Jul 2007

Home again

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Allen returned home yesterday and will be preaching tonight in church. Please pray for God to build up His church through our fellowship tonight and that people take larger strides of faith.

Because of the private nature of the prayer blog for this year's English camp, we have password protected it. I have copied the last day's entry for those who missed it. If you would like to see the prayer blog, please email us for the password.

Dear Friends,

This year's camp was quite unique and in that way I would also say quite special. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for loving campers that you have never seen and probably will never see. Thank you for supporting us, the staff, in so many different ways. Words cannot express how grateful we are that you were a part of our team through prayer. Knowing you are praying helps us through the discouraging times and encourages us to press on. Thank you.

This week the Spirit moved, lives were changed and seeds of the Gospel were planted. Camper needs are so great so please continue to pray for them. Their longing for love and acceptance is practically palpable and it breaks our heart to know that they are going back to homes that are broken and lives that are shattered. Praise the Lord that this week they heard God's Word and that will go home with them. We rest in the peace that He can be more than we ever could be in their lives.

Please pray for us as well. For staffers who go back to America that they would be able to process all they have seen and that their lives would be changed as a result. For staffers who remain here in Hungary, that we will also process this week and would be challenged to minister with a refreshed spirit and an attitude of gratefulness for the privilege we have of being used by the Lord.

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice."


Psalm 105:1-3

May our lives and yours be encouraged by what the Lord has done in this place. Amen.
Comments

English Camp!



Tomorrow, Allen will be leaving to serve in this years 10 day Evangelistic English Camp. This year's campground is located in the Mátra mountains, less than an hour away from Petőfibánya. Because of the intensity of this camp and my involvement in different aspects, I will not be able to update our personal blog everyday. However, you can find daily updates at a specially designed prayer blog just for this year's camp. As time permits, I will also update our blog.

For those of you who have followed our ministry for the last few years, you know the impact this camp has on the lives of the lost. You also know that every year we enter into a spiritual battle that requires dependence on God, especially through prayer. Your commitment to pray gives us more confidence as we enter into this ministry.

Here are some general requests:

For my family:
1. Sharon will remain at home this year with Kira, Elianna and Ben. Please pray that she would have the strength and wisdom to bless them in this time.
2. Pray for her physical and spiritual well-being and rest.
3. Pray that my family would be protected from the enemy.

For the Team:
1. Unity in Christ in obedience to His Spirit in us
2. Physical strength
3. Patience with each other and clear communication
4. Protection from sickness and injury
5. Wisdom (when teaching, disciplining, directing, leading)
6. Ability to rest at night
7. Equipped to proclaim the gospel in word and deed

For the campers:
1. That they would be freed from the spiritual darkness and various strongholds the enemy has placed upon them.
2. That they would understand the gospel, repent and be saved by faith in Jesus Christ.
3. That they would be able to focus and be free of distraction when being taught the Bible each morning.
4. That campers Zoli and Gabi S. from Petőfibánya would not fall by way of peer pressure, but rather stand firm in their faith and fulfill their calling as Christians in this camp.
5. That they would sense our love and develop an attitude of trust that we might minister to them as friends.

Please visit http://englishcamp2007.blogspot.com/ for more specific daily prayer requests and updates.
Comments

Sunday Worship

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Above: We were surprised to see Viki, who made a profession of faith years ago in one of our english camps, come to church tonight. Last year she was mostly in Budapest for school, and we lost touch with her. We were encouraged to see her also bring her boyfriend Dani tonight (above center). Both Dezső and Miki taught from Ephesians tonight. The gospel was clearly presented and they did a great job lifting up the beauty and wonder of God's gift of grace in Jesus Christ. It is so wonderful to be a witness to how God brings change to people over time. Brenda commented on how much Dezső has changed from the first time he stood before our church to teach until now. I was so proud of him tonight as he presented Biblical truths with boldness and grace. Praise God!

