Jan 2016

January Ministry Update

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Above: Edit, a local school teacher who was saved a few years ago continues to use her position in school to share the Gospel in creative ways. For many years our church planting team initiated a children’s ministry with the hope to train others to take ownership of it. 2016 marks the first time church members like Edit worked together without the core church planting team to facilitate this children’s outreach in the public school. We rejoice in seeing members growing and using their giftings to reach out to the community.

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Hungarian Harvesters


Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” God sees a harvest that is plentiful, but the number of those who labor in it to be lacking. God is answering this prayer. And we need to continue to pray that more laborers be raised up and sent to proclaim His good news. Over the past few months, I have come to know about two Hungarians who have been moved by God to pursue full time missions work! One of them, Arnold was saved in Petofibanya and has since continued to mature in his faith and serve along side of us in various works including churchplanting.

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Above: Arnold helping out with our English club in Jászfénszaru

We (the elders) of the church in Petofibanya are mentoring Arnold as he pursues a desire to serve in Sweden or wherever God would lead. It is always good to see men who are serious about their love for Jesus. Faithful men are lacking in the church and there seems to be a spirit of indifference, a lack of passion that leads me to pray. Father, please change more men, raise up men who are humble, who are servants, who are examples, men who follow you, who know you, who listen to you, who obey you. Praise God for working in Arnold’s life. Praise God for putting missions on Arnold’s heart and putting him in an environment where he can learn from other men who love Jesus.

Reaching Romani in Bogács



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Above: Edit (left) pictured with Erika. On Wednesday, our first stop in the town of Bogács was the home of Edit. Edit sought after us last year asking if we could come to her home for a Bible study. Edit had a background with a sect for many years prior to our meeting and has been working through the differences of what I am teaching and what she had been taught. It is clear that Edit was initially very skeptical and did not trust us fully. But as we met each week, she was convinced that what I was bringing was only God’s word and not teachings and traditions of men. Over the months we met, Edit saw her friend Erika who also attends the group get saved and be baptized. And now, Edit told me on Wednesday that she also wants to be baptized.

Edit is now sharing what we learn in our Bible studies with others in town who are still involved with the sect. Tonight, one of those friends was Hajni, who simply stood at a distance just listening as we sat at the kitchen table for our Bible study. I was able to talk to Hajni before she left about the dangers of believing teaching that contradicts what Jesus teaches. I think she began to see clearly before leaving and she accepted a Bible that I offered to her. I’m sure she will continue to talk to Edit about what we’ve been studying. Pray that Hajni realize the deception that she is caught in and that she come to fully embrace the teaching of Jesus as revealed in God’s word.

At the kitchen table, Edit’s daughter Kati was directly to my left. Kati was tasked with reading the Scripture out loud that we were discussing tonight. At one point, Kati grabbed her head, and complained of a headache. I asked if I could pray (she had seen God heal people as we prayed in this very room). She said, “No, no, no..” Most likely, Kati was afraid to be prayed for because of her witnessing what happened when I prayed for Erika a few weeks ago. You can read about that in a previous post (12-4-15). To make a long story short, there was an evil spirit that manifested, Jesus dealt with it, then Jesus healed Erika’s leg. Kati may have been afraid that the same thing (before the healing) may happen to her. We continued to read and discuss the lesson as she grasped her head.

