November Update

Above: Tracks, now out of service, leading to our hometown of Petofibanya.

How we have all needed God's mercy in the past few years as global challenges have weighed on people from every nation. We've all been touched in some way or another as we battled through Covid. Soon after that, the war broke out in Ukraine and now we have all been saddened to see the atrocities in Israel that have led to war in the Gaza Strip. Where is the hope of the humanist as they imagine a world with meaning and morality without God? On the world stage, what nation has the power and the authority to bring righteous justice and make the way of peace? We continue to see the terrible affects that sin has brought into this world and the destructive nature of depravity that has brought us into dark times. There is increased corruption, increased strife and for many who are feeling the weight of it all, unbearable anxiety. Where do we turn in our groaning and grieving? Is there a way to find peace in our souls?

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:1-2) Isn't it true that we are often prone to drift away from God when all is "well". These dark days are an invitation for all of us to be led to the Rock who is higher. In the midst of groaning, grieving and anxiety, there is the invitation to cut off all trust in self-sufficiency and be led to the Rock who is higher. "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." (Isaiah 26:3) When we turn on the light of His truth in our minds, anxiety looses its grip and its influential voice. Although the foundations of this world have been violently shaken, I am thankful that our footing is on a different foundation. "The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:5-7)


This Thanksgiving, we pray that God would keep your footing on the Rock that is higher and guard your hearts with the peace of Christ. It is on that Rock that we find our hearts rejoicing and truly full of thanksgiving.


Above center: Erno (pronounced: air-new), who is one of the men 'dispersed' to our village from Ukraine continues to live in a small building complex with three other Ukrainian families. A few months ago, there was the threat of them having to leave this building complex because of a lack of funds supplied by the local government to help and they were given the notice to find somewhere else to live. This was heartbreaking for the families as they had just settled into becoming familiar with the community, having their kids attend local school and had become members of our church. After prayer and speaking to our town's mayor, by God's grace they were able to get an unexpected extension to remain! As you can see in the picture, Erno suffered a terrible accident falling from a second floor while doing construction work and broke both of his wrists. He said that the place where he fell was full of steel bars, concrete blocks and all kinds of things that would have taken his life if he fell directly on them. The spot he fell was about the only area that was clear of clutter and the doctors were amazed that his head did not hit the ground. He knows that it is God's grace that he is alive. He has told us that his time among us, although one of the hardest times of his life has been a time of spiritual growth. He has put all his trust in the Lord to provide and knows that he's just passing through the hardships in this world and heading to his true home with the Lord. Please pray for Erno's full recover and for them to find the needed work and provision for their family in this trial.

Játszóház (Children's Playhouse)

To keep our connection with parents and kids in the community that have attended our Summer VBS, we've held a monthly Children's Playhouse with singing, a Bible lesson, crafts and games.


Above: One of the teaching verses from a recent Children's Playhouse: A glad heart makes a cheerful face. (Prof 15:13). The other verses hanging up were used to talk about Jesus who is the source of our glad hearts.


Above: Erika teaching with her son Bence playing the role of a farmer in an object lesson using a pumpkin. The kids followed the story of the farmer growing a pumpkin, removing the gunk inside, carving a joyful face and placing a light inside. Erika shared how God is at work in our lives to transform us and to bring the light of Jesus into the world through us.

Above: Ellie (green) and Emi (black) were once the little kids attending our Children's Playhouse ministry. It is a joy to see them helping and singing the songs from memory that they grew up with.





Above: Erika talking with one of the parents who has a daughter (next to her) that suffers from various physical disabilities. Later, I was able to pray for her daughter and the mother who broke down in tears because of the weight of so many troubles in her life at this time. It was clear that she was touched by the way God was expressing His compassion toward her throughout the day and when it was time to go, her daughter, who loved being with us, did not want to leave.


Check out the short film below for some highlights from Children's Playhouse.

Marriage counseling focus

One area we have been focusing most of our time on in the past year is marriage counseling. With most of the believers that make up our congregation being first generation believers, there hasn't been much of an example to follow from their childhood experiences when they entered into marriage. There are many patterns of communication, wrong ideas about expectations and distortions about what it means to love that God wants to change. As we have a vision for church-planting, we know that there will be no healthy multiplication if there are no healthy marriages in our church. We read in 1 Timothy 3:5 "For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?" With the ongoing issue of disordered marriages and households that have continued strife, we have chosen to not begin a flurry of new ministries and get more busy as a church. We want the healing power of the gospel to become a reality in these struggling marriages and be able to proclaim the gospel to our community through marriages that reflect Jesus.


