Jun 2006

Hot Hot Hot!

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Above : A day in the sun, followed by relief in a cool bath! Kira feeling content in mom's arms after bath time.

Summer has been pretty 'brutal' here with temperatures remaining in the 90's. We have two fans running full time in the apartment, and the shades drawn, yet the heat persists! Thankfully, today the temperature dropped a bit, bringing some needed relief.

On Monday, were successful in turning in the remaining papers to obtain Kira's residency permit in Hungary. We were thankful for a smooth process, and a friendly worker in the office. We expected to have to turn in more papers, but it turned out to be easier than expected! Praise God.

Tomorrow, we will welcome a Pioneers short term 'EDGE' team to Petőfibánya as they continue traveling and serving in different regions in the country. They will stay in Petőfibánya until Sunday, helping with preparing crafts for an upcoming vacation Bible school, distributing gospel of John booklets and helping with 4th of July barbecue for our English students in Petőfibánya. Please pray that their time here would be encouraging and a blessing to the community!

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Above: Last year's English Camp reaching out to over 50 students. Two teens from Petôfibánya, Dávid and Zoli were saved in last year's camp and return this year with a heart to serve!

One of the highlights of every summer is the English camp that we hold for students throughout Hungary. Many of you who read this blog already know that members from our home church in Delaware are making the final preparations to come to Hungary and serve with us in this camp. We are counting the days as camp begins July 12th! If you would like to begin praying even now for this camp, please go to http://englishcamp2006.blogspot.com/ for the latest camp news and prayer requests.

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This Week in Review

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Above: Our Flags were raised as the President of the United Stated visited Hungary on Wednesday.
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Above: Earlier in the week: Making our way up the mountain to pray (Miki adding a little difficulty to Zoli's momentum). If you look directly above Miki's head you can see our 'monopoly' shaped apartment building.
Below L: Who knew that I wasn't supposed to wear yellow? While praying, I was smothered with bugs that were attracted to the bright color (Zoli and Gabi got a kick out of that). Below R: Gabi and Miki making their way back down the mountain.

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Praises:
As I said in an earlier post, we have begun walking/running together with the teens in order to help Gabi with his unusually high blood pressure. On thursday night, Gabi informed me that his blood pressure dropped into normal range after being examined by the doctor that day! Praise God!
• Kira (enjoying a bath below) was given a good report by the children's cardiologist on a follow up appointment on wednesday. We praise God for continuing to heal her heart! Kira still has a small hole (very common) in her heart which the doctor expects will close up eventually. The doctor added that the hole was in such a place where it didn't cause much of a danger.
• We were able to get Kira's passport this past week, which enables us to take the next steps of getting a residency permit for her.
• Zoli's entire family came to church (see below) tonight. Zoli's mother Ildiko continues to go to thursday night Bible study at Miki's house and is taking steps of faith toward Jesus. Zoli's grandmother spent significant time with Miki tonight seeking to know more about what it means to be saved and what needs to be done. Praise God for working in Zoli's family and in Zoli. Please continue to pray for them.
• One of our partners in ministry, György Kovács, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer received good news from his doctor this past week. The doctors were amazed at how well György is doing and that the cancer that was once indicated as spreading to his liver, now turns out to be a cyst. Also the cancer in his pancreas has subsided due to treatments (and prayer of course). Praise God for this good news of God's healing and sustaining hand.

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Above: Tonight we were thankful to have a team of 14 short-term missionaries from AWE STAR perform an evangelistic drama in our church service. I was also thankful for Kata, who is helping the team as a translator (and translated for me tonight).

The drama was powerful, and God created an atmosphere free of distraction for all to take in the powerful message of the death and resurrection of Jesus. We praise God for providing a larger room for the night for the drama, and for many first-time visitors who were able to hear the gospel.

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Above: Dedicating Kira and Eszter's baby Alina to the Lord.

Prayer request: Please pray for us as we travel tomorrow, to continue the process of completing the necessary paperwork to get Kira's residency permit. We would like to complete the process as soon as possible.
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Monday

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O.K. you sloppy excuse for a man, it's time to get into shape! Actually, I feel like I'm in pretty good shape, but Gabi requested that we begin running together in the mornings. Before the blazing sun thickened the air, we headed out to one of the fields bordering our village. Gabi's doctor recommended regular exercise due to his unusually high blood pressure and we hope to help him in this process.

