Dec 2015

Puppet Ministry Day 8

Jobbágyi


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Above: In part of her teaching time, Eszti holds up a Bible and lets the children know that it is the reliable source that God has provided to reveal Himself to us. What a great open door that we have in Hungary in these public schools that is not even possible in the US.

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Csécse


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Above: Our vehicle has been running well in the cold after getting back from service last week.

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Above: In each school, the kids have quickly learned and joined in on singing this year’s Christmas song which ties into the lesson from the Puppet Show. The Song talks about waiting and waiting for the greatest gift and then realizing that Jesus Christ coming to save us is the greatest gift.

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Above: Eszti continues to do an excellent job teaching the kids after each show. It is great to see how Eszti has spiritually grown over the years. We first met her in one of our VBS camps over eight years ago and she was later saved in one of our English Camps. Now she is using her giftings to serve with us every year!

Szurdokpuspoki


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We had another great day of sharing the good news of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. The team is working well together and the technical aspects of the show functioned without any problems. The kids in each school enjoyed the show and understood the message as revealed in a question and answer time after the show. Praise God that Eszti B. is doing much better but we could use your prayers for continued healing for myself and Hugi. I had a terrible nights sleep as Ziva was up with nightmares multiple times and yet I felt completely rested when we set off this morning to serve. Praise God for giving and sustaining our strength. We appreciate your continued prayers as we seek to finish this year’s Christmas puppet ministry well. We have four days ahead of us, with our last show on Saturday. Thanks for standing with us!
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Puppet Ministry Day 7

Jászberény

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Above: Temperatures have severely dropped and this morning we awoke to more winter like conditions like we’ve had in the past. Roads were frosted over and there was heavy fog which must have been one reason behind an accident we passed on the way out. Praise God that He protected us as we traveled!

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Above: Jászberény has one of the handful of special needs schools that we visit this year. Some children are mentally handicapped and others are here because of behavioral issues or learning disabilities.

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Above: Praise God that Zita (left) is almost fully recovered from a head cold that she has had for the past few days.

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Above: Eszti, who is a new addition to the team this week, is serving as a puppeteer and teaching after each show. She did a good job to keep her language simple as she explained the truths to this group of special kids today.

Pásztó


Our next stop for the day was in the town of Pásztó where we would serve another group of special need kids.
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Above: Since we visit these schools twice a year, many remember team members by name.

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In past years, this has probably been one of the most difficult schools to serve as there were many disruptions (from kids with behavioral issues) and therefore distractions that kept others from getting the full impact of the message. One year, a child in the middle of the show walked up to a puppet and punched it in the head while those in attendance burst out laughing. But today was such a contrast. We had an easy time connecting with the kids before the show and the kids paid close attention throughout. There was no murmuring of conversations going on as there were in the past and the kids were quick to answer the questions from the puppets throughout the show. In one part of the show, a puppet who has just been visited by a friend and told about Jesus is by herself looking for hidden gifts in her house. The puppet then begins saying, “I don’t know about anyone important born on Christmas (even though her friend just told her about Jesus). As she goes on saying this, the kids began shouting out, “Jesus, Jesus!”

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Christmas Choir in Petofibanya


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Above: Volunteers from our church have been practicing over the past few weeks as we plan present a special worship service on Christmas. Tonight, the choir had their first performance for many of the retired members of our community in Petofibánya. We were thankful for the invite and for more connections with those we can share the hope of Jesus Christ with in our town.

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Above: Miki shared some teaching about the wonders of Jesus coming to earth and Dezso read excerpts of the Christmas story from God’s Word.

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Above: Ziva also joined in.

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Above: Sharon adding a beautiful sound as she accompanied the choir with the flute.

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What a great day to continue to share the good news that a Savior has been born, Jesus the Messiah! We’re so thankful for new life in Him and for the privilege of serving Him. He is worthy!

We appreciate your continued prayers for the team. Praise God that the new puppeteers that joined the team to serve this week did a great job. Once again, we had some technical problems with the speaker, but it was fixed by the time the puppet show began. Praise God that Zita is feeling much better. As for other team members, please continue to pray for healing (for myself, for Eszti B. and Hugi). Please continue to pray our children as this is often a time where they don’t sleep as well as usual, or are attacked with sickness. Thanks for partnering with us!
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Puppet Ministry Day 5 & 6

Apc


On Friday, the team had three shows, with the first starting in the neighboring town of Apc. We continue to hold a Bible study in this town with a Romani family and are seeking to continue to do church planting work here.

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Ecseg


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Bér


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Saturday (Heréd)


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Above: Some of the team having coffee before the show.

