Mar 2011

WEEKLY UPDATE

HERÉD

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Above:
A view from the front of the community center in Heréd.

On Saturday night, 10 members from our church journeyed once again to the town of Heréd where we were invited to teach on the topic of "Family and faith". I was encouraged to see more church members taking on more responsibility in what we hope is the very beginning stages of a church plant in Heréd.

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Above: Teens Niki, Roland and Győző came out to serve with us.

Part of our group split off to care for the children while another group lead by Dezső presented teaching for parents. Marcsi (Mar-chee), who initiated contact with us and does all the work in organizing these events was disappointed with the turn out. We encouraged her, saying that we believed that those who needed to be there this night showed up. In the end, there were three parents (including Marcsi) and a lot more kids.

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Dezső did an excellent job helping the group to see the root cause of the failures in family. We praise God for the open and honest discussion and for Dezső's clear communication of the Gospel towards the end of our discussion time. Dezső brought their attention to Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Dezső said, "God doesn't say, first clean up your act and once you are righteous then you can come back to me. He instead says, all of your unfaithfulness and sin have fallen on my Son, and He has died to pay for them all. Therefore, come to me."

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After hearing this Marcsi (above center) said, "I have never heard this from anyone. Instead, we hear all the time, 'Change your life and then you can approach God.'"
Another mother who attended shared that she is an atheist. She shared some horrible stories of her encounters with religion. I challenged her to not reject Jesus so quickly based on her experiences with false teachers but to go directly to the source and examine Jesus' life.

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Above: Part of Dezső’s teaching included John 3:16.

Before we traveled to Heréd, everyone met at our house for prayer. I read from 1 Cor 2:4-5: "My speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." I encouraged our team to pray for a demonstration of the Spirit and not to rely on worldly arguments, but to simply present the Gospel of Jesus Christ with dependence on God.

On Sunday, we received an email from Marcsi: "Last night touched me deeply in my spirit. My thoughts and feelings are being stirred within me through everything that you share and it isn't as if you are using big words, or some kind of new language, or saying new things…Thank you for the light you bring, the brighter it shines, the warmer my spirit."

Praise God for the demonstration of the Spirit working in Marcsi's life. We pray that the faith that is growing in her would not rest on us, but in the power of God. Thank you all for praying for this outreach in Heréd.

THURSDAY NIGHT TEEN MENTORING

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Above: A blast from the past. Gabi (above center) who moved out of Petőfibánya years ago stopped in to visit our mentoring meeting on Thursday night. We were thankful that he could also hear the teaching on treasuring Jesus Christ above all else in our lives and examining where our passions are directing us.

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Above: Niki usually drops by weekly to talk about life and pray with Sharon.

FRIDAY VOLLEYBALL


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Above: Dia five years ago (at a children’s outreach) and Dia (directly above now a teen) coming to volleyball on Friday nights. Dia has drifted away from having fellowship with us over the past few years, but has returned just a few weeks ago attending our Friday night volleyball. Praise God for bringing her back and allowing us to have an influence on her at such an important stage of life.

FAMILY SHOTS

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Above: Ellie peering through Sharon’s tulips.

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Above: Open house at Ben’s school.

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Above: Kira sharing her beautiful smile.

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Above: Required family checkup last week in preparation for our upcoming furlough.

PRAISES

• God continues to do a mighty work in the heart of Marcsi in Heréd. Praise Him for continuing to present opportunities for us to share the gospel in that town to parents and children!
• Through generous supporters, God provided the money we needed for 1,800 evangelistic packets for this years Easter Puppet Outreach!
• The dreaded dark of winter here is being replaced by the light of spring!

PRAYER REQUESTS

• Please pray for teenager Gyula who is attending our foundations of faith/baptism class. He is being tested in his faith and needs prayer.
• Please pray for Marcsi in Heréd. God is obviously doing something in her life. Pray also for the atheist woman who attended to not reject God because of a distorted and inaccurate picture of who He is. Pray that God in His love and mercy would draw them to Himself.
• Throughout this week we will begin our puppet practice for this year’s Easter outreach. Please pray for our team as we prepare.
• Ben came down with a fever on Sunday, please pray for healing.
• Please pray for us as we prepare for furlough.
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WEEKLY UPDATE

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Above: The Fülöp family, Hungarian partners in ministry. L to R: Anna, Erika, Miki and Bence. We joined this family eight years ago when we moved to Petőfibánya and are very thankful for their friendship and commitment to Jesus Christ. Over the past eight years our team has grown to include the Szabó family, Brenda Herhei (from our home church) and most recently the Woo family (missionaries with PI). We praise God for the unity He has formed on this team and for his grace in bringing us all together for the purpose of church planting in Hungary.

