Saturday, October 15, 2016
Baptsims in Petofibanya
Earlier in September we were thankful to see two more people put their faith in Jesus and be baptized. Andi is a young mother who lives in our town of Petofibanya. Years ago as a child, she attended our church without her parents but then drifted away as she entered her teen years. God had planted seeds in her heart and just this year in our Summer Vacation Bible School, Andi was reconnected with us.
Andi shared: “I used to be a very negative person. I had no peace, I was quick to be angry and I often lied. When I went to the last day of the VBS where parents were invited, there were many that spoke about Jesus. When I returned home, I heard the Lord speaking to my heart. Since that time I have a new joy and things began happening in my life that I can’t even believe.” Praise God for pursuing Andi and helping her find her way back to Jesus and His life changing gospel. Andi’s mother Irén has also begun attending worship services and house group. Please pray for Irén to understand God’s call on her life to turn to Him and live by faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Bence is Miki’s son (Miki laying hand on Bence). Miki is our Hungarian partner in ministry and we have been serving together since 2003. Bence shared the following testimony: “I grew up in a Christian home and have known who Jesus was since childhood. I was around six years old when I made a personal decision to believe in Him but I’m not sure I took it so seriously. Later I heard someone saying that if you made a decision when you were young and were not sure if it was serious, then you should make a commitment today. I thought about it for a while and when I returned home, I prayed and put my faith in Jesus. I want to be baptized because I want to be with Him my entire life.”
Above: Hajni who was baptized in July this year shared a testimony a few weeks ago that reveals how Jesus is at work in her life. Her daughter recently fell ill and was rushed to the hospital for tests. In that time of difficult circumstances here is Hajni’s testimony:
“Two things happened to me in the hospital that were amazing. The first was with a Romani mother who was with her child. As this mother was going back and forth for different tests for her child, she stopped and asked me, “Is that a Bible you are reading?” It turns out that she was seeking God but just didn’t know what to do. She shared that she wanted to be saved and baptized and began talking about how her husband was opposed. In that moment, I remembered how I was in the exact same situation just months before. I told her that she was looking at someone that had the same experience and encouraged her to continue seeking God. I found out that she lived in Kálló which is not far from Karton where my friend Edit lives. Edit is the person that first introduced me to Jesus in this very hospital on this same floor! I told her not to hesitate when she returned home and go right away to see Edit to find out more about being saved.
The second thing that happened was in meeting with a doctor when my daughter Viki was being examined for whether or not she had appendicitis. The ultrasound took a few minutes and I asked the doctor if he saw the same thing the nurse saw last night. He replied, “I’m not going to say.” I asked why. He continued, “I don’t have time to explain things to you, what are you doing asking me a bunch of questions anyway!” I apologized and tried to explain that I was just looking for answers and he continued with a standoffish attitude. I was almost in tears and said to him, “Doctor, may the Lord bless you.” He left and the other doctor in the room was blown away wondering why I wasn’t cursing the other doctor by now. Later the next day we were sent once again to get an ultrasound and my daughter said, “Mom, if it is the same doctor I’m not going.” We opened the door and it was the same doctor who would do the examination. The doctor asked how she was doing and I explained that she was worse. And this time, as he began the examination, he began explaining everything he was doing and everything he was seeing on the utrasound. He told her that she would need surgery and encouraged her not to worry. God did something in him. His attitude completely changed. As we were leaving my daughter said to me, “Mom what just happened with him?” I told her it was God and thanked God for this gift.”
Praise God for the opportunities He has given Hajni to help others know Him and for giving her a new Spirit led attitude that shines the light of Christ in her everyday life.
More baptisms in Bogács!
Above: Family members and acquaintances from Bogács gathering around to witness the baptism of Izabella and Mazsi a few weeks ago.
Above: Izabella (pink) next to Mazsi. Both of these women have known us for many years as we travel weekly to their village for Bible studies. The house we have been meeting in weekly is actually Izabella’s father’s house. You can read about the first time I met Izabella in this blog post from 2013. Click here.
Above: Mazsi is married to Izabella’s brother Pukandur. In the very first few weeks I began getting to know Pukandur in 2013 he was open, but soon after he began joining the crowd of other men that ridicule faith in God. For years, team members would meet off and on with Mazsi but it was difficult with her husband’s opposition. Praise God that in spite of the ridicule she decided to put her faith in Jesus and be baptized. Her husband attended the baptism but unfortunately could be heard in the background laughing and continuing in ridicule. Praise God for giving Mazsi this boldness along with Izabella who also has a partner Süni (the father of her three children) who openly ridicules faith in Jesus.
