Nov 2010

Weekly Update

THANKSGIVING WORSHIP SERVICE

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Above: Roger and Tamás looking through a book composed of church members’ hand written notes of why they give thanks to God in 2010.

Generally speaking, Hungarians are known as a very pessimistic people. The majority of small talk and conversations you hear in public consist of complaining and more complaining. In the Hungarian school system, teachers primarily point out weaknesses and mistakes while keeping silent on progress and success of students. If something is going well, then that is the way it should be. Instead of thankfulness or encouragement, words are used for complaint, grumbling and shaming others for their failures.

Psalm 106:1 says, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” How does the Gospel transform Hungarians? When they experience God’s love which endures forever, they are set free from grumbling and become men and women who give thanks. Their heads are taken from only seeing darkness and gloom and lifted to see Jesus Christ and their adoption as children of God through grace.

The new nature of the Hungarian Christian that is able to give thanks in all circumstances is beautifully bright in this culture. This light of thankfulness that shines before others is attractive, astounding and draws attention to our Father who is in heaven.

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Just before coming to worship practice and setting up, we got word from a person in the community who wanted to donate over 50 sandwiches to our church! Apparently, there was a scheduled soccer game that was canceled because of the bad weather, and this person who owns the local soccer field and boxing arena thought about our church. What a miracle to have these delivered to many of the poor families in our church right on the day we were talking about thankfulness.

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Above: One of three small groups that we broke up into to allow for more intimate conversation and sharing..

Recently I read a quote on one of my past mentor’s blog posts: “Why is it that in the church we usually violate so many of the rules of hospitality? Where else in our society do we force people to get all dressed up and sit in very hard seats for one hour, and sit in such a position that they can’t see anybody’s face or be seen by anybody else? Where else in society do we ignore so many rules of hospitality? Yet, somehow, we still expect friendliness to happen.” —Bruce Rowlison (Creative Hospitality)

The benefit of gathering first generation Christians together and the benefit of church planting is having the freedom to reform traditions that may be doing more harm than good. Our teammate Brenda did a great job planning out how we would carry out this past week’s thanksgiving service that I believed followed many of the unspoken rules of hospitality.

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Above: After each person shared their reason for being thankful to God in 2010, another member in the group would pray for that individual. At the end of the service, each person was personally prayed for. We were thankful that there were also guests who attended who are not believers. One of them commented in their group that just a year ago they had absolutely no belief in God, but through the testimony of others in the church, through everyday signs that God has been delivering and through one on one conversations with some others they are beginning to believe.

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Above: Dezső closing the evening with teaching on the symbolism in the advent wreath. We lit the first candle thanking Jesus for coming into the world as the light of the world.

John 8:12 Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

FRIDAY TEEN OUTREACH PICS

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FAMILY PICS


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Above: Kira enjoying this year’s first snow fall by building a mini-snowman in the middle of our sidewalk.

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Above: Who knew when we bought this house that the steep driveway would be so useful? God knew!

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Above: Aunt Brenda reading a book about thanksgiving to the kids.

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Above: Elianna entertaining our teammate’s daughter Emily.

PRAYER REQUESTS

• A drama team composed of teens from our church continues to practice on Sunday. Please continue to pray for these teens, the majority who were recently baptized to mature in their faith and be built up in fellowship.

• Our final practices for our Christmas Puppet Outreach in public schools end this week. We already have 25 schools in our region scheduled. Our first show is THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. Please pray for us. Also praise God for providing money to buy the evangelistic CD’s and magazines we will distribute to all the kids this year!

• Over the past three weeks we have had some supporters send financial gifts that have helped our current deficit in monthly support. We ask that you continue to pray for our Father to provide new supporters and bring our support level out of deficit.

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Weekly Update

SATURDAY JÁTSZÓHÁZ COMMUNITY OUTREACH

God has lead our team to use a once-a-month children’s program to reach out to the neighboring town of Selyp. It has long been a desire to plant a church in Selyp and this outreach is a great way to meet new families in the community and to teach important truths from God’s Word. This Játszóház is also a place where church members from Petőfibánya can develop the gifts that God has given them as they join us in serving the community.

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Above: A grandmother from the town of Selyp watches her grandkids taking part in some of our ice-breaker games. After the program was over, this grandmother shared how grateful she was for the Játszóház and was glad to pass on her contact info being eager to come again next time.

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Above: Erik, Gyula and Ricsi, some of the teens that came to serve with us today.

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Above: Niki, Elianna and Eszti helping show the kids the moves in our mini concert.

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Above: Erika (top) delivered today's teaching about receiving the seed of God's word into our hearts. Eszti (above) helped the children learn today's memory verse.