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Above: Last week, we joined the Fülöp family on a field trip to Hungarian’s National History Museum. Many people were traveling on that day as March 15 is a national Hungarian holiday commemorating the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.



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SATURDAY NIGHT

Over the past two Saturdays, we have had informal get togethers with two families that we continue to build relationships with in the community.

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We began running into these families at preschool when picking up our kids, then they attended our VBS and now they are regulars when we play volley ball on friday nights. One of the games we played together is designed to move groups into deeper conversations. God used both Saturdays to discuss some serious subjects and allowed us to give testimony about our faith in Jesus and how that relates to everyday life and understanding of the world we live in.

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Above:
Jennifer and Sanyi.

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Above: Timi and János.

Both husbands, János and Sanyi work out of country which is common in Hungary as it is getting harder to find local work. This means they are only home on weekends which gave us greater reason to be thankful that they would choose to spend that time together with us.

FRIDAY VOLLEYBALL

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Above: Volleyball continues to be a good way to connect with others in the community. We had a few new people show up this week and they expressed their desire to return. May the Lord continue to use this as a bridge to draw people to Himself as we spend more time in community with them.

SOCCER IN JASZFÉNYSZARU

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Above: I continue to join men from Lőrinci and Jaszfényszaru for soccer once a week. Church member Peti invited me into this group and it is our hope that this will also lead to opportunity to share the gospel. Krisztian is one of the teens that I take in my car every week from Lőrinci. He sits quietly in the back and listens in on conversations with Peti’s brother Mark who also travels with me. God has been gracious to lead our conversation to spiritual things often.

SUNDAY CHURCH
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Above: Dezső talking with János (a new regular visitor) after service.

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Above: Church member Ági bringing her newborn baby Peti to service on Sunday. Over the past few months Ági has been in and out of the hospital because of this pregnancy and we praise God for His protection.

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Above: Regular attenders from Jászfényszaru, Levente and Józsi (brothers).

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Above: Church member Eszti who already sings on our worship team is now beginning to play piano for the first time. She has been practicing for less than a year and is doing a great job.

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Above: Teenager Niki has been learning to play the Cajon (drum) along with our worship team. She continues to meet with Sharon, attends our Thursday night teen mentoring meeting and is truly growing in her faith in Jesus.

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Above: Gyula who recently confessed faith in Jesus Christ has been regularly attending baptism/foundations of faith class every Sunday.

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Above: One of seventeen kids that attended church on Sunday (a record!) We may need to find another meeting place at this pace.

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Above:
Church member Marika talking with some of the newer attenders from Jászfényszaru.

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Above: A picture of God’s gracious work!
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WEEKLY UPDATE

BEN

After struggling with a series of sicknesses, Ben seemed to be doing better and even returned to school last week. However, last Tuesday night at 2:00 in the morning he awoke with severe pain in his lower back and his breathing was abnormal. After waiting it out, the pain did not subside and after calling our family doctor we headed to an emergency room in Budapest.

Praise God that Ben was able to sleep on the way over to the hospital. This was my first time going to this hospital and after stopping and speaking with various attendants at four different locations at the hospital complex, we found the emergency room.

The doctor on call examined Ben’s stomach and appendix and determined that this was a respiratory problem and sent us to pediatric care. After a blood test, a chest x-ray and further examination the doctors determined that Ben had an early stage of pneumonia. Although this is a serious sickness, we praise God that it wasn’t what we first suspected (which would have required surgery). We appreciate all of your prayers and support through this time when we were in the hospital.

