Jun 2009

VBS DAY 6 & SUNDAY

Once again, God began the day by clearing out the morning rain just in time to walk the kids from the local community center to the camp site. Looking back at the week, we see clearly how God used the rain and the sunshine for His good purposes. The rain brought in cooler temperatures that protected us from greater fatigue from heat. It also kept the kids in closer vicinity in the first few days to help them get to know one another and have a better time together as friends throughout the rest of the week.

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Above: With thunderstorms forecast, it was amazing to start our morning under beautiful sunshine.

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Above: Luca joining us in prayer in the beginning of the day.

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Above: We have never had so many parents show up for our Saturday VBS ‘open house’. Dezső led the small group time for parents and was able to share his testimony about his experience God allowing him to lose everything in order that he might seek Jesus and find true life in Him. It was fitting as the Bible study for the kids this day was based on the humbling of Nebuchadnezzar “You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” (Daniel 4:25) The parents were very attentive and a good discussion ensued after the time of testimony. About half of the group has known us from previous camps and from town, but do not attend our church. The other half were new faces. It is already a step in the right direction for them to be sending their children to our VBS where we clearly use the time to teach their kids about God’s word. We hope that the parents will also be drawn to Jesus and begin seeking Him.

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Above: We were encouraged to see Erika return and participate in the small group study. She seems to be under conviction and seeking God. Please pray for her and her husband Tamás (they own a local bar in town) as they continue to spend time with our Hungarian partners in ministry Miki and Erika. Pray for Erika and Tamás’ salvation.

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Above: Dezső’s mother (right) with Julika. Julika who just last year was recovering from major chemo therapy for cancer and then diagnosed with issues with her thyroid gave praise to God for His supernatural provision of strength given to her this whole week. Julika said that she had not spent a full day awake since being sick, but from the first day of camp to the last, she was able to not only to stay awake but serve with us with great joy and strength. Praise God for His provision.

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Above: Kids singing one of their favorite camp songs shoulder to shoulder. It was great to see that most of them (even though they can’t read) were able to memorize the lyrics through the week. The song gives a clear description of God’s clear revelation of His love through sending His only Son Jesus Christ.

We praise God for using this camp to sew seeds of the Gospel. God used it to continue to strengthen relationships with families in the community, to teach children about prayer and to communicate the Gospel. Thank all of you for your participation through prayer!

SUNDAY WORSHIP

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Above: Dezső leading small group prayer time. Praise God that Tamás and his wife Ági attended church tonight. They were very open and honest seeking to respond to the message just preached on forgiveness. Please continue to pray for Tamás who just recently professed faith in Jesus. Pray also for his wife Ági to come to understand the message of salvation and new life found in Jesus.

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Above: Niki with her mother Kati. Praise God that Kati made a profession of faith in Jesus tonight after service! Once her daughter Niki found out, she broke out in tears and embraced her mother. The irony of these events is that Gabi who was the first to profess faith in Jesus (who then brought his sister to church and then his mom) has now drifted and turned away from fellowship. Please pray as this family is under tremendous spiritual attack and temptation. Pray that they would all be strengthened in their faith and grow in maturity.

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Above: A double rainbow appears over Petőfibánya soon after Kati put her faith in Jesus Christ.
Comments

VBS DAY 5

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Above: LIke clock work, God has been rolling back rain when we have our scheduled departure with the kids to walk from the local community center to the camp site in the morning. Last night, there were severe storms in close vicinity to us and we are thankful that there has been no damage to our sizable tents this whole week.

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Above: Dezső and Julika began our day by sharing how other religions use various objects as a means of prayer and pointed out the obvious missing factor of a relationship with God.

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Above: Once again, when it was game time, God pulled back the rain clouds and allowed them to play outside. Just as we were finished and were heading back inside for our late afternoon program, the rain clouds and severe thunder rolled in.

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Above: Dezső and Miki performed a brief skit regarding our lesson on resisting temptation. When Dezső’s new heart that he received from God became marked with sin, he asked the kids, “What should I do?” We were encouraged to hear them shouting out, “You need to pray!” Dezső ends up going to Jesus to ask for forgiveness and his heart is once again cleansed and ready to stand against the enemy.

PRAISES:

• Team continues to serve with joy and love for one another. It is great to see everyone laughing with one another at the end of each day. God has granted unity and strengthened us for this outreach!
• God has truly used the weather for His purpose. We have heard absolutely no complaints about the rain from the kids and most of them have been commenting on how this has been the best camp!
• No major injuries to team or kids (from various activities throughout the day)
• Many kids have gained a clearer understanding of what Jesus taught about prayer in the Bible and the Gospel has been shared each day through various means.
• Kinga’s mom Erika dropped in at the end of the day and stood in the back as we sung our closing songs. She began weeping as she saw the kids arm and arm swaying with one another and singing songs about Jesus. Erika is the parent who showed up one day for Val’s Bible study with her husband Tamás.
• One of the parents from Miki’s group said that her teens come home and share everything that he taught in the day. She was happy that we are providing role models through this camp.
• A local newspaper has asked us to write about our reasons for holding this camp which will give us a good opportunity to introduce ourselves to the community.