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Above: This grandmother actually lives in Petőfibánya and happens to be the landlord of a teammate. She was so thankful for our last Játszóház in Petőfibánya that she decided to come to this one in the neighboring town which presented the exact same teaching, games and craft. She told us that it did’t matter, and that her grandkids would enjoy it all the same.

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Above: Kids collecting flowers for mom after Játszóház.

We praise God for getting the word out in Selyp and for a good turn out for our first Játszóház in this town this year. We received positive feedback from parents and grandparents and believe that this ministry will be a great first step in our desire to see a church planted in Selyp.

Prayer Requests:

• A drama team composed of teens from our church had it’s first meeting on Sunday and went well. Thank you for praying. Please continue to pray for these teens, the majority who were recently baptized to mature in their faith and be built up in fellowship.

• Our first practices for our Christmas Puppet Outreach in public schools begin this week. Please pray for Miki, Allen, Roger and Brenda who will be puppeteers this year. Pray for unity, good communication with one another and success in learning our parts for the show. Pray also for Eszti who continues to contact public schools seeking to schedule times for our team to perform the show. She already has 12 schools in our region scheduled.

• Over the past three weeks we have had some supporters send financial gifts that have helped our current deficit in monthly support. We ask that you continue to pray for our Father to provide new supporters and bring our support level out of deficit.
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SUNDAY BAPTISMAL SERVICE

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Above from L to R: Wife and husband Ági and Tamás, Roland, Győző, Erik and Ricsi.

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Above: Worshipping the Lord before baptizing six people God has saved through His Son Jesus Christ.

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Above: Győző, the youngest of the six being baptized today. Here is his translated testimony:

“I come from a Christian family, so I’ve heard about God since childhood. We went to church a lot and I talked to my mother about God, but it really wasn’t that important to me. I was more attracted to hanging out with my friends, wasn’t home very much and was disobedient to my mom. After some time, I had to move to Budapest with my mom. I got involved with a bad group of friends, often cursing and doing all kinds of bad things. Later, I was able to move back here to live with my sister and brother in law and began going to church again. I began feeling something but I still wasn’t that interested. My sister talked to me about putting my faith in Jesus, but I told her that I just didn’t want to because if my life didn’t change I would do it in vein. Afterwards, I was able to attend the English Camp by God’s grace. I thought I was just there to have a good time, but then Thursday night came where through testimonies the Holy Spirit touched me. Afterwards, I prayed with Éva and spoke with others. That night, Jesus spoke to me in Matthew 9:2: “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” I was so excited that the One who gave His life for me spoke to me personally. Since that English Camp, I’ve payed more attention to which group of friends I spend time with and have also stopped cursing through God’s grace and help. Since I have put my faith in Jesus, I feel changed and want my faith to be strengthened even more...”

Out of all those being baptized, Győző was unique in that he actually had family with Christians. The other five are first generation Christians.

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Above: Before meeting Jesus, Tamás was in bondage to alcohol and his marriage was falling apart. Church member Dezső is neighbors with them and God used Dezső to turn their attention to the only One who could save them. Tamás gave testimony of how God freed him from alcoholism, from smoking and restored his marriage. Tamás said that out of the five brothers in his family he was the black sheep. He said that if God wanted to get His message across to his family, his transformed life would be the way to do it!

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Above: Dezső praying for Tamás and Ági.

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Above: Győző’s father encouraging his son with Scripture after his baptism.

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Above: Ricsi’s mother also attended the baptismal service and shared her thankfulness for this special night. Please pray for her.

This service was a 2010 highlight for many of us, seeing a wave of new believers taking steps of obedience and giving public proclamation of their faith in Christ.

CANDID FAMILY PHOTOS

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Above: Sharon with our teammate’s baby girl Emily at a recent team meeting.

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Above: Ben ready to strike at daddy in the goal.

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Above: Elianna parting with more baby teeth.

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Above: Cute Kira.

PRAYER REQUESTS:

• Please pray for those who have been baptized to continue to grow in their faith in Christ.

• Please pray for the training of a drama team composed of some of the teens from church. We hope to have them perform for a Christmas show that Petőfibánya has invited our church to participate in.

• Please pray for our Family Outreach we will have this Saturday in the neighboring town of Selyp. Please pray for the word to spread through the advertisements we have posted and for new relationships to be built with families in the community. Pray that there would be opportunity to share the Gospel.
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Weekly Update

FRIDAY NIGHT VOLLEYBALL

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Above: A sunset produces beautiful skys as I make my way to Friday night’s volley ball game.

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Above: Evi returning the ball with a smile. Evi is the daugher of our previous landlord, one of our first contacts in Petőfibánya years ago. It is great to continue have contact with her through volleyball once a week.

