Apr 2012

WEEKLY UPDATE

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Above: Gathering on Sunday for worship service in the local community center. At the beginning of the year we sensed that we were outgrowing our current meeting space and now we are bursting at the seams! Every other week our church scatters to three different locations for worship service, one being the neighboring town of Rozsaszentmarton. The following week, we all gather together in Petofibanya and are now numbering over 70 including kids. We praise God for the steady growth of His church and are privileged to witness lives being transformed by HIs Son.

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Above: Ági the wife of Tamás helps after service by distributing home baked goodies. Ági and Tamás who were on the verge of a divorce, because of Tamás’ bondage to alcohol have been transformed by God’s grace and are now part of the core church planting team in Rozsaszentmarton. Ági meets regularly with teammate Brenda for discipleship and is maturing in her faith.

Easter Drama 2012

Above: Zsofia, Gyula, Peti, Gyozo and Allen performing a drama for our Easter worship service. It is encouraging to see a new generation of Hungarians grow in their faith and participate in communicating God’s Gospel through drama. Discipleship is one of the highest priorities in our church and I praise God for how He is at work in one on one mentoring and training. I began meeting with Peti over a year ago on a weekly basis (a highlight to my week). Peti is now meeting with Gyula once a week. And Gyozo is meeting with teammate Roger once a week. We believe that this commitment and investment in a few faithful will flourish into a movement of discipleship in obedience to Jesus Christ’s call that we would make disciples of all nations.

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Above: As another means of discipleship and stepping into ministry opportunity, a group of believers from our church traveled to Gyongyos for evangelism training for an upcoming Franklin Graham Evangelistic Outreach in Hungary. Although still a few months away, much planning and preparation is needed and we praise God for using Billy Graham’s Evangelistic Association to equip and train young believers and give them opportunity to take part in what we believe will bear much fruit.

NEW OPEN DOORS IN OUR LOCAL MIDDLE SCHOOL

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There is a flurry of things God is doing at our local middle school in Petofibanya. Just last month we heard (in confidence) that the Baptist Church of Hungary was in talks with our local town’s government about purchasing the school that is in trouble financially and faces the possibility of closing without help. Currently, the local government, the teachers, and the class representative parents have given their approval. However, there still needs to be a vote of all parents before this progresses any further.

As with any possible change this has stirred emotions among parents in the town and there have been a fair share of negative gossip in this atheist town about what is bound to happen if the Baptist Church buys the school. Most all of these fears are based on false understanding and a lack of clear communication. Therefore, we ask that you pray for this process.

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Our first experience with our own hometown school years ago was negative. Our’s was the only school in our county that did not allow our puppet show to be performed in school hours (this was out of almost 20 schools at the time). This year there seems to have been a break through and a recognition (even from those who don’t know Christ) that these kids are lost and need help. Jesus has opened a door for us to now teach 7th and 8th graders in school hours about ethics and life issues. We began last week and will continue through the end of the school year hoping to build many new relationships.

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Above: Hey, what’s that thing in Erika’s hand… could it be a Bible in public school! We are amazed at this opportunity, an invitation initiated by the school that was once resistant to what we had to offer! Thank you Jesus!

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Above: Elianna and Kira dressed up as Ellie prepares for her poetry contest at school in Rozsaszentmarton.

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Above: The judge for Ellie’s competition (standing) happens to be the same man who gave us permission to hold our first children’s outreach in the Rozsaszentmarton’s Community Center last month. We heard from him that there were many positive responses to it and there was just one complaint… from the local priest. Amazing. Anyway, it is my prayer that God would destroy all religiosity that has so controlled this town for so long and the gospel would bring many lost to a restored personal relationship with the Father though faith in Christ.

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Above: Ellie with one of her classmates before the competition. Ellie ended up getting third place!

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Above: We continue to meet for volleyball once a week. It is amazing that many of those that we first connected with through volleyball have since become believers and are attending our church. Jenifer (striped shirt) is one of them. Her mother (who is Germany) has let her know how worried she is that she has joined a cult. Her husband has laughed at her when he has caught her praying for others in our church. Decisions here aren’t without ridicule and critique.

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Above: Some of the younger kids (and Ben) hanging out while the adults play volleyball.

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Above: Kids Sunday School last week.

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Above: Kira hanging from our pear tree in our back yard.

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Above: Our dear Ziva.