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Above L: Just another component of our sophisticated work out. Above R: Zoli looks on as the Miki and Gabi finish at a close second and third.

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Above: The whole family enjoying the beautiful summer weather.

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Above: I know you want to take this for a spin (Trabaunt parked in front of our apartment).
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Sunday Worship

This morning, the core members of our church in Petőfibánya traveled into Budapest to Janka's sending church. Janka has been serving on our church planting team for over two years and has been a key person in our work in children's ministry throughout our target area of outreach.

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Above L: We were thankful that Dezső and Márcsi joined us this morning, as they witnessed the baptism of three members of Budafoki Baptist Church. Márcsi was recently saved and we hope these baptisms encouraged her in her faith in Jesus. Above R: Hungarian partner in ministry Janka.

We praise God that Hungarians are also involved in sending and supporting church planting work!

To all you father's out there, "Happy Father's Day!" I share with you gratefulness to God for the privilege of being called, "Daddy". I treasure holding my children, seeing them grow in wisdom and personality, and most importantly, seeing them gain more and more understanding of their Father in heaven. Benjamin and Elianna made special cards for me today and also shared their apples with me from their Happy Meal at McDonalds. Kira was kind enough to smile for me today (Below R)

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I was surprised to see Viki come to worship service tonight. I haven't seen her for months as she commuted to school in Budapest. Now that summer has arrived, we hope that we will see her more often. As some of you recall, Viki was saved a few years ago in one of our summer english camps. However, it seems as if we were not able to strengthen her in her walk, and because of work, school and other plans, Viki in a word 'disappeared'. Please pray that there will be a revival in her heart, and that she might gain a hunger to know God and be transformed by His love.

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Above L: Viki and Brenda catching up. Above R: Ildiko has been a regular attender to our church for the past four years. Years ago, before we even began the church plant, Ildiko and her husband Laci prayed that the Lord would bless Petőfibánya with a church body. We are thankful for her prayers, which obviously played a part in the work that is happening today.

The first one to 'show-up' tonight was Gabi. As we were practicing worship for tonight's service, he passed me his bible and said, "I found some scripture that is really true about the world we live in today..." It was 2 Timothy 3:1-5

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power."

I am thankful for Gabi's hunger for the scripture and his realization of the way it speaks with authority in our lives.
After service, I was excited to see Dezső in conversation with Hajnalka about spiritual things. Dezső is taking more opportunity in using the gifts God has given him to serve in the church. I heard them both say that they would continue the conversation on thursday (bible study at Miki's house). Please pray for Hajnalka who has not yet come to understand the unique and free gift of God's grace found in Jesus Christ.

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Above L: Janka prepared a Father's Day show with the kids in church tonight. Above R: Dezső seeking to guide Hajnalka to the truths found in Jesus.
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Egyházasdengeleg Outreach

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Above: Hungarian, Slovakian and EU flags fly in the small village of Egyházasdengeleg, where children and teenagers from Slovakia commuted in for today's event.

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Above: The 'Chair' skit illustrates one's bondage to sin, and the freedom that can only be found in Christ.

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Above: After the skit, Erika went deeper into sharing the specifics of the gospel.

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Above: We were also able to do some face painting, and Julika prepared games that related to the biblical message of the day.

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Thank you all for your prayers for this day! Tomorrow, we will commute to Budapest to join a Hungarian church (Budafoki Baptist) in sending out our Hungarian partner Janka to continue her ministry in Petőfibánya. We are very thankful for her commitment and hard work to bring the gospel into the public schools throughout Heves County. Please pray that more Hungarians would be raised up to support Janka, Miki and Erika from this church.

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Summer is definately here!

Temperatures are in the 90's here in Hungary. Tonight, I filled the thermos with ice cold water and headed out to a soccer field to meet the teens. The heat didn't seem to slow down their play, although I can't say the same thing for myself. I brought an American football, and they had a great time learning how to throw a spiral.

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Above: Zoli celebrating after scoring a goal for our team-go Zoli!

Tomorrow, our focus group team is participating in a children's day event in the village of Egyházasdengeleg. We have served over the past two years through puppet ministry in this village, and we were excited to be invited to participate in their town's children's day. I am also excited that teenagers Zoli (above right) and Gabi S. will be joining us in serving in this village tomorrow.