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Above: Sharon is almost back to her normal self after minor surgery on her toe and also after having a small abnormal spot removed from her leg last week. She praises God for the quick healing that is taking place and for the ability to walk without pain. Thank you for praying for her!

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Above: Gabi and Zoli joined us in our prayer group before church. It was encouraging to have them with us and to hear them praying for kids who just attended our VBS. Later in the service, we prayed for Gabi and Zoli as they will have opportunity in the upcoming English camp to minister to other campers. English camp begins this Wednesday!
Comments

2007 VBS LAST DAY

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Above: The Hungarian kids from Romania gave a special performance today and even taught some of us how to dance afterwards (or at-least attempted to teach us how to dance.)

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Above: Nobody can beat Dezső's mother's cooking! She prepared Goulash soup for the masses today.

Today, was the closing ceremony for VBS in Petőfibánya. Thank all of you who have prayed for us over this past week. Please praise God with us for the following answers to prayer:

Parents who attended said that their kids would come home and excitedly talk about what happened the whole day. The kids made sure that their parents knew that they were having a great time. This year, it seemed that all the kids were connected with others and there didn't seem to be anyone that was 'left out'. Last year many of the boys were reluctant to sing. This year, the same boys were totally into singing (even singing louder than the girls). Praise God for a change of heart in the boys. Praise Him for using this VBS to increase the awareness the local body of believers that meet in Petőfibánya.

Many of the kids asked, "Where will we be next year?" Some asked if we would be doing a camp where they would also sleep at the campgrounds. Julika said that other Christian organizations would definitely have those type of camps. They all replied that they would just rather be with us. We praise God for allowing us to connect with these kids even though there were over 90 of them. We praise God for all of those who sacrificially served in camp this year in unity and love for God's glory.

Today in Éva's group, the conversation about Heaven continued. As they talked about 'The Book' that would be in heaven, one of the kids named Ádám said, "What is written in it?" Other kids blurted out, "The Bible." Éva corrected them and said that names are written in the book. Ádám said, "Is my name written in it?" At that moment all the scurrying of papers and chatter stopped. The whole group began paying attention. Éva was given an opportunity to explain what needs to happen for our name to be written in this book. She is quite sure that Ádám is pondering these things. Please pray that God would minister to Ádám and give him understanding in this time of seeking. Praise God for stirring the hearts of children that they would seek to know the Way.

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Above: Dezső and Marcsi's group

Children followed the story and the verse memorization so closely that you only needed to ask them, "What did we learn on Monday?" They knew what happened each day, and they remembered which verses we memorized on which days. Dezső awarded a Bible to one of his kids who was best in behavior and in learning each day. Dezső praised him for behaving so well this year and contrasted it with how last year it was a constant struggle for most of the boys to behave. Encouragement is something this culture is sorely lacking. Dezső said the child unexpectedly embraced him and was nearly crying. Afterwards, Dezső was able to give some basic teaching about how to read the Bible and find the verses we memorized throughout the week.

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Above: Four of the children from Miki's small group who prayed to receive Jesus yesterday requested Bibles. Miki was able to introduce them to the basics of reading the Bible. For most of them, this is the first time they have ever had their own Bible to read. Praise God for the gift of His Gospel. Praise Him for His word being given to children, and for the children's interest in studying His word.

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Above: Over 20 parents and hosting families came today. One of the adults, Eszter, was amazed at how our church does everything right and works well as a team. She claims to be an atheist but interestingly enough has a religious background. Eszter battles within herself with the struggle of being an atheist because she always feels as if something is missing. After our adult Bible study that Erika led, Eszter was in tears. Zsuzsa got to explain how God is the source of love and is seeking those who want to become His children through Jesus Christ. Please pray for Eszter to take new steps to seek truth and to put her faith in Jesus Christ.

