Mar 2013

PUPPET MINISTRY DAY 8 & 9

bogács update


Earlier in the week I learned that Gyüszi’s mother was suffering from some kind of respiratory sickness. When we arrived in Bogács Tuesday night, we saw that she was sleeping in the small bed in front of the TV in the living room. Soon after catching up with Gyüszi’s wife Melinda, she awoke and I could hear her struggle to speak and she had difficulty breathing deeply. I talked to her about Jesus and His finished work on the cross, His love for her and His power to heal and deliver. I laid my hands on her and brought her to Jesus in prayer for healing. Asking her if there was any noticeable change, she indicated that there was still difficulty and discomfort in her chest. I went to Jesus again, laying my hands on her and prayed for healing. After asking her to try to breath deeply again, she was able to breathe without discomfort and began saying to those watching, “It’s better, it’s really better!” By this time, Gyüszi had come home and told those in the room about how I prayed for his daughter Kathy last week who they were planning to take to the doctor because of sickness. The morning after prayer, Kathy awoke and said she had no pain! Jesus healed her. Gyüszi told me that his sister Babi was waiting for us to come the whole week and we headed to her house only to find no one there. Then going a few more houses down the street, we entered Robi’s home. Robi was overjoyed to see us, embracing both Peti and I. I hadn’t seen Robi for the past two or three visit’s to Bogács and was about to find out why. Apparently a recent CT scan revealed that Robi has some kind of tumor in his head and he has been suffering from severe headaches.

It took me some time to convince Robi to allow me to pray for him. He was resistant saying that he was too sinful and thought that my ministering to him and helping him in any way would somehow stain me. I assured him that Jesus could sustain me and that it was God’s will that I minister to him no matter how sinful he was. This gave me another opportunity to share the Gospel. We talked about the work of Jesus and the grace of God. The gift of salvation cannot be earned by our works, the love of God cannot be won by works but it is given to those who believe in Jesus. I told him that healing did not come by works either. There is no account of Jesus telling those who came to Him for healing to get their lives in order before receiving healing. Luke 9:11 says that Jesus welcomed [the crowds] and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. This amazing grace of Jesus to heal has not depleted over the years.

Robi was won over and smiled saying, “Yes, pray for me.” Robi’s wife Erika (pictured to the right of me in black below) began opening up and sharing how she has struggled with panic attacks for years. I told her that Jesus could deliver her from that as well to which she said with astonishment, “Really, He would heal me too?” I told her how I struggled with the same thing in my life and how Jesus delivered me. Acts 10:38 says that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” I prayed for Erika’s healing and for freedom from this oppression. Erika has a Bible and does read it. I believe she is growing in her faith in Jesus. I look forward to hearing how Robi and Erika are doing next week and how God is graciously working in their lives.

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Above: Gyüszi (pictured left of me) is the one who originally invited me to Bogács to teach the Bible. Most of those pictured are part of his family, including his sister Babi (front purple sweater). Gyüszi has shown signs of growth in His faith and when asked to tell the group what we studied in last week’s meeting, he gave a great detailed account of what we talked about. I praise God that the way in which we are doing the studies requires their involvement and their attention to God’s word.

Gyüszi’s sister Babi came late to the meeting just before we were about to head home. I reviewed with Babi what we discussed one-on-one last week. Jesus died for our sins. Those who have put their faith in Jesus are cleansed and forgiven. When we sin, we need to confess our sins to God and He is faithful to cleanse us because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. God does not punish his children or want them to punish themselves for sin. All the punishment we deserved fell on Jesus and all that Jesus deserved is given to those who put their faith in Him. This is the amazing grace of God that is freely given to those who believe. After encouraging her with these words, I prayed for healing for her eye (which I believe Jesus can restore). Babi also complained of pain in all her joints, especially her shoulders. After praying for healing for soreness in her joints, I asked her to stand up to see if there was still pain. She said she still had pain in her right shoulder and placing my hand there, I prayed again to Jesus for healing. Afterwards, I said, “And now… how do you feel?” Babi circled her arm once. Then she made a larger circle with her arm. Then she started bending about left and right and said marveling, “Are you sure you don’t have some kind of magic in your hands? The pain is gone!” I assured her that I had no magic in my hands, but that Jesus had power to heal. When Jesus sent out seventy two of his disciples ahead of Him into towns He was about to go, He said to them in Luke 10: 9, “Heal the sick in [the house where you are welcomed] and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Before leaving Robi’s house that night, I asked that God's peace be upon their family and told them that the kingdom of God has come near. Babi who continued to circle her arms with a big smile said, “It really has, it really has come near to us!” As we were walking out the door, Robi kept repeating to his household, “Something is going on here, we can't deny something amazing is happening here.” May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to reveal Himself to this household and lead them to repentance and faith in Him as their Lord and Savior!