We will be performing a few drama's, a short puppet show and give gospel messages related to each. It looks as if tomorrow will also be blazingly hot! Please pray that we will be successful in communicating the gospel and sharing His love with this village.

Below: Kira showing me a knuckle sandwich while staring at my scruffy face (she likes the contrast).
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Below: Elianna's rendition of Kira. She informed us that the small squigly circle below the chin is indeed a diaper.
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Thursday Kirándulás

Tonight, I took some of the teens from our thursday night study on a 'kirándulás' or otherwise known as a hike. We didn't want to disregard the beautiful day God had given us, and the teens were excited to give me a tour of the mountain top.

Below: Gabi and Zoli waiting for me to catch up.

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Above: Interesting sights along the hike. Left: I've never seen one of these flowers in Delaware. Right: Summer shacks that the Hungarians use as a base for gardening in the mountains and also small barbecue parties.

After making our way to a valley surrounded by walls of rock, we settled down for a time of prayer and discussion. Our scripture for the night was Colossians 2:1-8.

One of the teens shared with me that a family member had recently taken him to a witch doctor in a neighboring town. He shared how he was scared to be in that place and saddened by his families member's decision to be involved in such things. Thankfully, the teenager who shared this with me is saved and I was able to encourage him as to how to proceed in the matter. I was reminded once again, that this entire county is saturated with the evidences of the enemies hand at work to keep people in bondage to sin.

It was fitting to close our discussion with Colossians 2:8, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
I praise God for these young men knowing the truth, and being saved from the deceptive philosophies of the world. Pray with me that they will faithfully, through dependance on God, rescue others by leading them to Christ.

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Sunday Celebration!

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Above:
Zoli kindly giving big Ben transportation to church.

Below L:
Brenda, Dezső, Gabi S. and Miki sharing personal testimony about their salvation in Sunday's bible study before church. Gabi will be sharing his testimony next week before the body.

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Above R: Arnold and friends zoom to service on bikes.

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Above: Some of our church body enjoying the gift of a beautiful day before entering service (L to R: Andi, Ádám, Zoli, Gabi S., Laci, Miki and Dávid). Below L: Dezső and Márcsi's children. Below R: Andi (who also brought her 4 year old Milán tonight) greeting Kira at the door.
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Today, I was encouraged to see many signs of God establishing this church plant. I smiled to see people gathering outside the entrance, interacting as family. As I participated in the worship group (playing bongo drums), I rejoiced to see facing me in the front row Gabi, Zoli and Ádám, singing along. Later, in service, Dezső gave his testimony of how God completely transformed his life and freed him from alcoholism. And to top off the night, with more joy, church member Csaba led Márcsi (Dezső's wife) in praying to receive Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. This was a very encouraging night where God's grace was overflowing!

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Above L: Miki joyfully leading our musical worship. Above R: Brenda on vocals and Dezső on bass equals a full and uplifting sound of praise. Below: Heidi, Janka and Miki performing an evangelistic drama in tonight's service.

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Thank all of you who have been praying for Marcsi (above) and for Dezső's growth. I believe this family will play a vital role in the future of this body. Please continue to pray for them, as they are the first family to be saved and growing in our body.

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Above L: Faithful Gabi serving on the clean up crew. Above R: Kira, "I just wanna go home already!"
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New Gospel Movements!

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Above: Pictures from last years Christmas drama outreach. 'The Chair' Drama presents a persons attraction to sin, and the resulting bondage and hopeless

Today, our team from Petőfibánya was able to participate in a special puppet conference in Budapest. The attendees were puppet teams from over 20 different areas in Hungary and various hungarian church denominations. We were able to share how God moved us into adding drama ministry to our 'ministry toolset' and how this enabled us to extend our reach beyond children to teenagers in public schools. We demonstrated the different stages of our drama outreach, giving examples of ice-breakers, and an evangelistic drama hoping that other existing puppet teams would also catch the vision. After our presentation, the Hungarian pastor who is responsible for initiating the evangelistic puppet movement asked the attendees, "Who here is ready to begin preparing to use drama in their future outreaches in the public schools." I saw more than 5 people raise their hands, which represents the potential of thousands of teenagers in public schools in the near future hearing the gospel! We praise God that he has raised up these teams and that he has opened the door to the public schools.