PRAYER REQUESTS:


• Tomorrow is obviously one of our most important days when the parents are invited to join us. Please pray that many parents would come and that He would draw them to Himself. Pray that relationships would be built and that there would be opportunity to share the Gospel with them.
• This has been five days of intense ministry and our physical bodies are strained. Please continue to pray for good rest for us tonight and the strength to do all that God has called us to do for tomorrow. Pray also for strength and provision of help for the necessary after camp clean up.
• Continue to pray for the weather that would best suit His purpose. (We would prefer nicer weather as we have games that would work better outside and also Hungarian stew to prepare outside).
• Pray for Dezső and Val who will be leading the small group for parents.
Comments

VBS DAY 4

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Above: Dezső started out the day pointing out various misconceptions about prayer. Some consider prayer to be like waving a magic wand, others consider it like a vending machine where you put something in (religious works, repeating superstitious words) and get exactly what you request.  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:3).

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Above: Dezső sought to correct misconceptions about prayer with various object lessons. He made clear the necessity of approaching God in humility and faith in the fact that God knows what is best to provide for us. Sometimes Jesus says no (like a red light), sometimes he says wait (yellow light) and sometimes He answers with provision of our desired requests immediately (green light). In all cases, His answer is the best answer. We also talked about how Jesus called out to His Father before his impending suffering and death on the cross.

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

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Above: A good sign that some kids really really enjoy camp! Brigi, (pictured above right) continued a project at home that we did early in the day at camp. The next day she brought in various names attributed to God composed of ABC cards. She composed the following names: Provider, Savior, God, Father, Jesus, Forgiver, Lord.

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Above: Erika (far right teaching) reported that the younger children are becoming more engaged with the stories and songs as camp goes by. She was very encouraged that each of the kids was able to recall important details from the teaching when we are together in one large group. She also reported that the kids are able to recite the Bible verses from each day from memory with her just showing the motions related to each part of the verse. Today, when all of the campers were lined up together outside, Erika’s group surprised everyone by performing one of the songs we have been learning acapella.

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Above: Unfortunately, in contrast to the younger children, the small groups with older kids and teens were very difficult for the leaders today. Many in Miki’s group were completely disinterested and disengaged, while some in Laci’s group were repetitively disruptive and hard to keep focused on any line of thought.

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Above: Today’s competion involved various stations the kids visited in groups to solve puzzles and test their knowledge from the various truths taught throughout the week.

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Above: Dezső’s wife Marcsi lead the station where the kids were challenged to recite the verses learned throughout the week. She reported that every group was able to recite them (most without reading the puzzle helps).

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Above: Julika and Val ending the day with an object lesson on the misconception that we should expect God to forgive us (and therefore have peace in our hearts) when we have chosen not to forgive others. With two straws taped together (and one out of the water bottle, the other in) Val attempted to get a sip of water while she was dying of thirst. Of course, no water came up through the straws because one was out of place. Julika told Val that in the same way, we should not expect the peace of God to come to us after asking forgiveness when we continue to hold a grudge and not forgive others. Both work together.

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

PRAISES


• Though it was pouring rain in the morning, as we gathered for our daily devotion and prayer the rain stopped. The forecast showed thunderstorms throughout the day, but God was gracious to give us a day full of sunshine! After our debriefing meeting and everyone returned home, the rain commenced.
• Brigi was moved to do her own project at home thinking about the names of God.
• The youngest children are much more engaged and participating in learning God’s word, and singing from memory (since they can’t read) the songs everyday.
• In the midst of our debriefing meeting that we hold at the end of each day, a large plastic light cover crashed down from the ceiling landing inches away from some of the teens who are serving with us in camp. Praise God for his protection, that no one was hurt and that this didn’t happen in the daytime when the room is usually full of kids (particularly the preschool kids).

PRAYER REQUESTS
• We are nearing the end of VBS and it is clear that fatigue is setting in. Please pray not only for us, but for the kids to be refreshed and strengthened for our day together tomorrow. After the day is over we also have much planning to do together for our final day of camp to which we have invited parents. Pray for wisdom and unity as we work through the details after a long day.
• Please continue to pray for Laci’s small group in particular which has a few kids that are distracting the entire group. Pray also for Miki’s group with teens.
• For continued grace in God’s provision of the right weather for His purposes at camp.
Comments

VBS DAY 3

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Above: Julika and her daughter Mani are responsible for the majority of prep work for curriculum and plans for our camp this year. We praise God for how He has equipped them with various gifts to bless so many children. The materials used in our VBS were designed by Julika in such a way to be usable by other churches throughout Hungary.

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Above: Fruzsi (left) is the one who has been struggling with being at VBS for the past two days. Today, all of that changed! In contrast to the first two days, she didn’t shed a tear and had a complete attitude change. She often sought after her teacher Mani (pictured above) and joyfully shared with her crafts she completed. On her way to work, Fruzsi’s mom stopped by our campsite to see how her daughter was doing. Fruzsi ran up to her, kissed her and ran back to camp without a word. Her mom was in shock, and smiling said to one of the leaders, “What have you done with my daughter. This is not my daughter!” Praise God for helping Fruzsi adjust to being at camp and to find comfort in the relationships He has provided her there through teachers and new friends.