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Above: Other regular attenders include Timi (left) and Jenifer (right). Jenifer is actually German and moved to Petőfibánya with her husband years ago. Timi was kind enough to teach her Hungarian and they are close friends. We hope that through these community events, there will be more doors of opportunity to share Jesus with both of them. Their children regularly attend Miki’s Bible classes in public school and they have also attended our children’s camp every summer. Please pray for Timi and Jenifer to come to hear and understand the gospel.

FRIDAY TEEN OUTREACH

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Above: Gyula, who first came to know us through our English classes, listens to Dezső talk about 1 Corinthians 9:25-26: “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” After showing clips from an old documentary of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s weight lifting days, we talked about the pride of life and the fading quality of investing in worldly things. Dezső then turned their attention to Jesus, and the life that is imperishable in Him.

SATURDAY JÁTSZÓHÁZ

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Above: Elianna holding our invitation to Saturday’s Children’s Evangelistic Ministry called “Játszóház”. Ellie was excited to be able to invite all of her classmates from school.

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Above: Ben looking to grab someone as we play some ice-breaker games and wait for more kids to come.

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Above: Hungarian church planter partner Miki making the kids smile.

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Above: Miki’s wife Erika brought the teaching from God’s word. I was glad to see that some parents that also attended payed attention to the teaching.

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Above: Church member Eszti teaching the memory verse for the day: 1 John 5:12 “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

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Above: Craft time! We had more than 30 kids show up for our Saturday outreach. Praise God.

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Above: Eszti (who was saved at our English Camp) helping out at the registration table. The mother speaking with Eszti was very thankful for Saturday’s Outreach and plans to attend the next one we hold in just two weeks in the neighboring town of Selyp. A grandmother also told me how thankful she was that “somebody was doing something in the community for the kids. People just don’t seem to care anymore and only care about themselves.” May this outreach be a good work that points to the Father.

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

SUNDAY WORSHIP

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Above: Sisters Lidia and Eszti are part of our Sunday worship team. Both have been with us from the very early stages of our church plant and continue to grow in their faith.

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Above: Eszti’s daughter Alina practicing with us before worship service.

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Above: Eszti’s younger brother Győző (which means Victory) also comes to musical worship practice every Sunday. He is getting baptized next week! What a joy to see God working through entire families who come to put their faith in Jesus Christ.

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Above: The beautiful mix of all ages in this local body is encouraging to see every week.

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Above: Anita who is the daughter of church member Marika suffers from schizophrenia. She is currently struggling with various health issues and I ask that you pray for her this week. Pray for healing and for freedom from confusion when considering Jesus Christ. Anita has still not made a definite decision to put her faith in Him.

FAMIILY PIC

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Above: Kira just making me laugh.

PRAYER REQUESTS:

• Please pray for Erik, Roland, Ricsi, Győző, Tamás and Ági who will all be baptized this Sunday! Pray for God to encourage them throughout the week and to speak deeply to them as they spend time in His Word. Pray that the baptismal service may bring glory to Jesus and that friends and family would be drawn to Him through this public declaration of Jesus Christ’s work in their lives.

• Pray for Eszti and Sharon who are already beginning to call schools and organize our schedule for this year’s Christmas Puppet Ministry in public schools.

• Pray for Sharon and Allen as they meet one-on-one with various members of the church seeking to be encouragers and mentors to those growing in their faith.

• We ask that you continue to pray for our Father to provide new supporters and bring our support level out of deficit.
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Weekly Update

WINTER IS UPON US

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Above: Kira taking a short break under the light of the sun after using our bed as a trampoline.

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Above: Elianna and Ben taking advantage of the last days of fall with a game of gigantic chess at our local playground.

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Above: I can still here them giggling together as they ran through the playground.

NEW JOYS IN MINISTRY

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Above: Sharon and Erika (Miki’s wife) top photo and Sharon and Niki in lower photo. We count it a great privilege to be moving towards more mentoring roles in this season of our church planting ministry. We have cut out some of the larger type small groups in favor of smaller groups and even one on one meetings. Just a few weeks ago, Sharon was sensing that God may be calling her to be more involved in some of the women’s lives in our church. Since that conviction, God has opened up clear opportunities for consistent meetings with a few key women.

CONGRATULATIONS
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It’s official. Gabi and Enikő are engadged to be married next year! We are so thankful that this couple has put their trust in Jesus, the One who first loved us and teaches us how to love others.

HUNGARIAN HIKE

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You have to be careful how you respond when a Hungarian asks you, “wanna go hiking?” Usually, this is not a gentle climb up a steady slope, but a grueling struggle up steep inclines on rock ridden uneven paths smeared with slippery leaves. Needless to say, we survived and it was well worth it! Actually, hiking has proven to be a great tool for connecting with others in the community and opening up doors to share the Gospel. As you can see above, there were plenty that joined us on the hike up Blue Mountain. One family (pictured far left) decided to come after meeting us for the first time in Heréd a few weeks ago. This is the town where we did a children’s concert and an evangelistic craft. Others came who are well connected with us, but who do not attend church. And the remainder were church members.

