Oct 2011

NEW BEGINNINGS



Above: A view of our town (Petofibanya). November is just around the corner and so many new things accompany the coming of a new season. Our new baby is due in just one month, God has given new direction to our team, and over the past two weeks two people have put their trust in Jesus Christ!

NEW BABY



Over the past few weeks we’ve been busy building a crib, painting the girls room and getting our house ready for our new child. Even though we have experience with our three children, it has been five years since having a newborn! This continues to be the most trouble free pregnancy that Sharon has had as we enter into weeks, not months for our child to come. This week Sharon has another general check up and amazingly enough will be given diagnostic equipment to take back home to monitor the baby. Since we live over an hour away from our medical center, the equipment will send information “wirelessly” to her doctor relieving us of the hassle of going back and forth into town. We praise God for this technology and for the availability of good health care in Hungary!

NEW DIRECTION

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As I mentioned in my previous post, God is moving our team further along into seeing multiplication in our church. I have spoken to “junior leaders” Gabi and Eniko, and Peti and Eszti (pictured above) about their potential roles in church planting and I continue to meet weekly with Peti for mentoring. Peti and I also attended a church planting seminar last Saturday held in the Bible school that he is attending. Peti told me that most of the concepts he heard in the seminar are what we have been talking about for years and that he feels called to plant a church in Lorinci. Praise God for raising up these new leaders, building into their lives through mentoring, ministry and school and giving them a vision for church planting. This is more confirmation in my life that I am free to transition from being a recognized pastor in this church plant to a church planter and church planter mentor. I am very excited as i consider how the Gospel can begin to spread exponentially through equipping men like Peti and his wife Eszti.

NEW MINISTRY

Every month, I have to go to my neighbors house to pay our water bill which is shared and divided among the houses we are adjacent to. Most of the time, this ends in small talk and there have been just a few occasions where I have been able to share parts of the Gospel with my neighbor. I usually deal with the husband, but this time both the husband and wife greeted me at their door. I accepted his offer of wine as I felt that the conversation was beginning to go deeper. The wife began to ask me the common questions of how I ended up in their small town and how it was that I was content here. God opened up a door to share the Gospel and at the end of the conversation I asked if we could continue talking about spiritual things weekly just as we were doing around their table at this moment. The wife (retired headmaster of our local preschool) said that she would like that while the husband said, “Honestly, I’m a materialist. I grew up this way and its just too late to change. I wouldn’t be interested.” I asked him if it would bother him if I met with his wife to study the Bible together and he said it was no problem. I encouraged him to also participate as he was with questions, with doubts and with any counter perspectives that he wanted to bring. Unfortunately he has not participated, but praise God that Ilona invited her daughter Edina with her husband Feri! Some of you may remember years ago both Edina and Feri had attended our ESL outreach in our own home, now I am meeting with them in their mother’s home leading a Hungarian Discovery Bible study. God is amazing! I plan to go all the way from Genesis to the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our meetings. Please pray for this unexpected open door to lead to the salvation of this family!



Above: Dezso is now holding a new Foundations of Faith class every Saturday in the building we meet for worship service. We are thankful for the response and see that this is benefiting both the teens in our church as well as adults.



Above: Our year end volleyball party at Miki’s house with some fun ice-breaker games. Since we are unable to continue volleyball outside with the cold weather, we sought for a way to celebrate our friendship and also invite those who had been attending to a new Alpha Course (evangelistic small group) that Miki will now be holding in his house weekly. Miki shared that those who came to the first Alpha Course meeting were open and he felt the time was very positive together. Please pray for this mixed group of young adults, married couples and teens to be transformed as God’s truth is presented weekly.


NEW BELIEVERS



Above: Eniko who was saved at one of our english camps a few years ago with Miki’s daugher Anna and Monika (in red). Eniko had been sitting and sharing the Gospel with Monika for weeks when we met for volleyball. Monika put her faith in Jesus this past past week! Monika is Eniko’s husband’s brother’s girlfriend (a bit confusing?) Praise God for using Eniko to reach into family relationships and lead Monika to faith. Gabi (Eniko’s husband) has also been reaching out to his brother Attila (Monika’s boyfriend) for the past year. May the blessing of salvation continue to reach deeper into this family by God’s grace.