Above Center: Zita is one of the wives who has been attending our marriage counseling small group and recently had a major spiritual breakthrough that is brining healing to her marriage relationship. Zita had felt that she was at the end of it all and saw no hope of things getting better. Without much expectation, God's Spirit came upon her powerfully. As she began to be overwhelmed, she quickly asked her husband Zsolti to begin praying and she felt as if she was being delivered from a demonic influence that had blinded her for many years. After God touched her, she said she began seeing her relationship in a completely new light. This was not the end of her marriage, it was the beginning of a healing process and reconciliation. She was now able to see, in her own life, so many things that she was thinking and she was doing that were causing strife. Would you pray for the married couples that we are currently meeting with and for God's powerful work in their hearts to lead them to the oneness that He created them to have in marriage.

Hungarian "Tentmaking"


It's hard to believe, but we've partnered with Miki and Erika (above) for 20 years now! We praise God for their faithfulness and for God's grace to sustain unity on our team of Hungarians and American missionaries throughout theses years. Hungary (as with many other nations) has suffered economically over the past few years and Miki and Erika have had to find creative ways for "tent making" to have the provision they need to continue in ministry.

Above: Last year, Miki began constructing and selling portable ovens that Hungarians use instead of grills at barbecues.


Above: Erika who has training in teaching special needs children has decided to start her own business: Ficanka Fejlesztoház (Rough translation would be Movement Developmental Therapy House). Miki and Erika have been busy planning, and building a sensory training room and are very close to their launch time of January. We ask you to pray for these tent-making endeavours to bring in the needed funds that will allow them to continue to minister in difficult economic times.


Peszbifi is an acronym for "
Petofibanya Elso Szeretet Baptista Ifjúsági csoport" (Petofibanya First Love Baptist Youth Group). After the summer months of gaining much momentum and growth for the group, we find that the winter months often fluctuate in attendance. Please pray for our youth that meets every Friday to continue on the path of following Jesus by faith and growing into mature men and women who proclaim the gospel to the next generation.

Above: A recent hike with the teens in the Matra Mountains.

Above: Hotdogs with a block of fat to drip on bread (a perfect Hungarian combination).


Above: Singing worship songs together in the park. To my surprise, a young pastor and his wife, that I have known for the past few years, happened to be walking through the same park and ended up joining us to sing along.

These types of outings together give us more time to truly share life with one another. I had some time on the hike to talk to Norbi (seated center in pic above). Norbi knows that he is still drawn back and forth from the world and into the life as a believer. He shared about how he has suffered seeing close friends' lives destroyed because of drug use and addiction. He sees the stark contrast of the life of believers and the life of those who do not know Jesus. I encouraged him by sharing that God had put that compassion in his heart for these lost friends and that he could be the key person in their lives to show them the way to Jesus. His fear is that he is not a strong enough believer for such boldness. After our conversation, I found out that Norbi took some steps to visit a friend in a rehabilitation hospital and spent time praying for her. He said he was beginning to understand how to love in a way that he wasn't expecting anything in return, but simply giving out of the love God has given to him. Pray for those like Norbi in our church to find clarity in the callings God has given to them. Pray that they be strengthened in their faith and become bold in shining the light of Christ through their lives.

Sunday worship

Above: Some of the young members and older members of our body. Gizi (above maroon coat) continues to offer her life to be the hands and feet of Christ at her retirement home in a surrounding village. Just last week, she had a pretty severe cold that was spreading through the home. When I called her to ask how she was recovering, she told me about how God was constantly putting songs on her heart that she would sing while preparing home baked treats for others in the home. Her tone and attitude is such a drastic contrast to most other elderly that I speak with. Usually, there is much complaining and a focus on everything that is negative. God has blessed Gizi with an overflow of joy in Christ and capacity to love others who have no way of returning that love to her.