Fruzsi’s mom also shared that her daughter comes home every night and practices the songs we sing in camp with her. Fruzsi wants her mother (who plays guitar) to learn the songs so they can sing them together. What a great way to see God’s truth (through song lyrics) being brought home even after kids return home after the day.

Overall we are hearing many good reports from kids and parents about our VBS. Three of the teens in Miki’s class were sharing how great camp was this year. This was encouraging to hear as it has been raining for the majority of the camp! Another parent mentioned to church member Andi (who is working hard in the kitchen at camp the entire week) how amazing it is that we spend each day with over fifty kids. The parent said that she has trouble handling three. Praise God for the good reputation that He has created for our local church. May it be used for His glory and to draw more people to know His Son Jesus Christ.

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Above: Levi continues to read through the small evangelistic booklet we handed out on the first day. While other kids are coloring and cutting out crafts in free time, you can find Levi pushing through to finish reading stories about Jesus and his disciples. Levi mentioned to Miki today, “I remember some of these things from Bible class!” Levi attended a Bible study that Miki held in Petőfibánya’s local public school over the past few months. It is great to hear that Levi recalls some of the truths that Miki taught in that class.

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Above: Éva (left) with friend Belinda. Belinda is visiting from Australia (from Éva’s home church). Éva drew her way through the story of how God faithfully provided for Elijah.

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I was amazed at how engaged the kids were as Éva slowly revealed various aspects of the story through her drawings.

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Above: After singing and hearing the main teaching as one large group, we break up into our small groups. Erika’s class full of pre-schoolers were able to say today’s Bible verse with the help of various motions.

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Above: Eszti reading Scripture in Miki’s small group. Eszti was one of the few girls that began coming to other ministries we offered after VBS last year. She even visited church a few times. Unfortunately, she stopped attending a few months ago and we hope camp will jump start her heart again to see the joy in seeking and finding the Lord.

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Above: Val helping some kids out with today’s puzzle that involves searching through various clues related to the theme of God as provider.

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Above: One of our free time activities involves the kids building their own tower and climbing to the top of it one crate at a time until the tower falls.

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Above: “Let there be light!” For the first time since camp began, God kept the sun out long enough to provide us with a dry surface to play outside on!

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Above: Ellie rooting for her teammate to sprint back in a relay race.

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Above: Game time is always a blast for the kids and leaders alike.

PRAISES
• God brought out the sun and the kids were able to play outside later in the day.
• Kids are paying attention when we meet as one large group for the main teaching time.
• No major injuries.
• Fruzsi now feels at home at camp. Her mom is hearing the lyrics to the songs we sing.
• God is giving the camp a good reputation in the community.
• Set up and use of all equipment involved in singing and teaching continues to go well.

PRAYER REQUESTS
• Unfortunately, Kinga’s parents Tamás and Erika did not stop by camp today as they did yesterday. Please pray that they may come again and participate in Val’s Bible study again.
• For God to open up more opportunities to share the Gospel in small group times and for wisdom for small group leaders how to best communicate to the various ages represented at this camp.
• For continued unity among our team and peace among the kids at camp (that there would be no cliques developed)
• For Laci’s small group in particular which has a few kids that are distracting the entire group.
• For rest and renewed strength for our team. Most of us were completely exhausted after today.
• For continued grace in God’s provision of the right weather for His purposes at camp.
• For the message of forgiveness to come across clearly in tomorrow’s teaching.
Comments

VBS DAY 2

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Above: Close-up of our “Prayer Museum” mural that frames this year’s stage.

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Above: Rain was coming down this morning and we were thankful for a camper’s parents (Erika and Tamás) offering this tent for us to use.

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Above: Knowing that we would have some parents coming to VBS as well, we designed a small group that teammate Val would lead just for them. Today, Tamás and Erika attended Val’s group! Through the study, Val presented the Gospel, and I was able to tell part of my testimony. Val reports that they were both active in the study. Erika told Val that her daughter Kinga was one of the children who wrote a letter to God yesterday. Erika shared that her daughter asked last night before going to bed how her letter would get to God... Erika said, “You don't have to send it, God already saw what you wrote.” It was great for parents Tamás and Erika to see our camp first hand and also participate in Val's small group. Please pray for their salvation as they will continue to attend Val’s Bible study throughout the week at VBS!

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Above: Julika reviewing some of the teaching about the names of God from yesterday.

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Above: This group is composed of some of the older kids at VBS who are sometimes a challenge (some having rebellious behavior). They picked up on our attitude of peace even though it was raining. We trusted we would still have a good time and the rain gave the kids (who were exhausted from yesterday) a lower key day.

We praise God that there has not been any serious problems with the older kids as we have had in the past. Overall they are doing great and responding well to loving words of correction and discipline when necessary.

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Above: Norbi, Miki and Zoli. I continue to be impressed with Norbi’s servant heart throughout camp. I haven’t heard one complaint from him and always see him smiling or helping kids have a good time. I am thankful for God’s work in his life.

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Miki has the oldest group of kids for his small group. Józsi, seated center above has a younger sister in our camp and decided to come out and help. Józsi first met us in our English Club and this is the first time we have been able to spend extended time with him revealing our faith in Jesus Christ and communicating the truths of the Gospel. Today, Józsi was in Miki's group and was very active in the discussion.

