Aug 2010

English Camp Report

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It is with great joy, with praise to God and with the good type of exhaustion that I would like to give an overview of how Jesus was seeking and saving the lost at our English Camp this year.

Nine campers ranging in age from fourteen to fifty four made the decision to follow and profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly, only one of them will return home with the support of believers in his family. The others face mixed responses from family and friends who in many cases react negatively. I would ask you to pray for Győző, Kati, Lilla, Linda, Eszter, Márta, Roxána, Szabolcs and Tamás who professed faith in Jesus.

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Above: Márta (far left), opened up the first day of camp and had many questions about living faith in Jesus Christ. I believe God used me to begin to untangle the confusion in her mind of prioritizing the commitment to established denominations and losing site of having a relationship with the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ. It was clear her experience with so called Christianity was absent of the fellowship Christ desires for the church. Márta is an employee of the site where we held camp this year. After six days of hearing God’s word, having one on one conversations with camp leaders and finally hearing the powerful testimonies of Jenn and Gregg, Márta put her faith in Jesus as her personal Savior.

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Above: Gregg and Jenn were used by God to give powerful testimonies of how Jesus Christ transformed their lives.

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Above: Camp worker Erika, Linda (center) and her mother Éva (far right). Éva is the director of the camp site and was kind enough to invite us back not only this year, but also next year. Linda, her daughter, was in my morning reading class and our lessons each day focused on one important aspect of the gospel. As we neared the end of camp, Linda asked if she could speak with me. She shared that last year, she was half interested in what we were talking about but soon went off the wrong direction after camp ended. She told me that this year, she came to our camp with hunger, to really know God. Linda shared a story with me that sadly happens in many churches throughout Hungary. As a child she attended an established denomination in Hungary but didn’t fully complete the class required for baptism. Entering her teen years, she left the church and was involved in so many things that she was ashamed and burdened about. She later returned to her church to seek God and the pastor told her she wasn’t welcome and brought up how she wasn’t baptized. Apparently, instead of being received with grace and helping her turn to the only one who could cleanse her of her sin, she was received with judgment and a “we are righteous you are not” attitude. I shared with Linda the story of Mary, entering the house of the Pharisees. A women, who was known as a sinner in the city entered the house came to Jesus, weeping and wiping His feet with her tears. She also anointed His feet with ointment. The response of the Pharisees was very similar to the response of what LInda experienced. Instead of seeing her heart of repentance and turning to Jesus, they were stuck seeing that she was a sinner. Jesus then makes the point, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47).

After a few minute conversation turned into two hours, it was clear that Linda was close to making a decision. The only barrier that remained was a fear of what would happen with her family that she was now living with and how would the small community she lives in respond? This is truly a village, and surely her decision would become the talk of the town. I encouraged her to consider this thought: Is God able to fully provide for my needs when I choose to turn away from wells I looked to previously to fill me up in life and turn to Him to fill me up? Will I allow the fear of man to keep me from receiving the free gift forgiveness of sins and eternal life in a restored relationship with God? I then shared Jesus’ teaching in Mark 10:29-30: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,  who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

I encouraged her to think about these things and ended the conversation by praying for her. Later that night, she boldly shared in our conversation group that later in the day she had put her faith in Jesus Christ.

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Above: Top, Eszti sharing with Brenda that she put her faith in Jesus Christ and Győző who also made a decision on Thursday night. Both Eszti and Győző are from our area and have been attending our teen outreach on Friday nights for the past year. We praise God that so many seeds had already been planted and God powerfully caused them to grow in this camp! Both Eszti and Győző came to our worship service on Sunday and Győző also attended our foundations of faith/baptism class before service. Praise God! Győző is the only camper out of the nine who professed faith in Jesus that has the backing of an extended family of believers who will support him in this decision.

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Above: Laci, who was also in my reading class seemed to hesitantly participate most of the week. God then opened up an opportunity for me to answer a question one of the campers posed before the whole group in our conversation class: If God is all powerful and all good, why hasn’t He already stopped evil? As I answered this question and allowed others to be brought up through our discussion time, God used it to cause the atheists in our group to think twice about the foundation of their faith. Laci is one of them. The last day of camp, he came to me and said that coming to camp he didn’t believe in God, but now something is changing inside of him. I found out on Sunday night from another camp worker that Laci even came to worship service in the town of Vecsés, something I didn’t expect at all. Praise God not only for those who made decisions, but for those He is beginning to draw to Himself.