We roomed with a mother of two year old twins. It turned out that this mother was an english teacher (God is sovereign). We had brief conversations over the two days we were together, but nothing spiritual. Before leaving, I asked if I could pray for her daughter Tamara. She agreed. Afterwards, I gave her a tract and information about our English Camps. I have no idea what will happen with these seeds. May God be gracious to her family and reveal Himself to each of them.

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Above: Ben qualified to represent his school in a Hungarian grammar competition held in Gyöngyös today. After the competition, we headed to the doctors for a follow up visit. Ben will continue to take antibiotics this week and is recovering well.

JÁSZFÉNYSZARU

As most of you know, we have a new relationship with some Christians from Jászfényszaru (20 minute drive from Petőfibánya) who have begun commuting to our church on Sundays. János is an evangelist who lives in that area and has begun meeting with Miki in a mentor relationship.

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Above: Jászfényszaru. We are excited about the prospects of a future church plant in this area and how God might use us to encourage and support that work.

FRIDAY VOLLEYBALL

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SATURDAY SOCCER

I have joined some men in Jászfényszaru over the past few weeks to play soccer on Saturdays. The majority of these men do not know Jesus and this is a great opportunity to get to know them and look for open doors to share God’s good news.

Since this town is a twenty minute drive, I have ample opportunity to talk to Peti’s brother Márk who has visited our church in the past and has seen the changes in his brother Peti’s life since coming to put his faith in Jesus. We have discussed issues such as anxiety in life, fear and depression. I shared my own struggles with spiritual suffering and how Jesus has changed my life. I was also able to share that medications for such things (in most cases) only deal with the symptom to spiritual problems, but never heal the root cause. I challenged Márk to consider looking for healing for the root of the problem of living in fear and anxiety.

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As I met the guys I would be playing with in Jászfényszaru, one of the men looked familiar. It turns out that when he was a teen, he used to attend our soccer outreach years ago in Petőfibánya. From what I remember, this is one of the teens who was the wildest, even sneaking in alcohol on one occasion. Now he is 20 years old and has two kids and lives in Jászfényszaru. He works with church member Peti and I can’t help but see God’s love chasing after this fallen man. It is our hope that as summer approaches, we will be able to organize family outings and get to know entire families in this town. May the Lord open up doors with each of these men, that they may come to know Jesus Christ.

As I rotated out of one soccer match, breathing fast and feeling my age I began to recount the many ways Jesus has graciously brought healing to my physical body. He healed me from asthma, so that I no longer have attacks when I run. He healed me from seasonal allergies that truly made life horrible in the summer. He healed me from my bought with GERD where I had a restricted diet, stomach pain and difficulty breathing normally every night. Now I’m back to eating a normal diet, can enjoy spicy foods and have no more pain in my stomach. God has been gracious to me, truly gracious.

SUNDAY WORSHIP

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It is so encouraging when we see evidence of the Holy Spirit at work. Péter who preached on Sunday gave a message on the changes in the apostle Peter’s life, comparing and contrasting who he was in his early years and how he was transformed through knowing Jesus and the Spirit’s sanctifying work.

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Before this message, Niki (above) came to talk with Sharon about challenges in her faith. After service, she nudged Sharon and said, “That was pretty clear wasn’t it”. In other words, Péter who had no knowledge of what was happening in Niki’s life seemed to be speaking directly to her.

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Above: Gyula with his father Gyula.

Gyula also approached me after service and shared how the message encouraged him to continue to mature in his faith. I noticed that Gyula was a bit “off” in our baptism/foundations of faith class before service. He seemed distracted and even had trouble praying. I was so thankful for the Spirit’s work in using Péter’s message to encourage both Gyula and Niki in their faith in Christ.

Miki spent some time this past week with Gyula’s father helping with practical needs. We are thankful that Gyula’s father responded to an invitation to come to church on Sunday. He was very open after service and shared some of his struggles that lead him to being confined at home. His coming this Sunday was truly amazing and I’m thankful for Miki’s intentional acts of expressing the love of God in the community that draw people like Gyula to the church for the first time.

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Above: Roland and Dezső.

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Above: Celebrating Eszti’s birthday after service.

A BIT MORE SUN A BIT MORE FUN

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Above: Kira and Ellie enjoying warmer weather outside.

Thank you all for your continued support through prayer and financial giving!
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