October Update

Zoli’s baptism


P1511556.jpg

P1511639.jpg

frame-000003.jpg

Zoli and his wife Timi (blue shirt above right) had attended the last day of our Vacation Bible School last year. It was there that God began to draw both of them to Himself. Timi was baptized in July and Zoli began attending Bible studies over the past month. At his baptism, Zoli shared these words:

"When I was growing up, my grandmother spoke a lot about Jesus but I didn’t really understand what it was all about. At last year’s Vacation Bible School in Petofibanya, I saw how the kids loved the camp. God touched me there and I began to realize that I could have a personal relationship with Him. After that time, I became really interested and began reading the Bible learning more about Him.”

God has done this with multiple parents in our church who first experience Him and His truth when they visit our Vacation Bible School. We have heard multiple testimonies from parents that say they sense a real peace among us and experience God’s love. I believe this also has to do with the supernatural unity that God has formed in us as the body of Christ. Jesus prayed, “That they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” May the Lord continue to reach parents through their children and cause entire households to come to faith in His name.

P1511591.jpg

P1511585.jpg

Miracle of reconciliation


The problem of divisions and strife in church are not new. Paul writes in 1 Cor 1:10 "I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.” As many of you know, over a year and a half ago, our church suffered a split that led to a core group of believers and long time friends leaving our fellowship. These core members followed a church leader who was under church discipline and resisted the pursuit of peace. They formed their own group and continued following this leader who refused to take correction from any other leaders in various denominations. Claims were made by this leader that our church was full of hypocrites and we were void of the Spirit of God. Obviously, these accusations hurt various members of our local body and led to more confusion and instability. We continued to pray for those who had left and God led the members of our body to dig even deeper into his word to find truth. This trial has caused all of us to draw closer to God and to mature our faith in ways that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Something amazing happened just over a month ago. One of the women who was part of the group that left wanted to meet. She had become convicted that she must leave the group that had split off from our church because of false teaching, destructive attitudes and the way fear was being used to control members. She met with Miki and myself and in humility asked forgiveness. I was rejoicing in seeing how mature she had become in using God’s word to examine what was happening in the group. This was a work of God’s grace, not brought about from any pressure from our church. It was God helping her understand His truth, His character and His gospel. Soon after Jennifer had the courage to leave the group, Orsi, Timi, Eszit and her sister Lidi also left.

IMG_7818

All of these women decided to visit our Sunday worship service with fears and wondering how old friends that they had abruptly severed relationships with a year and a half ago may respond. Although I knew they may be coming to our service that Sunday, the church members were not aware. It was a sight to remember! Members would stroll in, glance to the back of the room and see these women. With wide teary eys and jaws dropped they would one by one run to them and hug each of them. I overheard various members saying, “I’ve prayed for you”, “I’m so glad you’re back” , “I’ve missed you.” This was a great beginning to a process of restoration. It was a display of the gospel powerfully at work in our lives.

IMG_7821

Over the past month, we have been meeting every Monday and discussing questions, confusions and convictions with some of these women who were misled. We have been turning to God’s word and seeking to be “united in the same mind and the same judgment.” We have sought to be humble, to be listening, to seek to understand each other and most of all to love each other in the midst of studying God’s truth. We have sought to make clear to each of them that our desire is for their full restoration and for each of them to become members of a local church. Although we didn’t know which church God would lead them to, it was my heart’s desire that they would return to our church. Just last week two of them shared with us that God has led them to do just that! I believe this will be a powerful and proper testimony of Christ’s gospel at work in us. Previously, one of the most upsetting aspects of the church split was the way it proclaimed a false narrative about the gospel to our community. The split made the church look just like any other worldly club. Same fighting, same relational problems, no solutions. But now that God has restored these members, the truth about the gospel in this community is also being restored. We proclaim a gospel of reconciliation where we offer the same grace and forgiveness that we have received from our Savior.

Back to Bogacs


After not being able travel to the town of Bogacs in the summer months, I was able to begin visiting two Romani families again once a week. God has been gracious to allow me to form close friendships with these families and it was great to reconnect with Puljka, Isabella and Edit in Bogács.

20150519-P1120412

20140805-P1520579

20160805-P1660008

Unfortunately there is a high level of demonic activity in this Romani community. One of our first conversations regarded a family member who had just hung himself. Various members of the family were seeing what appeared to be his spirit in their dreams and in their houses. There was fear and questions even from kids if what they were seeing was real. After explaining some things from God’s word, we began our Bible study and Isabella abruptly left and returned after a few minutes. She explained that she had to tell her kids to stop playing a game that they had learned at school where they were divining with two pencils and asking spirits various questions.

Soon after that, some of her kids came into the room where we were studying with their friend who was encouraging them to do these things. I spoke to him gently but firmly warning him of the dangers of these ‘games’. I asked if I could pray for him and I trust that God expressed His love and concern through me. With all of these terrible things happening, I’m thankful to be able to help Pujka, Isabella and Edit grow as we put our focus and our hope in Christ and learn together from His word. Just last week, as I drove up to Edit’s house, her husband Andris and son Andras were sitting on the lawn out front. Edit’s husband and son are not believers and don't join the studies we have together. But sitting with them out front for a few minutes allowed for an opportunity to minister to Andras who asked questions about what it means to be a Christian. Please pray for entire households to come to faith in Jesus. And pray for those who are believers like Puljka, Isabella and Edit to continue to mature in Christ and be empowered to be His witnesses to their community for His glory!