Today, I (Allen) turned 40. Ben asks, “How does it feel to be middle aged.” I praise God that it feels good. I am thankful that at 40 I have 4 beautiful kids, a faithful wife and the privilege of seeing much fruit in the harvest field of Hungary. Most of all I am thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the greatest gift I have and ever will receive. Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes.
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EASTER PUPPET LAST DAY

NAGYKÖKÉNYES

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Above: Miki helping the kids loosen up before the show by imagining an early morning, stretching and yawning.

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Above: Even though this small group of kids were very young, they picked up on the song quickly and joined in full of energy.

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Above: Miki and Erika’s kids Bence and Anna (in front of stage) were able to join us today being off from school for Easter. They did a great job helping in showing motions to the songs and packing and unpacking.

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Above: “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”  “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’” (John 20:15-16)

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Above: Eniko showing the empty tomb found in the fourth egg.

VANYARC

After one of the teachers in the village of Szirák saw our puppet show, he invited us to his hometown of Vanyarc a few years ago to perform there for the first time. We have since been invited back every year and today performed in their local Luthern church building.

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Above: Miki’s son Bence hauling in the last suitcase containing our lighting equipment for the show.

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Above: The pastor from the Luthern church blessing us with a reading from the Psalms and then giving us a warm welcome.

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Above: One of these kids shouted, “Wow, there’s a CD in here!”

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Above: It is always great to be able to distribute these evangelistic packets directly into the hands of the kids and watch their reactions. Much of the magazine is a review of the puppet show recounting the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are noticing that after six years of doing these puppet shows, more and more accurately answer the question, “What is Easter really about?”

After the show we stuck around for the traditional salami on buttered bread and conversation. The teacher who originally invited us to Vanyarc is part of the local council and commented on the value of what our team brings to their town. We talked for a good time afterward about the various ministries God has led us to use in Petofibanya over the years, reaching out to children, teens and adults. Throughout the conversation we had opportunity to give God glory for all that He has done and highlight our belief in the Gospel and the hope that it offers the world.

Thank all of you who have stood by us in prayer. God has been gracious to us and given us strength and the ability to perform in 26 schools and share the message of the Gospel to over 1,600 kids and many teachers and parents. We are privileged to plant and water “but only God gives the growth.” (1 Cor 3:7). Pray that these many seeds planted would bear fruit and multiply.

“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore” — Jesus (Rev 1:18)
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EASTER PUPPET DAY 12

KISBÁGYON

Today, we inadvertently mixed up the order of schools we were to visit which put us very early at the first school and very late at the second. Thankfully, in the end everything worked out fine and the preschools were gracious with our mistake.

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Above: The show begins with two brothers fighting about their understanding of what is most important at Easter. The mother straightens them out by telling the true story of Easter.

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Above: Eszti, Eniko and Miki behind the stage preparing for the shadow puppet portion of the show.

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Above: Eniko explaining the consequences of sin and our separation from God before getting to the next symbol of the cross and proclaiming the good news that Jesus died for our sins. When Eniko pulled out the picture of the tomb with the stone rolled away, before she could speak, one of the kids blurted out, “It’s empty because Jesus rose from the dead!”

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Above: Church planting partners Miki and Erika.

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Above: Jennifer joined us again today to help out. Jennifer got to know us through volleyball, then attended a Bible study at Miki’s house and has since put her faith in Jesus. She now attends a woman’s small group and is attending church. Please pray for her spiritual growth.

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Above: I asked this young boy after the show what he liked the most. He said, “When Jesus was raised from the dead.”

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Above: A child pointing to an illustration of Jesus appearing to Mary after being risen from the dead. Thank all of you who donated and helped us reach our goal of purchasing evangelistic materials for over 1,600 kids! The kids really enjoy the magazine and are grateful for the CDs as well after the show.

SZARVASGEDE

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Above: Since we were late for Sarvasgede’s show, the kids went out to a local farm. They were excited to return to see the show!

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At the point in the show when Jesus appears but Mary doesn’t yet recognize who He is, a child turned around to his teacher and said, “That’s Jesus, it’s Jesus!”

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Above: Miki and Erika ending the show with a song about the resurrection of Jesus.

We praise God that our mix up of going to the wrong school first didn’t end up leading to kids not being available. Both shows went very well and the message of the Gospel was clearly presented. Tomorrow is our last day of our Easter Puppet Ministry and we need your prayers just as we did the first day we began!

• Last night Miki was up because of sickness, Eszti was up because of spiritual attack (nightmares) and I (Allen) was up because of Ziva continuing to adjust to a new sleeping pattern. Please pray that we may get the rest we need tonight and have strength for the day of ministry tomorrow.