Puppet ministry day 8


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Above: The roads were so bad Wednesday morning that Miki had to pull over on the way to our first show in Egyhazasdengeleg and put chains on his tires. We praise God for His protection in these treacherous conditions.

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Héhalom


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Petofibanya (out hometown school)


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Above: A very BIG answer to prayer happened in our hometown. Every year, Petofibanya’s school has the worst behaved kids that are literally out of control through the program. Every year, we’ve had to deal with various distractions and kids acting up throughout the show. This year, was completely different! The kids were engaged in the singing and paid close attention to Erika’s sharing the Gospel at the end of the show. We have known many of these kids through the years through Bible classes in town, VBS in the summer and now English Classes in school. We’re thankful to see change happening by God’s grace!

Puppet Ministry Day 9


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Above: Our first stop for Thursday was to the Rainbow Care Center in Hatvan. This center cares for the needs of a group of young adults who are mentally disabled. It is a joy to be with them each year, to see them singing along, laughing with us and hearing about God’s love for them revealed in Christ.

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Above: Miki giving some of the guys a turn with playing the guitar.

Vanyarc


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This has been a great second week of Easter Puppet Ministry and we appreciate all your prayers! The Gospel has been delivered to over 1500 kids and teachers from each school. Next week we have a few remaining shows that we could use continued prayer for. Please pray for our team to gain the rest they need and be refreshed this Easter with their families.

We would appreciate your prayer for an evangelistic outreach tomorrow night in the town of Rozsaszentmarton. Allen Buchanek will be visiting from the US to give his testimony of how he came to know God after a terrible accident where over 50% of his body was burned. We’ve invited our english students from Rozsaszentmarton and hope to see more visitors from the posters that have been displayed throughout town.
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PUPPET MINISTRY DAY 7

Szirak


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Above: We awoke this morning to find our cars covered with snow along with freezing temperatures. The roads were treacherous but God protected us as we traveled. My truck got stuck on the steep driveway of our first destination, but with a slight push from the team we were able to reach the top and unpack.

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Above: Miki playing basketball with the kids as the rest of the students make there way in and get seated for the show.

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Csécsé


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Above: The friendly principal from Csécsé smiling along with the kids as we begin our program in Csécsé. This principal’s daughter who works in Szirak told her mom about us a few years ago and after getting in touch with us, she asked if we would also come to Csécsé.

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Above: At the point of the show when Mary begins weeping wondering what has happened to the body of Jesus, a little girl in the front row shouted out, “He rose from the dead!” seeking to comfort the puppet.

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At each school we visit, Miki asks the kids if they know the true meaning of Easter. We praise God that after visiting these schools for years, we hear kids shout out, “Jesus risen from the dead.” As Erika interacts with the kids after the show, it is clear that the message of Easter is being heard and understood through this puppet show. Erika has been doing a great job at presenting the Gospel and explaining to the kids how they can respond to Jesus’ invite to be saved and restored. Thank you all for your continued prayer!

As I write this, the team is presenting two more shows in the town of Paszto which I could not attend as I prepare to head off to Bogács tonight for an evangelistic Bible study. There is still snow forecast for the next few days, so we could use prayer specifically for safe travel and for our vehicles.
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PUPPET MINISTRY DAY 6

Gyöngyösoroszi


Since we use all of the sound equipment from our puppet show for our church as well, there's always the possibility to leave something as we pack up after church. Setting up at our first show, I discovered that we didn't have the necessary cord to play the puppet audio file. While searching for a solution, Miki's guitar fell off a table. So far, things weren't going so well! Timi, Eniko, Jennifer and Erika huddled up behind the stage and began praying.Thankfully, the school had a spare cord which solved the sound problem and Miki's guitar ended up working fine. We praise God for his help in protecting and providing so that the show could go on.

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Above: Teammates Timi and Jennifer preparing to help the kids sing along with us with motions.

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Above: Unlike other schools, Gyöngyösoroszi combined their preschool and middle school kids together for today’s show. In year’s past this led to problems keeping everyone’s attention and too much noise throughout the program. We praise God that this was not the case today. Even with the large number of kids they did a great job paying attention!

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Above: After the show, Erika explaining the Gospel.

Szurdokpüspöki


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Above: Our second stop for the day was in the town of Szurdokpüspöki. We received a warm welcome and were glad to see not only kids singing along with us, but teachers as well! The chorus of the song says, “I know that Jesus is the life and the truth, I know that He is the way and there is no other.”