Above: We can't leave out the YOUNGEST members of our church. Praise God for the addition of Noé (Patrik and Anna's son top) and Oliver (Gyozo and Betti's son above).

Above: Discussing some small group questions after the sermon. Barni (far left) made a decision in the summer after talking with Ellie about faith in Christ. He is looking to be baptized in the near future. His brother (black jacket) was recently at a large evangelistic outreach in Budapest and when the invitation to come forward was announced, he alone (out of all the youth who were with him) walked forward to re-dedicate his life to Jesus Christ. Their mother Monika (center) and father Józsi are both first generation believers who first discovered our church and the gospel through VBS.

Above: This particular Sunday, Szabi was given opportunity to preach. Szabi is one of five young adults in our church that is attending theological training in Budapest. We ask you to pray for Szabi, Bence, Liliom, Betti and Anna to become dynamic servants of Jesus in the callings God has for each of them in their lives.

Happy birthday :)


Above: Ziva recently celebrated her 12th birthday (Ellie FaceTiming on the phone from Chicago). We look forward to both Kira and Ellie coming home for Christmas break in December.

Above: Ziva also got to spend some time with big brother Ben at her birthday. Ben is currently looking for work and having a difficult time because of his status as a 'foreigner'. Even though Ben was born in Hungary, it is not an easy process for him to establish dual citizenship. Please pray that he would find a workplace willing to help with needed paperwork for his residency permit that will need to be renewed next year.

Prayers and financial help needed

critical graphic

We know that many of you have been personally affected by the economic downturn and may have had to make various changes to get through. Our plea for help is not for those of you who are also in need of help. We would just ask that you please pray for us as we've been close to the red in our support account and would like to see that change. If you are in a position to help financially, we really could use your support. And for those of you who faithfully give, we are very thankful for your partnership with us! We have been so blessed by your generosity and care for us.

As December is right around the corner, we look forward to lots of ministry opportunities including puppet ministry in public schools. We hope to be sending out a prayer calendar for puppet ministry in the coming weeks. Thank all of you for partnering with us in bringing the gospel to Hungary!

End of Summer Update

Above: Kira and Ziva in Czech Republic for a Missionary Kids' Camp.

As we finished up our 1st VBS on Saturday, we got ready for our next journey to Czech Republic on Sunday. Both Kira and Ziva would be attending a Missionary Kids’ Camp right off the heals of our VBS, while Sharon and I would celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary on August 8th.


Big news about Kira and Ziva!

We had asked you to pray a few updates back for Ziva as she seemed to be understanding more of her personal need to put faith in Jesus Christ. Midway through the Missionary Kids' Camp, we got a phone call from Kira who then passed the phone to Ziva who shared with us that she had become a Christian! Ziva shared that she would often think to herself that she was too young and would make a decision when she got older. One of the staff while sharing with all the kids said, “You’re not too young to become a believer.”

Ziva couldn’t stop thinking about it and each day she felt more convicted that the time was now. To Kira’s surprised, Ziva asked if she could pray with her to put her faith in Christ. You can imagine the tears and rejoicing in that moment! The Holy Spirit was also doing great things in Kira’s heart at camp bringing her encouragement and teaching her to trust Him. As if Ziva’s decision of faith was not enough, God surprised us with an amazing work that He did in Kira after returning home from Czech Republic. As I came down the steps of our house toward our kitchen, I could hear Kira crying as she was sharing something with Sharon. As I came closer, Sharon assured me that these were tears of joy.

Apparently, while Kira was laying down and thinking on some things she had been learning, she heard the voice of God call her into missions. This idea of her being a missionary was nowhere on her radar and seemed to be a continuation of what God was doing in her heart already at camp. Talk about some serious spiritual breakthroughs! We remember the days, just over a year ago, when Kira was just withering spiritually and physically. We just could not have imagined the amazing changes that God would do in Kira's heart since she began attending Black Forest Academy in Germany and was put in a new environment to thrive. We are so grateful for all of you who made that possible and continue to help with her tuition costs. It has truly been a great investment!

Thank all of you who are praying for our children.

2nd Summer Bible Camp


In mid-August, we held our second Bible Camp in our hometown of Petofibanya with over 100 kids (including teen helpers). God was gracious to help us repair our main tent that had been damaged in our last camp because of a violent storm.



