May 2013

WEEKLY UPDATE 5/23/13

SUNDAY BAPTISMS

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Above L to R: Mariann, Judit, Tamara, Zsuzsa, Mónika and Attila. We praise God for His gracious work of redemption in the lives of six who followed Jesus in baptism on Sunday. We’ve been meeting with them over the past few months studying His Word together with a focus on the Gospel and foundations of our faith.

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Above: Miki and Erika were kind enough to hold the baptism in their home since our rented space doesn’t have what we need for this type of service.

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Above: Judit, who we first met in 2005 through our English program recalled in her testimony how God called her to Himself multiple times. She recalled how Miki and Erika prayed years ago for her to be able to have another child after she had problems with infertility after her first. God did open her womb and bless her with a second child! Judit struggled to get through her testimony as she was in tears giving thanks to God. We’re so thankful that after she ‘drifted’ away from us in 2006, God continued to draw her to Himself. She had begun meeting with Mariann for sometime studying the Bible together when they were convicted that they needed to be baptized. This is when they sought us! Praise God!

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Above: Zsuzsa, one of the oldest in our group to be baptized. Zsuzsa recalls always being religious and believing in God, but not really understanding in the heart until she began studying the Bible with us. Zsuzsa adopted two children that her daughter abandoned not wanting them to go into social services. Please pray that God would continue to give her wisdom and strength to carry out her calling to parent these children.

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Above L to R: Eniko (Gabi’s wife), Mónika, and brothers Attila and Gabi. After Eniko and Gabi were saved a few years ago, they began reaching out to Gabi’s brother Attila and his girlfriend Mónika. God drew them out of an isolated life and showed them that they were in need of Jesus to save them and needed to be restored to their Father who loves them. We praise God for his grace being poured out to entire families and spreading through existing relationships in the church!

Bogacs (boe-gah-ch) update


Gyüszi (Juicy) called me over the weekend, asking if I would be willing to come out on Monday to visit a friend in the town of Egér who was also a believer. Looks like God is delivering the good news to Gyüszi through more than just my mouth! Praise Him! Gyüszi's friend Józsi was saved from drugs and a wild lifestyle and now uses his musical talents in worship. Józsi is also Romani and it turns out that what we were visiting on Monday was an evangelistic outreach with preaching, worship and a call to people to come to Jesus.

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Above: Gyüszi (in light blue shirt) standing next to Józsi.

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Above: Józsi leading worship in an outdoor evangelistic outreach in the village of Felnémet in Egér.

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Praise God that some responded from the audience by God's grace, and I'm thankful to see God's work in this small village in Egér. None of the guys I brought from Bogács seemed to respond, but later Józsi told me in the car ride home that although he didn't go forward, he prayed with the rest of those who went forward to put their trust in Christ.

On Tuesday, I returned to Bogács. I entered Józsi's driveway for the first time to hold the Bible study at his house. We sat on his porch and caught up with each other as we waited for others to show. A man I have never met showed up and began asking questions about God and the afterlife. It turns out that there are various sects moving through this village and misleading people through false teaching. I explained the Gospel to Pulyka (Poy-kah) and he became more interested, but at the same time, he was confused and wondering who to believe. I told him that God has given His Word to reveal Himself, and that through the Bible he would have the ability to judge between truth and lies. Pulyka had to leave but invited me to come to his house and meet his daughter before I headed home. Apparently, she has been tormented by an evil spirit and been suffering since childhood. After Pulyka left, Józsi and his son and I did our discovery Bible study together on the story of the Prodigal son in Luke 15.

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Above: What a joy to see a father and son together studying God's word! Józsi's son would read each passage and we would discuss what we learned after every few verses. Józsi learned about the love of God and the Father's willingness to fully forgive those who repent and return home. I was thankful to see Józsi's wife also spending some time outside on the patio with us and listening to the Word. Please continue to pray for this household.

As we finished our study, Józsi suggested that we head over to Pulyka's house in response to his invite. We found Pulkya waiting for us and he led us into his living room. Pulkya asked how long it took to work off our sins to which I replied with a smile, "Less than a second." This gave me opportunity to use a Bible that they had in their home and read from John chapter 1 and chapter 3 about Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was sent to take away our sins. Pulkya came to see that it is not by works we can cleanse ourselves from sin, but it is through faith in Jesus who died for our sins that we are cleansed. Unfortunately, I spent much time having to refute false teaching he had received from a couple that has been coming to their home. They had been teaching that there is no hell, that in the afterlife, we would not see others or God and all kinds of other false teaching. The more I showed Pulyka various truths in God's word, the more he began to see and understand that he was not to trust in man, but to believe in God's word and judge what is being taught in Scripture. I don't think I even noticed as I was deep in conversation with Pulyka, but the room filled up with familiar faces. Ödön came over and other family members began filling the room as I continued to talk about who Jesus was and what he accomplished through His death and resurrection. We then did the same Bible study that we just did at Józsi's house learning about God's response to any sinner who repents.