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Thursday Bible Study


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Above: As I surveyed the room Thursday night, I rejoiced in the great diversity and great unity that Jesus is displaying in this group. We have a teenager, a young adult, a Romani couple, young marrieds, and an elderly couple all together seeking to know Jesus through fellowship and studying His word together.

saturday community service


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Above: In response to a public invite to help plant trees and clean up the community, members of our church joined members of the community in Petofibanya. We helped plant twenty or thirty trees throughout town and got to meet a few new people that we hope to continue reaching out to.

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Family shots


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Above: Ben doing his best Peter Pan impersonation Saturday afternoon at a play park in Budapest. This is a great place the spend the day with the kids since there are things to do for all of them that they enjoy.

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Above: Ziva getting away on her horse with Kira close behind.

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PLEASE PRAY for us


We would appreciate your continued prayers as we continue our Easter Puppet ministry to the end of the week. Snow began falling again tonight and is forecast to continue for the next few days. The team has a tough day tomorrow with four shows lined up. Please pray for strength and pray that the seeds planted would bear fruit for the glory of Christ and the salvation of many.

Tomorrow, I plan to go out to Bogacs as God has continued to keep the door open to reach out to a Romani household and share the Gospel. Please pray for them to understand God’s word and come to know Jesus and His Gospel as we study His word together. Pray for Babi’s eye to be healed, for Katica to be healed of asthma and for Gyuszi’s housing situation to be resolved in a way that his kids could remain with him and his wife Melinda.
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PUPPET MINISTRY DAY 5

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Above: Our first stop today was in the town of Heréd. Unfortunately, I forgot my phone which held the puppet show audio on it. Thankfully, Miki had a backup of the audio file on his phone so the show went on without a problem.

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Above: The great privilege of being able to share the news about the cross of Christ and His resurrection in public schools every Easter!

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Above: Our next stop was in our hometown preschool in Petofibanya where all of our kids attended and Ziva will also attend in the future.

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Above: A lot of these kids attend a Bible class with teammate Enikő and many of them have attended VBS in the past.

We praise God for a great week of ministry. He is a faithful provider pouring out His grace on these children and teachers. We trust that these seeds of the Gospel will flourish and produce fruit through God’s power. We would appreciate prayer for rest and restoration as we have off tomorrow and Sunday before going back out on Monday.
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PUPPET MINISTRY DAY 4

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Above: Praise God that the other car we borrowed yesterday was repaired and usable today. As you can see above, the roads we are traveling on are pothole ridden… like driving through an obstacle course. Our first stop today was in the town of Kálló.

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Above: Tamara sitting with the kids tagged alone with our team today. Tamara, although having a religious background felt she was missing something in life. Through Timi and Jennifer (who were saved last year), Tamara heard about living faith in Jesus and how we can have a personal relationship with Him. Later, she began talking more with teammates Miki and Erika and she is now attending our Foundations of Faith/Baptism class. Praise God for drawing Tamara to Himself and revealing His grace and love to her through Christ.

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Above: Teaching time always holds the greatest threat of distractions, misbehaving kids and other things that would pull the attention of the kids away from hearing the Good News. We praise God that even in the schools with a larger number of kids, there has been constant attentiveness. This is a great answer to prayer!

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Above: Distributing evangelistic packets to kids and teachers. After the show, we were invited to the teacher’s lounge for buttered bread with salami and hot tea. God opened the door to talk to the teacher pictured above right about what I believe. She posed the question that I often hear, “What denomination do you belong to?” I told her that I don’t believe that there are any denominations in heaven, no Baptist churches, no Catholic churches, no Reformed churches, just followers of Jesus Christ who seek to know Him by faith through the Bible. I talked about the difference between forcing people to obey a set of laws with the tool of fear and wanting to obey God motivated by love. I was thankful for the brief conversation and the seeds planted.

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Above: Our second stop for the day was in the town of Erdtotarcsa. Praise God that some of the teachers in this preschool are Christians. This is one of the only places where we see teachers singing along with us.

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PUPPET MINISTRY DAY 2 & 3

BOGACS UPDATE


As I entered the last stretch of road before Bogács, I couldn't resist pulling over and snapping a few shots of the surrounding landscape.

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I headed straight to Gyuszi's house, this time only to be greeted by his dog in the driveway. Entering the front door, I greeted his wife Melinda who held her young daughter Catherine by her side. Gyüszi would arrive a few minutes later which gave me some time to catch up with Melinda. I asked about her past religious experience. She shared that she attended religious classes in school and even went to mass as a young girl. Since then she has stopped and is very busy raising two kids. When I asked her if she had any more thoughts about God over the past week, she said she prayed sometimes and to my surprise added, "Gyüszi is taking this more seriously than I am now. He is talking about God more and even corrected me a few times when I was using bad language." When Gyüszi arrived, I began to see what Melinda was talking about. I guess the only way I can describe it is by saying I see signs of his faith in God growing.