Above: What a joy to have our daughters back throughout the summer to serve along side of us. Ellie and Kira were amazing with helping with worship, leading small groups and of course the end of the day drama that always left the kids wanting to come back for more.




Above: It was also a joy to see those 'home grown' kids like Szabi leading small groups and sharing the beautiful truth of who Jesus Christ is with the kids.


We rejoice that Szabi, along with Bence, LIliom and Betti (pictured L to R) are choosing theological studies for continued education this Fall. Add to that list our daughters Elianna and Kira and celebrate with us that all these young men and women who were saved and discipled through our church are being equipped to continue in God's calling and purposes.

Hanna saved!

Since we also had so many teens that volunteer as helpers in our VBS camps that are not yet saved, our youth group held a get together mid-week for them. Kira wanted to share her testimony that evening of how God had been calling
her to deeper levels of trust and the dramatic way in which He called her into missions the previous weekend. God used Kira's testimony powerfully in Hanna's life, who we have known for years. Hanna (pictured below) made a decision to put her faith in Christ saying that she was going through much of what Kira had shared and now was also ready to put her faith in Jesus.

Above: VBS is not just for kids, but a powerful way to reach young adults as well! Hanna showing the joy she has beginning this day of VBS with a new identity as a child of God through Jesus Christ.

Above: Kitti who had only planned on coming to help at our first VBS was so encouraged and blessed being with us that she requested to also help in our second camp. She shared how the Lord was speaking to her and leading her the entire week in a way that she had never experienced in her life.

Above: Panna, who happens to have been one of Kira's preschool classmates years ago also came to volunteer at our second VBS. She shared that she would like to believe and is currently seeking the Lord. God is doing a great work among the youth and we ask that you continue to pray for more of them to put their trust in Jesus and to grow in His grace.

Above: The slippy slide was a great way to cool off and have some fun in the afternoon.

Above: Heidi connecting with one of the mothers, Brigi who, as a teen, attended one of our English Camps over 15 years ago! Now Brigi is sending her daughter to our Bible Camps. Brigi shared with Heidi how that English camp was so impactful for her in a time that she was experiencing many problems at home. She said it was the first time she experienced unconditional love. Initially, she said it just seemed strange and even suspicious. But now Brigi sees that what she experienced was true love. We know that it is Jesus that she was experiencing through us, and that she has only tasted a portion of what Jesus wants her to have in abundance. Please pray for Brigi and other parents that have known us for years and entrust their kids with us at these camps, but still have not turned to Jesus to be their Savior and Lord.




Above: Emese (far right) who was baptized recently was concerned on the last day of VBS as she found out that her parents were coming. They did not come to her baptism to which many unbelieving parents choose to attend in support of their kids. Her father has not been very sympathetic to her pursuit of Jesus and they have had a difficult relationship.

On the last day, we had a special small group time for parents that attend. Our first VBS small group with parents was a bit difficult with only a handful showing up and most of them clearly uncomfortable being there. But at this VBS, we had 30 parents show up and a much more open atmosphere. After I shared briefly about myself, a woman asked, "You say that God led you here, how did that happen?" This opened up more opportunity to share how we have a living relationship with God and not a religious ritual with no true relationship with Him. Afterwards, church member Zsolti shared his testmony and interacted with a few questions like, "How did your wife respond when you became a Christian and she was not?" We were close to finishing our time and Emese's dad began to share a few thoughts. "I don't want to disrespect any of you. But I don't agree with any of this being the way. I have experienced much of the same in my life and if any of you are interested we can talk about it." What he meant was that Jesus Christ was not 'the Way', because I had just shared before his comments John 14:6 with the group: "I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." We had to finish our time together, and I responded gently to him. I then invited the parents to take a Bible or other material we had placed on a table as they left. All the Bibles were gone at the end along with many of the evangelistic books!

Throughout the day, others like our teammate Heidi, had some time to talk to Emese's dad about his thoughts. He witnessed the unity, the joy, and love that was evident in the volunteers and how this affected the kids who attended. It is clear that his heart is softening towards believers and he shared that Emese has found a good community.