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Above: Many of the families that have hosted the Romanian Hungarian children came to our closing day of VBS. Many of them commented on how impressed they were with our camp. One couple, after listening in on the children's small group commented that the kids received more important truths in our camp than they do the whole year at home.

Another hosting family said that one of their kids just did not talk in front of others. They were amazed that at the end of the week, she said all of the verses we memorized throughout the week out loud successfully. Praise God for helping this child to speak, and using the love and encouragement from those serving in camp to help her.

Dezső got to connect with an older hosting couple who attended today. After satisfying their curious questions like, "Who is organizing his?" "How does it work?" They exchanged numbers and addresses and also asked for a New Testament. At one point in the conversation, they asked, "Where do you get all of your energy." Dezső said that they sensed the love from the workers and could only say, "It comes from God." When Dezső walked the rest of the campers back to the community center, he found the older couple waiting for him. They needed another Bible since one of their sponsored kids requested one as well.

God has done amazing things in this camp. We are so thankful to have been given this privilege to preach the gospel to this young generation. We hope that the seeds planted over this past week will bear fruit. Thank all of you for your support!

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Above: Zoli taking a power nap in the afternoon. Please pray that all who served in this year's VBS would get the rest that they need. Many of them, including Allen will be serving in an English camp which begins on Wednesday. We would not have planned two intense ministries back to back like this, but because of the visiting children from Romania to this year's VBS, it was the only time frame in which we could accommodate them. We really need rest and want to be ready to give our all by Wednesday!

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Comments

2007 VBS day 5

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Above: Today, Julika finished the last chapter of Pilgrim's Progress and spoke about the City of the Good King. Afterwards, the kids broke off into their small groups where leaders reviewed verses and summarized what has been taught the entire week. It was our desire on this day to make as clear as possible the Gospel and to give the kids an opportunity to pray to receive Jesus as they felt led.

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Above: Dezső said that his group had issues paying attention today. One of the kids in his group acted up and as Dezső began questioning him in front of the group, the mood changed. This kid's disobedience led to an opportunity to bring clarity to what had been taught, and created an atmosphere where the entire group payed close attention. Dezső closed by giving an opportunity to his kids to pray out loud if they had decided to put their faith in Jesus. He reported that all the kids prayed. Of course, we don't know how many of these prayers were from a heart of understanding and faith, but we hope that they all were.

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Above: Miki reported that his group payed close attention today. He explained repentance, faith and the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. He closed his group by saying, "Think about these things, and I will try to talk to each of you one-on-one as I find you throughout the day." At that point, a girl spoke up and said, "But, I think I am ready right now." Another followed by saying the same. Many of the kids in his group also prayed to receive Jesus as their Savior. Unfortunately, other group leaders reported that kids who had been well behaved all week were out of sorts today. A couple of group leaders said that the kids just shut down and did not want to answer any questions or review what had been talked about all week.

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Above: Janka who taught preschoolers said that most of the week, it was hard to keep the anttention of all of her students. Today however, they payed close attention to the teaching. One of the kids who is the most active in the group began asking important questions like, "How do we get into heaven?" Janka was thankful for God working to keep them from being distracted so that they could hear the Gospel.

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Above: Pioneers teammate Laci gave his testimony in the VBS adult study. We hope that his testimony will draw those who attended to begin seeking God through reading His word.

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Above: Miki helping a dramatic reading of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 by acting out the growth of the different seeds. We hope that Jesus' parable will encourage the kids who made decisions to faithfully endure and bear fruit by God's grace.

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Above: Among the various visitors who stopped by to see our camp were Marcsi's parents. We were thankful for them getting a taste of what we do and what we believe. Please pray for them. Marcsi came to me overjoyed in the midst of the day with great news about her workplace. For the past few months she has been on a rotating shift that has her working morning one week, afternoon one week and then through the night. Imagine constant jet lag. While serving in camp she said that she was bothered by the thought of having to start this intense schedule up again. She found out today that she no longer has to work this shift starting next week! Dezső who works at the same factory has also been offered another position within the company which should offer better pay and better hours. Praise God for his grace and provision for Dezső and Marcsi while they are busy following Him.