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Above: Handing out evangelistic gift packets to the teachers and children at each show. So far this week, we’ve distributed close to 1000. This is a great way for the Gospel to have an impact even after we leave.

Praise God for a great first week! All the equipment has been working well and we’ve been able to repair different things before the show began without a problem. The weather is great for commuting (still no snow/ice). We’ll be switching various team members this week and we continue to ask for prayer for the new members who will be puppeteering and the members who already served last week who need continued strength. Various members have cold symptoms, please pray for healing and protection. Thanks for your continued prayer support!
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Puppet Ministry Day 3 & 4

Egyhazasdengeleg



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Above: Just as we pull in, children make there way from preschool for today’s show in Egyhazasdengeleg.

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Above: Teammates Eszti, Zita and Jennifer making imaginary Christmas treats with the kids.

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Above: The part of the show where one character begins reading the Christmas story from the Bible which a friend gave to her to encourage her.

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Héhalom


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Hatvan Special Needs Center


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Praise God that we’ve had a great first four days of puppet ministry! Please pray specifically for Zita who’s son just recovered from a cold and she was feeling cold symptoms today (coughing, sore throat). Pray also for those who are puppeteering as we reach the end of our first week. They need strength! After being in service for the past few weeks, praise God that we were able to get our car back today! Since it fits the entire puppet team, it makes commuting to schools much easier (than taking two cars). Thanks for continuing to pray! This week, we’ll be serving Friday and Saturday and then taking a break on Sunday before beginning puppets leading up to Christmas.
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Puppet Ministry Day 2

Monday Night English Club Christmas Party


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Above: Last night we held our last English club meeting in Jászfényszaru. Since we have mixed classes, one geared toward children, and the others to adults, we sought to make the night more family oriented. We sang Christmas carols, had a fun trivia game and also had crafts that both adults and kids enjoyed. We’ve been able to meet many new families through this service to the community and as you know, Bogi who attends our advanced class was saved this year.

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Above: Arnold sharing why Christmas has so much more meaning to him since he has come to know Jesus Christ as his Savior.

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Above: One of the kids who attends Bible classes in school that teammate Miki teaches in Jászfényzaru.

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Praise God for a good last meeting where we were able to share our hope in Jesus through songs, Arnold’s testimony and conversations. As we’ve launched public worship services in this very room in Jászfényszaru every other Sunday, we hope to see more and more from this group and from the community come to know Jesus

Christmas Puppet Ministry Day 2


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Above: Our first stop this morning was in the town of Selyp. Since we’ve been coming to this location for years, many of the kids know us, but of course the show is brand new to the youngest group of kids. Miki is very gifted in getting them laughing and enjoying the time instead of being afraid.

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Above: A very attentive group of kids in Selyp. It was clear they enjoyed the show and followed the story.

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Above: In part of the puppet show, as one of the characters reads the Christmas story from the Bible, the characters come to life.

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Lorinci


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Above: Our second show for today was in the town of Lorinci, just minutes away from our hometown of Petofibanya.

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Consider that the majority of these kids come from homes where there are no believers. Many of them have parents that are already divorced or are living in a situation with just one parent. It is such a blessing and amazing opportunity to be able to share the hope of Jesus Christ with these kids that are already experiencing the terrible effects of the fall and living in a world that has turned its back on God. It is our hope that the seeds that are planted twice a year (every Easter and Christmas) will continue to grow in their lives and that they will find salvation in Christ and restoration with God.

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Thank you for partnering in prayer! Praise God for another great day. The team is doing well and the shows went very well in both schools. We’ll be back on the road tomorrow to the town of Jászfényszaru (where we had our English Club) to visit two preschools. We appreciate your prayers!
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Puppet Ministry Day 1

Saturday ‘MOPS’ Christmas Party


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Above: Teammate Heidi helping out with our church’s Mother of Preschool kids club party.

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Above: We were thankful for many families that attended that we are seeking to reach in the community.

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Above: Erika, who launched this ministry earlier in the year with the help of a few other moms in our church, gave a short Christmas message about our hope in Jesus.

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Above: A team from our church also served by performing a puppet show for the kids and afterwards there were crafts and opportunities for good conversation.

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Above: Our teammates Erika and Miki with their latest addition, Naomi. After the puppet show, I was tasked to take family portraits (like the one above). It was just another way to show our love towards those who attended from our community.

Monday first day of our Christmas Puppet Outreach


Puppet ministry is finally here! Our habit is to have the team meet at our house for prayer in the morning. Zita who already has a 25 minute commute to get to our house shared how she began sining in the car on the way over and then praying, and then crying. She said (while laughing) I could hardly see the road! She shared that that time of worship and prayer freed her from fear and some anxiety she was feeling as she will be teaching for the first time. Praise God for encouraging her and blessing her with freedom.