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Above: As you can see, the rain didn’t stop us from having a great day together with the kids. Fruzsi, who had a tough day yesterday, was also in tears again at the beginning of the day. In the afternoon she found a friend (or friends) in the two Australian ladies that are here serving with us in VBS. She spent much of the afternoon dancing and trying to communicate with them.

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Above: Levi submersed himself in a book about Jesus we handed out on the first day of camp. Apparently, he began reading it at home and continued to read it throughout the day at VBS.

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Above: Our little Kira drawing a little audience at camp.

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Above: In the midst of our singing time, the kids requested one of the hits from last year that highlights God’s amazing love for us proven through the sending of His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross. This really brought unity to the kids as they swayed shoulder to shoulder with many singing at the top of their lungs. We saw a drastic change today as well with the new songs we introduced yesterday. Today, the kids have a grasp on the lyrics and even the older kids (who are sometimes tough to draw in) joined in to sing.

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Above: What would camp be without Allen doing some kind of break dancing? Actually, this was for a skit with a robot not understanding the meaning of love.

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Above: We found this card addressed to God today in our camp mailbox. This one says, “I love you God.”

PRAISES

• Rain was a blessing as it helped the kids take it more easy today after being exhausted from yesterday. This also helped build relationships as the kids were in closer quarters and not scattered outside for activity time.
• Parents Tamás and Erika provided a tent for our VBS, came to Val’s Bible Study and heard the gospel message.
• No injuries, in the midst of various activities and games.
• Kids have been able to learn key truths about God and prayer from His word.
• The entire team is now healthy (Dezső told me that by the end of the day he was feeling better).
• God has helped us in the midst of being tired to continue to serve one another and remain unified in Him.
• Fruzsi who was in tears in the morning was laughing by the end of the day and was sad to have to go home.
• All audio visual equipment has worked flawlessly.
• Praise Him for the many volunteer family members, church members and neighbors who are serving in various ways to carry out this VBS.
• Kids have quickly settled into camp heartily singing, bonding with other campers and teachers.
• Behavior of some of the past problematic kids has not been an issue.

PRAYER REQUESTS

Please pray for Val, Julika, Dávid and Mani who traveled back to Budapest to stay in their own houses tonight and will be returning to camp early tomorrow morning.
• Please continue to pray for our team to get the rest we need tonight to serve with refreshed strength tomorrow.
• Pray for parents Tamás and Erika to continue to attend Val’s studies. Pray for them to come to understand the message of the Gospel of grace and to turn to Jesus for salvation.
• Continue to pray for God to provide the best weather for what He wants to accomplish at camp.
• One of the kids could not come to camp today because of sickness. Please pray for healing.
• Pray for the Józsi (young man who came out to help) and for Miki’s small group of older teens to be drawn to God.

Thank you for continuing to follow what is happening and lifting these requests up to our almighty Father! Lord willing I will continue to provide daily updates throughout VBS.
Comments

VBS DAY 1

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Above: Registration went well with no problems. There was heavy overcast but just a little drizzle as the kids walked to the campsite from the local community center where we will meet everyday. In the neighboring town of Hatvan, it rained the entire day. Here it spritzed off and on, but did not cause any problems with teaching, games and free time we had planned for the day. Praise God!

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Above: Our theme for our VBS is a Prayer Museum where the curator interacts with various visitors teaching them about God and prayer. Today we taught the children about the various names of God.

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Above: Niki and Norbi helping the kids learn the lyrics and motions to the songs. Teenager Norbi was able to give his testimony in the small group to the younger teens. It is great to see how thankful he is of God’s grace in his life and how willing he is to tell others.

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Above: Val teaching on Moses meeting God at the burning bush.

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Above: Behind the scenes hard work in the kitchen to feed over 50 kids grumbling stomachs.

The schedule from teaching to feeding the kids, to transitions to game time went really well. We have a higher number of younger kids this year, and we were thankful for their ability to pay attention for long periods of time. One of the kids in camp is known for his bad behavior in pre-school and there were those that recommended that he not attend. Today, we saw God at work as this child posed no problems through the whole day and had a great time in small group. Praise God!

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Above: Game time!

There is a portion of the day where kids are able to choose from various activities to participate in like soccer, tree climbing, frisbee etc. Because our camp is focused on teaching about prayer, we have also included a place where kids can write out prayers to God. One little girl wrote this prayer request: “Please help my mom and dad so that they wouldn't fight anymore.”

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Above: Brigitta also used the free activity time to write this letter to God:

Dear God, thank you for taking care of us. And thanks for this camp where I feel great. At camp and in our small groups we always learn about you. I always come to these camps and I wanted to thank you for making this camp happen. We laugh a lot here and I also thank you for that. Thanks for everything and thanks for dying for us. Thank you. Brigitta!!!! Thank you!!

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Above: God causing the sun to make its way through the clouds toward the end of the day.

Out of the 60 kids, I only saw one with tears (Fruzsi) who seemed to be having a difficult time adjusting to the new environment. The rest of the kids seemed to enjoy themselves with a number of them already used to the schedule from their experience attending our VBS for the past few years.

