HOPE TO SEE YOU THIS SUMMER

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Our family will be spending the summer on furlough in the U.S. and we hope to see many of you in person. It's hard to believe it has been 5 years since we've been back. Part of our time back will include getting 3 driver's licenses (Ben, Ellie and Kira), launching Ellie as she will be attending Moody Bible in Chicago, camps for our kids, reconnecting with family and all of you and raising support for various needs as we continue ministry in Hungary.

As we shared in our last update, we're hoping that our daughter Kira will be able to attend Black Forest Academy in Germany, but we are in need of support for her tuition. If you would like to help, you can see information here (https://bit.ly/3Q6E7NI)

In addition, our daughter Elianna could also use financial help as she begins her studies at Moody. Please contact us if you would like to help with her financial needs ([email protected] )

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Above: Miki and the church sending us back to the US with prayer and encouragement.

While he was yet a boy


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As I continue in my Bible reading plan, I came across the story of the eight year old child who found himself on the throne as a king in Jerusalem. Where were you when you were eight years old? The kings preceding him were all over the spectrum, some serving the Lord, others abandoning Him for idols. Josiah was different. Scripture tells us, “While he was yet a boy, Josiah began to seek the God of David his father.” (2 Ch 34:3) What a blessing to begin seriously seeking God at a young age. Sharon was saved at a young age as well as our daughters Ellie and Kira. And this past Sunday, we celebrated the baptism of a young man Zsombi (pictured above) in our church who also began seeking God “while he was yet a boy.” Much of our summer ministry in Hungary is focused on reaching the next generation with VBS, Baseball, English and Teen Camps. We rejoice that these ministries are bearing fruit and touching the lives of boys like Zsombi.

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Zsombi began his testimony with these words: "I grew up in a Christian home." From the time Zsombi was a child, he only remembers having a believing mother and father, but this blessing of believing parents was as recent as 2015. Praise God as we witness His work of transforming generations of Hungarians through the power of salvation in Christ! I would like to take you back to 2015, when Zsombi’s parents were saved and hear their testimony. What an encouragement to see how the Gospel is changing entire families!


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Zsombi’s father Józsi’s testimony from 2015

I think it is already a testimony that I am standing here today. Someone told my son that there was a summer Bible camp and that he should go and he’d have a good time. And when I went to pay, I met with Miki’s family and just experienced the love they had. The first day of camp came and I felt that same love. My wife who wasn’t there asked me about camp and I told her the kids are being well cared for, there is discipline but with love. My son came home from camp and we asked, how did you like it? He said, “Dad, next year I want to go too!” This was his comment after the first day of being there. Both my wife and I went to the last day of camp (which was open to parents) and we decided we would also go to worship service, but never made it. Later I met with Miki and I was able to share where I was in my journey. I never liked when people were pushy and tried to forcefully convince me of things. Miki told me, there is no pressure here, you’ll only find God here. So, I decided we should go to worship service. But things constantly came up and were not able to go. One Sunday, the kids asked to go to one of the lakes to walk. We left and once we got out of the car, it immediately began to rain. So, we hopped back into the car and we went down to the playground in Petofibanya. And it continued to pour rain. Well, we wondered what we should do. Since this was just about the time worship service was starting, maybe we should just go to church in Petofibanya. We went in.After the kids went outside, of course, the sun was shining. God wanted us to take part and hear Him and we have come to know Him now. — Józsi 2015

Zsombi’s mother Monika’s testimony from 2015

I’ve always been looking for God. I’ve often sought his help and there was a time when even Józsi would say, there is no God, there is no help. But now we both see clearly that there is a God. If we turn our attention to Him, if we read His word, in the Bible we find every answer we need all the time. — Monika 2015

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Above: Józsi and Monika having more to rejoice about as their son Zsombi has chosen to put his faith in Jesus in 2022!

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20 year partnership


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Above: Sharon honoring Miki and Erika at last week's worship service.

