December Update

A season to wait?


God has turned my attention to an important phrase for this season of life. In Psalm 25:3,5 we read,

“None who wait for you shall be put to shame… for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

In Psalm 27:14 we read,

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

And in Lamentations 3:26, we read,

“It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Waiting is not as exciting a theme as moving mountains. It is especially uninteresting to our generation that seeks to produce systems and technology that remove waiting from life. But God knows that His children benefit from being in a place of waiting for Him. God knows that waiting is not useless, but a tremendous blessing to provide the best environment for our spiritual growth. 2020 has been a year where God has given us an opportunity to grow as we wait for the salvation of the Lord.

Waiting helps expose the true foundation of our hope. That foundation is either Jesus and therefore we continue to have His peace and remain thankful in uncertain circumstances moving toward Him in worship. Or we may find our foundation for hope is in other things and therefore we fall into despair, complaining and distance ourself from God.

God reminds us that waiting is part of His plan to prosper us. He has used waiting in my life over this year to keep my hope firmly fixed in Jesus. May our Father grant us insight in this season of waiting and cause all of us to have an unmovable hope in our Savior.

“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isa 40:31)


Reconnecting with English Campers


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Above: At the end of October we were able to go hiking with some students who participated in our Summer English Camp. Other PI missionaries have also been holding get togethers in a coffee house in Budapest to stay connected with campers.

Youth group



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Up until just a few weeks ago, we were allowed to continue to have our youth group meetings at the local community center (with the requirement of masks). We continue to be thankful for connecting with new teens in the community and thankful for the opportunity to share God’s truth with them each week.

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Above: Please pray specifically for Viki (pictured farthest right and below). Viki has become increasingly open to the Gospel and even attended Sunday worship service for the first time a few weeks ago!

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Above: Hiking with the youth group at the end of October.

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Above: Sharon with Erika. We’ve been partners in church planting with Erika and her husband Miki since 2003. We’re so thankful for their faithfulness and perseverance over these many years of service. We would appreciate your prayers for healing for Erika who is experiencing an ongoing health issue.

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Above: Our youngest daughter Ziva with Emily enjoying time together on our hike we put together for the youth group in our church.

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Above: Please also pray for Noel who attended various ministries we held in Petofibanya as a child and was recently reconnected with our youth group. Our daughter Elianna shares a bus ride to school with Noel and has had many opportunities to talk to him about the reason for our hope in Jesus and other theological questions.

Zsofi’s Baptism



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Just before the Hungarian government released a new 30 day restriction against public gatherings, we were able to hold a baptismal service for Zsofi.

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Here is what Zsofi shared at her baptism:
“Before I came to know God, I would compare myself to others. I paid attention to how they dressed, how they acted and I always felt I could never be like them. I had a very low self-esteem. I heard about Bible stories when I was younger, but I thought they were just made up. I thought if the stories happened a long time ago, they had nothing to do with my life today. I didn’t believe that I could have a personal relationship with God.

Last year, Luca invited me to the VBS in Petofibanya so I could fulfill my required social-service hours for school. The first day, I just didn’t understand why all the people who were serving there were so happy. What was all this unity? It was like something I had never seen in my life. I wanted what they had.

Throughout the summer and in youth group meetings I learned a lot about God and His great love. I learned that God sent His Son Jesus for me and that He died for my sins. This was so amazing to me and I had never heard this before. After that summer I decided that I wanted God in my life. When I put my faith in Jesus, those issues I once had began to fade away. The emptiness that was in me was replaced with Jesus filling me. And I understood that I could have a living relationship with God. And it’s not a fairytale!” — Zsofi

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Zsofi’s testimony reminds me of the power of unity in Christ. Jesus prayed for us

“…That they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22b-23)

Praise God for continuing to work this unity out within us and using VBS as a way to proclaim that Jesus was sent from God as Savior and Lord.

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Bondi's baptism


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Above: Attila standing behind me is a member of the church plant in Jászfényszaru. He began reaching out to his childhood friend Bondi (white shirt) when he became deathly ill. Attila constantly brought the love of Christ and continued to explain the Gospel. Bondi ended up repenting and putting his faith in Jesus Christ. He asked that we help him to be baptized since there was no one in his area that could do it. Praise God for using Attila to reach his friend and for the gift of salvation that God was pleased to give Bondi through Christ!

Allen’s uneventful Covid and Ellie’s very eventful appendicitis


After applying just one spritz of cologne, the bathroom is USUALLY filled with a strong but pleasant aroma. I had just been testing a newly purchased bottle. Was I ripped off? Was it filled with water? This scent is really weak I thought. I sprayed another spritz and then put some on my wrist. By the time the thought occurred to me that this could be Covid, I was drenched in cologne. Hilarious. Like many of you, I then endured a swab exploring regions in my nose otherwise never known by mankind. Although I had no other symptoms, the swab test indicated Covid. By God’s grace and Him answering the prayers of many, I had a very uneventful experience with this terrible virus. However, at this same time in November, Ellie was having a very difficult time recovering from having her appendix removed.

