Wednesday, November 12, 2014
New English Club in Jaszfenyszaru
Above: Surprise! Instead of the normal turnout of 15-20 people showing up to the launch of an English Club, we had over 60 people show up in the town of Jászfényszaru. Since our team began initial Bible studies around two years ago in Jászfényszaru, God has been steadily opening doors for the Gospel. The public school invited our puppet team a year ago which then led to open doors to teach Bible classes in the school. Later we held a camp for teens in the area and have also met with some young men playing soccer every week. We then planned to begin an English Club to bless the community and to develop more relationships to share the Gospel. We had no idea that there would be a line outside of the building the first night with both elderly and young adults wanting to attend the english club!
Above: After a time of testing to place the students in different levels for English, we broke off into small groups for basic ice-breaker activities.
Above: Although this number of people is a blessing, it also poses a challenge to how we facilitate the club with just three teachers (Roger, Brenda and myself). We don’t know what to expect next week since this was our first meeting. The number could drastically drop off, or it could even increase if people bring friends. In any case, we would appreciate prayer for wisdom in structuring our time with all those who attend. And please pray that God would use this as a platform to share His gospel and spread His Gospel through Jászfényszaru. In Hungarian culture, one of the first hurdles to get past in sharing the Gospel is the issue of trust. No matter how accurate the message, Hungarians tend not to hear anything if they don’t trust you. There is a high level of suspicion built into the culture. This english club breaks down the lack of trust as they meet with us once a week and hear about our lives as believers over a period of time. We have seen time and time again that this leads to people being ready to truly listen when we proclaim Jesus.
Above: Zsolt (center) who lives in Jászfényszaru has been a member of our church in Petofibanya for a few years. Zsolt and his wife Zita have been hosting Bible studies in their home in Jászfényszaru and are part of the core-team focused on churchplanting in their home town.
Celebrating the Reformation
Above: Teammate Erika talking with Petofibanya’s principal before our presentation.
Last week, we were invited to two different schools to help in celebrating the Reformation. A friend who serves in these two schools (our very own local school in Petofibanya and another in the town of Hatvan) organized the events. It was a great opportunity to share Jesus with teachers and students.
Above: Miki and Erika performing a drama about how people have misconceptions about God. In the end they present the true Lord and Savior Jesus.
Above: Our drama team from church presented a short drama about the rebellion of man, rejection of Jesus and the amazing and gracious opportunity to be saved through Him.
Above: Photos from our Reformation presentation in the town of Hatvan. Some of these kids in this high school remember us from our puppet shows when they attended middle school. Praise God that seeds of the Gospel continue to be sowed into their lives even after middle school.
Off to blue mountain
Above: We took some church members to trek out to Hungary’s Blue Mountain (Hungary’s highest: 3,327 ft above sea level) for a refreshing hike.
Above: Reaching the highest point.
Above: After successfully reaching the peak, it was time to to start a campfire and toast some marshmallows. Thankfully with the slippery conditions, we had no serious injuries. It was a great day.
We continue to commute to the town of Bogacs (an hour away) once a week. Pujka, the father of the household continues to grow in His understanding of God’s truth and in his faith in Jesus. His wife Katyus has been opening up more and more as well. Last week Katyus shared with me one of her struggles that I perceived to be spiritual. When Katyus wanted to pray, she felt physical oppression, or pressure. It was hard for her to explain. She said she would begin praying but in the midst of her prayer, this oppression would come upon her and restrict her from continuing. It was as if she could never finish saying what she wanted to say to God.
As I prayed for her that night that Jesus would set her free, Katyus explained that she felt the oppression lift and leave. Katyus also shared that she has a serious medical condition. It was causing great weakness and pain when she bent over. I encouraged her that we could take this request for healing to God who is merciful and powerful to help.
This week, as her husband peered over smiling, Katyus reported that she was able to pray a complete prayer for the first time. She also said that the pain she had when she was bending over ceased and she had so much energy that she was able to clean up her whole yard without the fatigue she had in the past. Katyus continued to share (in her blunt honesty), “There are times when I don’t even want to think about God, but it as if thoughts are just coming in about Him. It doesn’t matter that I’m doing something else. It is as if I can’t get away from thinking about Him.” I believe this is the gracious work of the Holy Spirit drawing Katyus to God. Please pray for our Romani friends in Bogacs. For Katyus to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and for Pujka to continue to grow in his faith. Pray also for his extended family that they also would come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Hungarian Drivers License
Since we are residents of Hungary, we are required to obtain a Hungarian driver’s license. Over the past few weeks we’ve been attending classes with fellow American teammates to prepare for our first exam tomorrow. Thankfully, we’re able to do this in our native tongue as there is a version of the test in English. But, the translation found in this test can be very hard to understand. While we practiced for this test, we found we often knew the answers to questions, but because of the way they were worded, we couldn’t understand what was being asked and the multiple choice answers were confusing. The test tomorrow allows one minute for each question. We ask for prayer that all of us (Allen, Sharon, Brenda, Roger, Heidi, Janet and Val) could pass this driving exam.
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).