Aug 2019

Jaszfenyszaru VBS report

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We’re back from an amazing week teaching over 60 kids about “The Upside Down Kingdom”. Of course, God’s kingdom is not upside down, but it appears that way to those who are accustomed to living according to the ways of the world. This has been a powerful camp as God has used so many talents and gifts and weaved together worship, teaching, small group discussions, and drama presentations to help these kids come to understand Jesus our Savior and King.

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Above: Ellie (center) helped to develop and write this year’s drama presentation.

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Above: Bogi who was saved in Jászfényszaru a few years ago now teaching the kids the story of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life.

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Earlier in the week, Luca (pictured above) and I split away from the larger group to talk one on one. She wanted to ask about baptism. Because of other responsibilities, I haven’t had much time to really know where Luca was spiritually. After Luca attended our first VBS in Petofibanya this summer, I was encouraged to see her begin attending youth group meetings and Sunday worship. There was a new level of interest and commitment that I didn’t see in her last year. As we talked, I wanted to see if she understood the Gospel or was riding a wave of intense emotion from being together at camp throughout the summer.

I was encouraged to hear her heart and how she had experienced a life of living to please others, fitting in and following her emotions as her god. I shared with her the importance of repentance and explained what it meant that we believe in Jesus not just as Savior but as our Lord who has ultimate authority that we trust and submit to in life. We agreed that we’ll meet in September (after all the camps and vacation are over) and begin some foundational studies as Luca desires to be baptized!

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Above: Learning about Jesus’ humility and how he calls us to serve with the same love He has given to us.

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On Thursday, after the Gospel was explained in the main morning session, the kids exited the meeting room to have a morning snack. While outside, I ran into Anas, a boy who is actually only in Hungary for the summer. He would be returning to England after camp. Earlier in the week I had a conversation with him and he opened up about some difficult things going on in his life. I asked him, “What do you think about what you are hearing?” Anas responded, “I haven’t decided which God I will worship yet. I think I need more time to think about it. Maybe when I am older I will decide who to worship.” Without being pushy, I sought to help Anas understand that there are many things in life that we don’t wait around hesitating to make a decision until we are older. But I also agreed that we needed to understand before this life changing decision to believe and follow Jesus was made. Anas shared that his mother believed but his father is of a different religion. I am so thankful that Anas has had this week to spend with us to see living faith, and to hear Bible story after story highlighting the wonders of God’s kingdom and our need for Jesus to save us.

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On Friday, church member Hajni came and asked me to speak to one the girls in her small group. Virág had already been considering making a decision last year, but had been putting it off. This year, God really spoke to Virág in Thursday morning’s teaching, but Hajni advised her to not rush to make a decision, but to seriously consider all that she has heard about a life of faith in Jesus Christ. Virag was resolute and we met in a separate area to talk about what it means to believe in Jesus and how she could mature and grow in her faith. Virag’s parents are not believers and her home is a bit isolated. Her group leader Hajni will commute to take Virág to our worship service in Jászfényszaru every other week. Please pray for Virág as she begins her new life in Christ.

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The last day of camp is always full of mixed emotions. Many kids begin the day going from person to person embracing them as they reluctantly look forward to camp coming to an end. Eszter is one of those kids who came and embraced Sharon and I in the morning. Eszter attended our VBS for the first time this year in Petofibanya. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to come to our VBS in Jaszfenyszaru. Praise God that her mother Judit attended on Saturday’s family day. Judit approached me as I was already speaking with Eszter and introduced herself to me. Looking at her daughter, Judit said, “You all have deeply impacted her. She’s learned more in your camps in a week that she has in years attending religious classes.” Her mother went on to ask if it would be all right if she came to visit our church. It turns out that Eszter lives just a few minute drive away from our hometown in a neighboring village of Apc. This story is the same for so many of the kids attending who have already attended in Petofibanya. For them, VBS is the highlight of their summer and they just don’t want camp to end.

We had over 20 parents attend and in small group time, I was able to share my story of how God saved me and took me on a journey from the US to Hungary. After my testimony, I opened the discussion up for questions. One man asked, “How is it that God spoke to you?” Another asked, “Even though there is one Bible, how do you determine what to follow when there are so many interpretations?” These great questions led to great discussions and I am thankful to God who gave wisdom as to how to answer them without getting sidetracked from focusing on Jesus Christ.

Toward the end of the discussion, it was clear that one man was a bit agitated and wanted to express that it is ‘faith’ that is most important (meaning, not necessarily what you believe in but whether the faith you have makes you happy). I was glad to listen to his viewpoint, but wanted to help him to think through the implications of this worldview. After allowing others in the room discuss this idea, we were already getting close to having to end the discussion. Jesus led me to highlight what I thought to be the flaw in this worldview. The focus was on “what makes me happy”. If believing in magical unicorns makes you happy then so be it. If living as a materialist makes you happy then just ‘leave me alone’. That is my ‘faith’ and ‘it makes me happy.’ I shared with the man and all who were listening that the issue is not what makes you happy. The issue is truth. What is true? What is truth? This is the core of our faith. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the only way to be restored to the Father. After closing our time, I saw that he continued to speak with some others from our church. Please pray for this man to come to know the importance of knowing Jesus as the Truth.

Afterwards, another parent came and asked if we could talk. Géza lives in Jászfényszaru and began sharing his heart. For a long time, he has searched for where to settle down in a church home and has never found success. God led me to share His plan with Géza that we grow as believers in fellowship as one body. God’s plan is that no believer live his Christian life on an island thinking they have no need of tight integration with other members of the body. After showing him foundational scriptures about this topic I sought to encourage Géza to not give up and to find a local fellowship that follows Jesus and trusts in the word of God. And of course, I invited him to come and visit our fellowship as we seek to follow Jesus and grow together. I asked if I could pray for him. After laying my hand on his back and praying for God to bring the light of His truth to disperse the dark confusion he was experiencing, it was clear that Géza was moved to tears. Pray that Géza be led to find his place in a local fellowship where he can grow up and mature in Christ.

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This has been a great camp and God continues to draw more and more from a new generation to Himself. Thank you all for your continued financial and prayer support! After a week of vacation, we have one more camp remaining designed for teens at the end of August. Please pray especially for those who have made decisions recently (Luca, Virág, Betti), and for others who will be attending who have not yet fully understood.










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