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First there was the process of finding the right hospital for Ellie in a time when many are tasked for just Covid cases. God led us to the right one. After a successful appendectomy, Ellie returned home only to become feverish and feel increased pain. Sharon brought her back to the hospital and by God’s grace was able to stay in a private room with Ellie.

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Above: Unfortunately, Sharon and Ellie couldn’t be home for Ziva’s 9th birthday, so they joined in virtually from the hospital in Budapest.

After days of monitoring and examining and heavy doses of antibiotic, Ellie turned a corner. God took away the fever and her strength began to return. We praise God that we could have the medical care we needed in a time of rapidly increased cases of Covid putting strain on the medical system. Praise God that while Allen had Covid, the rest of the family was protected and free of the virus. (Sharon and Ellie tested negative the second time returning to the hospital).

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Above: Goodbye hosptial. Yay, time to go home!

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Above: Ellie back at home with the family. She still needs to gain back the weight she lost and feels better each new day.

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Above: While our entire household was in quarantine since Allen tested positive for Covid, Ziva found ways to continue her daily exercise. In my office upstairs, I often hear the rushing “thump thump thump” sound. Then silence. Then “thump thump thump”. And I know Ziva is running laps around the coffee table and then jumping from one couch to another.

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Above: Our thanksgiving dinner on the last day of our COVID quarantine.

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Above: Our son Ben (exceeding my height) is now living in an apartment in Budapest and attending school with a major in political science. Praise God for a good transition to college and a good experience at school. Ben was also able to get his first job which isn't as easy when you are an American with the type of visa and situation we are in. Our older daughters Ellie and Kira have classes online at home in their pajamas while our youngest Ziva continues to attend school without the school closure the older kids are experiencing.

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We are so thankful for your kindness in partnering with us by prayer and financial giving. End of the year gifts are appreciated and so helpful! Click the SUPPORT link for more information.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. — Rom 15:13
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September Update

“Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah” — Psalm 9:20

One spiritual benefit of this time of trial is the breaking down of pride throughout the nations that oppose God. Pride knows God, but does not honor him as God or give thanks to him (Rom 1:21). I pray that God put an end to the spread of this terrible virus, but I know at the same time this sense of weakness and great need for help it has produced may finally bring a proud person to his knees before God's throne. May all the uncertainty and sense of hopelessness, turn the world to Jesus, who is the Truth and provider of living hope.

As with other nations, Hungary is experiencing a second wave of infections from Coronavirus. May you be encouraged to see that God made a way for us to continue proclaiming the Gospel in Hungary. We praise Him for these continued open doors!

YOUTH Camping weekend in Jaszfenyszaru


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Toward the end of August, we held our last camp of the summer in a wooded area behind the town of Jászfényszaru. This camp is designed for teens, many of whom have been serving this entire summer with us.

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Marti (above suspenders) first came to know us through English Camp and she lives over 2 hours away. Over the past few years, she has attended our Baseball Camp and now our Youth Group Camp for the first time. Please pray that the seeds God is planting in her life would flourish and lead to faith in Jesus.

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For those of you who have not camped with Hungarians, a staple meal is prepared by heating fat in iron clasps and dripping it on bread. Afterwards you top it off with your choice of freshly chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers and bacon bits.

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There is something special about times around the campfire under the stars at night. After singing together, we began teaching on the theme of what is truly valuable in life.

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At last year’s Youth Group Camp, Gabi was convicted about his wayward life and burying the treasure that God had given him to use for His kingdom. It was at this camp last year that he repented and recommitted to use his gifts and talents as God directed. Since that time he has been faithful in ministry responsibilities and stepping into new opportunities to serve.

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Above: Erika getting some extra time to talk with Viki. Previously, Viki was one of Erika’s students at a local high school. She began playing volleyball with us and then started to attend some of our youth group meetings. We were thankful that she decided to attend this camp and hear truths from God’s word and testimonies from those who have experienced the gift of new life through faith in Jesus Christ.

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Many of these teens have grown up attending our VBS camps, but they never outgrow singing their favorite songs from camp and doing the motions together.

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Eniko’s turn to share how Jesus Christ changed her life. Throughout the weekend, we interviewed different people from various backgrounds and learned more about how they were saved and transformed by Jesus.