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PRAISES
• Registration went well without problems.
• Weather did not distract from teaching and activities planned for the day. The sun even came out later in the afternoon!
• No first day emergencies or high friction situations! God maintained the unity and love among the large team serving in VBS.
• Rowdy kids were not so rowdy.
• Kids are learning about prayer and some wrote prayers to God today.
• Good connections already being established between teachers and kids.

PRAYER REQUESTS

• Dezső still has a sore throat and isn’t feeling 100%. He did a great job serving the entire day with the strength God provided. Please continue to pray for his complete healing!
• Please pray for a few kids who are having a harder time ‘fitting in’. Some came without friends and don’t have that instant support and comfort the others have.
• Please pray for some of the older kids who were having a tough time in small group time paying attention and had trouble paying attention in the longer teaching times.
• Please continue to pray that God would give us the weather best suited to fulfill His purpose for these kids in VBS. (rain is still forecast throughout the week).
• Pray that the kids would be able to understand God’s truth we bring to them from His Word.
• Today (even though it was the first) was LONG. Please pray for the entire team to get a good night’s rest and feel refreshed for a new day of outreach!
Comments

VBS BEGINS TOMORROW!

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Above: Norbi’s mother Kati (black jacket) joined us today to help with cleaning and prep for VBS tomorrow. Norbi put his faith in Jesus just a few weeks ago and we are thankful for his mother’s willingness to see what his new group of friends are all about. We are thankful that she was able to witness a morning devotion, prayer together and our joy as we worked together to prep for tomorrow’s camp.

As we arrived on the camp site, the sky was covered with clouds and it was raining. Yesterday, looking at the 5 day weather forecast, revealed rain rain and more rain. This morning in prayer, we asked Jesus to provide the conditions we needed to finish preparing and He was gracious to stop the rain in area THE WHOLE DAY!

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Above: How many men does it take to install a temporary fence?

SUNDAY WORSHIP

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Above: Hugi and Lidia did a great job singing without their mentor Brenda who is back in the US for a short time. Hugi was sure to pray for Brenda in service and in tears gave thanks to God for helping her get home safely.

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Above: Andi (right) speeking with Teenager Zoli’s mother Ildikó, and grandmother Magdi (who brought her neighbor for the second week in a row).

After service, teenager Norbi approached and asked, “How can I give thanks to God for allowing me to know Him and be part of His people?” I encouraged Him to rejoice in the love of God that is already fully given to him through Jesus Christ, and to be thankful through following and trusting Him. Praise God for continuing to transform this young man!

FAMILY NEWS

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Above: Ben marching to his school’s outdoor stage where they celebrated students’ end of year achievements.

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Above: Elianna lighting up the place with her smile.

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Above: Cute Kira.

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Above: Sharon keeping the girls entertained while various speeches are given.

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Above: Ben ended up finishing top in his class and was awarded a special certificate (along with another girl). At first glance, the words on the certificate looked like ‘Disco Letter’, so Ben got a kick out of that. We are proud of our son for working hard and doing a good job with the brain God has given to him. It’s a bit embarrassing when he corrects me with pronunciation of various words in Hungarian and yes, even in English. Go Ben!

PRAISES

• Those who traveled here to serve in VBS arrived safely.
• God held the rain back and gave us strength and wisdom to finish preparations today!
• God provided plenty of help for the final day of preparations.
• The curriculum was finished by Julika and the team has a clear plan of teaching and activities.

PLEASE PRAY

• Dezső who plays a lead part in teaching every day and playing in the worship group had a very high fever yesterday and today. Please pray for healing and for God to give the entire team (and the kids) health throughout the week.
• As I mentioned, the weather forecast looks very bleak. Please pray that God would provide the weather that best suits His purpose to reveal His Son to these children.
• FIRST DAY chaos! Close to sixty kids will be coming to register and the first day is usually the most difficult for the team. Please pray for wisdom, and for guidance as we seek to build a foundation of truth, of trust and of fun this first day.
• Rowdy kids. Miki is familiar with many of the kids who will be attending (since they attended his Bible study in the local public school). He asks that we pray for the rowdy ones (there are many) to be able to behave, learn and enjoy themselves there. Pray that the enemy would have no means to distract these kids from God’s message to them.
• Kids would connect with one another and their teachers in their small groups.

Thank you for being a part of this ministry through prayer!
Comments

WEEKLY UPDATE

WE’RE EXPECTING!

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Above: We rejoice in the life God has given to our new child who is just 10 weeks old. It is always an amazing sight to see a baby’s heart beating for the first time through ultra sound. Sharon has gotten through the first 10 weeks without severe morning sickness. Please pray for her and for our new child!

VBS JUST DAYS AWAY!

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Above: Moving a recently cut trunk off the main site for our VBS this year. With it’s weight surely close to a half a ton, it took some ingenuity to get it rotated to be pushed in the right direction. Praise God for giving us wisdom in putting it just where we wanted it without anyone getting run over.

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Above: We spent most of our week preparing for various aspects of VBS. We are thankful for those who came out to cut, chop, rake, and remove dangerous remnants from this year’s VBS site.

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Above: Even Timi (far left) from our English Bible Study came out to help in the 90 degree weather!

