May Update

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Sharon's time in Bogacs


I’ve been delighted that in the past few months that I’ve been able to go with Allen to Bogacs. I enjoy being there, meeting those that Allen knows and getting to hold a lovely squishy baby. :-) But the best part for me is meeting with Izabella. You may remember that a number of years ago she was freed from demonic oppression and came to faith in Christ. Her boyfriend of many years is in prison and she is raising her 3 boys alone. Recently as we were talking, she cried out in exasperation that she is not enough for this task. When I agreed with her she looked startled. So I began to explain to her that without God we are not wise enough or big enough for the task of raising children. Just the previous day I had an experience while talking with my spiritual director online. I shared this story with her.

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My spiritual director asked me to think about what I most desire today and I began thinking about my kids and how each of them are going through a difficult time at the moment in one way or another and how I desire their well being, even if it means a season of difficulty. She then asked me to just sit with that desire and see how God might like to minister to me in that or speak to that. Almost instantly I had a picture in my mind of my kids being held in my hands and God’s great hands under mine. Toward the end of our hour together, she invited me again to remember my desire and to seek God and see if He had anything to add to what He had already spoken. As I settled myself in God’s presence, I was surprised to see that the image had changed slightly, but meaningfully. God now placed one of his hands directly under my kids and the other stayed under my hands as I supported them. It was such a reassuring picture for me of God’s faithful care both for me and for our kids. It reminded me that even though He has given me this monumental task to parent these kids, He is ministering directly to them and not just through me.

As I shared this with Izabella her eyes began to grow wide and tear up, and she exclaimed, “God meant for me to hear this too!” We were both so delighted at God’s care for us as parents and His care for our kids as well. Please pray for her as she seeks to raise her kids in a godly way in a community with no other believers and she has to “swim upstream” against the culture to do this.

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Above: Izabella's oldest son Aladar.

The need for fathers


As Sharon mentioned above, Izabella's boyfriend has been in prison for some time. Aladar, Izabella's oldest, has shown some interest in God over the past few months choosing to sit in and listen to the Bible study time. A few weeks ago, he began to move in a very dangerous direction in his life that was bringing his family into great grief and worry. After I heard about what was happening, Aladar showed up and sat down with a smirk, knowing that his mother had been sharing about what was happening. Instead of yelling at him (which may be the only way family have tried to get through to him), I began sharing some of my failures and struggles when I was young. And with compassion, but very sternly warned him that it only takes one foolish decision at his age to lead to great loss, regret and grief.

Part of the issue involved him ignoring his mom asking him to be at home at night. Instead he would leave once she was asleep and not return until the next day. I told him that his friends that support his foolish behavior have no real love for him like his mother. She would be willing to give her life for him, while they are only around as long as they are being entertained. I tried to make clear to him that God had given him a tremendous gift in his mom that now knows Jesus and is seeking to follow Him and yet he was leaning into a life that was moving in the same direction that led to his dad being in prison and the family being in poverty. I encouraged him to choose life. Take advantage of all of these opportunities God had given him and escape the cycle of being another poor man in prison living with regret. Aladar seemed to take it well and we left not knowing where this would all lead. We prayed and returned next week.

With great joy, Izabella shared that Aladar began staying home and listened to his mother since that conversation! Praise God for working in Aladar's conscience and helping him turn away from rebellion and foolishness. Many young teens in this town are already sexually active having parents that really don't pay much attention to what their children are doing. Many Roma kids become parents at 14-16 years old. Having no real maturity, no means to support their family, most turn to some type of crime to survive. Please continue to pray for men to be saved in Bogacs. Pray for those men who are in prison to find new life in Christ. Pray for these kids who have no father figures to find Christ and come out of this terrible cycle of poverty and crime.