I was also glad that Gabi S. came with us to the conference and gained a better understanding of future opportunities in evangelism.

Below: A very cultural 'szalona sütés' (Pig roast-but without the pig) with the teenagers on Friday. We were thankful that God prepared a beautiful day for this Hungarian style barbecue.

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So what's on the spits? That would be 100% lard that is first heated until dripping status, then quickly hovered above a piece of white bread ready to absorb all that heart clogging goodness. Afterwards, just add some tomatoes, onions, paprika and salami-and enjoy! If you're really adventurous, check out this short film that I prepared of the szalona sütés (you can just smell the lard mmmmm).

Below L: Zoli and Gabi S. (both will be attending ESL camp this summer with us). Below R: Some fun in Miki's house after the smokey szalona sütés.

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This Week

As we continue to adjust to life with Kira and the responsibilities of ministry, I have cut back on blogging. I hope to be able to update this blog twice a week, and even more as we have time.

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Kira has been working on strengthening her vocal cords (meaning she cries alot). It could be from unseen pain, maybe stomach pain, maybe she just is frustrated that she can't walk yet-who knows. In any case, we praise God that she is healthy, eating and sleeping well and growing more beautiful each day. Sharon is doing a great job as a mother of 3 lively kids as she finds ways to care for them all.

Below: Andi stops by to visit with her son Milán before going out with church member Csaba to distribute gospel of John booklets throughout Petőfibánya.

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Above: The crazy antics of Zoli and Gabi S.

Tonight, I met with Zoli and Gabi for our discipleship study. I was able to encourage them to look forward to this year's English Camp, not as just a fun time, but an opportunity to use their giftings to help others come to know the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am very excited that some of the teens that will be attending camp from Petőfibánya (Dávid, Zoli, Gabi S., and Ádám) have already placed their faith in Jesus. Instead of being attendees, they will also have the privilege in reaching out to the otherr students in class, bible study time and free time. Please pray that they will catch a vision for evangelism and a desire to use the giftings that God has given to His glory.

It was encouraged when Zoli said to me smiling, "Do you know that this month, I will have known you for a year. I'm really thankful." Zoli often refers to me endearingly as papa. Little does he know the blessing it is for me to be an encourager in his life in this time! I love these guys!

After I meet with Miki tomorrow, I hope to report on how his adult Bible study went.

Below: Our precious ones, Elianna, Benjamin and Kira.

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Amazing Sunday

Below: Péter sharing how God answered his prayer in drawing his brother to come to a church service. We welcomed new visitors tonight from some of the surrounding towns who commuted to our service.

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Just moments after we closed our service by singing the Lord's prayer together, I spotted a young man peering through the doorway and through the crowd that was dispersing toward the refreshments. I could see that Csaba was speaking with this young man and pointing me out from across the room, as well as Miki as church leaders. The young man, Győri made his way to Miki and they started a conversation that quickly led to the gospel. (Győri with Miki below)

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Györi (roughly 20s?) was obviously drunk, but not too 'gone' to carry on a conversation. Minutes later, Györi's friend Robbi made his way in and I pulled up a seat for him. After that, two other 'drinking' buddies made their way in, and we had opportunity to share the gospel to all of them. To be honest, I was surprised how well they payed attention, and how well they were able to interact as we explained God's truth. Church member Csaba told me later that these men were strolling outside with drinks in hand, and jokingly asked, "Can we come in?" When Csaba said, "Sure" they were shocked, expecting swift judgment. Afterwards, they made their way into our church, one by one.

Győri's burden was a desire to know why his mother died when he was four years old. He questioned God's purpose in this and whether God was good or evil. Miki shared many facets of the gospel of grace and highlighted the love of God. After an hour of conversation (when we had to lock up), Győri said he learned alot spiritually and hopes to meet again. I spent most of my time talking with Győri's friend Robbi, who although drunk, was clearly presenting and defending his world view. Robbi obviously has a background as a 'seeker' of truth. He knew alot about Christianity and other world religions. Unfortunately, he is stuck in thinking that all religious paths lead to the same God and he is 'offended' by Christians who say (John 14:6, 1 Tim 2:5), that Christianity is the only true way. Although I was bold with him at times in clearly communicating unique biblical truths, he was not 'put-off' but remained open.

I praise God for bringing these 4 new men into our church tonight, and ask that you would pray that they would be rescued from the bondage to sin and given eyes to see and ears to understand the gospel. Please pray that they would return, and that they would be sober the next time we meet.