• Please continue to pray for healing from sickness for Eniko, Miki, Eszti’s children and Allen (oh, and don’t forget Ellie’s broken toe)

• Pray that tomorrow’s last shows would bring glory to God by proclaiming his good news!
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EASTER PUPPET DAY 11

KÁLLÓ

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Above: There were around 100 kids squeezed into this Kálló’s preschool gym for our first show. Before each show we have a little fun throwing pillows back and forth with the kids.

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Above: These plastic eggs have been a great teaching tool this year. They have kept the kids in suspense as Eniko walks them through explaining the Gospel with different symbols in each egg.

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Above: Erika distributing this year’s CDs to the teachers which give the kids the opportunity to listen to the show over and over again at home. The shadow puppet portion of this year’s show does a great job telling the story of Jesus death on the cross for our sins and His resurrection on the third day.

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Above: Teammates Eszti and Eniko.

ERDOTARCSA

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Above: Kids at recess watching as we pull up and unpack.

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Above: Erika and Eniko quickly setting up the stage.

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Above: Miki helping the kids imagine a walk through a farm on an early morning. The kids have the responsibility to make the various animal noises that Miki mentions through the story.

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Above: The last symbol that Eniko pulls out of the plastic eggs is a painted egg that Hungarians traditionally give as gifts to one another. Eniko uses the egg to help the kids remember that the gospel is a free gift, which also represents new life in Jesus Christ.

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We praise God that the team continues to work in unity and with passion to share the love of Jesus Christ through the proclamation of His Gospel in these public schools. What a privilege! What an amazing opportunity and a door that Jesus has kept open these many years that have allowed seeds of His truth to be planted every Easter and Christmas to these kids.

We did some more minor repairs today on various equipment for our puppet show. Everything continues to run smoothly by God’s grace! I believe Eniko’s teaching times went very well and the kids payed attention in both places today without major distractions.

Prayer Requests:

• Eniko, Miki and Allen continue to suffer from a head cold. Eniko has had an off-and-on fever the past few days. Please pray for more rest tonight and for healing.

• Pray for strength for the puppeteers for these remaining tow days of ministry. Those puppets can get heavy after holding your hand up for so long.

• Pray that the Gospel may be proclaimed clearly and understood. Pray that the seeds planted through the songs, the show and the materials distributed would produce fruit in a new generation of Hungarians.

• Pray for protection for our kids and for healing for Ellie’s toe, and Eszti’s children’s sicknesses.
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EASTER PUPPET DAY 9 & 10

SUNDAY IN ROZSASZENTMARTON

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Above: A typical mailbox in the village of Rozsaszentmarton.

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Above: Members of our church praying before our first outreach in Rozsaszentmarton. With half an hour to go before we opened the doors, we really didn’t know what to expect. We have done outreaches like these in other towns and sometimes had only a few people show up.

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Above: Laszlo and Marianna (recently baptized) took the responsibility to greet people at the door. It was great to see the number of believers serving in different roles making the whole outreach run smoothly.

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Above: WOW! Praise God! As you can see, we had a full house.

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Above: It was great to see parents staying with their kids through the show instead of dropping them off which we have experienced in other towns.

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Above: Marcsi (wife of Dezso) being hospitable to the guests. Dezso and Marcsi currently use their house as the meeting place for the church plant in Rozsaszentmarton.

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Above: Brenda cheering on the competitors with Eszti’s daughter Ellianna.

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Above: Ellie sidelined and unable to play today since she slammed her toe into a table a few days ago and we think it is broken.

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Above: Dezso making some new connections with visitors.

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It was a joy to see God at work in Rozsaszentmarton and we hope to continue following up with families that attended. We were able to promote our VBS to everyone there and are hopeful that many from Rozsaszentmarton will attend in the summer. Praise God for proclaiming HIs good news in Rozsaszentmarton and for drawing new families to Himself!

MONDAY

ÚJHATVANI SZIVÁRVÁNY


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HATVAN PRESCHOOL

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We were thankful for a day of rest on Saturday to gear up for the remaining week of puppet ministry. The shows continue to go well with the message of the gospel clearly being shared. The last few days have been a bit tough for the team some of us have become sick and some of our kids also.

Prayer Requests:

• Ellie most likely broke her toe just a few days ago while walking in bare feet in our house. She continues to have pain off and on and we have it wrapped and are treating it. Please pray for healing.

• Three of Eszti’s kids are sick and Allen and Miki have a head cold. Please pray for healing and for strength to continue to serve.

• Please continue to pray for Eniko and her teaching time after each show. Tomorrow she will be teaching in front of a large number of kids. It only takes a few kids out of the large crowd to distract everyone in this important time. Please pray that the Gospel could be delivered free of distraction.
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