Above: Bogi, Marian and Jozsi coming to Zsofia’s baptism in September. Marian (pink shirt) continued to attend church with her daghter Zsofia and Bogi and was clearly seeking. After multiple conversations after service and with her daughter she was ready to put her trust in Jesus Christ! We have known Marian from our first days in Petofibanya as she is the local social worker responsible to visit mothers with newborn children. Praise God for saving Zsofia and now her mother Marian. We pray that Zsofia’s entire household will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We would appreciate your prayers as we continue to prepare for our coming child in November! We are very thankful for your continued support. May the peace of Christ be with you all.
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WEEKLY UPDATE

Studies in Thailand

As some of you may have noticed, my updates have vanished for a few weeks. In mid September, God was gracious to give me (Allen) an opportunity to participate in leadership training in Thailand with many other church planters from various countries. This training will continue over the course of two years. I was truly edified in my time with other leaders, in God’s word and in prayer over the course of my time in Thailand. God gave me renewed vision regarding my own life and also new direction regarding our church planting work in Northeaster Hungary.







Above: Various shots from my time in Thailand.

LOOKING AHEAD AS A TEAM

After returning home, our team began our new semester planning meetings where we evaluate current ministry, direction and any changes that need to be made. As we surveyed what God was doing in our midst, and studied Paul’s apostolic ministry in the book of Acts, we began to see a clearer picture of our direction as a team. Currently we have unity and clarity on the big picture which involves restructuring how we organize our weekly worship meeting, and our mentor relationships seeking to better equip emerging leaders and not stifle the multiplication of churches because of complex systems that are not reproducible. However, the hard part is upon us which involves the nitty gritty of details and how we get there. Would you pray with us for unity in our team, and for clarity as to next steps for God’s glory and the expansion of His Kingdom.



Above: Petőfibánya, our hometown.

CHURCH GROWTH



Above: Dezső speaking to the church about an upcoming Foundations of Christian Faith class. God has been at work through church members inviting co-workers and friends to church and other outreaches. The room that we have rented for over five years is reaching capacity and will soon be too small for the number of people coming. This has become a problem, but a good problem! Please pray for God’s will and solution.

VOLLEYBALL AND COMMUNITY



Above: What started as a few parents and teens meeting for volleyball has turned into 20-25 people a week! We as a body believe in being part of the community and volleyball has given us a great way to connect with those we otherwise would have no interaction with throughout the week.



Above: Church member Gabi (left) with his brother at volleyball. Gabi has been reaching out to his brother for years.



Above: Gaib’s wife Enikő on the sidelines with her makeshift salon. Enikő usually spends her time in conversation with Gabi’s brother’s girlfriend who does not yet now Christ as her personal Savior.



Above: Jennifer (left) and church planting partner Miki. Last week I ran into Jennifer and her husband Sanyi at preschool while picking up Kira. Sanyi shared about his current situation looking for work that was not too far away from his family. He had sent out resumes, but wasn’t sure what response he would get. As I was walking to my car, the Spirit moved me to tell Sanyi and Jennifer that I would pray for them about this matter. I should have already volunteered to pray when he first shared with me, but I failed to do that. From my car, I shouted to Sanyi, “I’ll pray about these things you shared with me.” Sanyi smiled and expressed his thanks. Soon after, both Sanyi and Jennifer thanked me for praying as God was swift in bringing an answer. I told them (and I believe they recognized) that this was another sign of God’s ability to provide and His love for them. We continue to hope that they both come to trust in Jesus.

One area I would like to grow in is intercessory prayer. One quote that struck me recently was this:

“Part of the sacrificial aspect of Christian love is the extensive time and emotional investment in agonized prayer. No doubt this is part of the “daily burden for all the churches” that Paul said was as bad as the many beatings and imprisonments he had endured. (2 Cor. 11:28)” (McCallum, Dennis (2010). Organic Disciplemaking)

As I begin to be more intentional in prayer and become bolder in letting others know I am praying specifically for them, God has shown Himself faithful and is revealing Himself to others. Praise Him!





Above: Teammate Brenda organized a fun birthday party for Sharon who celebrated her 40th birthday (32 weeks pregnant!) Sharon is doing well and we praise God that this pregnancy has been free of problems. Just this week Sharon was able to see our daughter moving around and sucking on her fingers via ultrasound. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17.

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