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Above: Some kids asked me to take their picture while walking through Bogács

It appeared as if there wouldn't be anyone coming to the study tonight because of a family celebration at another house. Gyüszi told me that his sister Babi had been asking about me for the past three days and we decided to walk across the village to her house. I sat next to Babi for the next 45 minutes asking her how she was doing and how I could pray. Through our conversation, it became clear that Babi believed that God could be punishing her for a sin that she had already repented of in the past. This gave me an opportunity to go over a few passages in Scripture about how the Father cleanses us and forgives us after we confess our sins according to His faithfulness and because of the finished work on the cross. I explained that Jesus Christ took the punishment for her sins on the cross and that Jesus' finished work sets us free from the condemnation we deserve. (1 John 1:9, Isa 53) I encouraged her to discern the accusing voice that she was hearing through God's truth. God no longer accuses and condemns His children who have been justified in Christ. He instead cleanses, forgives and restores His children in His faithfulness. Please pray for Babi to accept and believe this core truth of the Gospel and to gain discernment from God's Spirit to defend herself from the destructive deceptions of the enemy. Praise God that Babi continues to be free of pain that she had in her eye, but her healing is not complete! Please join me in praying for a miracle, that Babi would be able to use her eye again and be completely healed by Jesus from this burden of sickness.

After spending those 45 minutes face to face with Babi, I turned to see a room that had now filled up with guys asking if we could start tonight's Bible study! We read excerpts from the first few chapters of Exodus, seeing the oppression of God's people and the call of Moses to deliver them. Gyüszi was very active in making good observations and was excited to read God's word. He observed God's love for children and how God was pleased with the Hebrew midwifes that did not kill the Hebrew baby boys according to Pharaoh's edict. Gyuszi got especially excited when he realized that this reveals God's will about current issues. He said the Bible isn't just about what was happening then, but this shows how abortion and taking the life of babies today is wrong!

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Above: When asked who will read out loud, the guys always elect Gyuszi to read the passage we are studying.

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Gyuszi also observed how God saw the suffering of His people and responded to their prayers. "During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God." (Ex 2:23) He told me that he wants me to ask more people to pray for Him with great hope that God will also look down on His suffering and help.

After the study, I walked back with Gyüszi to my car parked at his house. Gyüszi invited me in, but I said I should be getting home. Then he said, "Could you just come in to pray for me and my wife before you go." With a smile I said, "Of course." Gyüszi put his wife's hand in my right hand while he grabbed hold of my left hand and bowed his head as we stood in front of his small wood burning oven that heats his home. That was a special moment, standing with this young couple and entering the Father's presence with them grasping my hands. Would you also feel their hands reaching out for yours and pray for Gyüszi and Melinda? Please pray specifically that their two children would not be taken away from them by social workers because of their current living situation. Pray that Gyüszi could find a way to refinance his house that has been taken away. Pray also that their kids Boxi and Catherine would be healed of sickness. Pray for their entire household to come to know Jesus as Deliverer, Savior and Lord of their lives.

PUPPET MINISTRY DAY 2


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Above: On Tuesday, our first destination was the town of Jóbággyi. Past years in this area have been difficult as the acoustics in the gym aren’t great and the kids have been rowdy. This group of kids however were great! We had no issues with talking while the Puppet Show was being presented and the kids were very engaged.

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Above: At the part of our show where Mary is distraught at Jesus’ death and the Risen Jesus appears to her, a kid in the front row blurted out in excitement, “Look it’s Jesus!”

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Above: Distributing evangelistic gift packets for kids and teachers after the show.

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Above: Our second stop on Tuesday was in the small town of Bér. This tucked away village has a population of less than 500.

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Leaving Bér to head home, Miki began to experience problems with his car. Later I met him at the mechanic to take the rest of the team home. Apparently one of his shocks needed to be replaced. The roads we travel on are in pretty bad condition and are especially bad this time of year with the fluctuating weather increasing the number and the depth of potholes.

PUPPET MINISTRY DAY 3


With Miki’s car in the shop, Enikő’s husband Gabi offered Miki his car to use. As I waited for the team to arrive for prayer in the morning, Miki called letting me know that Gabi’s car also suddenly had an issue with the clutch and was unusable. Thankfully, I have a trailer into which we loaded our set and supplies and we all packed into one car. Please pray for these car issues to get worked out by God’s grace and that there would be no barriers to our traveling to these schools to share the true message of Easter.

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Above: Our first destination for Wednesday was the neighboring town of Selyp.

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Above: After Selyp, we hopped over to another neighboring village of Lőrinci for our second show for the day.