Tomorrow we hope that some of the parents will join us for our closing day of camp. Unfortunately many kids are going on vacation or made other plans and will not be attending tomorrow. Please pray for us as we will have to adjust our plans to accommodate whatever number (small or large) that comes. We need wisdom from God and His strength to make the final day the best it could be by His grace! We praise Him for how He moved the hearts of many kids today to put their trust in Him. Please pray that they would grow in their faith and also that they would attend our church for Christian fellowship and worship. As usual, please pray for physical strength and a fulfilling night of rest.
Comments

2007 VBS day 4

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Above: Last night, after a refreshing storm, God sent a beautiful rainbow that arched over Petőfibánya. Of course this picture does not do the actual rainbow justice. It was simply beautiful.

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Above: Miki prepping Hungarian style coffee (strong).

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Above: Miki and Dezső leading our song time. The children are now very familiar with the songs and are singing along with excitement.

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Above: Julika introducing today's teaching with Romans 10:13, "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

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Above: After hearing today's chapter of Pilgrim's Progress, we split up into small groups to review Biblical truths we have learned through the week.

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Above: The kids have been given their own folder to store their crafts which they have created throughout the week. We also have an 'in-house' postal system where kids and teachers can send letters of encouragement to each-other.

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Above: Teenager Gabi S. arrived yesterday and has been serving with us.

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Above: After free time, the kids got back into their groups to travel through the different places where Pilgrim had been through the week. They were given different assignments and did various crafts at each 'city'. Julika was able to teach the kids the gospel with this colorful key chain craft. Each color represents a different truth of the Gospel.

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Tomorrow Julika will complete the story of Pilgrim's progress. Please pray for those teaching as we discuss the importance of a personal decision and the reality of eternal life and heaven. There are many misconceptions that these kids have developed from generations of false teaching and worldly thought. Please pray that they would come to understand what is true according to God's word.

The team as a whole is doing well, but at the end of each day we are exhausted. Please continue to pray for physical rest and rejuvenation.

All of the children from Romania except three did not return today. They are planning on returning tomorrow. Please pray as we are coming to the last few days of camp. We hope for open opportunities to direct children to know the one true God and find salvation through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
Comments

2007 VBS day 3

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Above: Early in the morning after prayer, Julika and her daughter Mani prepare the stage for todays teaching.

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Above: I am very thankful for teenager Zoli being able to finish his intern at a local supermarket to be able to serve with us this year. He has done a great job bonding with the kids and is a tremendous help with everyday heavy lifting and preparation.

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Above: The Lord provided perfect weather today to hike to a newly built horse ranch in the hills of Petőfibánya. This is the first time I had been back to this area since last year's VBS when weed filled fields and overgrown bushes were all you could see. The owners of the ranch did an amazing job clearing out acres of land and making a beautiful place for these kids to enjoy today.

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Sharon felt God's presence as she went into the city for minor surgery on her toe and to have a spot removed on her leg. There were no complications and she is now all bandaged up sitting on the bed reading instructions to boxes of antibiotics and pain killers. She is able to walk, but should not spend much time standing or putting too much stress on her feet. She will be returning to the doctor in seven days to have some stitches removed. We will have the results of tests in two weeks. We praise God for His provision of transportation to and from the city for Sharon today, for a successful surgery, and for Kira having a good time with dad.

There were no injuries today, and since all the kids from Romania were visiting a dentist, there were no problems with kids making fun of them. Tomorrow the children from Romania will return to camp, so please continue to pray for them.

As the teachers serving in camp this year continue to teach God's word and explain the gospel, please pray for the children to be given understanding and softened hearts to receive this Good News.

Please continue to pray for physical strength and also restful nights of sleep for those serving in camp (and also for the kids who are attending.) Pray especially for Julika and Janka who are facilitating the camp and are in need of extra strength and wisdom.