Tibi's baptism


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Some of you may remember in our last update that a man named Zsolti was baptized from the neighboring town of Apc. He since opened his home for small group Bible study that Tibi began attending. Tibi and Zsolti are neighbors and Zsolti had already been seeking to help Tibi with everyday needs with food and help around his house. As we continued to meet in small group, it was clear that Tibi had some kind of background with Christianity, but he confessed about himself that he was not yet a believer. About the third or fourth meeting, the Spirit of God brought understanding and conviction to his heart. Tibi was in tears as we continued to study the life of Christ and His call to repentance and faith. Tibi put his faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Here is an excerpt from what Tibi shared at his baptism:
“When I think about Jesus, I think about how you are a pastor and how Zsolti invited me to church and for both of you that was fulfilling a responsibility. Some of us have less and others have more responsibility. Jesus had an unbelievable amount of responsibility and He was willing to offer His own life, so that we would be saved from our sins. So why would anyone not be baptized? Jesus is so good and ready to forgive. The time has to come in your life when God speaks and tells you, “The time is now.” And when I heard that there was an opportunity to be baptized, I knew it was time. I want to live according to the Lord’s will and ask Him to lead me. Because I need Him.” — Tibi.

Virag with the Lord


As months were passing, and Covid continued to spread throughout Hungary and through our congregation, I was thankful for God sustaining our lives. In fact, I was just sharing this thankfulness with Miki who had fully recovered from Covid and would be considered in a higher-risk category.

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Just then, Miki received a message on his phone. We were outside at the time helping another church member with some construction at his new house. Miki shared the news with all of us, "Virag is on a breathing machine." Virag? We were in shock. Virag (pictured below), one of our church members is only 27 years old.

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We stopped to pray for her and just a few hours later, Miki received another message: "Virag has gone to be with the Lord." Virag's mother (pictured below) who is also a church member and a cancer and stroke survivor had Covid just a month prior and fully recovered. Her daughter Virag was not as fortunate.

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Above: Virag's mother Margit serving at VBS


This was a terrible and shocking loss. But because of our Lord and Savior Jesus who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, we knew our grief would not be the same as the world. Virag had Jesus and now Jesus has Virag in His presence. So we turn again to the living hope found in God's word: "We believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." (1 Thessalonians 4:14). As you can imagine, Margit is experiencing the pain of loss as well as her son and their family. As most members of her family are not believers, please pray that this would lead to hearts turning to Jesus. Virag's brother takes his children to our VBS every year and he has been open to the Gospel. May the Lord use VBS this year to continue proclaiming that Jesus has overcome sin, death and the judgment we deserved. Please pray that God's Spirit move on the hearts of children and parents to show them the way to eternal life in Christ.

Life after lockdown


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Since most of us have either already been infected and have immunity or have been vaccinated, we rejoiced in getting back together in smaller venues with the church. What a great way to kick-off things with a Hungarian style cook out! Always delicious, but don't ask what's in the stew.

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Above: Sharon, Ellie and Kira. Both Sharon and Ellie are fully recovered from having Covid after having lingering symptoms of fatigue for months. We praise God for their healing. Although we have mostly stayed connected online with team members every week, it was a relief to finally meet face to face and enjoy a time of fellowship with friends from church.

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Youth Group Returns


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Above: I guess that's one way to keep the germs away. Teens beginning to meet weekly again for youth group at Miki's house.

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Above: We praise God that momentum is picking back up as we're beginning to gather the teens together weekly. We've got a great group of teens that are beginning to discover their own giftings and we look forward to seeing how God will continue to bring them to maturity in Jesus Christ.

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Please pray that God use these times to strengthen and encourage them and that those who are not yet saved who are attending would come to understand their desperate need for Jesus. There has been much stress and even depression that has threatened all of these kids as they were isolated through lock down. Pray that each of them (including our two teen daughters Ellie and Kira) grow in having their own personal experiences learning to trust and depend on God and His word in their struggles in life.

Family Fun


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To relieve the monotony of online school, over the past few months we've sought to find ways to be active outside going hiking, biking, walking and having our fair share of time with various farm animals.

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Above: Sharon looking over our hometown of Petofibanya.


As we turn our attention to the upcoming summer months, we are full of hope and anticipation for what God is going to accomplish. In just over a month and a half, we'll be jumpstarting our summer outreaches with Baseball Camp. After that practically every other week we'll be serving in camps for children, teens and young adults. It is an intense season, but a summer full of amazing opportunities to sow seeds to a new generation of Hungarians. We appreciate your continued prayers and support!