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Above: Ever feel like this guy? Our first stop was in the town of Kálló, about a 20 minute drive from Petofibánya. We were greeted by this stuffed Santa as we entered. In Hungary, they separate the coming of Santa and the celebration of Christ’s birth. Looks like he’s had enough work for this year.

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Above: Miki using his giftings to get the kids involved right away. He helps the kids use their imagination to make some Christmas treats as an icebreaker. It was a hit.

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Above: With this many kids, there was some chatter at different portions of the puppet show. The kids were very responsive when the puppets were interacting with them. At one point, a puppet encourages the kids to encourage one of the other puppets with the words, “Trust in God!” because they are in despair. They were shouting it out, and following the story.

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Above: Zita, who will be teaching at the end of each puppet show this week.

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Above: Distributing evangelistic materials to kids and teachers.

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Above: Our next stop on Monday in the town of Erdotarcsa

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Above: Years ago, this was one of the only schools where the teachers actually joined in and sang the songs with us. Later, we found out that one of the teachers is a Christian and she also holds Bible classes now with students. Praise God for continuing to reach this new generation!

After we began packing up at the end of the show, the kids in this preschool could be heard singing in the adjacent room the song we just learned together after our puppet show. The lyrics talk about Jesus being the greatest gift that we could ever receive.

Praise God:
• The weather is great for the traveling we have to do. Cold, but no snow or ice!
• Kids were responsive, singing along and they heard the Good News.
• The team is healthy and serving with joyful hearts.
• All equipment worked well in both shows.

Thanks for your prayers for this ministry!
Comments

Ministry Update

Miraculous healing in Bogács


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Above: Edit and Erika who meet with us weekly in the town of Bogács.

As we continue to work our way through the book of Mark every week in the town of Bogács, we came to chapter 9. Jesus has just come down from the mountain after being transfigured before three of his disciples. The other disciples were at the base of the mountain. As Jesus comes to reunite with them, a distraught father approaches Him with a need for healing for his son. The father says to Jesus, “I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” Jesus then responds with the rebuke, “O faithless generation…” Earlier, Jesus had already given authority to His disciples to heal the sick and cast out demons. "He called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.” (Matthew 10:1)

It is made clear in the parallel account in the book of Matthew, that Jesus fully expected his disciples at the base of the mountain to heal the boy while Jesus was not present. “The disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:19-20)

As we studied this lesson together with Edit, her daughter Kati and relative Erika, it became clear that demons can cause sickness such as epilepsy. Mark 9:20 records that, “When the spirit saw [Jesus], immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.” The demon knew Jesus and knew the time of possession of this boy was coming to an end. How does Jesus do it? He commands the spirit, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again!” I am convicted that this is the same way the disciples dealt with evil spirits and the same way I am to deal with evil spirits with faith in the name of Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus in the context of healing and deliverance has spoken to the church as a whole saying, “If you have faith…you will say…move…and it will move…and nothing will be impossible for you."

Bible studies can remain theory. It can be the kind of thing that was interesting to read but has no bearing on our lives today. I don’t read the Bible that way. What use would it be if I did? I believe Jesus wants the church to minister to people the same way He ministered to people. To preach the gospel to the poor while casting out demons and healing the sick in His mighty name. In this same town of Bogács where we were holding our Bible study, I had already put into practice these lessons. A few years ago, I had met Isabella who was demon possessed and Jesus in His power and love delivered her as I prayed with her.

What was to happen in our meeting tonight with Erika and Edit was the last thing I would have expected. A few weeks ago I had prayed for Erika who had constant pain in her leg. Since that time the pain was gone, but it was clear that her one leg was shorter than the other which caused issues walking her entire life. After we finished our study, I turned to her and asked if I could pray for her leg to be healed (lengthened). She agreed and I had her sit with her legs extended out. Kneeling down on the ground, I slightly lifted her legs to see where the heels lined up. At that moment, she was hit with intense pain, and the shortened leg cramped up in the calf area. I told her to put her legs down and I prayed for the cramp and pain to leave. It left.

I wanted to repeat the process and see the difference in length and compare her heels since the pain left. As I touched her shoe to begin slightly lifting again, Erika jumped up out of her seat and began laughing uncontrollably. She backed away from me. Through the obnoxious laughter she was saying things like, “Don’t touch me. Don’t pray for me.” She could not stop laughing while saying these things. Maneuvered her body away from me, she pressed her back up against an adjacent cabinet. At first, we thought it was just out of embarrassment but things began to get strange as she just could not stop laughing. It was totally inappropriate for the situation and the Spirit helped me to connect the dots that she jumped up when I was about to pray for healing for her leg. This was an evil spirit that had caused havoc on this body for so long and it was about to be cast out. Just as the evil spirit in the boy in the story we read flipped out at seeing Jesus, this evil spirit was flipping out seeing Jesus in me wanting to deliver Erika.