Please continue to pray for the team serving this year that we would communicate well, and have love as the motive of all that we do. Pray for our unity and that God would continue to encourage us as we have passed the midpoint of camp.

Tomorrow, Allen will be going to meet with a lawyer to continue the process of buying a house in Petőfibánya. We need to acquire a permit as foreigners to purchase a house in Hungary. Please pray that the meeting with the lawyer would expedite the process of getting this permit and that God would oversee each step of this purchase.
Comments

2007 VBS day 2

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Above: Last night a thunderstorm rolled into Petőfibánya. Thankfully, this cooled down the 90 degree temperatures that we had yesterday. The rain clouds continued to linger over the first half of our day of VBS.

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Above: Kira trying on teenager Zoli's cowboy hat.

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Above: Julika teaching the children Romans 5:8 and explaining the gospel.

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Above: Thankfully, our team was able to play various games and do crafts while we were inside because of the rain.

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Above: This ping pong table that was recently donated to our church was very popular. The hours that Miki and Dezső spent putting it together a few days ago is bearing fruit.

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Above: Praise God, the rain has stopped and the sun is peaking through the clouds!

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Above: Jenna testing her strength by carrying around Ben. Jenna has been in Hungary for a few months serving with Pioneers on a short term survey trip. It is her desire to serve full time in Hungary. She is a hard worker and is persevering through the struggles of being immersed into the culture.

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Above: Laci taught a group of kids how to make various knots. Afterwards, they used what they learned on supportive rope used to hoist kids climbing into this tree.

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Above: Of course some of the kids needed help getting all the way up the tree.

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We praise God that the kids, rain or shine, are having a great time. Today, Erika and Allen had an opportunity to meet with some of the adults while the kids were in their small groups. After we introduced ourselves, one of the leaders from Romania asked Allen how he ended up in Hungary. This opened up an opportunity to give his testimony. Most of the conversation afterwards was simply getting to know each other. We were thankful for various times that we could direct the conversation back to God. It was good to see that those who attended could tell the difference between religious tradition and a personal relationship with God.

Please continue praying for the children in this camp and for us as we seek to teach them truths that will set them free for eternity.

New Requests:

- Protection from injury. Today, one of the children slipped and fell on a broken piece of glass. Although we attempted to clean the campground last week, we could not gather every fragment of glass scattered all over the place. Tomorrow, we will also be unique as we will take the kids horseback riding.

- Kids from Romania. Today, while playing soccer, we heard kids making fun of the Hungarians from Romania for the first time. Please pray for there to be an attitude of acceptance and love for these kids. Also, the entire group from Romania will be going to a dentist tomorrow. Please pray for them to be blessed by this dentist and have all the appropriate work completed.

- Sharon will be traveling into Budapest to have surgery on one of her toes. She is also having a suspicious small spot removed from her leg which we are having checked for cancer. Please pray for her! Pray also for Kira who will be with daddy most of the day. Although Kira loves daddy, she is used to being with mom all day.
Comments

2007 VBS day 1

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Above: Edit and her family trickle in to the rapidly growing crowd of children signing in.

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Above: Elianna, Kira and Benjamin squating as they wait for us to begin our trek to the camp site.

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Above: We praise God for a smooth sign in process and for the safe arrival of all the children to this year's VBS!

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Above: Julika introducing this year's theme which follows the story-line of Pilgrim's Progress. Singing time is always 'touch-and-go' the first day as we don't know if the children will participate, or play the role of 'too cool' to sing. We praise God that all the kids participated and enjoyed singing together.

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Above: Tamara and Attila Szögeti. Tamara and Attila are expecting their first child. Tamara asks for prayer that she would be free of morning sickness (which she has already experienced) while serving in our VBS. Tamara and Attila also will be commuting every day. Please pray for safe travel.