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Above: Ádám is actually a landlord of one of our camp workers that lives in Hungary. Ádám ended up being in Sharon’s morning Bible reading class and posed very good questions throughout the week. One question that really got him thinking was: What is the difference between religion and a relationship? We were able to talk at various times at lunch and God gave me opportunity to give ‘counter views’ to consider rather than putting one’s entire trust in science and rejecting God. Although Ádám showed no signs of opening up to consider God’s existence, I was thankful that he was able to hear the reason for the hope within us, and also thankful that his girlfriend heard all of our conversations in detail.

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Above: My roommates this past week, Tamás and Laci. The first day as campers filed in to finish registration, two kids with skateboards caught my eye. They butted in line, skipping everyone who were patiently waiting, with ratty clothes, tattoos, and african like earrings that made holes in their earlobes the size of a penny. They didn’t look over 18, but I caught a glimpse of one’s backpack full of boxes of cigarettes. One of them was Tamás who ended up being my roommate. One of his friends first questions to me was, “This isn’t like some Christian thing is it? We don’t have to read the Bible and stuff do we?” And so the battle to love those who are tough to love began from day one, and God gave some of the men in our camp, including me the patience to extend the love of the Father to these two lost children. That night, in our room, Tamás brought up the subject of heaven and the afterlife and we talked to midnight. Though Tamás’ outer facade is rough, it was clear he had a soft heart and was already deep in thought from the first day of camp. The next night, the same thing happened. Both Laci and Tamás sat on the end of the bed opposite of mine and Tamás once again brought up more questions and we talked until midnight. Although Laci is just fifteen, he listened intently and often would verbally summarize what we talking about. This happened every night gradually leading to a clear presentation of the gospel and the call to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. It got to the point where Tamás knew what he needed to do and was now only considering the cost and admitted that he was afraid because of the loss he may suffer. But in the midst of talking about these things, I sensed that the Spirit gave him understanding about the value of what He would gain. Tamás said, “Really, do my friends love me that much, would they really die for me? Jesus died for me, what can be more valuable than His friendship?” Tamás came with a lot of questions that he felt God had graciously answered. At the end of camp, he decided to put his faith in Jesus Christ.

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Above: Tamás’ friend Norbi.

In our room, Tamás told me the story of how God was at work even before he attended camp. He said, some missionary saw him with others skating in a park in Budapest and invited them to church. Tamás said it was clear that this missionary was different. Tamás and his friends decided to go to church with him, not intending to pay attention, but to stir things up. Then they were invited to this camp and found out that the church would pay their way. Tamás related these things with amazement in his eyes and awe in the gentle way he speaks. One of his greatest desires now is that his friends also follow him to Jesus. As for the other skater, Tamás’ friend Norbi who attended camp, there was no response to God’s grace. However, it was clear that Norbi was moved by the magnitude of grace and love he received from camp workers even though as he said in his own words, “I’m not a normal kid.” May the Lord empower Tamás to be a witness to his friends and a constant voice of reason, of truth, and hope in Norbi’s life.

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Above: Kati also personally professed Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior this week. Kati, a retired teacher has experienced religion a good part of her life, but never a personal relationship with Jesus. Kati stayed after the testimony night and began to ask, “Just what does it mean to make a decision?” As Palma (camp worker) and I talked to Kati, it was clear that Kati was ready to believe but needed more clarity as to what the Gospel was. In tears and in prayer, Kati expressed her praise to God for his constant provision in her life, and her belief that Jesus died on the cross for her sins and was raised.

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Above: Val and Lilla, another camper who made a decision to trust in Jesus.

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Above: Center Roxána, and Szabolcs (behind her) both made professions of faith in Jesus.

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Above: A follow up meeting for those who made decisions to help them to know what steps to take next.

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Above: Lezsák Sándor, the vice president of the Hungarian parliament for the second year in the row takes part in our graduation ceremony and gives his encouragement for our foundation’s camp in Lakitelek.

Thank all of you who prayed for us in this time. What a joy to see lives transformed right before our eyes. Please pray for those who made decisions and who will face various forms of rejection and ridicule and tests to be strengthened in their faith, to find a healthy home church and to grow in the knowledge of God’s amazing love for them in Christ.
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