I put my hand on her shoulder and began rebuking the evil spirit. She continued to laugh uncontrollably. “Erika, what is going on inside of you... are you o.k.?” She said, “No, I’m not ok, I don’t know, I can’t….”, and she continued laughing. She was able to drink a little bit of water and was able to sit down and stop laughing. I said to her Erika, look at me. She could not. She turned her head away. If you know Erika, this was completely not her normal behavior especially after we had just spent the last hour and a half having a Bible study together. She is very kind and always engages me in conversation looking me in the eyes. I asked again, Erika can we pray for your leg. “No!” Erika never denies prayer. This was getting stranger by the moment. Everyone’s faces became filled with concern for Erika. (Those who witnessed this were teammate Brenda, Hungarian teammate Hugi, Edit and her daughter Kati)

I said, “Erika, who is Jesus Christ?” There was a clear struggle going on in her. For a moment she could not speak. I said again, ‘Erika, who is Jesus Christ?” Struggling to answer, but in a quite and calm voice, she said, “He is the Son of God.” When she said that I said, “Erika look at me!” At that moment she was able to look at me again. I said, “Erika grab my hands. You know what we learned tonight. We can command this evil sprit to leave in Jesus’ name with faith in Him. I want you to pray that this evil sprit leave right now.” Holding her hands firmly, I led Erika in a short prayer. She struggled through it but was able to speak it out. Then, her countenance changed back to being the Erika we all know. She was now free, the evil spirit had left her.

I then said again, “Erika can I pray for your leg?” “Yes!” She replied. We had her sit down again, and once again I knelt down to lift up her legs and compare her heels. This time there was no resistance and no pain. I had everyone gather around and look. “Do you see? Look at the difference. [It was maybe a 2-3 cm difference very visible]” I began commanding the leg to grow out and become even with the other leg. I continued to speak to the leg for about 45 seconds and Erika began reacting. “Ohhhh…ohhhhh. Look…Look!” Now the heels were even, the leg had grown out. I told her to stand and walk. She was rejoicing! The hobble was gone, the uneven legs were now equal in length by the mercy of God and the powerful work of Jesus Christ!

In amazement Erika was saying, “They said I would need surgery! Look! Look!” Erika has suffered with this condition since childhood. It seemed as if we not only learned about a miraculous account in God’s word, but afterwards we immediately lived it out and saw how God was at work in the same way today setting at liberty those who are oppressed by the devil. As we marveled at what had just taken place, the recollection of Erika’s response of laughter and resistance came up in conversation. Erika heard what we were taking about and she said, “What are you guys talking about?” I said, “Erika, when I first wanted to pray for your leg, you jumped up began laughing uncontrollably and told me not to pray for you.” Erika looked perplexed. I then asked, “Erika, what do you remember…what just happened over there [pointing to the chair]”. “You had me sit down and you just prayed for my leg to be healed,” she replied. “Erika, you don’t remember standing up, moving away, laughing, and praying with me?” Erika still looking perplexed said, “What are you talking about?” Erika had no recollection of the spiritual battle that the five of us in the room had just witnessed before she was delivered.

Needless to say, everyone in the room was in awe. After talking about the amazing healing that just took place, it was time to go. Edit, the owner of the house and a witness to all that happened expressed concern, “Where did that evil spirit go?” The enemy was trying to get attention away from Jesus back to fear. I turned the attention back to Jesus and how He is greater and that instead of living in fear, we can rejoice in this gift of healing that He provided for Erika tonight. We prayed for Edit and her household in line with Luke 10:5 "Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’” In that same chapter of Luke 10, Jesus commands seventy-two other disciples: "Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” That night, we witnessed and were able to proclaim that the kingdom of God had come near to that household in Bogács.

The following week, we met again and Erika shared about the difference in her leg. She said she has been walking all over the place now and people have noticed the difference. One friend commented, “Did you get the procedure done? What happened to you?” Erika told us she doesn’t need pain medicine anymore and doesn’t need surgery. She wants to get x-rays done to show the difference of where her leg was before and what it looks like now! Erika also spoke about a new greater degree of peace in her spirit that came after being delivered last week. Praise God for Erika’s healing.

