her mother if she would be able to visit our worship service, she said she most likely wouldn’t be able to because of too much work. I encouraged her to just stop by, even if just for a few minutes so that we could continue to talk about the questions she brought up. Praise God for these interactions where God is calling out to the lost and expressing His mercy by giving them opportunity to be saved by Jesus. Please pray for this family, and for more open doors with this mother and daughter in Petofibanya.

Learning as I harvest


P1144169.jpg
As believers we are called to be workers in the harvest field. This work is not done in an environment of peace but rather we are harvesting in wartime. There are deceptions at each step, there are traps the enemy has set, there is the constant need to be sober minded, aware of the enemies schemes and a heart that depends on Jesus in the midst of this work. I continue to learn as I harvest. I have learned a lot about my tendencies. Some that are strengths and others that have led to causing hurt and offense in teammates as I sought to harvest. Harvesting happens in community and part of the reason why God sent me back to the US for six months was to help me to grow as His harvester. I discovered ways (that I had not previously recognized) that I had hurt my wife in my actions, with my words, with my tendencies. I discovered ways I had fallen short and failed to do the very thing I had desired to do: Represent Jesus and the Gospel. I am learning as I harvest. I remain hopeful because I know Jesus is sanctifying me through this painful process. By God’s grace, I am submitting myself to Him and seeking to apply what He has been teaching me. Our marriage relationship is heading in the direction He desires. Healing is happening. Restoration is happening. But these things do take time. Some of the difficult discoveries I have made in the past month relate to how deeply I have hurt fellow team members. And since that time I have had the opportunity to sit down with them and listen and learn and ask for forgiveness. Healing is happening. Restoration is happening. But these things take time and the process can be heavy and very difficult at times. As you think of our family and team and ministry, please pray for us because we are learning as we harvest. Pray that I would grow in compassion, in Christ’s love and in discernment. Pray that our team would see the rebuilding of a bond of unity and powerfully proclaim Jesus not only through what we do, but how we do it in community. We appreciate your role in this process of restoration and healing. Thanks you for continuing to partner with us!
Comments

Teen Camp

P1144261.jpg

Above: Just off the heels of our VBS in Jászfényszaru, we held one of our last camps for the summer for teens. As with our VBS outreach, this camp has grown over the years and is a great opportunity to continue to share Jesus and His truth with all of them.

P1144198.jpg

Above: Zsolti (center) is the owner of this plot of land and a member of the church in Jászfényszaru. He and his wife Zita have done so much in helping us have a great campground for the teens every year.

P1144233.jpg

P1144337.jpg

P1144382.jpg

P1144451.jpg

P1144476.jpg

Above: After the various events of the day with singing, teaching, games and crafts we would end each day around the campfire focused on teaching what God’s word tells us about friendship. There were various people that gave their personal testimonies and there was also opportunity in small groups for the kids to discuss various aspects of what it means to be a friend and what God’s word reveals on the subject.

P1144726.jpg

P1144699.jpg

P1155012.jpg

Praise God for a good few days of quality time with all of these teens who will be off to begin their new school year in just a few weeks. We trust that this camp was a great encouragement for all of them and helped them to understand what God teaches us about friendship. God is moving among this new generation and drawing them to Himself in love. May those who have made decisions continue to be strengthened in Christ and find continual encouragement from the body to be strong through the challenges ahead. And may those who have not yet made a decision continue to consider all that was shared and turn to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
Comments