Did you know that one of most common reasons missionaries return home from serving oversees is unresolved relational problems on teams? We are so thankful that God has blessed our relationship with our Hungarian partners Miki and Erika as we have served together in church planting for 20 years! Yes, we've gone through difficulty and many challenges, but God has continued to give us one mind in the Spirit to bring glory to Christ and build His kingdom through our unity. In a recent service, we honored their faithful commitment in serving the Lord and serving others in the community. They have touched so many lives with the love of Christ and helped so many understand the Gospel.

20 year anniversary

Above: We've also had the joy of watching our kids grow up together over the years. That little baby in the center in purple is Anna. Just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege to perform Anna and Patrik's wedding ceremony (below).

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Above: Our teammates Roger and Heidi and family will also be on furlough this summer. Please pray for their lives to be enriched, for them to experience renewal and all that God has for them in a season of rest.

Whirlwind European tour


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God gave me a wonderful trip over the past month and a half visiting multiple missionary teams throughout Europe. I thought I'd share some of my favorite pics to help you all get a sense of my experience.

Poland



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Above: Worship service in a church plant in Poland. Just that day, a family from Ukraine was visiting. Being believers, they were asking about ways they could begin serving. We have also experienced in Hungary that many from Ukraine are believers and in their being scattered, God is using them to minister in new nations!

Croatia



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Above: In Croatia, I was blessed with the rich experience of family, enjoying wonderful food and conversation and having the kids teach me what they could in Croatian in the short amount of time that I had.

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Above: Worship service in Belica, Croatia. I was also able to preach over two Sundays and help with some video production for their online service.

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Above: John 3:16 in Croatian.

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Above: Lim with some of the Romani children their ministry is focused on reaching. Lim and husband Andy built their house in a Romani community which Croatians think is a crazy idea. This has given them ability to develop deep relationships with the community and have daily opportunities to minister.

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Above: I was able to do some portrait photography for families, and also lead a Bible study with the help of translation. National partner Sergej (above) is introducing this family to the Gospel of Luke audio Bible which has a written copy and links online to listen in their native language.

Romania



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Above: After Croatia, I traveled to Romania to help in a conference for workers reaching out to the Romani people in different countries.

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Above: It was great to see their passion for God, their unity and hope in the power of the Gospel to change lives.

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Above: I met this shepherd when I was on a mountain walk in the area. Amazingly, this area of Romania is full of Hungarians and I was able to talk to him before his pack of dogs attacked me :)

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Albania



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Above: After Romania, I traveled to Albania to produce a video about a community center aimed at helping the Romani community called House of Hope.

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Above: Men playing dominos before having a discovery Bible study at the House of Hope.

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Above: One of the many programs for kids at the center. With such a high rate of school drop outs and most Romani in Albania not knowing how to read, this center provides Romani with educational help and encouragement for kids to finish school and have necessary life skills for survival while also proclaiming the Gospel.

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GREECE



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Above: After Albania, I spent my last leg of the trip in Greece with this wonderful congregation of Albanian believers. Although there are opportunities for Albanians to attend Greek churches, this Albanian church plant met many of their specific needs and began to flourish and expand over the years. They have a passion to reach other Albanians not only in Greece, but have begun works in other countries as well.

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Above: Sunset from the Areopagus hill where Paul made his famous speech after seeing Athens, "The city that was full of idols." (Acts 17:16)

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Above: I was also able to visit a Greek International church with a mixture of many believers from many nations.

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Above: A Ukrainian family performed a song they had written about a prayer for peace.

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Above: I had a great time playing soccer with the kids after that night's service.

It was a blessing to personally meet missionaries in these countries and see the vast work that God continues to do through His church to reach the nations!

Leaving Tuesday


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Lord willing, we will be on a flight to the U.S. on Tuesday and we look forward to personally catching up with you. We appreciate your prayers for us in this time of transition and are very thankful for all of you and your partnership with us in reaching generations with the Gospel of Christ in Hungary!
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Easter Update

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Above: Before we entered into a pretty intense few weeks of Puppet Ministry, Sharon and I ventured out to Esztergom Hungary and enjoyed the colossal architecture of the local basilica.