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” — Psalm 28:7

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Februrary Update

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Christ never in quarantine


“Lockdowns”, “regulations”, “distance”. Yes, we have been experiencing all of these and yet we are seeing the spiritual power of God working without restraint. Jesus says in Revelation 3:7, “What I open, no one can shut”. Our Savior has said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mat 16:18). Christ and the power of the Gospel cannot be quarantined and while the pandemic has spread and caused much suffering and death, Jesus is overcoming darkness and bringing eternal life through the Gospel!

As I share these recent powerful breakthroughs with you, rejoice with us that Christ and the power of His Gospel cannot be quarantined!

Breakthroughs among the Romani!


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God has brought two particular Romani men to repent and believe. They have experienced deep heart transformation that can only be explained by the Holy Spirit at work within them! The first of the two is Zsolti. I have known Zsolti for some time and even had a Bible study in his house for a few years.

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Above: Bible study in Zsolti's house in 2013

But after some time, we stopped meeting as he expressed no deep interest and showed no change in aligning his life with God’s will. Then last February, I got a phone call, “Allen, can you come and pray with me. I need to be saved.”

I met with Zsolti and he shared how God was convicting His heart and he was ready to repent and believe. I hoped that this was sincere as there were times in the past where it was not. But as the months went by in 2020, I saw a faithfulness in Zsolti, a new hatred for sin and a persistence I had never seen in his life to go after Jesus.

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Zsolti’s testimony


Here is a translation of part of Zsolti’s testimony he shared at his baptism: “I didn’t really have true repentance when I said I believed in the past. I was like a limping Christian for many years. But this completely changed. Since I truly repented, everything is different. I stopped living the ‘Sunday I’m a Christian’ and ‘Monday I’m not’ life. God has taught me to love and to walk by the Spirit. Thank God that He was gracious to me even when I wasn’t taking Him seriously…that I’m still alive. Sure, I still have difficulties, but God never promised that I wouldn’t. He promised that He would be with me. And that is so good that I’m not alone.

Before, in my old life, I would pray and ask God to help with all these problems. Things would get better but I would get angry and accuse God of not loving me because He wasn’t helping me the way I expected. But God responded many times that there were things in my life that were not godly. And now I understand. There were many sins in my life that I considered to be small but they were cutting off my relationship with God. But God sees sin as sin. There is no small sin. So I began to examine myself to see what sin was rooted in my life. Looking at pornography? Stop it. God spoke to me. Don’t defile yourself any longer. I repented and God forgave me. I learned from reading the Word that I can’t live in these sins and expect fellowship with God.

As the Lord has taken me seriously, I have to take Him seriously. He took me so seriously that Jesus died for me. There may still be sin in my life now, but I’m ready to be cleaned up. I’m ready to respond to the Lord when He reveals sin so that I may repent and get it out of my life. I’m not alone. God is with me. We’ll do it together. The only bad news in all of this is the passing of 15 years where I did not change. But I believe I do have time now to live in the joy and love of the Lord. I want the Lord to fulfill all that He plans and wills in my life. That’s why I’m here today to get into the baptismal water and put my old life to death. Because I don’t have any need of the old life any longer. May God get the glory. Amen!” — Zsolti

Zsolti added, “Nem induló akarok lenni hanem érkezo is!” Translation: I don’t want to just start well, I want to finish well!

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Above: Since that time, Zsolti has joined me multiple times commuting to the town of Bogacs and helped me minister to the Romani families there.

I have seen spiritual gifts at work in him as he has encouraged and preached the gospel in powerful ways! He has begun reaching out to his own family members in his hometown of Apc. Zsolti has also found reconciliation with his son in law with whom he had great tension and difficulty for many years. Zsolti now embraces him when they meet and recently had him over along with his daughter to their house for a new weekly Bible study. Salvation has come to his house!

