Baptisms

This has been an encouraging week as we’ve been able to hold baptisms in our hometown of Petofibanya and also in the town of Bogács.

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Above: Joy seeing Christ’s love in His Church on Sunday.

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Above: Bogi (left) and Kriszti (right) preparing for their baptism last Sunday. Although these two woman were being baptized in Petofibanya, Bogi comes from the town of Jászfényszaru and Kriszti comes from Rozsaszentmarton, two areas we are seeking to plant churches. Here are some excerpts from their testimony on Sunday:

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Kriszti’s testimony: “I first met people from this church when I worked in the preschool in Rozsaszentmarton. They asked about doing a puppet show and since that time we continued to meet. I began attending a house group. As I continued attending, I came to understand that the faith that I was hearing about was not like the religion that I had learned about when I was growing up. The faith that I was now learning about was personal, it was intimacy with God. Many of you know about one of the great things God did in my life two years ago. He saved me from dying from a brain tumor. He didn’t abandon me and allowed me to return home from the hospital after the surgery. He gave me life to return to my family, to be here with you so that I could continue to proclaim Him and present my life as an example so that others could experience Him as well.”

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Bogi’s testimony: Before I was saved, I had a pretty good life. I have a loving family that supports me and I attend a great school. I had lots of friends and had plenty of free time to do what I wanted. And in that time there were two things I had hoped for in the future, a husband and a job. Then there was an English Club that I heard about near my home. In those times of conversation with Dezs┼Ĺ and Allen and the others in the Bible studies I began reconsidering what things in my life were really valuable. Last year, God provided so many amazing things in my life like the English Club, meetings with various members of this church, and the many conversations that turned my attention to Jesus. I came to understand that Jesus died on the cross for me and He saved me. After I put my faith in Jesus, my life changed. For example when the time for college exams came, I was able to approach them completely differently than in the past. Jesus has given me freedom. He has freed me from bad habits and emotions that were destructive. He has taught me how to treat those who have hurt me in the past or those who sin against me. And that is true freedom! And what was really important to me was that I could now rest. I didn’t have to worry and be anxious about how every detail would come together in the future. I don’t have to frantically look forward three or four years and wonder where I will work. I can now rest in Him, I can entrust those details into His hands.

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Baptisms in Bogács


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Above: Meeting in the new household of Robi and Erika as we prepare for their baptism. We weren’t sure how many people would come out this cold rainy night, but the house was filled with those who were curious, family members and other friends we have met over the years.

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Above: Kati (left) standing next to her mother Edit. Edit opened up her home to us last year. One of our first interactions with her daughter Kati was not very positive. She said she didn’t need God and didn’t believe. As time went on and she gradually made her way into our weekly Bible studies, the Holy Spirit opened her eyes to her need and tonight she would join Erika and Robi to be baptized into Jesus Christ.

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Above: While I sat down with the others to teach more about the meaning of baptism, Miki was busy trying to solve how we would do the baptism. We had brought a large plastic container but the circumference of the container was too large to fit into the main door of the house. We would have to do the baptism outside and Miki figured out how to get warm water flowing from the house to the container.

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Above: Brenda talking with Pujka. God used Pujka in Robi and Erika’s life to get them to a point of seeing their need for Jesus. Before I was able to talk to Robi and Erika last week, Pujka spent three days trying to convince them. Pujka wants his entire family and whoever he meets to see their need for Jesus and be saved.

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Above: Erika was the first into the baptismal. It was cold and raining and the rest made their way outside and gathered around.

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Above: Edit’s daughter Kati followed and was baptized.

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Above: To be honest, I didn’t expect Erika’s husband Robi to be baptized because of some questions he seemed to still have. But after Erika and Kati, he began climbing the ladder. I said, “Robi, what are you doing?” “I want to be baptized!” I re-explained what this baptism meant and Robi literally leaped into the water with a desire to be baptized into Christ.

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I told Robi about the public worship services we were beginning to hold in Bogács. Both he and Erika offered their home for a meeting place. Robi said he would also want to invite his other family members to hear the good news and become convinced like he became convinced. May the Lord continue to create more momentum and bring transformation through the Gospel to these households and to the entire village. Please join me in praying for these new believers, Bogi, Kriszti, Robi, Erika and Kati

May God grant them to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in their inner being, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith—that they, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints…the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that they may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:16-19)

May God the Father of glory give them a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of their hearts enlightened, that they may know what is the hope to which he has called them, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places. (Eph1:17-20)

Other Shots from the week


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Above: We continue to hold our English Club with classes for kids and adults in the town of Jászfényszaru. Many of the kids that attend also attend a Bible class that teammate Miki teaches weekly. We’ve also invited these kids and their friends to a children’s day outreach happening this Sunday. We’d appreciate your prayers as we continue to develop relationships with more in the community and look for open doors to proclaim the Gospel.