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Above: We’ve been very thankful for the the kids’ attentiveness while Erika teaches after the Puppet Show. In a simple way, she is able to explain the Gospel. May these seeds take root and flourish in a new generation of Hungarians!

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Above: Our third and final show for the day was in the town of Nagykökényes. We praise God that every aspect of the show has been going well and we have had no technical problems. The team is healthy. God has protected us as we travel and we are received with kindness at each destination. God has helped Ziva sleep better over the last two nights and the team has also been resting well. Thank you all for your prayer support! Tomorrow we’re off to day 4 of Easter Puppet Ministry.
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PUPPET MINISTRY DAY 1

Szarvasgede


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Above: This year’s Easter Puppet team, Miki, Eniko, Erika, Timi and Jennifer starting the show off with a new song about Jesus for the kids.

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Above: Since I’m not one of the puppeteers this year, I get the joy of seeing the kids reactions and expressions to the puppet show. It holds their attention really well, and afterwards it was clear that the most important part about the resurrection of Jesus was understood by the kids.

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Kisbágyon


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Above: Miki carrying the sack with PVC tubes that make up the frame for our puppet stage. You may notice that there is snow in the background! We thought spring had sprung, but we had a storm on Saturday and the temperatures have remained quiet cold. Thankfully the roads were clear for traveling today.

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Above: Our second show was a 15 minute drive away in the town of Kisbágyon. Once arriving, we discovered that we forgot our gift CDs at our last location and would have to double back for them. Other than that small mishap, both shows went really well with no difficulties. Praise God!

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Above: The kids in Kisbágyon excited about the CD and magazine gifts that have puzzles and games and the gospel message. Praise God for a great first day!
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WEEKLY UPDATE

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The winter days of utter darkness at 4:00 in the afternoon are finally passing as spring approaches. Over the past few weeks visiting Bogacs, I arrived in darkness. Tonight, there was enough light to get a better view of the village. Instead of going directly into his house, Gyüszi escorted me through the streets of his village. The rest of the men who have been attending our Bible study week to week were also outside and joined us. After crossing a field parallel to a mountain speckled with wine cellars we entered Babi's house.

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I (along with many of you) have been praying for Babi's healing for weeks. After asking Babi (pictured above) how she was doing I rejoiced in hearing her say, "I didn't have any pain this week." My soul shouted, "Yes, an answer to prayer!" Her husband also reported that he noticed a slight change with her eye seemingly opening a bit at times. After talking to her about the love of Christ, the finished work on the cross and Jesus' abundant mercy and grace, I placed my hand on her face to pray for healing. God has been leading me to examine the life of Jesus Christ and how He administered healing to all who came to Him. He didn't turn away anyone. Our Father has been adjusting my soul to lay down previous doubts that prohibit me from asking for healing with faith that He truly wants to free us from sickness. Will you continue to pray with me for Babi to receive Jesus as her Healer and pray that she might be able to open her eye this week by His grace? I believe God has begun a work of healing in her and I'm trusting that she'll soon be able to open her eye because of Christ's power.

After spending some time in Babi's home, we headed back to Gyuszi's house to begin our Discovery Bible Study. Tonight, we studied the account of Abraham being called to sacrifice his son Isaac. Before coming to Bogács today, I had been asking God to help them understand this Scripture knowing that it could lead to confusion and tailspin into controversy. Praise God that this was one of the most successful studies I have had with these men!

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Above: Gyüszi (with his son in the background) reading tonight’s text. The men in the study observed that God tests our faith, faith is important to God and God provides. These may seem like simple truths that are obvious to us, but how amazing these truths are to those who are discovering them for the first time through reading His Word. When talking about how this passage personally applied to their lives they spoke about God calling them to believe not with just words, but with action. Ödön talked about trying to live with the type of faith that counts God as the most important in life.

As we continued to discuss the story, some of the men commented on various movies they had seen on the internet representing this account of Abraham. Jozsef started to comment on how one film showed Abraham yelling up into heaven at God in anger. This gave me another opportunity to encourage them to judge what they see through the lens of Scripture. They began to understand that not all movies based on Biblical accounts are accurate, but the Bible and what is written is accurate. Jozsef had doubts. He said that maybe the Bible wouldn't include such emotions and honest reactions to God. I took this as an opportunity to introduce them to Jonah who responded in a much different way than Abraham. We read through the entire story of Jonah and stopped after every few chapters to discuss what they just heard in the story. I believe God really captured their attention with this story and Ödön did an excellent job summarizing what it was teaching about God. God is gracious and merciful and is ready to forgive those who repent and believe.

Later, in response to questions about a local mountain that many in Hungary believe to be a holy place we read the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. God used this story to help them to see that we worship God not based on where we are physically (a holy mountain or Jerusalem), but based on our spiritual posture toward Him wherever we may be, because "God is spirit." (John 4:24).