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Above: Éva teaching today's story about the repentant tax collector: "The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!'" (Luke 18:13) We praise God for this opportunity to deliver His word and to plant seeds that will bear fruit by His grace.

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Above: God provided excellent weather to be outside for our game time. We could actually see storm clouds in the distance and were even lightly showered for less than a minute. We praise God for blessing us with this gift so that we could spend most of our day outside.

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Above: In the midst of the day, an old friend of Dezső happened to be in town and came in response to Dezső's invite. Because of Dezső's relationship with him, we were able to get into conversations about God and salvation through Jesus Christ. It turns out that this man was also involved in various dark spiritual activities with Dezső years ago, like mind control and walking on coals. Today I rejoiced as Dezső and I sought to lead this man to consider the claims of Jesus Christ and to experience His saving grace personally. Please pray for this man to be drawn to Jesus Christ and to come to an understanding of salvation provided through Jesus.

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Above: The 90+ kids that God has entrusted to us, that we might lead them to Jesus Christ.

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Above: My favorite shot from today. Yes I am biased.

God answered in so many ways today. The sign-in process was great. There were no reports of the kids from Romania (ethnically Hungarian) being made fun of or being treated with disrespect. The teaching time went well and was mostly free of distractions. Erika and I were not able to meet with parents, but I was able to talk to Dezső's friend.

New requests:

As expected, the first day is terribly draining physically to the team. Please pray for renewed strength and that God would bless us with rest tonight.

Some of the younger children (pre-school age) have been difficult to draw in and keep in one place. Please pray that we would have wisdom in helping them.

Some of our transitions from eating, to crafts, to games etc. are still a bit rusty. We need wisdom for efficiency when dealing with so many children and limited teachers to keep order.

Please continue to pray for our teaching times, for God's truth to take root in the hearts of these children. We praise God for a great first day!
Comments

Sunday Worship

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Above: Miki and Dezső.

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Above: Tonight we were thankful for Andi, Hugi and Gabor being able to attend church tonight as we have not seen them for some time. We studied John chapter 6 together where Jesus feeds the 5000. We learned that Jesus commands that we follow Him and make following Him first priority in our lives. In the midst of following Him, we can trust in His promise to provide for our needs. We also learned that Jesus can take any amount entrusted to Him and turn it into an abundance that brings blessing to others. Instead of focusing on what we don't have or what we can't do, we should rather focus on following Jesus making ourselves available to Him.

After tonight's teaching, Gabi and Hugi offered their help to those serving in our VBS. They also came to help us after service make final preparations at the camp grounds. Gabi just lost his job, and I believe through the teaching tonight was motivated to give to Jesus his time and possession, even if he doesn't have much. Please pray for Gabi and Hugi to come to fully understand the Gospel and God's love.

Tomorrow is the first day of our VBS! Please pray for the following:

1. The sign-in process. That we would be able to efficiently get the children to the right teachers and walk up to the camp grounds safely.
2. A bonding to happen among the children. Please pray especially for acceptance of those coming from Romania who could easily be made fun of for their accent and 'different background.
3. For those teaching classes to have wisdom when teaching and watching over their specific group of children for the day.
4. For the children to be free from distraction when we present biblical truths.
5. For Erika (and Allen) who will be meeting with a few parents who will be attending camp.

The first day is usually one of the hardest, as we all get aquatinted with each other and with the daily schedule. We appreciate your prayers and look forward with you to seeing how God will use this VBS for His glory.
Comments

VBS just around the corner

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Above: It's harvesting time in Petőfibánya!

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Above: Julika leading today's final meeting before VBS. The majority of those serving this year were able to come and make final preparations for VBS. We praise God for beautiful weather and help in last minute preparations.

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Above: Brenda and Laci sewing up bags that will be used to carry an every increasing burden through the week. Each day a new weight will be placed in the bag as we go through the story of Pilgrims Progress.

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Above: The team scoping out this years VBS grounds.