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Above: Sunday youth group. Teammate Roger seeking to help a new generation of Hungarians live by faith in Jesus.

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Above: Hey who’s this guy helping out with our baseball club? Introducing Tom Ledoux, one of our new teammates who just arrived to Hungary for long term ministry.

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Above: Welcoming our new teammate Tom with a Sunday lunch at Brenda’s apartment. We praise God that Tom is already set up with an apartment and even began language school on Monday. Just like us, he’ll be focusing mostly on language and culture for the first year of his ministry here.
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January Ministry Update

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Above: Edit, a local school teacher who was saved a few years ago continues to use her position in school to share the Gospel in creative ways. For many years our church planting team initiated a children’s ministry with the hope to train others to take ownership of it. 2016 marks the first time church members like Edit worked together without the core church planting team to facilitate this children’s outreach in the public school. We rejoice in seeing members growing and using their giftings to reach out to the community.

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Hungarian Harvesters


Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” God sees a harvest that is plentiful, but the number of those who labor in it to be lacking. God is answering this prayer. And we need to continue to pray that more laborers be raised up and sent to proclaim His good news. Over the past few months, I have come to know about two Hungarians who have been moved by God to pursue full time missions work! One of them, Arnold was saved in Petofibanya and has since continued to mature in his faith and serve along side of us in various works including churchplanting.

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Above: Arnold helping out with our English club in Jászfénszaru

We (the elders) of the church in Petofibanya are mentoring Arnold as he pursues a desire to serve in Sweden or wherever God would lead. It is always good to see men who are serious about their love for Jesus. Faithful men are lacking in the church and there seems to be a spirit of indifference, a lack of passion that leads me to pray. Father, please change more men, raise up men who are humble, who are servants, who are examples, men who follow you, who know you, who listen to you, who obey you. Praise God for working in Arnold’s life. Praise God for putting missions on Arnold’s heart and putting him in an environment where he can learn from other men who love Jesus.

Reaching Romani in Bogács



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Above: Edit (left) pictured with Erika. On Wednesday, our first stop in the town of Bogács was the home of Edit. Edit sought after us last year asking if we could come to her home for a Bible study. Edit had a background with a sect for many years prior to our meeting and has been working through the differences of what I am teaching and what she had been taught. It is clear that Edit was initially very skeptical and did not trust us fully. But as we met each week, she was convinced that what I was bringing was only God’s word and not teachings and traditions of men. Over the months we met, Edit saw her friend Erika who also attends the group get saved and be baptized. And now, Edit told me on Wednesday that she also wants to be baptized.

Edit is now sharing what we learn in our Bible studies with others in town who are still involved with the sect. Tonight, one of those friends was Hajni, who simply stood at a distance just listening as we sat at the kitchen table for our Bible study. I was able to talk to Hajni before she left about the dangers of believing teaching that contradicts what Jesus teaches. I think she began to see clearly before leaving and she accepted a Bible that I offered to her. I’m sure she will continue to talk to Edit about what we’ve been studying. Pray that Hajni realize the deception that she is caught in and that she come to fully embrace the teaching of Jesus as revealed in God’s word.

At the kitchen table, Edit’s daughter Kati was directly to my left. Kati was tasked with reading the Scripture out loud that we were discussing tonight. At one point, Kati grabbed her head, and complained of a headache. I asked if I could pray (she had seen God heal people as we prayed in this very room). She said, “No, no, no..” Most likely, Kati was afraid to be prayed for because of her witnessing what happened when I prayed for Erika a few weeks ago. You can read about that in a previous post (12-4-15). To make a long story short, there was an evil spirit that manifested, Jesus dealt with it, then Jesus healed Erika’s leg. Kati may have been afraid that the same thing (before the healing) may happen to her. We continued to read and discuss the lesson as she grasped her head.