As usual, it was a joyful visit. I rejoice in seeing these men discover God through His word and for signs of their hearts being softened and their spiritual blindness being healed. Gyuszi told me that when we first met he didn't believe in God. Now, this past week after reading psalm 139:2, Gyuszi told me he has begun talking to God. "You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar." (Psalm 139:2) May the Lord pour out His Spirit on this family, leading them to repentance an faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

School trip to the Hungarian Parliament


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Above: Gabriella (in red jacket) is Petofibanya Middle School’s principal. God opened up opportunity for teammate Erika to talk to Gabriella about how she came to know Jesus and live a life following Him. We were thankful for the opportunity to join the school on this field trip and for the open door with Gabriella to share the hope we have in Jesus.

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Easter puppet ministry starts tomorrow!


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We’ll be traveling to 24 schools over the course of two weeks with this year’s Easter Puppet Ministry team. Those participating will be myself along with Miki, Erika, Eniko, Timi and Jennifer. I have the easiest role of driving and helping with packing and unpacking the stage. The others will be working with puppets, singing and teaching. We have a tough schedule over the next two weeks and need prayer support!

If you would like to join our daily prayer team of intercessors for this outreach from Mar 18 - 28th please let me know so that I can send prayer requests and updates in that time period.

Prayer requests


• Praise God the open doors for teammate Erika to share with the principal on our trip to the Parlament.

• Please continue to pray for the new work with the Romani in Bogács. Pray that they would discover God and the Gospel through reading His word on Tuesday. Continue to pray for the healing of a little girl named Katica (kah-teetz-ah) who struggles with asthma (she was in the hospital on my most recent visit). Praise Jesus that Gyüszi’s sister Babi (bob-ee) was freed from pain she had each morning because of her eye. Please pray that she would be able to open her eye and that it may be restored.

• Praise God that our puppet practice went well with each person learning their part quickly. Please pray for our families as we enter this Puppet Ministry. (Ziva struggling with sickness and sleeping)
Comments

WEEKLY UPDATE

Open door in Bogács


Each week we travel to Bogács, the dynamics of the group change. I find I have to lay aside strong inclinations toward consistent structure of what Bible studies have looked like in the past in order to meet these new friends in the comfort of their Romani culture. Sometimes when we meet, the Bible study comes on the front end, sometimes toward the end of our time together. Sometimes people are coming and going in the background. Sometimes the TV is on in the background in front of the mother. Sometimes kids are playing games on the computer. Through the Holy Spirit, Paul says in 1 Cor 9:22, "I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some." It is my desire to remove all obstacles that would keep this family from hearing God's message. Jesus did not expect us to conform to certain cultural requirements before sharing the good news with us. He often met people in their own homes and in their own cultural contexts. We are called to do the same.

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Above: A view from the small mountain behind Petofibanya where I go to meet God.
Before I travel to Bogács, I usually go out on a prayer walk with God. This time of prayer is a 'must' for me as I know there is a great battle that is going on as we bring the gospel into Bogács. I had been asking God to reveal to me who might be the person in Bogacs in this group that I might train to facilitate the group in the future. As Ödön shared with me one-on-one before the others came, I thought he just may be the man God wants to use. Ödön, one of the eldest, talked about the upcoming summer months and how we could begin meeting outside and how he believed that there would be many more who would come to hear and have a chance to know God. He also shared various ways he saw God working in his life the past week and how he has been having more conversations about what we talk about with his family.

Our study on Tuesday was focused on the call of Abram and the promise that God would give him a son as heir. Gyüszi observed that we need to have faith in God even when we don't get an immediate answer. He saw that Abram, being old, was past the age of having children but he still believed God. Gyüszi also said that he learned that sometimes answers may not come as quickly as we expect from God because God has a greater purpose. These insights are from a young man with absolutely no religious background. I did not tell Gyüszi these things, but guided the time with simple questions so that Gyüszi would discover what God teaches in His word. Praise God for giving Gyüszi understanding on Tuesday about these important truths.

Robi, the one who has been the most antagonistic (but most friendly at the same time), continues to struggle in his soul with all that we study and discuss each week. He confesses that he has fears of what it will mean for him to choose to follow God. He clearly senses that God has sent us to him to call him to repent and believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Unlike Gyüszi, Robi has a past of having a religious experience but much of the foundational teaching he was given was false and has therefore caused much confusion.

Thankfully, Babi (Gyüszi's sister) was able to come tonight. Before leaving I was able to pray for her again and it is my hope that Jesus will heal her. She has been through much suffering and wasn't given much of a chance to survive her past surgeries. She acknowledges that Jesus has helped her and sustained her. She trusts that Jesus can heal her as well. Please pray for this dear woman who experiences pain every morning and awaits another medical examination that will determine next steps for her.