Sanyi & Ilonka


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In January 2021, I was introduced to a man named Sanyi. He came into the house where we meet slightly intoxicated but very sincere telling me, “I want to be saved!”

To be honest, this is not the first time this kind of interaction has happened in my life. In each case, I take them at their word. I simply replied, what do you mean? He began sharing a little bit about his life and how he believes in God and wants to turn over his life to Jesus. On that occasion, I briefly shared the Gospel with him and gave him a Bible. I told him that I visit weekly and he is welcome to attend. Sanyi continued to come and persisted that he was very serious about wanting to be saved. His wife was clearly a ‘God-fearer’ and said she was ready to believe also.

As we studied the life of Jesus together, I sought to explain what it meant that we believe. Jesus is not only our Savior, but He is the Lord of our life. We talked about repentance meaning that we are turning away from a life of ‘my will be done’, to a newborn life with a new heart that wants the will of Jesus to be done. Sanyi continued to insist, “I want to be saved.” When people are at this point in their thinking, I usually turn to the words proclaimed by the apostle Peter in Acts 2:38: “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.”

After reading this together, I explain what baptism symbolizes. By faith in Christ, we bury the old guilt-stained sin-inclined life and by the grace and power of God we are raised with Christ to a newborn forgiven life. We become a beloved child of God that is inclined to do His will. Be encouraged as you view the video of Sanyi and Ilonka’s testimony and baptism in February.


The week following Sanyi’s baptism, we met together and put on his video testimony as other family members watched. His wife Ilonka began giving testimony to how much Sanyi has changed and is no longer exploding in anger at his kids. So much so, that his kids began saying mischievously, “Now we can get away with anything we want.” Of course that is not the case, but they recognize that his entire countenance has been changed.

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Above: One of the families we visit weekly in Bogacs that led to our introduction to Sanyi and Ilonka.

Sanyi also shared testimony that he was out doing what all of these families in this community do: Going into the forrest to steal wood to sell because he is out of work and needed money. Sanyi shared that while he was on the way, he was deeply convicted that it was sin. His wife listening along added, “He didn’t bring any wood home. He knew it was wrong.” This is a BIG deal for someone in this community. It is accepted behavior even though it is illegal. For them, it is the only way of life and survival. What a testimony to the powerful work of the Spirit changing Sanyi’s heart and his ways. Sanyi also said, that on the way the others were asking him about his faith and his baptism. And Sanyi was able to share with them his experience with God.

Sending Disciples out


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Two of our young adult members, Eszti (top blue shirt) and Bogi (above green shirt) who were saved through our church and served in very important ministry roles have since moved to Budapest as they begin their lives as adults. They are now both working in full time education and have found new church homes. We praise God that we were able to send them out with blessing and expectation that wherever God plants them, they will produce fruit for His glory.

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As she often does, Bogi wrote a letter of encouragement in January: "It was exactly five years ago on Jan 31, 2016 that I was baptized! I am thankful for all of you and that I had that period of time to become close to God. You all have shown me that there is only true life in having fellowship with God. You helped me understand that God has a plan for my life and that I am not here by accident. I learned that we experience peace, security and joy from the Lord and we can trust Him with each. Years ago, I attended English Club where my salvation began with friends who didn’t agree with my decision to become a Christian and are not happy that I put my trust in God.

Our heavenly Father can use any situation and any person to reveal His love, His grace and His faithfulness. The past five years with Him have nothing to do with my faithfulness, but they are about His unquestionable unfading love! I came to Jesus as a young college student pursuing worldly goals. But experiencing the love of the Father through the trials and difficulties of life as a Christian are far better than anything the world had to offer me! " — Bogi

A prodigal son comes home


Serving in church planting, I have felt the sadness of seeing those with so much potential backslide and bury their talents God has graciously given to be used for His kingdom. Years ago, a young wife, Eszti, began praying for her husband Peti, who laughed at her when she decided to be baptized. Later, God answered her persistent prayers. On a hiking outing, her husband Peti was saved. He was then baptized and soon after began attending formal theological training.

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Above: Peti getting a theological degree in 2013.