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Above: Ildikó and Hugi getting ready to practice our special puppet show that we will present at the end of our VBS.

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Above: Dezső (bass) and Miki (guitar) leading us through new songs we will be singing at VBS.

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Above: Teenagers Niki and Norbi practicing motions for songs in this year’s VBS. Norbi made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ last week and has been pouring himself out in helping us throughout this entire week. He has helped clean up the camp site, practiced motions to all the songs for camp and has just been an all around blessing. Norbi was sharing with me how an old friend began to ridicule him online while they were chatting saying, “I can’t believe you are hanging out with ‘them’ now.” Norbi’s old circle of friends that he has broken away from after choosing to follow Jesus are into a lot of pretty bad stuff. Norbi responded, “I’ve chosen to follow the Lord and it doesn’t make a difference what you think. I have a whole new family.” His friend asked, “Who?” Norbi resonded, “The Church”. Norbi proceeded to warn his friend that the path he continued on would lead to prison. Norbi said that in his new life, he is no longer sitting around wasting his life doing terrible things but enjoys being involved in God’s work. It is very encouraging to see more evidence of God’s Holy Spirit doing a work in Norbi’s heart of transformation. Please pray for continued steady growth in His faith and a deep hunger to know and live out God’s word.

KIRA

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Above: Tonight, while Ben and Elianna were running around like wild animals smacking each other with balloons, Kira came close to me and said, “Daddy, I’m going to pray for Mr. Miska... O.K?” She proceeded to fold her hands together, lower herself to her knees and bow down and began praying. Miska is a neighbor who is very advanced in years and does not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. These kind of moments are just priceless.

PRAISES:

- Unity on the team and volunteers that truly serve with joyful hearts unto the Lord.
- Sunshine for the days we had to clean up the site.
- Less work compared to past years in preparing the grounds for VBS.
- Over 50 kids registered and ready to come on Monday!

VBS PRAYER REQUESTS:

- Please pray that God would give us healthy bodies to serve next week (Dezső and Hugi are feeling a bit under the weather.)
- Pray that those serving would have peaceful nights of rest and feel refreshed each morning.
- The first day (Monday) is always tough with registration, and putting into action what we have been preparing so long. Please pray for wisdom!
- Pray for God to bless us with weather that allows the kids to be outside the various times we have planned (the building we are in is not big and can get cramped when it rains)
-Pray that children may gain an understanding of the true God and His Son Jesus Christ through this year’s VBS and not be deceived by the lies they hear in their culture and through media.
-Pray that children (over 50 kids) and parents may be saved.
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REJOICE WITH US!

NORBI PUT HIS FAITH IN JESUS TONIGHT

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Norbi had already attended a study at Miki's house on Tuesday, and was with me on Wednesday night where we were able to share the Gospel with him. We challenged Norbi to count the cost before making this commitment of faith in Jesus. Tonight after worship service, Norbi asked again for clarification about the meaning of repentance, belief in Jesus and baptism. Dezső and I sat with Norbi and it became clear that he was ready to believe. Teenager Niki who has attended our church for over a year (and is herself close to a decision) also witnessed our discussion with Norbi and finally, Norbi’s prayer putting his trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior of his life.

TAMÁS PUT HIS FAITH IN JESUS

In our last blog entry below, we mentioned a turning point for married couple Tamás and Ági. They have been faithful to continue meeting with Dezső and attended small group and church. Tamás, earlier in the week met with Dezső for more Bible study and counseling. Tamás began asking, "So how can I be saved?" "When can I be saved?" Dezső shared the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. He said, you can be saved anytime as long as you understand the Gospel and are willing to repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Apparently, the Spirit had already been at work in Tamás and he was ready to put his faith in Jesus.

Tamás and Ági have already registered to go to the Christian recovery center, and we hope that Ági will also come to put her trust in Jesus in that time.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”—John 3:8

I am amazed with how the Holy Spirit over these past two weeks has been at work! Three weeks ago, there was no Norbi in our midst and there was no Tamás. Through a series of sovereignly planned events, God drew these two men to encounter His Son Jesus Christ. We praise Him for His gracious work to bring about new birth in their lives! Please pray for Norbi and Tamás and praise God for His work to save them!

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Above: Church members Norbi and Lidia outside before church service. With just ten minutes before we planned to begin service, Miki commented that it didn’t look like we would have many people tonight. Then with just a few minutes before service, people began streaming in! Teenager Zoli’s mother Ildiko and grandmother Magdi came once again. And this time Magdi brought a neighbor with her to church!

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Above: Eszti, Erika and Anita.

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Above: A little laughter together as church member Hugi’s mother (yellow shirt) arrives as a visitor for the third week in a row. Praise God for drawing so many back to service to hear more about Jesus Christ!

RANDOM FAMILY SHOTS

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Above: One of Elianna’s special cards (this one to Ben) that she often makes in her spare time as creative gifts.

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Above: Kira responding to a STAT call in her pretend hospital.

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Above: Our firstborn Ben, just growing up too fast.
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Weekly Update

BRIGHT RAYS OF HOPE

God is always at work, but there are times when this is more apparent than others. This past week has been full of very visible works that have stirred up praise and thanksgiving in our hearts.