Above: Robi’s baptism in Bogács in February of this year. Robi is one of only two men that have come to faith since we have served in Bogács. Soon after Robi’s baptism he had to return to prison to finish time for a previous crime. While in prison, Robi shared his faith in God with others including the prison social worker. At one point, Robi said he was in such despair in prison that he decided to write a letter. He said it wasn’t addressed to anyone, he just poured out his heart to God and crumpled up the paper. He was sending it to God. The next day, he was unexpectedly called to the prison warden and given the news that his time had been cut short and he would be released shortly! Robi knew that God received his letter and was amazed at His gracious response.
Please pray for God to transform men’s lives in Bogács. Pray for men to humbled and that Jesus reveal His gospel with power to them as he did with Paul in the book of Acts. Pray for the women who have been redeemed to have opportunity to continue meeting with us to study God’s word.
The following week after their baptism, Mazsi not only was able to attend the Bible study, but she invited her brother Zsolti as well. God opened up a door to explain the gospel to Zsolti and I asked him to consider what I shared and for us to talk more next week. We’ve also recently seen a softening in the heart of Izabella’s younger sister Maci who seems closer than ever to repenting and putting her faith in Jesus. Please pray for Maci and Mazsi’s brother Zsolti!
Little League Baseball in Petofibánya
Above: Congratulations to the our hometown’s first little league baseball team that finished third in the playoffs! What a great job for their very first year playing in the league. Teammate Roger (last row left) and first year teammate Tom (last row right) plan on continuing coaching these kids for the new season. They are even considering helping renovate a local plot of land that has been overrun with weeds and abandoned and convert it into a baseball field. There is also a vision for future summer baseball camps with partners from the US helping and sharing their faith with these kids. This is a great opportunity to have continued interaction with kids and parents in the community and lead in a way that reveals Christ and the hope we have in Him.
Here is a short film that gives from highlight photo’s from this past season.
Thank you all for your continued financial support and prayers for our ministry in Hungary! This is a battle field and together as the body of Christ we are seeing Jesus build His church “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” (Matthew 16:18)
Sunday, August 14, 2016
We’re back from a week holding another VBS in the town of Jászfényszaru. We’ve been working in this town over the past few years, seeking to proclaim the gospel and build up believers with a goal to plant a church. God opened the door to hold our first VBS and we had a mixture of kids commuting from other towns and a good number from Jászfényszaru. Some of these kids were hearing the Good News for the first time as they come from backgrounds where they have not had anyone explain God’s love and plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
God provided a great team of those from our previous VBS in Petofibanya along with new volunteers from Jászfényszaru. It was our desire to have those who were experienced teaching and leading groups in camp mentor the new volunteers from Jászfényszaru. God gave us great unity and an atmosphere full of the fruit of the Spirit of God who lives in us! We even had kids that had already attended VBS in Petofibanya and would be hearing the same stories again in Jászfényszaru. We were concerned that they may not enjoy camp as much since they would be doing a lot of the same material in small groups. There was no need to worry! All the kids had a great time and even commented on how they now had a better view of the afternoon drama that was a bit hard to see for many because of the number of kids that pack our facility in Petofibanya.
We praise God for the little things and the big things that we experienced everyday! For example, one day as we commuted to the campground, the sky was full of clouds and it began to rain on the way. We began praying in the car and by the time we arrived at camp, the rain stopped. It was overcast the entire day, but no rain! When we finished the day, we literally drove out to the main road to commute back home and it began raining. By the next morning the rain had stopped. The kids had the freedom everyday at camp to spend outside.
Two of the kids that initially were hesitant in attending camp and had to leave early the first few days for wrestling practice later told their parents that they didn’t want to go to practice and would rather stay at camp! There was a house just a few blocks away from our campgrounds and on the second day, a mother came and asked if her daughter could attend. Of course! Initially, her daughter Virág was shy and shared with some of our staff how she really wasn’t the type to sing and to think about God. We could see her change every day as she wholeheartedly participated in the songs and made some new friends from our church that reached out to her. We also had various incidents of sickness coming on and kids complaining of headaches, stomach pain and nausea. Various staff took them aside and prayed for healing and God consistently healed them so that they were fully involved in game time and all other activities.
On the last day of camp, we invited parents and had a great turn out. We held a special small group discussion just for parents and the Gospel was clearly proclaimed along with personal testimonies from those from our church who were saved as a direct result of a VBS last year in Petofibanya. It is such a joy to see Hungarians that were saved just over a year ago now wholeheartedly serving the Lord and participating in reaching out to others who are in the same place they were just a year ago! Praise God for all that He has done in and through this VBS.
Here are a few films last week’s VBS for you to enjoy.