Through the years, we sought to disciple and mentor Peti and he began preaching and serving in powerful ways with youth. However, a pattern of backsliding became the norm for Peti who would just disappear from his marriage, family and church fellowship and pour himself into sports. He would then return after a time, but after disappearing again and again, it was clear that he did not yet have true repentance in his heart. As the leadership sought to reach out to him, we would only find resistance. We joined his wife Eszti in continuing to turn to God and pray.

After months of no change I received this message from Peti:
“Szia Allen bácsi valamikor lenne kedved találkozni beszélgetni, imádkozni?” Translation: “Hey Uncle Allen, would you be able to meet some time to talk and pray?”

Peti was ready to return and understood that he was not walking with Christ. After returning, I sought to make clear with Peti what true repentance looked like. Yes, he knew to ask forgiveness from God, but he didn’t understand the wreckage that he had caused in relationships, breaking trust in his family and with his wife. He needed to grasp how his actions affected them and he needed to personally ask them for forgiveness. He began meeting with people one by one seeking to listen and understand how his past decisions had hurt them.

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Above: Peti with wife Eszti and his four children Darius, Alina, Elianna and Szabi.

Peti has been faithful to take steps for reconciliation and is now meeting with leadership weekly and experiencing the joy of restoration by God’s grace. He has also begun writing new songs to the Lord which we are helping to record each week at our house.

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Above: Peti's son Szabi and wife Eszti helping record.

Here are a few lyrics from one of Peti's songs:

I was lost, You rescued me.
You brought me out of bondage
Removing the chains You made me free.
My life is transformed

You left your glory for me.
Your word encourages me, now I’m not afraid.
You will never leave me, you promised.
You are faithful to all.

Her light not dimming with age


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One of our elderly church members Gizi (pictured above center at gate), could no longer maintain the care of her large house and garden along with the care of her husband who is chronically ill. Gizi is a woman full of joy who grabs the teens to hug them and is faithful in praying for every church member in need. Gizi was convinced it was time to move to an elderly home and believes God planted her their to bring encouragement and the joy of Christ to others. She is active in building relationships and sharing about her hope in Jesus Christ. Because of lockdowns we were unable to visit her in the nursing home, but we were able to travel with our Christmas choir and bring the joy of Christ with song at a distance.

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Above: Our choir gathering across the street in December.

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Gizi wrote to the church afterwards sharing how much a blessing it was for all the elderly and the workers to hear us. She said many commented about how they felt the love and presence of God and experienced another expression of what Gizi had already been sharing with them while living among them.

Current Covid situation


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In February Sharon became sick with Covid and then Ellie and then Ziva. We praise God that there have been no significant difficulties and they are all recovering well!

Hungary continues to be in lock-down which is not as severe as other countries. This includes wearing masks indoor and outdoor when in any close vicinity with others, restrictions to indoor meetings and curfews. School for elementary aged children continues as normal, but high school classes for children are online. We continue to meet for ministry in smaller groups but our Sunday worship services are held online. We are looking forward with hope that these restrictions will be lessened over the next few months. We are already making plans for summer camps where we hope to proclaim the Gospel to many families!

Prayer requests:

Please pray for ‘Grandma-Gizi’ to have continued strength and the encouragement and comfort of the Spirit as she has suffered the pain of loosing various members in the nursing home community she had become close with this past year.

Pray for more breakthroughs with family and relatives among the Romani in the town of Apc and Bogács. Pray for Zsolti and Sanyi to grow in maturity and be filled and led by the Spirit to powerfully testify about Jesus Christ.

Pray for Peti and other young men who are growing in their faith. Pray that God raise up future leaders, faithful husbands and Christ-like dads to influence a new generation to follow Jesus.

Pray for marriages in our church, for those who are struggling to be transformed and healed by the truth of the Gospel and power of the Spirit. Pray that we would have wisdom as we meet and counsel couples.


In this new year, continue to turn your trust to God. As Paul shared about difficulties and struggles he suffered in life, he tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”

May this be a year where we continue to rely not on ourselves but on God. May it be a year we set our hope on Him. Thank you for partnering with us!

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