Above: Emese's little sister Anna also attended VBS and is seen above sporting a "Jesus is King" crown. She is also very open to pursuing Jesus and in a conversation with Emese's dad, he shared that he would not be opposed to her getting baptized if she chooses. On the long car ride home, Emese shared that she had an open and peaceful conversation with her parents that she had not had in a long time. Praise God for softening the heart of her dad and for brining peace into their relationship even though he has different beliefs. Please pray for Emese and her family and for the clear changes happening in Emese's life to be a testimony to the life of Christ to her family.




Above: The majority of the Mercer clan, Sharon, Ziva (11), Ellie (20), Kira (17) and Allen. Check out some videos below of highlights from our second VBS this Summer.

End of Summer Teen Camping Weekend

Above: Emese and Lilla

To close off the summer, we hold a weekend camp designed for teens. This allows us to talk about more serious subjects that relate to their season of life and continue conversations with those teens whose hearts were being drawn to Jesus.




We had a good mix of believing teens and those teens who we have friendships with that are not yet believers. Having already spent the majority of summer serving together, the small groups discussions seemed to work well when discussing our topic of how our decisions today affect who we are in the future.

Above: Each afternoon, we had a "Talk Show", where Bence interviewed a guest. In this session above, Enikő shared about growing up in a dysfunctional family with a parent that struggled with alcohol and her path to coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Many of you who have partnered with us for years remember that Enikő was saved in one of our English Camps.



Above: In true Hungarian fashion, our dinner the first night was fat drippings on bread with raw onions, tomatoes and peppers.


Above: Enikő's husband Gabi was the first campfire speaker, starting the weekend off with a discussion about how God has given us an opportunity today to believe in His Son and the danger of great regret in the future if we squander this opportunity to trust and believe.


Unfortunately, I couldn't stay the entire camp as I experienced a slipped disk and was laid out on a foldable table for most of Friday under the main tent. I felt like I was in a hospital on my back, seeing faces over me throughout the day helping in any way they could. I was blessed with my family in Christ and how they sought to care for me. As night approached and I still could not maneuver my body to stand, a doctor was called in and I was given a few injections. That was enough in order for a few of the guys to bring me home so that I could recover there. Since I had been a spectacle at camp throughout Friday, I thought I would share some thoughts to be read to campers regarding what had happened. This is what I asked the leaders to read to them:

"Sorry I couldn’t spend the rest of the weekend with all of you. I’m thankful for all the help from my family in Christ and the ways they showed their love for me in my time of need. Thank you for your concern for me. I trust I’ll be fine soon enough. My concern is for all of you to understand your need to become a child of God. Many of you saw how helpless I was in myself, and I was desperate and I knew I needed to depend on others. God wants all of us to realize that we are all helpless without him and we all deeply need God as our loving Father to live. Just as God sent all those people around me to offer help, so he sent to you Jesus to rescue you from your helpless sinful spiritual condition and from separation from His family. I hope you see this weekend that God is offering His love to you and His help to you to begin living the life you were created to live. Without Him you are helpless to do anything in life that will have eternal value. As I called for help when I was in pain and gladly allowed Józsi and Gabi to carry me up the stairs to my house, will you take the hands of Jesus that He begin helping you live His purposes for your life. He loves you but always gives you the choice to receive Him or reject Him."

I trust that God has planted many powerful seeds of the Gospel in these kids' hearts and we ask that you pray for this new generation of Hungarians to flourish in faith in Christ. As far as my condition, after much rest, I am back on my feet and getting better each day. I hope to get back to playing soccer and being able to work out in a few weeks. I'd appreciate your prayers for me.




Above: Saying goodbyes at Budapest Airport. After our second VBS, Ellie was off to Chicago for her second year at Moody. And just a week later, we said our goodbye's to Kira who would be starting her second year at Black Forest Academy in Germany. We appreciate your prayers for our girls in this important formative time in their lives. And please pray for Ziva as she once again transitions to not having her sisters around at home.


Thank all of you for taking this journey with us as partners in supporting our ministry and family. We’re in year 23 of serving in Hungary and are thankful for God's provision through you so that we can continue following God's calling on our lives. Thank all of you who have recently responded with prayer and financial giving to help us get our Pioneers account out of danger from going into the red. We are grateful for all of you and your generosity!

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” — 2 Corinthians 13:14