First there is the story of Dezső bringing sad news in our weekly team meeting. A couple who lives on the same street as Dezső were having serious marital problems. This couple once visited our English Club and even our marriage class many months ago, but did not return. It was Dezső's desire to reach out to them as it was apparent at that time that the husband also struggled with alcoholism as Dezső once did. Now months later, Dezső shared in the meeting that the husband fell back into alcoholism and was looking for permission to sleep outside in Dezső's yard. Dezső's wife Marcsi reached out to the wife who shared her hopeless situation and said she was leaning toward divorce. We took this to the Lord in our meeting and recognized that this low point could be just the opportunity for God to reveal His grace, His power to save and His love for Tamás and Ági.

Dezső had an opportunity to meet with the wife and shared his testimony of how God saved him from a destructive life of alcoholism. He encouraged her that there was hope in God and He has proven His power in his own life. Dezső encouraged her not to follow the examples or advice of those who readily approve of divorce. He then set up a meeting at his house where both Tamás and Ági could meet. While that conversation was going on, Tamás was in Budapest (being kicked out of the house) totally hopeless. Tamás turned to God in prayer saying the only thing he knew as a child ... the Lord's Prayer. Immediately after that, Tamás received an sms from Ági saying "Come back home, Dezső says he can help."

Dezső has met with both of them mulitple times this past week, and shared his testimony with them. By God's grace, Dezső has been used to bring them into a process of reconciliation and helped them to begin seeking a life of freedom found in Jesus Christ. They have agreed to attend a Christian recovery center together (Ági playing a supportive role there). They also agreed to attend a Bible Study with Dezső and Marcsi, and even came to church on Sunday!

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Above: Tamás (yellow checkered shirt) and his wife Ági (in black) responded to Dezső’s invitation to attend our church on Sunday.

Dezső has been very clear that without fellowship, without support and accountability from those who love them there will be no progress. Praise God for this amazing work He is doing in Tamás and Ági's life and for helping Dezső know how best to minister to them. Please pray for Tamás' full recovery and for both of them to put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

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Above: Church member Hugi’s mother Érzsi (in light green) attended our church for the second Sunday in a row. When I introduced her in service, I used the form of her name that only family uses (similar to a lovable nick name), to which she got a kick out of. Hugi was overjoyed that her mother seems to becoming more open to learning more about God and spending time in our fellowship.

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Above: Baby dedication. Church member Eszti with her newborn daughter Eliána. “I prayed for this boy, and the LORD has given me the request that I asked of him. Now I dedicate him to the LORD. From this time on he is dedicated to the LORD. Then they worshiped the LORD there.” — 1 Samuel 1:27-28

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Above: Our Kira and Eszt’s Alina singing after worship service was over.

A TEEN TURNING BACK

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Above: Teenager Norbi attended our worship service Sunday.

As I reported last week, we held our first hike of the summer for teens and young adults. It turned out that we had ages all over the spectrum join us. See short film below...



God was clearly at work in our discussion time around the campfire. Teenager Norbi who reconnected with us that night came to church tonight. What is amazing is that he has no other friends that come to church. He has no family there. He came according to his own desire, by himself. For a 17 year old in a small town, this takes true resolve and is a sign that God, the Holy Spirit is drawing him to Himself. “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” — John 16:8

After service, Norbi shared with me how he has had it with drinking and partying. He said for a long time he had a terrible relationship with his mother and it was his fault. It was clear that God was softening his spirit. I told him that it is good for us to see clearly the error of our ways and come humbly to God. This is exactly where our hearts need to be to understand the fullness of His love, His forgiveness and receive the new life in Christ that He offers freely to those who believe in Him.

Later in the week, Norbi expressed his desire to be baptized. Miki and Allen have spent significant time in two different studies explaining the Gospel to Norbi. Please pray for Norbi to come to a complete understanding of the the personal decision that remains for him to make. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.” — Mark 8:35

ENGLISH BIBLE STUDY

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Klári, Edina and Timi continue to attend our Wednesday English Bible Study. We sense that all of them are much closer to making personal decisions to put their faith in Jesus Christ. Please pray for Tünde, Klári, Edina and Timi as our Bible study is getting closer to the concluding challenge to weigh all we have learned about Jesus and personally decide what we will believe.

VBS JUST A WEEK AWAY!

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Next week will be the final week of preparation for our VBS. We already have over 50 kids signed up from Petőfibánya and a few surrounding villages. Please pray for us (and especially Julika) as we finish all the prep work involved in presenting five days of Gospel centered teaching to these kids.

RANDOM FAMILY SHOTS

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Above: Dad and Elianna going through the first steps of riding a bike. Kira was content skipping behind us.

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Above: Elianna taking the pits out of a boatload of cherries. The cherries are ripe for pickn’ here in Hungary where practically every house comes with a cherry tree. People are bringing them by the bucket load to our house as gifts and Sharon is finding creative ways to use them.
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TWO WEEK UPDATE

Summer is a full time here, and the blog has dropped down on the priority list. However, it is still my goal to update weekly to keep you all informed with the latest ministry and family news and prayer requests.


