Monday, November 07, 2016
Church planting works
Our focus remains the same this season as we primarily serve in four towns in Northeastern Hungary. Those four include our hometown of Petofibanya, the neighboring town of Apc, the town of Jászfényszaru and finally Bogács located an hour away from our home. After more than 12 years of sowing and reaping, Petofibanya is more of an established church with ongoing mentoring relationships and local ministries reaching out to the community. The other three areas are in different stages of growth. With the help of other church members, we look forward to these other areas also becoming established local congregations that continue to multiply by God’s grace.
First Love Baptist Church in Petofibanya
Above: Our Sunday public worship meeting in our hometown of Petofibanya.
Above: Before being dismissed for children’s Sunday School, the kids gather in front and sing songs they learned in our Summer VBS along with Miki. We’re so thankful to have a full spectrum of kids from preschool to teens.
Above: Andi (who was recently baptized) with her mother Irénke. Please pray for Irénke as she continues to learn more about Jesus and the new life He offers through faith in Him. Pray for the gospel to spread through Andi’s family!
Above: Arnold (saved a few years ago in Petofibanya) preaching in our church for the first time. Arnold has begun theological studies by commuting to Budapest. God has put a desire in his heart to serve as a missionary possibly in Sweden. Not only does Arnold benefit from what he is learning in Bible school, but he has hands on training and personal mentors in his life to continue to encourage him on his journey. Please pray for Arnold to have a strong foundation of truth from God’s word in his heart and for the Spirit to use that truth to from him into a mighty man of faith. Pray also for other men in our church to be free from a spirit of indifference and to begin living with passion for God’s callings on their lives.
Above: Teammate Tom at our special Thanksgiving service. Instead of our traditional service, we split the church members up and seated them at different tables in small groups. At each table we had guided discussion about ways we were thankful for God’s work in our lives.
Church plant in Bogács
Above: Kati and Dori. Kati and her mother were recently saved and baptized and continue to attend our weekly meetings in Bogács.
Above: Dori’s grandmother Angela, also recently saved and baptized continues to open her home to us for Bible study. Because of cultural and logistical reasons, we still have not found a way to meet in one place in Bogács. It has been our habit to go to two houses on the same night holding the same Bible study for two different households. As we grow in number this is becoming more difficult and it is our hope to find a way to meet in one central place. In our other church plants God has been gracious to give us favor with the local government and we use their local community centers to meet. This seems to be the direction God is leading us in for Bogács as well, but we haven’t yet met the town’s mayor. Please pray for favor and for a solution to gather all the believers together in Bogacs in a way that we could mutually build one another up and worship God together.
Church plant in Apc
Above: Reni (left in red jacket) and Vincse (center).
Above: Robi and Vivi.
We continue to hold a weekly Bible study in Vincse’s home in the town of Apc. Over the years we have seen various people come and go but the core group has remained the same. Thankfully, Vincse and her daughter Vivi continue to attend and grow. Recently, Reni (pictured above) asked Vincse for prayer for her child who was sick in the hospital. Vincse told her that she and the church would pray. Soon afterwards her son fully recovered and Reni then invited us to her house to pray for her husband Miklos. This opened the door to share the gospel and the week after, Reni along with her mother attended our worship service. Please pray for more open doors to share the Gospel in the town of Apc and for entire households to come to faith in Jesus.
Church plant in Jászfényszaru
Above: Every other week we hold a public worship service in Jászfényszaru and God has graciously provided a core team of a few families from this town that are partnering in the work of the ministry. In the past we used an English Club to bless the community and open up opportunities to develop new relationships. After that we followed up with holding a VBS for the first time in the town of Jászfényszaru and have since then been holding Kids Playhouse meetings where we teach on a certain them from the Bible, and provide games and crafts for the kids.
Above: Photos from our recent Kids Playhouse. We had visitors that joined us fro the first time and also others that we have come to know though the years through our work in Jászfényszaru.
Above: Margit who is part of the core team in Jászfényszaru helping at craft time. By God’s grace and healing power, Margit has fully recovered from a stroke that left part of her body paralyzed just months ago!
Winter Clothing Distribution
We’ve started a small movement in our town collecting used clothing and organizing days where the community is invited to come and take what they need. There are many poor families that are blessed by the contributions and we have had such an abundance of clothing come in that we are also able to pass the clothes on to the poor in Apc and Bogács.
Above: Kids sifting through toys that we were giving away.
Annual Hike to Blue Mountain
We learned early on when we moved to Hungary that when a Hungarian asks if you would like to go for “short” hike, you shouldn’t picture a stroll on a nice flat trail. Their idea of a hike is a HIKE! Every year we invite church members and others who have come to know us through various outreaches to join us on a “short” 10 km hike to the top of Blue Mountain.
Above: Hugi having a little difficulty crossing the stream as we make our way up the mountain. Those are tears of laughter and not tears of pain.
Above: Brenda (right) also plays on Petofibanya’s little league baseball team with our kids. She has also attended our VBS in the past but has not yet made a decision to put her faith in Christ. Please pray for those we know like Brenda that we spend time with to be drawn to Jesus as they are exposed to the light of Christ again and again.
Above: After reaching the top of the mountain, we gathered wood for a fire, broke out the marshmallows and Arnold shared his testimony with those who attended.
Above: Jennifer handling the contraption used to squeeze the lard out of bacon to drip on bread.
Above: Eniko, Jennifer and Judit celebrating surviving the journey and devouring bread with fresh lard drippings, scallions, tomatoes and bacon.
Thanks for your continued support. Many of you have partnered with us for over 10-15 years and we are grateful for your faithfulness and generosity! We are privileged to be serving in Hungary and excited to see how God will continue to do great things as He proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ through His church.
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)