Feb 2010

WEEKLY UPDATE

MONDAY MISSION TRAINING

For the past two years, our teammate Miki has lead a house group on Wednesday nights that sought to build up new believers while also providing a place for those who are seeking to learn more about Jesus. This house group has grown over time and after prayer and planning we decided to split the one group into three groups. Two groups will remain in our town of Petőfibánya and the third group (church plant) will be in the neighboring town of Selyp. Each group has 1 elder leader, co-leaders and helpers that we seek to mentor to be future leaders as they serve with us. Before launching these three groups out of the one, the three leadership/launch teams are meeting each Monday for prayer and study of God’s word specifically related to our calling and mission. This is truly a dream come true for me, a marker in my life of God’s grace and how far He has taken me in HIs strength. I enjoy being in an equipping/teaching role in these meetings, seeking to encourage others to respond to God’s calling by faith and to move forward in His ongoing mission in the world. Outside of the leadership team that attended, there are six up and coming believers who are learning about their calling and their role in mission for the first time. One of them told me afterwards how for so long they thought being a Christian was just about growing in their personal life and going to church, but God is opening up their understanding to see God’s kingdom work and how they can be a part of it. May the Lord take these six and bless them with the giftings and callings that will bring glory to His name as they join Him in HIs mission.

WEDNESDAY ENGLISH BIBLE STUDY


I praise God for giving me (Allen) strength to re-launch our Wednesday English Bible Study. Thank you all who prayed for me and for those of you who prayed for last Wednesday night’s study. Long time attender Klári attended and also brought her teenage daughter (also named Klári). Klári’s daughter also has celiac disease (just like Ben and Ellie) and Sharon is able to offer her freshly baked gluten free goodies when she attends. Tünde, who because of various challenges had not been able to attend for months returned and was very active in our study in the book of John. It is clear that she continues to read God’s word at home and is seeking. Teenager Gyula also attended and is also a regular attender to our Friday night teen outreach. Gyula told me tonight before our study that although he wouldn’t consider himself a believer, he feels as if something is changing in his heart and attitude toward God. The more he hears in our Bible studies and at our Friday night outreach, the more interested he becomes. Please pray that God would continue to draw Gyula to Himself through His truth and through His love.

FARSANG

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Above: Our Kira, who attends the local Hungarian preschool celebrated ‘Farsang’ with the rest of her class last week. At Farsang, the kids perform a show for parents, then get to dress up in different costumes. Kira was the cutest (and only) ladybug in the room.

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Above: Dancing with daddy. Edina (pictured center) has known us since we moved to Petőfibánya (over 6 years ago). She is now Kira’s teacher in preschool and just came to our English Bible study tonight with her husband Feri. We were very thankful to see her again and hope that they both will continue to encounter Jesus in our studies each Wednesday. Our teammate Miki who teaches a Bible class in this preschool once a week also came to Farsang to pass out balloons to the kids. Miki was thankful to connect with one of the parents who he has been reaching out to for some time and finally was able to schedule a dinner date with them. Praise God for opening up opportunities in our every day interactions in the community!

FRIDAY NIGHT TEEN OUTREACH

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Above: Ricsi (far right) who attends our teen outreach regularly responded to our invite to also come to church on Sunday. It is always a blessing to see one of these teens step foot in the church for the first time! The teen outreach is a great place to meet teens in the community and introduce them to Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

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Above: Hugi left talking with new attender Jozsi. Jozsi was invited by church member Peti and has commented since then how much he enjoys the small group conversations we have. He also commented on how he feels so welcomed (by people like Hugi) and loved when with us.

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Above: Teenager Dávid (center) giving me a funny face while working through a test we used for discussion on Friday night. Dávid is a regular attender of church and is also currently attending our Baptism/Foundations of our Faith class.

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Above: Teenager Eszti with church member Eszti. Eszti (far right) serves with us every Friday night. It is hard to believe that Eszti is the mother of four children. She does a great job blending in with the teens and is someone they can turn to with questions and for conversation. Teenager Eszti came to know us through our VBS a few years back and has stayed connected with us ever since. We pray that these long term relationships will reveal to all of our teen friends the love of Jesus Christ and the salvation that He offers to all those who would turn to Him in faith.