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Youth Group Weekend at Balaton Lake


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The Baptist church offered us a grant to use their facilities in Balaton for a weekend retreat in September for our Youth Group. This would not normally be available because of various camps using the facility, but because of Covid and cancelations, a spot opened up.

Praise God for another concentrated time together with the teens and for continued momentum and growth after a wonderful summer serving together. This retreat happened just one week after the kids returned to school.

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Our theme for the weekend was Christian fellowship. After spending some time contemplating Jesus’ word in the Scriptures the first night, we washed one another’s feet to remember that we are all called to serve as Jesus Christ humbly served us. I couldn’t help but burst out in laughter when my feet were being washed. Feet are sensitive! In contrast to the dim pictures depicting this historic event of Jesus washing the disciples feet, I wondered if some of the disciples couldn’t hold back laughing (I couldn’t).

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On Saturday we enjoyed (or suffered through) a long hike that took us to a wonderful view of Balaton Lake. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed quality time together. I had opportunity to talk to a few kids one on one and hear about their struggles. One young man had to find work while attending high school to help his single mom keep up with bills. What a burden to carry at a young age. Another teen shared about struggling with a feeling of worthlessness as she is tempted to believe that she was born as a mistake. I sought to encourage both of them and ask that you pray for them to find strength, direction and hope in Christ.

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I can remember just a few years ago when around 4-5 kids would attend our youth group and most of them were our children. Praise God for this blossoming group of teens and for God’s continued grace in calling them to find restoration and abundant life through Jesus Christ. Some are showing great signs of maturity while others are just beginning the journey. Please pray that God would raise up faithful missionaries, pastors, teachers, parents and pillars in the church from among this group of teens.

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VILLAGE DAY


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Even with the rising number of cases of Covid in Hungary, the local government decided to go forward holding their Village Day celebration in early September. We were asked to help and we provided balloons, sparkle picture-patches and a copper wire tree craft.

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This was a great opportunity to reconnect with many parents and kids that know us through various ministries like VBS but do not yet attend church.

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Precious teammate BRENDA LEAVING after 17 years of faithful service


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One of our PI teammates, Brenda, has been led to move back to the US and will be beginning her long journey (multiple flights) as I complete this update. Brenda has served faithfully for 17 years in Hungary and has been a very important part of our lives and the lives of our growing church family here. She faces many unknowns as she transitions back to the US and we ask that you pray for her as God faithfully leads her through a new season of life as His child.

Church plant in Jaszfenyszaru


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Above: Miki, Hungarian partner in Churchplanting ministry, leading worship. As we seek to expand the number of people hearing the Gospel and being discipled, we continue to minister in the town of Jászfényszaru which is about a 25 minute drive away from our hometown of Petofibanya. In the Summer months, we held two camps in this town and we meet every other week in their local community center for public worship. God has us in a season of mentoring the group of believers that form the core of this church plant and He has specifically led us to focus on the importance of godly marriages and families.

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Above: Zsolti and Zita, members of the core group in Jászfényszaru. Please pray for couples like Zsolti and Zita to develop strong foundations in their marriage through obedience to Jesus and His truth. Pray that destructive habits and tendencies that belonged to the old man would be replaced with the new way of resurrected life in Jesus Christ. Pray that all marriages in our core group would reflect Jesus Christ and become examples to a new generation in Hungary.

Evangelism and discipleship in Bogacs


After a long break from commuting to Bogacs (an hour drive from our home) due to the Coronavirus and Summer ministries, I was able to begin visiting my Romani friends in Bogacs once a week in September. With joy, I was able to hold Maci's newborn baby Szimonetta.

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As I reconnected with those I have known for years, I once again realized the terrible effects of sin in this fallen world. Maci shared that her husband was now in prison (the last time I saw him he was working in food service in a hotel). Maci's sister Izabella's husband is also in prison, as well as Maci's brother who is married to Mazsi. The wives of these three men live in close vicinity from one another and are now depending on one another to get through this time. This vicious cycle of poverty, crime and broken families can only be changed by God's grace and the power of the Gospel. Please pray that there be breakthroughs with men coming to know Jesus Christ in Bogacs. Pray also for those who may be closer to making decisions (Katyus and Andras). Pray for those who are believers to mature and become light in their family and community (Edit and Izabella).

BACK to School


Hungary has decided to keep their schools open. They have lots of regulations in place to try to isolate any possible outbreaks in different classes. The government is doing all they can to keep the schools open which helps Hungary’s economy and sanity :)

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Above: Ben took the big step of moving to Budapest in September to begin college studying political science.

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Thank all of you for continuing to pray for our family and ministry in these unique and challenging times. With you, we lay our trust in Almighty God, our stability in His sovereignty and our continued joy in knowing that He is for us and will continue to be faithfully with us every day. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”— John 16:33

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