As we neared the end of our Bible study together, Pulyka's daughter Izabella joined us. This is the one that has suffered from what I would soon confirm to be demonic influence. Izabella began sharing story after story about voices that she heard constantly and how she was parlayzed with fear. She shared about terrible things she saw day to day and how no one believed her but just laughed at her. I asked her if I could pray with her, if we could go to Jesus and ask for deliverance. I assured her that Jesus could set her free, that Jesus had all authority and was stronger than any demon that tormented her. Laying my hand on her head, I began praying for her and afterward she reported that she began feeling a great weight lifted from her spirit and the voices stopped.

I wish that was the end of it, but it wasn't. Satan does not give up territory easily and I'm thankful that it is not I who had to fight against this demon, but Jesus who already won the battle at the cross. Izabella turned from looking in peace to looking a bit concerned. I asked, "Are you ok?" Izabella said to me, "He says, he's not going." I laid my hand on her head again and addressed the spirit in the name of Jesus. No crazy antics, here, just faith in Jesus and his authority over this demon. I commanded the demon to no longer speak, no longer influence Izabella and to go to the place where Jesus commanded. Again, afterward Izabella was feeling better. She said, "It's like he's moving farther away and his voice is like becoming more like an echo." Then after a few more minutes of peace, she reported again, "He's saying you are the enemy." I said, "Yes, I'm his enemy" She said, "He's saying who's authority do you come in?" "He's saying, don't listen to you." Again I placed my hand on her head and spoke in the authority of Jesus Christ that this demon had no more place in Izabella and must come out. Izabella began saying, "Why am I shaking." I said to her, "How about you call out to Jesus right now. Just ask Him for deliverance." After a few moments of struggle, she called out. I joined in afterwards talking with Jesus and then there was a change. Izabella said with tears of joy, "It's Jesus, I see Jesus! He's coming and the evil spirit is going!" She said, "Jesus is saying that you are bringing truth… the evil spirit is going, Jesus is here! He is really here! Thank you Jesus." God has often brought me to Isaiah 61 to remind me of Jesus' mission. "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." (Isaiah 61:1). Surely, Jesus opened the prison that Izabella was trapped in for so many years. Surely, Jesus proclaimed liberty over this young woman and is binding up her broken heart.

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Above: Izabella in center with Bible in hand. Pray that she would be drawn to God’s word and know the peace of Christ that comes through salvation.

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Above: Pulyka (father in center) with his household. Izabella's mother and father who witnessing all that happened to her daughter this night invited me to have the Bible study in their home next week. Please pray for Pulyka, his daughter Izabella and their entire household to come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!

ENGLISH CLUB IN ROZSASZENTMARTON


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On Friday we held our last English club meeting in Rozsaszentmarton. We’re thankful for the new relationships we were able to develop through this outreach. Students Nori, Mercedez and Irén have begun attending Bible Study at Dezso’s house in Rozsaszentmarton as a result of this club. There are also others that now know us and are sending their children to our VBS and English Camp in the summer.

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Above: Zsolt and his daughter Fanni attending on Friday. Fanni attends the same school as our kids and hopes to attend VBS.

Better late than never


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Above: On Friday morning the puppet team traveled to the town of Szirák to present our Easter Puppet show. Because of a conflict of schedule we weren’t able to visit them over Easter and instead they invited us to be a key performance in their Kids Day in town.

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Family Photos


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WEEKLY UPDATE

English Club in Rozsaszentmarton


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We continue to meet every friday in Rozsaszentmarton’s community center for English club. A few weeks ago, God ordained that Mercedez (pictured above center) would be the only advanced student to attend with all other advanced students in our class being church members. In a small circle, as usual, we began our first hour of conversation in English. It was clear that Mercedez was sick. I asked her if I could pray for healing. She said yes, which gave opportunity to explain that I would be talking to Jesus in my prayer. I also talked briefly explained the Gospel and then prayed. Soon after Mercedez began opening up, and in tears shared some personal struggles she was going through in her life. God allowed us to encourage her and through this open a door to invite her to Dezs┼Ĺ’s house group. Since that time she has begun attending!

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Above L to R: Zsolt, Roger and Gyula. Zsolt’s daughter attends the same middle school as our daughters in Rozsaszentmarton. Most likely she’ll be attending our VBS this summer.

We have noticed that the number of students has been dwindling as the weeks go by, but already two students (Mercedez and Nori) have begun seeking God as a result of meeting here. We most likely will be stopping the English Club at the end of the month as it has served as a good spring board into the community to share the Gospel. Please pray for students Mercedez and Nori to come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Possible new meeting place for our church!