In our meeting, Edit brought up her struggle with depression and asked for prayer and I began to help her see Christ’s remedy found in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Erika told Edit that since we studied this Scripture together a few weeks ago, she has put it into practice. With joy, she said when the temptation to fall into negative thinking comes, it is like a voice booms in her head saying, “Exchange anxiety with prayer with thanksgiving.” It is such a joy to see her growing in her faith.

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Above: Krisztina, Katyus and Isabella.

We also met with Katyus and Isabella this week. Many of you may recall that Isabella attended our studies every week for over a year before the father of her children got out of prison. He then restricted her from attending, but she continued to seek. Just recently, she attended one of our first worship services that we held in Bogács on a Sunday and told me she had questions about getting saved. God is convicting her and calling her to Himself. Recently she had a dream where she saw Jesus and a box. Jesus asked her, “Which one do you choose?” She was confused at the question. He asked her again. She told him in the dream, “I choose you.” Later it became clear to her that the box represented money. She recognized that she had been drifting away from reading the Bible and having fellowship with God and instead was gambling with the rest of the community, placing bets on soccer games. Her mother Katyus has always been ‘on the fence’ and just doesn’t feel compelled to make a decision to put her faith in Christ. But she also recently shared with me for the first time, “Allen, I think I’ll be talking to you soon about being saved.” Please pray for Katyus and Isabella to understand the good news of the Gospel and put their faith in Jesus Christ.

A Bad circumstance leads to a great provision!


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Above: Our current meeting place on Sunday. As you can see we’re already outgrowing this room.

Recently, our church received a rather disturbing letter from the local government. Apparently, while we were holding worship service, some children (both from our youth group and the community) did some damage to the building that is being renovated. The letter was an official warning that if these type of incidents happened again, we were in danger of losing this meeting place. After receiving this letter, we set up an appointment to meet with the Mayor. In the weeks before all of this happened, we had already been talking about our need of a larger meeting place, but now it seemed our current space was at risk.

The meeting with the Mayor and head of the community center activities turned out to be very positive and it was clear that the letter was just an official communique but did not necessarily represent any hard feelings toward us. We worked out the details as to how we could better ‘police’ the premises. Later, as we continued to meet with the head of the community center activities, we spoke about our need of a larger meeting place. She suggested the main entrance room that we had used in the past for various events which is maybe eight times as big as our current room! That was unexpected. By God’s grace, this bad circumstance and meeting with the Mayor turned into the route to the provision of a bigger meeting space starting in January! Praise God!

Thanksgiving service


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Above: Zsuzsa and Attila attending our special thanksgiving service.

Just as amazing as the miracle of Erika’s healing is the miracle of a marriage on the brink of divorce being restored through the power of Christ. It was so amazing to see both Zsusza and Attila sitting together in our thanksgiving service and Attila publicly sharing his thanks for how God has been changing their lives!

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Above: Mária (center) ran into some of the teens from our church on the street. She needed some help with calling someone and the teens offered help. They also saw that she was physically struggling and prayed for her right there! They invited her to our worship service and she has since attended for three weeks. Mária has many physical problems and pain and we ask you to join us in praying for her spiritual and physical healing.

New worship services in Bogács and Jászfényszaru


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Above: We’ve launched new public worship services in the town of Jászfényszaru every other Sunday and in the village of Bogacs once a month. We’re thankful to see God using various outreaches, relationships and ministries to draw people to Jesus Christ.

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Above: English Club in Jászfényszaru

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Above: English Club in Jászfényszaru

On Monday we’ll have our last English club meeting in Jászfényszaru until January. We’re using this opportunity to have a special Christmas party combining all of our classes from kids to adults. Please pray for the message of the Gospel to be clearly communicated through the songs, testimony and personal conversations. Pray especially for Arnold who will be sharing his testimony and why Christmas now has new meaning for him.

Puppet Ministry Begins Monday!


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God has continued to keep the door open to share the Gospel through puppet ministry this year! We praise God for raising up two teams from our church that will be traveling to 28 schools (over 1,800 kids) in our region. If you would like to partner with us by joining our daily prayer team over this two week period, please contact me via email: babymerce@mac.com.

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Above: The gift packets we distribute to kids and teachers.

Maybe you can help offset the cost of purchasing 1,800 gift packets that give teachers and kids the opportunity to hear the gospel after our puppet show. Each packet costs a little over 50 cents (The cost of 1,800 will be $980). To support the puppet ministry SPECIFICALLY go to this page putting in Project Number: 150639 (Missionary name: Allen Mercer). For personal support toward our family and ministry in Hungary, you can continue to find information here: Support. Thanks for your continued partnership with us as we continue to proclaim the Gospel in Hungary!
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