At one point in the discussion, Kati turned to me and said, “I don’t get it…why did Jesus have to die? I’m not a sinner.” She wasn’t saying it with contempt. She really didn’t understand that she was a sinner. She saw herself as a ‘good’ person. She really didn’t understand why Jesus chose to die for our sins. God gave me the words and illustrations to help Kati see what sin is, and as I was still speaking adding another illustration to help her, I saw a drastic change in her face. She said, “Oh my... I understand!” Then with an expression of awe, she looked over at Edit, “Mom!” As if she was saying, “Mom did you hear what he just explained?” Then she looked back at me, "I want to saved. Now I understand.” This actually took me off guard. I have seen Kati soften up over the many months we have met, but I didn’t know this would be the night she understood her personal need for Jesus. I asked if her head still hurt. “Yes,” she said. I asked again if I could pray. This time she agreed and I laid my hand on the back of her head to pray. After a short prayer, I asked how she was. “A little better, but still there,” she said. I prayed another short prayer, lifted my hand and said, “And now?” “Oh my” she exclaimed. “Mom!…mom, it’s gone.” Now that she was more free to focus and not be distracted, I repeated the Gospel with various questions to make sure she understood what she was choosing to believe. After reexplaining, I asked again, “Do you want to repent and believe in Jesus?” “Yes!” We were able to pray together, confessing out loud what Kati was now believing in her heart after meeting with us for months. The only thing that was in my mind when Kati understood and said, “I want to be saved” was that the Spirit was on the move tonight!

We said our goodbyes and drove a block to the next household we visit in Bogacs for Bible study. Pujka, the head of the household came out to greet me as we pulled into his yard. “Allen, I have some people in there and you need to talk to them. I think they want to be saved.” For the past three days, Pujka had been sharing with this married couple the Gospel and God’s truth. Then, in my heart I thought… “Wow, the Spirit is REALLY on the move tonight!” Walking in the house, I recognized the couple. It was Robi and Erika, whom I had met over three years ago when I first began commuting to Bogács. They were part of the original group that I first met with before that group drifted away and showed no further interest in the Gospel.

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Above: A photo taken in 2013 with Robi (hand on my back) and his wife Erika directly behind me with their son.

As I entered and sat down, Robi started off, “Tell me, or do something so that I can be saved. Do it so that I won’t be able to loose it and that I can be sure I am saved. I want to change. God is doing something in my heart. I want to repent. Can you do something?” I told Robi that I couldn’t do anything to save him. I don’t have a special power that I put on people. I have God’s truth and if he was willing to believe in the truth that I share from God’s word about Jesus Christ, then Jesus would save him. I quickly turned the attention to God’s word and the Scripture I brought. “Listen, anyone can come here and talk about God and give their opinions and tell you all kinds of interesting things…but God reveals truth through His word.” One of the problems I encounter among the Romani in this town is all kinds of false beliefs based on superstition and false teachers. Instead of starting from scratch when teaching from God’s word, there are many false beliefs about God that I find myself having to remove through Bible study. It seems that belief in itself isn’t a problem for them, but discernment of what to believe is an issue.

After going through our study and discussing various questions that came up along the way, Robi and Erika wanted to put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Before you imagine a wonderful setting in your mind, let me help you with what this looked like in reality. In the middle of the small living room, Erika and Robi faced me as I sat close speaking directly to them. Seated around the room, family members and acquaintances were listening in, some ridiculing the entire time, laughing and making sarcastic comments. At one point when I began praying for Robi, laughter broke out as jokes were being made about all that was happening in their midst.

We then exited and went into an adjacent room. The room was dark because the family uses one lightbulb that they put in whatever room they are using at the time. Laying my hands on Erika and Robi we prayed together and I led them to confess what they had chosen to believe in their hearts about Jesus being their Lord and Savior. Even after moving to this room, everyone shifted from the other room to watch what we were doing. Right after praying, Pujka’s son came over to me and said, “Allen, is it a problem that I prayed also in my heart. I believe too. It felt like something happened on the inside of me when I prayed.”

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Above: A photo of Krisztian from 2013 along with his father Pujka who has opened his home to welcome the Gospel.

Then Mazsi, another woman that we have met with over the years also approached and said, “Allen, I want to be baptized. I don’t want to live in sin anymore. Can you come to our house next week?” Once again, I thought, “Wow, the Spirit is REALLY REALLY moving tonight!”

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Above: A photo of Mazsi who also wants to be baptized into Christ.