Little league baseball


P1511481.jpg

After a successful baseball camp in the summer, God continues to keep the momentum going for our local baseball club in Petofibanya. Every week we have around 12-15 kids that attend. In a neighborhood where there is not much to do, It is great for these kids to have a safe place to go every week. They know they will be encouraged and learn how to play together on teams.

P1511472_edit.jpg

One of our church members recently shared that her bosses daughter’s children attend. This mother is an atheist, but she was commenting on how amazed she was with our kindness. As is expected, the question came up in the conversation, “Do they force their beliefs on the kids?” To which she replied, “No, not at all”. This is a fear among many that God is graciously breaking down. A fear that we just want people to be religious or join some kind of sect. By living in the community, developing relationships and seeking to bless those we encounter, God is opening up doors to share the Gospel. The kids are also seeing in the ways we coach, the ways we speak, the ways we treat them that we are different. May the Lord cause our light to shine in a way that they see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.


jatszohaz_edit

Above: In addition to seeing some of these kids at baseball, God has opened the door for church member Edit (top left in purple shirt) to begin teaching classes about our faith at Petofibanya’s public school. Edit is well known in the community, having been the teacher for many of these kid’s parents and even grandparents! Edit, along with the help of some other church members who’s kids attend this school also hold a monthly youth club together where they discuss a topic from the word, sing together and of course have fun playing together. Praise God for helping a new generation come to know His saving grace and true life in Christ through these open doors!

Children’s Day


P1511393.jpg

God has given us a good reputation among schools through our Puppet Ministry and work in community events in the summer. One school in the neighboring town of Lorinci recently invited us to present a puppet show as part of their Children’s Day celebration at school. Years ago, this same school was one which we had trouble getting into to do our Easter and Christmas puppet presentations because of the principal at that time. God has since removed that principal and has now opened up doors where they sought us out to minister to these children. Praise God!

P1511398.jpg

P1511448.jpg

Church Plant in Jászfényszaru


P1511538.jpg

Above: We continue to seek to strengthen the core group of believers in the town of Jászfényszaru. We hold public worship service in the community center every other week and Miki (our Hungarian partner in ministry) holds a house group every week. We have also begun youth group meetings every other week, bringing kids out from Petofibanya who have relationships with kids in Jászfényszaru because of Vacation Bible School and summer teen camp. In November, we plan to have a team building retreat with members of the church from Jászfényszaru where we will spend quality time together praying, worshiping together and learning from Scripture together about the mission of the church.

P1511353.jpg

Thank You


P1500814.jpg

Our family thanks you for your faithful support and partnership with us. God has blessed us through your generosity and encouragement. Praise Him for the great things He continues to do in Hungary by His grace!
Comments

Jaszfenyszaru VBS Camp Report

P1422250.jpg

Thank you for your prayers for our last day of VBS in Jászfényszaru. We had over twenty parents attend and God opened doors to share personal testimony and the Gospel. The parents I personally spoke to talked about how God has been revealing Himself to them through this ministry. One father shared how he saw so much hypocrisy in his past experiences with religion, but he told his daughter Réka who attends each year that this is the place she needs to be. He sees that we live out what we teach from God’s word. Another father shared how he began weeping when he attended his first VBS with his kids a year ago. Both he and his wife experienced the power of God’s love and the message of His grace. Afterwards he began reading the Bible and God was revealing Himself. His wife Timi was recently baptized, and it looks like he will be next. Praise God for a great week teaching kids about how God values them and calls them back into a personal relationship through Jesus Christ.

P1411776.jpg

P1411722.jpg

P1411744.jpg

P1433409.jpg

P1433688.jpg

Each day, each of us helped transport kids to and from camp. As I returned home today with my daughter Ellie and three other kids from camp, they sang the entire thirty minute ride home. The lyrics in the songs were full of Gospel truths and they went from one song to the next since they had memorized them from all the previous camps they’ve attended. We believe many seeds of God’s truth have been planted that will bear fruit as God calls a new generation of Hungarians to Himself!

P1422409.jpg

The team of volunteers from church did an excellent job through the various challenges we experienced throughout the week. One day, we had a power outage which meant we also had no running water, no projector, no AC, no fans, no lights, no kitchen appliances the entire day! As the kids saw our example of maintaining an attitude of joy, they also continued to have joy. The enemy could not steal the gift of peace, nor stop the power of God’s work through this distraction. Just as we were finishing the day in the main meeting room, the power came back on and was available the rest of the week.

Take a look at the films below to get a sense of the gift God has given to us and to these kids through this Vacation Bible School!

Tomorrow, we’re off on a long road trip to take three of our kids to a camp in Czech Republic. Our littlest one, Ziva will remain home (being watched over by some close friends for a week) while Sharon and I fly to Paris to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary! We would appreciate your prayers, for all of our traveling and for God to continue to do the work of transformation in our lives and in our kids’ lives by His grace. Thank you all for your faithfulness in partnering with us and the encouragement you give through your prayers and support!











Comments