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Above: Eszter (holding her daughter above) came to me after service and asked for a Bible. Please pray that starting this week God would reveal Himself through His word to her as she reads at home.

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Andi, (pictured above right center) who we first connected with through our ESL program, attended tonight's service. It was clear to me from a previous conversation that she believes in God, but I am not sure how much of the gospel she understands. After service, we invited people to participate in our continued distribution of gospel of John booklets to the rest of Petőfibánya. Andi volunteered and will join Csaba tomorrow in spreading the gospel through these booklets. Please pray for God's word to impact those who read it, and pray that Andi would gain a full understanding of the gospel and be transformed by God's grace.

Below: Earlier this morning, we traveled to Budapest to our home-away-from-home church "KEGy". Heidi was sent out today with prayer by the elders to serve in the church plant in Petőfibánya. We are thankful for KEGy's support and were encouraged by today's service.

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Prayer request:
• Our Hungarian partner in ministry Janka, has just found out that her sister Nori has a cyst that unexpectedly tripled in size on her face. They will not know until later whether this is dangerous or not. Nori is a teenager and has a developmental disability which puts her mental abilities at around a 12 year old. Janka's greatest desire is that Nori would be saved. Janka's parents are both saved and they have all sought to lead Nori to Jesus, however she has yet to make that personal decision. Please pray for Nori's salvatiion and physical healing!
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This Week

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Above: Benjamin and Elianna at Ben's year end pre-school party on Tuesday. Ben did a great job playing the role of a wolf, singing with the kids and saying different Hungarian verses.

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Above L: Eszter, a member of our church pays a visit and spends some time with Kira. Above R: My 'adopted' kids, Zoli and Dávid.

On Thursday of this week, I was able to meet with Dávid and Zoli at for teen discipleship, while Miki led a small group at his house across town. The goal of his group is evangelistic in nature, while I am seeking to build up the young men who have already made the decision to put their faith in Jesus. I was encouraged to see both Zoli and Dávid being honest from the heart, sharing burdens, fears and also praises. I was also thankful to God that Dávid was able to bring us specific verses from Proverbs that applied to our conversation. Dávid continues to seek to share the gospel among friends who are deep into the occult. Please pray for these men to be protected from the enemy and to grow to understand the depth of God's love and the blessing of knowing Jesus Christ.

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Above: Family pic taken when Zoli was baptized a few months ago. Zoli with mother Ildiko (right), and brother & girlfriend.

Zoli's mother Ildiko has been attending Miki's small group for weeks now. She would rather not come to church, but is open to thursday night fellowship. We have seen her slowly, but continually open up toward the truth of the gospel. It occurred to her in this weeks small group that God is almighty in power, yet He has made a way that we can call Him friend as well as almighty God through Jesus Christ. Please pray that the veil of darkness that continues to blind her from the truth would be lifted and that she would follow the footsteps of her son by putting her faith in Jesus Christ.

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Above: Tonight, we held our weekly sports club in the local middle-school gym. I was glad that Laci was able to make it tonight (he usually works) and stayed for the first time as I shared the gospel. I hope the message brought tonight will cause him to consider Jesus Christ and make a decision either to reject or receive Him.

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I often drive Csaba, Gabi (pictured above right center) and his little brother Bálint home after sports club. Gabi and Bálint were able to stay with us in the car as Csaba and I prayed together. After dropping Csaba off, Gabi asked me, "Could you tell me why it may be that I ask for something in prayer but don't get it?" I was so thankful for this honest question and his obvious humility when asking it. It is so unfortunate that Gabi is not permitted to attend church and to hear God's word answer such questions. However, Gabi is allowed to attend the sports club and through this outreach grow in his faith in Jesus. Praise God!

Answers to prayer:
• Dávid who suffered from a high fever on friday was healed.
• The puppet shows performed by Miki, Janka and Heidi were received with joy and went well.

Requests:
• I sense some of my teammates are feeling the 'burn' of constantly serving. Please pray that they be led into times of rest and be rejuvenated by God's grace.
• We will be holding a Játszóház (children's playhouse) tomorrow. Please pray for Julika and Janka who will be teaching from God's word and also that throught the games, crafts and songs, the children (and hopefully parents) would be blessed!
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