Scientist and evangelist Eric Barrett


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Above: Our family and church planting partners and friends, Miki and Erika along with Eric and Rosemary Barrett.

By God’s grace, we were able to invite scientist and evangelist Eric Barrett to speak at Petofibanya’s public school on Monday. Eric who formally worked with NASA turned down an offer to train to be an astronaut in order to continue to pursue God’s calling for his life.

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Above: Eric (far left) and his wife Rosemary (purple scarf). Eric talked to the kids about the uniqueness of the creation of man, the uniqueness of the world we live in, and the uniqueness of God’s love toward us in sending Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord. We trust that his lecture will have an impact on many of the kids and teachers lives!

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Above: After his lecture, the headmaster of the school Gabriella (center) invited us into her office for refreshments. She shared how pleased she was with how the kids payed attention and asked when Eric could come again. As we talked about school events, Gabi told me of a school trip to the Hungarian parliament planned for next week and invited me to attend. This will be another opportunity to share my hope in Christ with teachers and kids on a long train ride and fun field trip to Budapest. Please pray for open doors with Gabriella other teachers and kids and for God to draw them to Himself!

EASTER puppet outreach right around the corner!


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Time is flying around here. It seems like we just packed up our stage and puppets from our Christmas outreach and now Easter is right around the corner! We need your help in two ways. First, you could help us by joining a team of daily intercessors for our puppet ministry. This outreach is a spiritual battle, as we bring the message of the Gospel and the resurrection of Jesus Christ to a new generation. We need a group standing with us as we go out, supporting us through prayer. We’ll be all the more confident going if we have such a supportive group.

Second, you could help us by donating so that we could purchase the evangelistic gift packets we distribute every year at each show. We came up a bit short on donations for the Christmas outreach and need to pay off the remainder of that bill and the bill for the Easter material (around $1000) To support the puppet ministry SPECIFICALLY go to: https://webapps.pioneers.org/DP/Give/GiftInformation
Name: Hungary Puppet Ministry (Mercer) Acc No: 150639

Other Pics from the week


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Above: People from our church and from the community gather together every Monday for volleyball. Nori (far left striped white shirt) who has been playing with us for a few months has also begun attending a evangelistic house group in Rozsaszentmarton.

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Above: Marcsi reading a blessing over those who are celebrating birthdays in our body on Sunday.

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Above left: Erika and Timi sitting next to her. Timi, since coming to faith in Christ meets with Erika regularly and shows many signs of spiritually maturing. We praise God for the transformation that has taken place in her heart!

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Above: See you later dad. Ziva loves being outside, looking at birds, dogs, trees and especially the random cats that appear.

Prayer requests


• Pray for open doors to share the Gospel with teachers and students on the field trip on Wednesday to the Parlament.

• Pray for Nori who has begun attending Bible studies to come to put her trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. (She has a background in the occult)

• Please continue to pray for the new work with the Romani in Bogács. Pray that they would discover God and the Gospel through reading His word on Tuesday. Pray for the healing of a little girl named Katica (kah-teetz-ah) who struggles with asthma. Pray that Jesus would heal Gyüszi’s sister Babi (bob-ee) from the pain she has each morning and restore her eye. Pray for past confusions in Robi and Józsi about God to be corrected as we study His word together. Pray for Ödön’s (ew-doon) faith and understanding to grow.

• Pray for our puppet practice starting next week to go well, for unity on the puppet team and ability to learn each part.

• Please continue to pray for open doors in Rozsaszentmarton and for our English Club that meets every Friday to be used as a bridge to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Comments

WEEKLY UPDATE

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On Tuesday, because of a change in work schedule, Peti wasn't able to join me to travel to Bogács. Tonight would be the first time at Jozsi's house (Gyüszi's older brother). As I pulled onto a side street in Bogács, Jozsi, his sons and some others were standing by the road and waved me into their driveway. Getting out of my car, Jozsi was quick to introduce me to a man I hadn't met before. With a somber gentle voice Jozsi said, "This is András, his wife Vali is the one who just died." Andras began to share with me the grief he was suffering at the passing of his wife and how he hasn't been able to sleep more than two hours at a time since she has died. András shared that he believes in God but as I asked him more questions about what that meant, it was clear that his understanding of Jesus Christ and the gospel was very limited. Andras ended up staying for the first part of our Bible study, leaving a bit later. Before leaving, he asked permission to take home the print-out of the Scripture lesson saying he wanted to read it at home. I was also able to pray for Andras that God would help him through this grieving process and allow him to get a full night's sleep again. Would you also pray for Andras?