I would have proceeded to baptize those who put their faith in Jesus that very night, but there were no places to immerse them in water. In their culture, many of the houses do not have running water and many have handmade outhouses for bathrooms. We’re working on a solution in the winter months. Looks like a new group of those who were once lost are going to be baptized by faith into Christ in the near future in Bogács! I praise God for how the Holy Spirit moved this night. This is not the ‘normal’ experience of our visits to Bogács, but as Christ builds his church in this town, may it become a normal experience.

More good news


This Sunday, in Petofibanya, we have two people who will be baptized into Christ. Bogi, who we came to know through our English club in Jászfényszaru and also Kriszti who worked in preschool in the neighbouring town of Rozsaszentmarton. Please pray for both of these women who are choosing Christ, even though they don’t find any support for this decision from their families.
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2015 Year in Review

Thank you for your continued partnership with our family as we minister in Hungary. It has been a great 2015 and we look forward to God continuing to change lives as believers mature and those who don’t know Him hear and respond to the Good News of Christ our Savior and Lord!

Highlights from 2015


January


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Above: We continued our English Club in the town of Jászfényszaru as a means to bless the community and share the hope of Christ within us. Bogi (above in red) began asking more and more questions throughout the year as we shared our faith.

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February


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Above: In February, BVBC flew us back to the US to participate in their missions awareness week. We were thankful to share stories from the field and thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends.

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One sovereign gift from God was our family getting to have some quality time with Sharon’s grandfather while we were in the US in February. In December, he went to be with the Lord. What a blessing to say goodbye (for now) until we meet again in glory.

March and April


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Above: Vincsi with her grandson Robi. Throughout the year, we continued to have Bibles studies in Romani households in the town of Apc and Bogács.

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Above: Vincsi’s daughter Vivi with newborn child Ronaldo. Some of you may have recalled that Ronaldo was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus (water on the brain). Ultrasounds showed the head growing abnormally large and each test confirmed the doctors suspicions. The doctors continued to recommend abortion and told Vivi the birth would be high risk. We began praying for healing and by God’s grace (and to the amazement of the medical team) the child was born completely healthy with no signs of Hydrocephalus. This is one of many healings our church has experienced in 2015. Praise God!

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Above: Hugi, a Hungarian partner in ministry has joined our subteam that travels out to Bogács each week. Without sharing details, I want to commend her for standing firm in her faith when serious marital problems struck. Hugi remained teachable and practiced the love of Christ and offered forgiveness in a way the world cannot fathom. Because of this, her marriage is now restored…another miracle of God’s grace.

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Above: In April (celebrating Easter) and in December, our church sent out teams that shared the Gospel through puppet ministry to 28 schools (over 1,800 kids).

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Above: We’re not only able to share the Gospel through the puppet show, but afterwards we continue to distribute evangelistic materials to teachers and kids every Easter and Christmas.

May


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Above: Teammate Brenda’s parents have an opportunity to visit Bogács and pray for some of those we meet with weekly.

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Above: A few weeks after this time, another household (Edit striped shirt and Erika to her left) invited us to have Bible studies in their home.

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Above: In addition to our English Club in the town of Jászfényszaru, out team has held various outreaches to share the Gospel. This particular get together was for class mates of one of our church member’s children.

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July


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Above: In July, we held one of our largest VBS camps to date in Petofibanya. This ministry continues to bless so many kids and we praise God for the local government allowing us to use their property every year.

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Above: Arnold (green shirt) sharing his testimony to parents that attend on the last celebration day of our VBS.

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Above: Celebrating our tenth VBS in Petofibanya in 2015.

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Above: Parents participating in various activities with the kids. Looking back at this picture, two out of the adults seated next to Brenda who were not believers at that time became believers soon after this VBS! More on that below.

July


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Above: In July we helped out with NMJA’s Summer English Camp. Once again we saw kids coming to know Jesus and others renewing their commitment to follow Jesus. We’ve held this camp in the town of Lakitelek for years and many have been praying for a church plant in this area. By God’s grace a Bible study has been launched in the local library this year and those involved have a vision for church planting.