TUESDAY EVANGELISTIC BIBLE STUDY

For the past few months, Miki has been holding an evangelistic study at his house. Over a year ago, he held a similar study which lead to a few people making a decision to trust in Jesus. However, these found it hard to transition from attending the study to having fellowship with us on Sundays at church. They soon drifted from fellowship. After Miki restarted the study, they began attending again, and we praise God that a few of them are showing signs of healthy growth. One woman who found it hard to read the Bible is now reading it every day. Teenager Zoli’s mother Ildikó and grandmother Magdi have now begun attending church as a result of this study.


WEDNESDAY ENGLISH BIBLE STUDY

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Two weeks ago, we talked about how Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the passover Lamb. “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14) Since we have been going through the entire Bible highlighting major themes, the concept of sacrifice for sins in the Old Testament is understandable to them.

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Above: Student Timi holding Roger and Heidi’s new child, Emily.

Last week I forgot to send an email to Klári indicating that we would have English Bible study. We ran into Klári while we were serving in a neighboring town for Children's Day (see below). Klári was upset that she missed the study and shared how terribly sad she became when she considered the thought that we might not have any more class for the summer. I reassured her we intended to keep meeting throughout the summer which lifted her spirits. It is clear that Edina, Timi, Tünde and Klári see this fellowship as a highlight in their week.



Above: Please pray for Tünde, Klári, Edina and Timi who continue to attend English Bible study and are very open to the Gospel.

In this week’s study, we read about Jesus on trial before religious leaders and also before Pilate. I highlighted the utter irony that Jesus, the judge of heaven and earth willingly entered the world's courtroom and willingly allowed sinful man to judge Him. Was He the Son of God? Although this judgment was made thousands of years ago to put Jesus to death, to reject His claims, we are responsible to make a personal decision. Do we agree with the sentence given at that time and also reject Jesus, or do we say, "Jesus, I deserve to be judged, You are truly the Son of God. Have mercy on me and save me!" Following the theme of the courtroom, I explained the three possibilities regarding the claims of Jesus Christ. He was either a liar, a lunatic or the Lord. We also discussed how indifference was a decision in itself, putting Jesus in the category of liar or lunatic. I challenged each of them to consider what they would do with Jesus.

FRIDAY CHILDREN’S DAY (2 weeks ago)

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Above: Kira (above right) showing off her daddy’s butterfly handywork. Our first stop in the day was our daughter Elianna’s preschool. Miki and Erika have been holding a weekly Bible class in this preschool and we have good relationships with the teachers.

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Above: Elianna and Kira.

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Above: Erika (yellow shirt) leading game time with the kids. We were thankful that English Bible Students Timi and Edina responded to an invite to come out and help in this Children’s Day Community Event.

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Above: Church member Hugi readying herself to distribute VBS invites to familes who gather around our face painting and craft table a neighboring village’s Children’s Day that we attended later in the day.

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Above: We ran into a lot of kids who came to our VBS last year and will be attending again.

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Above: Ildikó, who attends our church also came out to help with children’s crafts.

FRIDAY NIGHT TEEN HIKE

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Last year, we found that night hikes helped us pull lots of teens off the streets and gave us quality time with them. It is clear that most of these teens lack male role models in their lives. Most of them have distorted pictures of what a father is because of many past hurts, and the teen boys have no idea what God's idea of a man is. God brought around 25 people together including a few parents and a grandparent! We were also very happy to see Timi (from our English Bible Study) come out.

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Above: Teenager Norbi, who hasn’t attended recent outreaches, came out to help tonight. After collecting fire wood, we split up into teams for games. These games are designed so that the young and old work together, and they seemed to have a great time.

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Above: After game time, we settle around the camp fire and I introduced the American custom of Smores. This is very different from roasting fat and dripping it on bread, which is the custom of Hungarians around camp fires. The marshmallows were a hit.

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Our last plan for the evening was a time of discussion. We brought two questions that we hoped would draw them out and lead to an opportunity to talk about Jesus. God blessed the discussion time as each responded to the second question: Have you had a personal experience where you recognized God was at work in your life? Practically each person (except the little kids) gave a unique answer which recognized that He was at work in a specific way in their lives. This question also gave Hugi, Miki, Dezső and myself opportunity to briefly share our testimony of how Jesus saved us.

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I ended the night asking them not to ignore God's reaching out to them, and to respond by seeking after Jesus. After closing in prayer, we also invited them to our worship service on Sunday which will be at Miki's house. It is our hope that some of them will be moved to attend to find out more.

FAMILY DAY/SUNDAY CHURCH

Last Sunday, we had a combined family day and worship service at Miki’s house. We praise God that all four English Bible Students attended! This was the first time Klári, Timi and Edina attended worship service. Timi and Edina stayed well into the evening playing games and participating in more serious discussions. Some questions that arose regarded life decisions, how to determine God’s will and questions about church member’s testimonies.

MONDAY VBS PREPARATION

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Above: Dezső, Ildikó, Julika and MIki coming together to record the dialogue for an upcoming puppet show we will present in our VBS. Much of this month will be focused on making final preparations for our VBS which will be held June 22-27. Please pray that we could finish all preparations and that this VBS would be used to draw many to put their faith in Jesus.

FUN FAMILY SHOTS

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