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Above: Gabi S. was able to get a splinter, step on a wire that pierced his foot and bashed in the back with a heavy cardboard tube. He's a tough kid and we were thankful for his help and Zoli's help today. The boxes stuffed into my car will be used for different crafts and storage for the kids.

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Above: Baby Kira making me laugh with her crazy expressions. Kira is walking with more confidence and loves to scream out 'Daaaaa!" when I come home.

We praise God for His help today and look forward to Him working through us to bless over 90 kids in this year's VBS. Thank you for your prayers!
Comments

Weekly Update Countdown to VBS

TUESDAY

On Tuesday, I took a trip to the local government's office to find out vital information as we continue to move forward in purchasing a house in Petőfibánya. I found out from other missionaries who bought homes that we need to obtain a permit allowing us as foreigners to buy a home in Hungary. We heard that the process could take up to three months (which we don't have). The blessing of living in a small town is that people actually know you. The first person I talked to was the mayor's secretary, Zsuzsa. Zsuzsa also has a child in preschool and knows us from daily interactions and children's outreaches that we hold in the village. She was very kind, but didn't have any answers to my questions about the permit. As I was preparing to leave, she stopped me saying, "Maybe, someone in this office (pointing next door) can help." She literally yelled into the open door giving an overview of my questions. I heard a voice say, "Come in." This was the local government's lawyer who just happened to be in, even though she was not planning to be there that day. She told me that she was going to take a final exam today which would give her the title of DR. but because of her anxiety, she opted out. I also know this woman's daughter because she has attended our English program for the past two years. After asking me a few questions, she began making calls, writing down important numbers and clarifying exactly what I need for the process to go quickly and smoothly. This may seem common place in the US, where people go out of their way to help you find the exact answers you are looking for, but in Hungary it is uncommon. It is also uncommon to walk into this type of official office unannounced and be sitting opposite of someone making phone calls, and clarifying information for you. I would even say, it is unheard of. In the end, I walked out with all the information I needed to get the permit process started. I attribute the success in this day to God and His grace! Praise Him.

WEDNESDAY


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Above: Happy 4th of July! Sharon and our teammate Brenda were hard at work on the 4th preparing burgers, hot-dogs, deviled eggs and baked beans for our very own, very small, celebration. Benjamin said, "Isn't it strange that no one else in Hungary is celebrating today." Kira enjoyed squashing freshly cut watermelon in her grip. Benjamin and Elianna enjoyed smores that were concocted in the microwave.

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Above: Our teammate Brenda was kind enough to take Benjamin and Elianna to a castle in Hollokô on the 4th. God blessed them with beautiful weather and a great time together. Ben got to try on real armor, and could barely lift his chain-male covered arms to rest on the shield for the picture. He would have loved to try on more armor, but it weighed twice as much as he does.

THURSDAY

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Above: Are those roses Brenda is trimming....oh, no that would be a rusty old sharp fence. We spent today preparing the grounds for VBS which begins Monday! Lots of dangerous things needed to be chopped, trimmed and thrown away.

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Above L: This park has been abandoned since the government didn't have funds for upkeep. Unfortunately, some of the items we found hidden in bushes and laying in the grass reveal how the park is now used. Above R: Miki's wife Erika joined in on the fun today and helped carry away the mess of chopped branches.

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Above: Although our dear brother Gabi moved to the distant town of Sümeg, he will be staying in Petőfibánya for a few weeks with his grandmother. It was a blessing to have his help today.

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Above R: Miki, Julika and her daughter Mani (in background). Julika is a vital part of our team as she writes much of the material and designs many of the crafts and games that reinforce the teaching each day. She also has a great sense of humor, which one must have spending all day with us.

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Above: Maybe I shouldn't have given that axe to Zoli? Zoli was kind enough to come out and help after he got off of work. I often call him 'Tank', because of his strength and steadiness.