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Above: One of the kids that was saved this year at camp is Dori. Although I personally don’t get to see her because she lives in a different area, she has been attending the church in Vecses and we have had written correspondence about various questions about faith and living this new life in Jesus Christ. As with many of the kids who attend our camps, she has no others in her family that are believers. Please pray for her growth and for her to be blessed with Christian fellowship as she follows the Lord.

August


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Above: Just off the heels of our English camp, we planned a camp for teens in the town of Jászfényszaru in August.

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Above: Bogi (who attended English Club in Jászfényszaru) also attended to help out with teaching the teens folk dancing. I could see her everyday in the background talking with church member Dezso and it is at this camp that she put her faith in Jesus Christ!

August Baptism in Bogacs


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Above: Erika being baptized into Christ in August in the town of Bogács.

September Refugee Crisis


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Above: In September we witnessed the landscape of Hungarian train stations transformed into makeshift mini-communities of refugees. Countries in the EU were wrestling with how to handle the influx of of those coming in at unprecedented numbers. We simply sought to share the love of Christ with those we encountered who were stuck in Hungary over this period of time.

September Baptisms


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Above: In September, the Spirit moved in many peoples hearts and 11 put their faith in Jesus and were baptized into Christ (including our daughter Ellie!)

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October


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Above: In October we added a children’s class to our English Club in Jászfényszaru which opens up the door to more opportunity with parents in the community.

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Above: As teammate Roger continues to work with the local public school in Petofibanya, a new baseball club was initiated for kids in October.

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First public worship services


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Above: In October we initiated our first public worship service in the town of Bogács as well as our first in the town of Jászfényszaru (pictured below)

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November


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Above: In November, another 4 put their faith in Jesus Christ, including our daughter Kira! Soon after Ellie’s baptism, Kira began asking more questions and Ellie was used by God to lead her to a decision!

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Thanksgiving service


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Above: Zsuzsa with her husband Attila at our thanksgiving service. Literally weeks before this picture was taken, Attila was in the process of divorcing Zsuzsa and both of them had never attended our church. Then Zsuzsa came to know Jesus and was baptized. The papers were already filled out and her husband had already made the decision. But as Zsuzsa began changing and attend church, her husband Attila also began to drop in and ask questions. Since that time, Attila has torn up the divorce papers and they are reconciled! Praise God for His grace in saving this marriage and helping them to see life according to His will.

December


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Above: Earlier this year as teammate Erika (above) was expecting her third child, she was led to initiate a Mothers of Preschool Kid’s Club. There are parents that actually commute to the club from surrounding villages because of it’s uniqueness. Throughout the year they have used the club to share the hope they have in Jesus to the mothers attending.

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A new way to use the waiting room


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Above: Ramona (who was recently saved and baptized) was led to organize an outreach to those patients she has come to know throughout the year as she has worked as a receptionist in the local doctor’s office. In December, we packed in the doctor’s waiting room and Ramona invited various church members to give testimony and afterwards there was time for crafts and conversation. Just yesterday in our New Year’s Eve Service, Ramona shared her desire in the new year to love others the way God loves her. We’re excited to see how God will give her the desire of her heart to bless the community.

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Above: Our church formed a special Christmas chorus for our Christmas service. We were thankful to see visitors from the community and family members that attended for the first time.

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Above: First Love Baptist Church in Petofibanya portrait in 2015. Praise God for continued growth in the hearts of the local body in Petofibanya and the growth in number of more coming to know Him!

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Above: Our core church planting team L to R, Heidi, Roger, Brenda, Dezso, Sharon, Allen, Erika and Miki. We’re so grateful for our unity in Christ to continue in this new year initiating and facilitating evangelistic and discipleship ministries that empower Hungarians to lead a dynamic church planting movement. Thank you for your continued partnership with us in sharing the life changing Gospel with a new generation of Hungarians.
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