At one point in the discussion, Kati turned to me and said, “I don’t get it…why did Jesus have to die? I’m not a sinner.” She wasn’t saying it with contempt. She really didn’t understand that she was a sinner. She saw herself as a ‘good’ person. She really didn’t understand why Jesus chose to die for our sins. God gave me the words and illustrations to help Kati see what sin is, and as I was still speaking adding another illustration to help her, I saw a drastic change in her face. She said, “Oh my... I understand!” Then with an expression of awe, she looked over at Edit, “Mom!” As if she was saying, “Mom did you hear what he just explained?” Then she looked back at me, "I want to saved. Now I understand.” This actually took me off guard. I have seen Kati soften up over the many months we have met, but I didn’t know this would be the night she understood her personal need for Jesus. I asked if her head still hurt. “Yes,” she said. I asked again if I could pray. This time she agreed and I laid my hand on the back of her head to pray. After a short prayer, I asked how she was. “A little better, but still there,” she said. I prayed another short prayer, lifted my hand and said, “And now?” “Oh my” she exclaimed. “Mom!…mom, it’s gone.” Now that she was more free to focus and not be distracted, I repeated the Gospel with various questions to make sure she understood what she was choosing to believe. After reexplaining, I asked again, “Do you want to repent and believe in Jesus?” “Yes!” We were able to pray together, confessing out loud what Kati was now believing in her heart after meeting with us for months. The only thing that was in my mind when Kati understood and said, “I want to be saved” was that the Spirit was on the move tonight!

We said our goodbyes and drove a block to the next household we visit in Bogacs for Bible study. Pujka, the head of the household came out to greet me as we pulled into his yard. “Allen, I have some people in there and you need to talk to them. I think they want to be saved.” For the past three days, Pujka had been sharing with this married couple the Gospel and God’s truth. Then, in my heart I thought… “Wow, the Spirit is REALLY on the move tonight!” Walking in the house, I recognized the couple. It was Robi and Erika, whom I had met over three years ago when I first began commuting to Bogács. They were part of the original group that I first met with before that group drifted away and showed no further interest in the Gospel.

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Above: A photo taken in 2013 with Robi (hand on my back) and his wife Erika directly behind me with their son.

As I entered and sat down, Robi started off, “Tell me, or do something so that I can be saved. Do it so that I won’t be able to loose it and that I can be sure I am saved. I want to change. God is doing something in my heart. I want to repent. Can you do something?” I told Robi that I couldn’t do anything to save him. I don’t have a special power that I put on people. I have God’s truth and if he was willing to believe in the truth that I share from God’s word about Jesus Christ, then Jesus would save him. I quickly turned the attention to God’s word and the Scripture I brought. “Listen, anyone can come here and talk about God and give their opinions and tell you all kinds of interesting things…but God reveals truth through His word.” One of the problems I encounter among the Romani in this town is all kinds of false beliefs based on superstition and false teachers. Instead of starting from scratch when teaching from God’s word, there are many false beliefs about God that I find myself having to remove through Bible study. It seems that belief in itself isn’t a problem for them, but discernment of what to believe is an issue.

After going through our study and discussing various questions that came up along the way, Robi and Erika wanted to put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Before you imagine a wonderful setting in your mind, let me help you with what this looked like in reality. In the middle of the small living room, Erika and Robi faced me as I sat close speaking directly to them. Seated around the room, family members and acquaintances were listening in, some ridiculing the entire time, laughing and making sarcastic comments. At one point when I began praying for Robi, laughter broke out as jokes were being made about all that was happening in their midst.

We then exited and went into an adjacent room. The room was dark because the family uses one lightbulb that they put in whatever room they are using at the time. Laying my hands on Erika and Robi we prayed together and I led them to confess what they had chosen to believe in their hearts about Jesus being their Lord and Savior. Even after moving to this room, everyone shifted from the other room to watch what we were doing. Right after praying, Pujka’s son came over to me and said, “Allen, is it a problem that I prayed also in my heart. I believe too. It felt like something happened on the inside of me when I prayed.”

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Above: A photo of Krisztian from 2013 along with his father Pujka who has opened his home to welcome the Gospel.

Then Mazsi, another woman that we have met with over the years also approached and said, “Allen, I want to be baptized. I don’t want to live in sin anymore. Can you come to our house next week?” Once again, I thought, “Wow, the Spirit is REALLY REALLY moving tonight!”

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Above: A photo of Mazsi who also wants to be baptized into Christ.

I would have proceeded to baptize those who put their faith in Jesus that very night, but there were no places to immerse them in water. In their culture, many of the houses do not have running water and many have handmade outhouses for bathrooms. We’re working on a solution in the winter months. Looks like a new group of those who were once lost are going to be baptized by faith into Christ in the near future in Bogács! I praise God for how the Holy Spirit moved this night. This is not the ‘normal’ experience of our visits to Bogács, but as Christ builds his church in this town, may it become a normal experience.

More good news


This Sunday, in Petofibanya, we have two people who will be baptized into Christ. Bogi, who we came to know through our English club in Jászfényszaru and also Kriszti who worked in preschool in the neighbouring town of Rozsaszentmarton. Please pray for both of these women who are choosing Christ, even though they don’t find any support for this decision from their families.
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