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Above: Imre was one of a few people who strolled in to see what we were doing. He told me how beautiful this area once was. He said he could have never imagined that it would become so run down over the years. He praised us for cleaning up the area and looks forward to hearing the collective sound of 90 kids next week. God opened up an opportunity for me to talk to Imre about a personal relationship with God after I invited him to our church. Imre clearly had a knowledge that God existed, but was fatalistic in his approach to God. He said God was and will always be, but He has forgotten about what is happening here. I did more listening than talking, and at times sought to direct Imre to consider the value of knowing God personally. I hope to see Imre again in church, or in our camp next week since he lives a block away. Please pray for him.

Another man that Miki talked to said that he attended our Jesus Film Outreach that we held four years ago. This man remembered having an extended conversation with György Kovács who has since gone to be with the Lord. Miki explained what happend to György and also invited him to church. We also ran into Hugi and Gábor who have stopped attending church for some time. They were excited to see us, and said they would come this Sunday. Please pray for them as well.

Tomorrow, we will continue preparing the grounds for VBS. Please pray for the same type of weather we had today (it was perfect). Please also pray for strength, wisdom and success in completing this preparation.
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Sunday Worship

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Above L to R: Csaba, Dezső and teenager Zoli. We have added a set apart prayer time to our worship service from 4:00-4:45. Csaba has been leading this prayer time and we are convicted that it is essential to the foundation and future of this church.

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Above: On Sunday, The Pioneers Area Resource Team helped us by leading our musical worship time.

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Above: Church members Laci and Dezső.

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Above: Tonight, we had a directed small group Bible study instead of a message preached from the pulpit. I believe a core value of the church is dedication to the apostles' teaching (Acts 2:42) which in essence is everything that Jesus taught (Matt 28:20). I also believe that learning these foundational commands of our Lord do not only happen in the realm of preaching, but can also be communicated through inductive Bible study and discussion. If done properly, both preaching and small group teaching can accomplish the same goal:  "Go and make disciples of all nations...teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Jesus, Matthew 28:20) Both are valuable and must be used appropriately for edification and worship of God.

For the past few months, God has been directing us to re-develop the form of our service on Sunday. Of course, the function of the church will never change and must abide by what God has revealed in His word. However, I am convinced that the form or structure can be adjusted to better accomplish the aforementioned goal and best communicate to different cultures. As I observe our church, it is clear that the majority are not experiencing the loving fellowship with each other that God desires. The giftings God has distributed by His Spirit to each member should work for the edification of each member. Unfortunately, the form we have thus far created does not allow much room for others to practice using their giftings in our Sunday meetings. The directed small group Bible study allows for greater interaction between members as we learn a specific truth from God's word and how it applies to our lives.

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Above L to R: Mária (new attender to our church), Teenager Zoli's grandmother, Norbi and Lidia (back row), and Zsuzsa who commutes every other week from Budapest to minister to the women in our church.

At one point in tonight's study, one of our members was struck by the command to love. This member has struggled to forgive another family member who is also a Christian. In the group, one of our study verses was 1 John 4:20-21:

“If anyone says ‘I love God’ and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too.”

After reading the verse, the person just said, "Oh, what have I been doing." This is my desire for the whole church, that the Scripture would get personal. Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

MONDAY

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Above: Ben's sixth birthday was Sunday, and we celebrated it on Monday at one of the malls in Budapest. Ben picked this particular mall because it has children's park built in with slides, toys and more slides. It was fun!

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Above: Kira enjoying an ice cream cone (without the ice cream) that was given to her for free. As you can see she is getting more and more confident of her stride as she wobbles her way through the mall.

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Above: They're here! While in town, I also picked up our team shirts for this year's VBS which begins next week. The logo on the front is from our church: "First Love Baptist Church". Please pray for our team as we continue to put together the final details and preparation for the 90 kids who will attend this year.

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Above: I thought I would leave you with a picture of six year old Ben with his fresh escargot...YUCK!
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