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Upcoming Travel through Europe


Toward the end of April, Allen begins a six-month exit from working in Hungary that is required by law for those with our type of foreign residency status. He will begin the first part of this 6 month period traveling through Europe and visiting various teams in five countries to help with ministry projects. After this time, he will return to Hungary and our entire family will return together to the US for furlough in June. We continue to ask you to pray for God’s provision of a vehicle and housing for our upcoming time in the US from the end of June to August. Also, please pray for Allen as he travels from the end of April through May and for our family as we prepare for furlough in the coming months.

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Baptisms of Áron, Klaudia and Edit


Just last Sunday, we rejoiced in the baptisms of Áron, Klaudia and Edit. We had been planning for Áron and Klaudia’s baptism for over a month, but we didn’t know that Edit would also join us from the town of Bogacs. For many years, I have been commuting (about an hour drive) to Bogacs to reach out to a few Romani families that have kept their doors open for Bible study. In those early days of holding studies, Edit would distract everyone from paying attention, and she would just laugh and not take anything seriously. However, she has since had a daughter and experienced many changes in her life. I noticed over the past few months that she was becoming more and more serious about our studies and she was coming to understand her personal need for Jesus to save her from her sin. As I was leaving one night, she said to me, “Allen, next week when you come, I want give my life to Jesus.” I told her I would pray for her and asked her to seriously consider what that decision would mean.

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Above: Sharon with Edit’s daughter Szimonetta
The following week, Sharon joined me in Bogacs and was able to watch over Edit’s daughter while I once again shared the Gospel. Edit was ready and put her faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord! This decision came after coming to her household for over seven years!

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Above: As Sharon was outside walking Edit’s daughter, she snapped this shot the moment Edit made her decision.

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Above: A picture from 2017 of Izabella (left), Edit (center) and Edit (right). We would appreciate your prayers for Izabella who also made a decision and was baptised years ago, but has fallen into a bad place and needs to turn back to Christ. Also pray for Edit’s mother (also named Edit) who seems to be closer than ever to putting her faith in Jesus.

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Edit shared this testimony at her baptism: "I have a sister that became a believer and my father also, but he passed away. I came to understand that I’m just not living the right way. Allen has been coming to us over the past 7 years and at first I didn’t really pay attention. I actually just joked around and laughed when he came. About a month ago, Jesus spoke to my heart saying that I needed to come to Him. The path I was on was just not good as I was always anxious and cursing and fighting with others. But now I want to go to Jesus and follow Him. I knew for a while that I needed to turn to Jesus, but at first I thought I would try to get my life in order and change. But when I tried to change on my own, I just cursed and fought even more. It just didn’t work. But I decided to put my faith in Jesus and I would like to overcome all these things with Jesus’ help."

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Above: Áron is a young man from the town of Jászfényszaru where we are also seeking to plant a church. His parents are believers and have helped throughout the years with various ministry and outreaches.

Áron shared the following in his testimony: “I grew up in a Christian home. I attended Bible studies in school with Miki in Jászfényszaru every week. So, I grew up hearing and knowing what Jesus did for us. When I was with Christians and at home, I would live like a Christian. But when I was with a different group of worldly friends, I would live like them, cursing and lying. I didn’t allow God into my life as One to lead me. In 8th grade, I began attending youth group and God began working in my heart. I began to truly experience His presence and His love and I began to take everything more seriously. The Bible says in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” I came to see that I was living a double life and I decided to repent. I didn’t want to live like that any longer serving two masters. I wanted to serve God and follow Jesus.”

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Above: Klaudia sharing her testimony. Erika, one of our Hungarian partners in church planting ministry has been working at a foster home for the past year. Many of the teens from this foster home like Klaudia have come to know about and attend our Summer camps. Klaudia also began attending our worship services and youth group each week and continued to grow in her faith in Christ.