SATURDAY PUPPET CONFERENCE

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Above: On Saturday, we filled two cars and headed to Budapest for an encouraging puppet conference. We received encouraging news of how God is using puppet teams throughout Hungary to continue to spread the Gospel (every Christmas and Easter) in public schools. We purchased the materials for our Easter show and we were also able to watch a demonstration of the show at the conference. Praise God for keeping this door open in Hungary that is planting seeds in thousands of children’s and parent’s lives. Our first puppet team practice for this Easter’s show will be on Monday. Please pray for us as this show is a bit more complicated than past productions. We will need wisdom and strength as we prepare.

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE

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Above: Elianna, Adrien, Betti and Kira. What a blessing to see smiling children in church!

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Above: Pastor Steve was kind enough to make the trek from the town of Gyöngyös where he is serving to preach in our church. Steve and his wife are Canadians that have been helping out with a church plant in Gyöngyös for many years.

FAMILY

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Above: Elianna went ice skating with her pre-school class over the course of four days last week. I joined her one of the days (in fear and trembling). She did a great job and after returning home had a better appreciation for the Olympian skaters competing that we are able to watch over the internet. I was happy to return home without breaking any bones.

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Above: Smiley faces. Sharon will be taking the kids to an education conference that begins Sunday. We are thankful for this opportunity for the kids to interact with other missionary kids, and for the useful educational resources that Sharon is able to acquire while attending. The kids will be attending special classes for their age groups over the course of six days learning about the universe from a Christian perspective. Please pray for their time there!
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WEEKLY UPDATE

HEALTH UPDATE

Last Monday I (Allen) had a follow up exam with my doctor concerning my problems with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Blood tests returned normal results for my liver and pancreas which could have also contributed to the symptoms I continue to have. We praise God for these positive results. The doctor believes that the symptoms I continue to experience can be triggered by stress. I will be on one more week of acid reducing medication and a special diet and then see where we stand after that. I can say that God has been very gracious as I continue to gradually feel better, but I am still not 100%.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”— Psalm 57

I am also thankful for this season of struggle as it has drawn me closer to my Father and helped me to experience Him as a refuge like no other time in my life. Because of the gradual healing that God is providing I am starting this week to step back into ministries that require physical and mental strength. I would appreciate you joining me in asking our Father to grant complete healing and restoring of normal breathing and freedom in eating. The words “you’ve lost weight” are not a positive thing for me if you know how skinny I am already :)

Sharon has gone on a completely gluten free diet at the advice of her doctor as we try to find out what is causing stomach problems. She is over a week into the diet and still has had problems. Please pray for wisdom for proper diagnosis and for complete healing.

SUNDAY WORSHIP

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Above: Hugi (left) wishing Gizi (right) a happy birthday at the end of our worship service by encouraging her with a Psalm. Gizi then stood before the church and said, “I want to thank God for life. I’m seventy one years old and believe it or not, this is the first time I am thanking Him for the life He gave me.” Meeting Gizi is like meeting a warm fire on a cold night. She emanates joy and warmth as God is doing a mighty work of healing in the last year of her life. Raised as a Catholic, Gizi ended up leaving God for many years and lived pain because of past abuse and in grief after losing one of her daughters tragically. God in His grace wooed Gizi back, first through a Christian radio show and then through being invited to our church. Since that time we continue to see healing in her soul and evidence of God’s Spirit transforming her from the inside out. Just this past Sunday, Gizi stepped into our baptism preparation class and informed me of her decision to be baptized. Praise God for meeting this seventy year old woman with decades of pain, grief and sin to call her into HIs powerful arms of love through Jesus Christ.

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Above: Niki, Eszti and Enikő. Enikő who was saved in English Camp, is commuting to our church every other week. She has also decided to be baptized and attended our first preparation class. Please pray for all three of these women to continue to mature in their faith, to walk by His Spirit and to develop a deep fellowship where they can encourage and bless each other through God’s word.

FUN FAMILY PICS

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Above: Our youngest Kira disappearing and reappearing under mommies chair.

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Above: Ellie had an idea a few months ago that she wanted to be a Christmas tree for Farsang (a Hungarian holiday where kids dress up but don’t go door to door to collect candy). Sharon was successful taking her idea to reality and Ellie actually won second place in a costume competition held at a gluten free Farsang event this past weekend. The prize... gluten free cake she can actually eat!