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What a beautiful view once we reached the top.

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Above: Dávid, Gyúla and is that Erik under all those layers? All three of these guys attend our teen outreach on Friday nights and out of the three, Erik has come to know Jesus personally. Dávid has attended a few of our English camps and I believe is closer to understanding and making a decision. Gyúla has recently transitioned from just coming Friday nights to attending our church. Pray that God would help Dávid and Gyúla to understand as He helped Erik, that all three of these men could grow up in Him.

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Above: What is that behind the hotdog... a strange looking marshmallow? No, that would be the customary pure fat, heated until literally dripping hot and dripped on bread to eat. After warming up by the fire, I shared a brief message on God’s provision of love, joy and peace through Jesus Christ and encouraged those who were “on the fence” to choose life in Him.

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Above: Peti taking joy in throwing leaves at me. Just last year on a similar hike, Peti was moved by the Spirit and came to understand the Gospel that Miki was sharing with him. Since that time, Peti has been growing in his faith and is also attending Bible school with a few other guys from our church. Praise God!

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Above: Ádám making us laugh as usuall.

FRIDAY TEEN OUTREACH

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Above: Roger turning the teens attention to the fact that we were created by God and He has a purpose for our lives.

SUNDAY WORSHIP

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Above: Church planting partners Dezső (left) and Miki (right). Dezső is a “homegrown” leader and we are currently in prayer in regards to appointing Dezső as an elder in our church.

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Above: On some Sundays, we give church members the opportunity to share a little bit about God's work in their lives over the past week. Here is a recent testimony from Erik who was saved this year and is preparing for baptism in two weeks.

“Hello, I'm Erik and I wanted to talk to you about a recent experience in my high school. You know, I find it really hard to study in school, I'm actually a bit lazy. One day while in class, I just wasn't in the mood to study. I was distracted in class, and I decided to open my Bible and read. I turned to Philippians 4:13 where I read:  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

At that moment, I knew that I just needed to pray and turn to God and that He would give me the strength to study. I prayed and He answered. I ended up doing really well in class after that. I'm learning that in everything, we need to turn to Him and pray and depend on His help.

What do I see in this short and honest testimony. I see a young man with no previous role models or influences that would have built a work ethic into his life. But by God's grace, Erik brought a new Father with Him to school by bringing God's Word to school. By turning to God's Word, Erik is battling laziness and the false belief that he will always be lazy. The Spirit led Erik to a truth about his new identity in Jesus Christ that he would need to begin believing. Praise God for saving Erik and for turning Erik to His truth in the everyday struggles of life.

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Tamás giving testimony. Tamás recently put His faith in Jesus and the Lord has given him strength to be set free from alcoholism that was destroying his family and his life. Tamás is also began attending Bible school this year with some of the other guys from our church. God is at work!

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Above: Dávid, Betti, Anna, Adrien and Kira having some fun in Sunday school.

PUMPKIN LESSON

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Above: Sharon took one of the kids carved pumpkins to Sunday school and used it to talk about various aspects of God transforming us and using us as lights in the world. With the lights on, she put a candle in the pumpkin relating this sight to being at church with other Christians. Since the light was so bright it was hard to see the contrast. But then she turned out the lights and the kids all ooo-ed and aww-ed. Sharon said that this is what we are like in the midst of darkness when we go out from meeting on Sunday and enter into places that are dark like our schools where there are not many Christians. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 5:16

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Above: Recent family outing to Sás lake in the Matra mountains of Hungary.

PRAISE GOD: TICKETS BOUGHT FOR FURLOUGH

Our family is planning on returning to the US at the end of April. God has graciously provided a vehicle for us to use and a place to stay for our two month return. We are so thankful for His generosity towards us and His faithful provision for our family. We look forward to seeing many of you face to face and sharing what God has been doing in Hungary. We’ll be relaying more information as the time approaches.

PRAYER REQUESTS:

• Winter is a tough time for many of the poor in our church. Please pray for God’s provision, that they would have the means to heat their homes and have enough food for their families. Pray especially for Érzsi and Béla.

• Our church is holding a “Playhouse” ministry this Saturday where there will be singing, teaching from God’s word, games that re illustrate what was taught and a craft for the parents and kids to take home. Our goal is to share the Gospel through this ministry and to reach out to families in the community. Please pray for families to attend, new relationships to be built and for the Gospel to be proclaimed.

Our support levels dropped off last year and remain below what we need on a monthly basis. Winter doesn’t get any cheaper in Hungary with the high price of gas and heating. We ask that you would please pray for God to provide new supporters and bring our support level out of deficit.
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