Klaudia shared this at her baptism: “I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. When I was 12 years old, I began to read the Bible, but now I study it in a completely different way. When I was 15 I made a decision to put my faith in Jesus. I want to be baptised and want to know Jesus and follow Him. My favourite verse is Psalm 42:1 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”

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Above: After service, Zsombi (with glasses) came to me and said that he felt as if God was speaking to him through the message today and expressed his desire to be baptised. Zsombi has also been attending our church and youth group for many years and first came to know us by attending one of our VBS camps. God is putting a desire to study His word in Zsombi’s heart. Even at a young age, he is considering future theological training. Pray for Zsombi as he prepares for his upcoming baptism.

Easter Puppet Outreach


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Above: We praise God for opening the door to sow seeds of the gospel to 26 public schools over the past two weeks leading up to Easter!

For a taste of the message we are able to deliver to teachers and children in our puppet show, check out this short film below.



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Above: Day 1, Jobbágyi.

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Above: Day 1, Selyp. This little girl grabbed Sharon’s attention right away as her mannerisms, hair and face reminded her so much of our daughter Kira when she was her age.

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Above: Day 1, Palotás. As we were leaving one of the workers stopped us to tell us that she also enjoyed the show and that it actually brought her to tears.

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Above: Day 2, Lorinci.

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Above: Day 2, Petofibanya Preschool (our hometown).

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Above: Day 2, Lorinci preschool.

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Above: Day 3, Szurdokpüspöki. We were invited into the cafeteria after the show to enjoy a typical Hungarian morning snack. Bread, butter, salami, cheese, tomatoes and a bit of spicy red paste called “Strong-Steven”.

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Above: Some of the beautiful landscape as we drive to our next destination.

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Above: Day 3, Kálló.

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Above: Day 3, Héhalom.

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Above: Day 4, Gyöngyösoroszi. Eszti teaching the kids that our hearts need to be forgiven from sin, that Jesus died on the cross for our sins to save us. And that the tomb was empty and Jesus is risen from the dead.

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Above: Day 4, Hatvan Special Needs Home

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Above: Day 4, Jászfényszaru

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Above: Day 5, Ecseg.

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Above: Day 5, Lorinci Retirement Home.

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Above: Day 5, Jászberény Special Needs School.

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Above: Day 6, Gyöngyös.

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Above: Day 7, Szirák.

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Above: Day 7, Erdokürt.

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Above: Day 7, Kisbágyon.

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Above: Day 8, Selyp.

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Above: Day 8, Apc

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Above: Day 8, Szarvasgede

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Above: As I came close to greet this child, he immediately told me how he remembered us and began singing one of the songs we taught at Christmas two years ago!

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Above: Day 8, Pásztó Special Needs School.

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Above: Day 8, Csécse

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Above: Day 9, Heréd

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Above: Day 9, Hatvan Preschool.

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Above: Day 9, Petofibanya (our hometown).

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Above: God answered our prayers to provide volunteers for this year’s outreach. Everyone played an important role and God gave us a spirit of unity and joy as we served together. We thank all of you that partnered with us in prayer. God answered in mighty ways. He protected us, provided strength, blessed us with good weather, brought healing and rest, protected all the equipment and the Gospel was clearly presented to over 1,800 kids! Pray that the activity booklet and CDs that we distributed will also be used by the children and that God may cause growth to the seeds that have been planted through this ministry.

Help for Refugees


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Above: Teammate Heidi (black sweater) has been helping a few refugee families get access to clothing and supplies for their smaller children. Here she is pictured at the weekly Mother of Preschooler’s Club where mothers from the community find a great place to learn together and share some enjoyable time of fellowship.

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There hasn’t been a steady stream of refugees coming into our town, but our church has sought to help the families that have been displaced to our village. We are thankful that these families are believers and have also begun attending our worship services. Along with you, we are praying for peace and that these traumatic and terrible events that have caused so much difficulty and pain may be turned into ways for many to come to know the love and security we can have in Jesus Christ. May the Lord Jesus bless you with peace and joy as we celebrate our Savior's finished work on the cross and His powerful resurrection. How blessed we are to be risen with Jesus by God's grace as those who are completely cleansed, holy and blameless children of God!
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