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It seemed to be a smaller group in tonight's study. Jozsi and his family, an older man named Ödön (pictured above) and his sons and Gyüszi and his sister attended. Thinking back to our first meeting three weeks ago, it was Jozsi sitting across from me that was the first one to begin engaging me in conversation about God. Both he and Ödön seem the most serious about trying to understand what God is saying in His word and what it would mean to become followers of Jesus Christ.

I was thankful that we were able to fix our attention on the story of the flood in God's word tonight instead of being swamped with questions that would be answered with time as we searched the Scriptures together. Ödön pointed to his sons (who are older teens or in their twenties) and said they enjoy what we have been doing together each week and appreciate that we take the time to understand what God's word is saying together. After we completed our study for the night and began talking about life, Jozsi asked how God practically leads a Christian's life. I was able to give examples of how God has spoken to me through His word when I have been in prayer, or through messages heard from others or through circumstances and impressions he puts on my heart in relation to His word.

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Above: Gyuszi, Robi and Jozsi.

At one point, Jozsi turned to me and said, "I just don't know if I can promise that I will never sin again if I choose to follow Jesus." I was able to share with Jozsi that all Christians continue to struggle with sin, but the new heart that God gives them desires to walk with Jesus instead of living in sin. I told him that no Christian can promise that he or she will never sin again, but they must be saved from sin by Jesus and repent of sin and confess their sin when they stumble and fall. Jozsi and Ödön asked, "How can you know for sure that you are forgiven by God if you sin?" This gave us opportunity to talk about the Gospel and to read the promise found in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Józsi read it and then re-read it. Then he slowly read verse 8 and verse 10 out loud, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." "If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." He paused and just sat there with his head down facing the Bible thinking. Something clicked in his heart and he exclaimed to everyone in the room, "Everyday until the day we die we need to be confessing our sins to God!" He looked up at me and said, "This helps. This is good. This is good."

As I prepared to leave, Jozsi put a bowl of bean soup in front of me which of course extended my stay another half hour. He told his son to grab some homemade sausage and instructed how to tear the skin off and eat the rest. I felt at home and just sense that these men are now friends. I praise God for this privilege and continue to look forward to what He will do with these men and the town of Bogács.

Petofibanya Middle School Homeroom Class


Once a month we are invited to teach in Petofibanya’s Homeroom Classes and we are free (by God’s grace) to share the gospel!

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Above: Erika asking the kids to discuss in their groups two things that they would change to make the world a better place if they had the power. The kids wrote some interesting answers that gives a glimpse into the situations they find themselves in. Here are some of the changes the kids came up with:

That there would only be two languages in the world.
That there would be more jobs.
That people would have more money for their needs in life.
That there wouldn't be any crime.

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We then transitioned to asking the kids to think about two evils they would eliminate from the world if they had the power. We began discussing Jesus Christ in the class through a mini Bible study in small groups on Isaiah 53 and also Col 2:13-14, “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” I am very sure that this was the first time any of these kids heard about these truths in God’s word.

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We took the sins they had written down on small pieces of paper and put them on a cross on the chalkboard. We were then able to play a short movie clip that gave an explanation of the Gospel.

After class the teacher commented positively on the lesson we brought. I asked if she might be interested in a discovery Bible study and she was quick to point out that she was not a believer but only curious about some of the things written in the Bible. She made clear that she didn’t believe the creation account was accurate but then noted that she believed the ten commandments could change the world if everyone payed attention to them. May God soften her heart and cause these curiosities to grow into a burning desire to know the one true God and find salvation in His only Son Jesus Christ.

Preparing for baptism


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Above: Every week Monika, Mariann and Judit continue to attend a class on the foundations Christian faith and baptism. Mariann’s husband (divorced) is a man deep in the occult and has influenced many in Petofibanya and the surrounding areas to follow his ways. Now Mariann and her two grown daughters have come to know Jesus in spite of his opposition.

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Above: Mariann’s daughter (also named Mariann) also attends when she is able.

Praise and Prayer

• Thank you for your prayers for Sharon last week. Her visit with her friend was very encouraging and edifying. Sharon was able to meet her friend’s family and it is our prayer that they will also come to know Jesus Christ through seeing their daughters bought with cancer.

• Please continue to pray for the new work in Bogács. Pray for Józsi and his household to come to faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for Andras to be able to get the sleep he needs. Pray for Babi that she might be healed from her infirmities. Pray for Katica a little girl struggling with asthma. Of course, we pray for these things that Jesus might make Himself known and be glorified in Bogács.

• Please continue to pray for open doors in Rozsaszentmarton and for our English Club to be used as a bridge to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

• Pray that Jesus Christ would expose the deceptions and lies of the occult in Petofibanya and show Himself to be the Lord and Savior to those who have been mislead by the occult.
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