Last week, Miki and I met with Petofibanya’s mayor to discuss an opportunity for our growing church to move to a new facility. The town’s local government has been discussing how they can help us and have offered a building that couldn’t be in a better place… the town’s bus stop!

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Above: Petofibanya’s central bus stop where hundreds of residents gather everyday! The building would have to have major renovation, but we would have freedom to extend the structure for our purposes. We have been praying for some time for God’s provision of a larger meeting place and this looks like His answer.
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Above: The mayor giving us a tour of the inside. The structure is definitely larger than our current meeting place and we would have access to it full time as opposed to our current situation. If we agree to take it, we would pay rent, but any money invested in renovation would go toward this cost. We’re excited about this new prospect and ask for prayer as we make final decisions.

News from Bogács


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This week, the least amount of people came to our study, but it was a joy to meet. From what I can discern, the three men who attended are the three who seem most interested, most consistent and most active. Our study was on Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. Ödön said with surprise, "So Satan IS real?" The men were able to see how the enemy works to deceive and turn us away from trusting in God. They discovered how Jesus, the new Adam, overcame Satan and how Jesus put His full trust in the Father.

Gyüszi continues to be discouraged in the circumstances that threaten to tear apart his family. I encouraged Him with the Bible story we had just studied. The last verse reveals that after Jesus stood firm in resisting doing life Satan's way, God was faithful to provide for His Son. Gyüszi has been brought up in a culture where turning to illegal options to survive seem to be the only options. It is my prayer that Gyüszi's heart is transformed by the Gospel of Christ and that he personally experience God's deliverance and provision. Please pray for this young man's situation that is truly hopeless unless God intervenes. Pray for these three key men, Gyüszi, Józsi and Ödön to come to understand the majesty of Jesus and the free offer of salvation available to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Pray for their households as well to come to know the Savior!

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Above: Józsi, the man that God healed a few weeks ago from what I believe to be a hernia (pain in side when bending and moving), has begun to open up to me more and even asked if we could have the Bible study at his house next week. Please pray that wherever the study is held, that God's word would be central to the discussion and that by grace, the Father would continue to reveal Himself and His Son to these households!

New birth in Apc


Thursday night's Bible study in Apc was encouraging. Just a few weeks ago I had prayed for a young woman's pregnancy and the baby God was forming within her. The following week, the child was born and the couple gave praise to God for His provision of a healthy premature baby. Her name is Lilli and she is just a bit larger than the baby dolls our smallest child carries around the house. The father asked if we could dedicate the child to the Lord and I gladly rested my hands on the baby's full head of hair and prayed. Would you also pray for God's blessing on Lilli?

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Above: Vincse with her son and Ibolya. This was not the only new birth we celebrated in this small group in Apc. Ibolya (EE-BOY-YAH) who has been attending and often meets with Vincse to talk about spiritual things asked the question tonight, "How can I be saved?" We talked for some time about what it means to repent and what Jesus Christ the Son of God has accomplished in His death and resurrection. We then read Acts 2 together coming to the point where the same question was being asked of Peter after He proclaimed the Gospel: "What shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:37-38) I then spent some more time with Ibolya explaining key words in this Scripture regarding repentance, baptism, Jesus Christ, forgiveness, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. After reading John 3:16 and talking about the necessity of faith in Jesus, Ibolya was ready to pray to confess her faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Praise God for Vincse spending so much time cultivating this relationship and sharing the good news with Ibolya for months. Praise Him for turning Ibolya's wounded heart from once saying, "I will never believe" to saying, "I will put my trust in the LORD."

Sunday


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Above: Gyozo (red shirt) has continued to grow in his faith. He is now taking on more responsibility in leading various aspects of our teen ministry on Fridays. He also joins Miki and Dezso traveling to the town of Jászfényszaru once a week in church planting work.

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Above: Erika talking with Anna Maria after service on Sunday. Anna Maria just became a Christian this past week and is the sister of church member Fanni who was just saved last year. Please pray for Fanni and her sister Anna Maria that their faith would grow abundantly and that their entire household may be saved! Now that Anna Maria has chosen to follow Jesus, she has tough decisions to make and needs God’s wisdom and strength. Please pray for her!

This Sunday we will be having a special baptismal service. Please pray especially for guests who don’t yet know Jesus to hear the gospel and be drawn to Jesus through this celebration. Pray for those being baptized to be blessed and encouraged through their baptism.

Family


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Above: Family at AquaWorld in Budapest celebrating Kira’s birthday last week.

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Above: Kira waiting for cake after a long day of swimming.

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Above: Ben has been playing soccer this year and I was able to attend his tournament on Friday. They’ve got a pretty good team, and like father like son, Ben plays defense.

Conference in Malta


Our family had a great time in Malta with many other friends who are serving all over Europe.

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