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Above: Kira’s lady bug costume fits her cute personality.

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Above: Ben continues to grow in wisdom and stature. Hugging him every night, I realize how he has gone from a little boy looking and reaching up to me, to a boy that can now tackle me.

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Above: Kira holding her pretend baby Elianna, and teammate Heidi holding her real baby Emily.

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Above: Our girls matching Mickey Mouse hair they sometimes wear to preschool together.

PRAYER REQUESTS

• Healing for Allen and Sharon mentioned above. Healing for Hungarian teammate Marcsi.

• Strength for Allen transitioning back into ministry.

• Enikő and Gizi who have decided to be baptized.

• Wednesday night English Bible Study starting back up (Pray for God to draw those who attend to Himself through the study of the book of John)

• Friday night teen outreach (Specifically for Dezső and Roger who have been leading discussions)

• Saturday Puppet Conference (Safety in traveling and encouraging fellowship with those who attend)

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WEEKLY UPDATE

BLIZZARD FUN

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Above: Ben and Kira bury themselves in the mounds of snow after a few days of very heavy snowfall.

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Above: Ellie trying to clear a path on our driveway. It’s the thought that counts.

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This is the most snow we have had in Hungary for years. Last month, while Sharon was driving to the local post office, one of our tires blew out. We were thankful that this happened while she was in a safe area and not while driving over the winding mountain roads where she would have been headed next to pick up Benjamin from school. Because of the flat tire, I finally took the car to a shop to have winter tires installed even though winter was nearly ending. We had no idea at that time how much snow we would be getting now! Praise God for His protection and for His provision.

SUNDAY WORSHIP

Because of the snowfall, our guest teacher from Budapest was unable to make his way to our worship service. Instead of our normal time of preaching, we broke up into small groups and studied Christ’s claims about Himself. A new visitor named Timi was in my group and most likely was hearing truths about Jesus for the first time in her life. Timi’s children have been attending our church for months and this is the first time that she has joined them. Church member Hugi was very excited as she has been praying for Timi for so long and was pivotal part in bringing her children to church. Please pray for Timi to return and to gain a clear understanding and respond by belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Above: Erika and Ildikó (not fond of pictures taken). After a long time of drifting away from fellowship, Ildikó has returned. She told me Sunday that she has decided that she wants to be baptized and will begin attending our foundations of faith/baptism preparation class starting two weeks from now. Please pray for Ildikó that her faith would be strengthened and that she would be completely transformed by the Gospel.

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Above: Enikő and Eszti (picture taken months ago). Enikő who put her faith in Jesus at last year’s English Camp continues to commute when she can from Budapest to attend our church. Enikő has also decided that she wants to be baptized and we ask for your prayers for her as well!

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Above: After being baptized just weeks ago, teenager Niki is being tested in her faith. Please pray for Niki to walk according to God’s wisdom and to have a greater sense of His love for her. Please pray that she would make decisions that are in line with His loving will for her.

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Above: After worship service, Kira peers out into the winter wonderland.

MEDICAL UPDATE

I (Allen) am following a strict diet for two weeks and taking acid reducing medication to see if my symptoms subside. So far, my symptoms have remained. I continue to struggle with abnormal breathing and tension in my abdominal area which wears down my body and causes fatigue. I have lost some pounds due to my new diet and change in appetite. I’ll go through some more testing a week from now. This has been a trying time, but a time which causes our faith in Jesus to be strengthened. The ’normal’ reaction to this is to begin running in anxiety to the many possibilities and seeking answers that are just not there yet. Instead of living in fear and anxiety, Jesus calls us to live in His peace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”—Phil 4:7

Elianna has a lingering low fever that we are keeping our eye on. Thankfully her stomach pain from last week has passed and she is feeling better. Because of her fever she is still staying out of preschool.

Sharon has been dealing with stomach issues for months now and suspects celiac. She will be going on a gluten free diet and monitor changes over the next month.

We are in a bit of a storm of medical issues and are asking you to join us in prayer for God to see us through. Please pray for wisdom for those doctors who examine us, and for complete healing of our bodies. Thank you all for your continued support!
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