November News

Expected goodbye at an unexpected time


We all know that the time we have on this earth is limited. We know that loved ones will someday pass away. We don’t know when our time or their time will come. Sharon received news of her father’s critical condition on a Sunday night. We agreed that she should return home and she was on a direct flight the next day. By God’s grace, she was able to spend some quality time with her father before he went to be with the Lord soon after. We are grateful, and feel deeply cared for by so many who have gone out of their way to help in practical matters and spiritual support. You have truly been the Body of Christ toward us, and have been a great encouragement.

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God has been putting song writing on Sharon’s heart for the past few years and in honor of her father, sang one of her songs at his memorial:

Take off your shoes
Bend to the earth
Unloose the laces that tie you to dirt
Jesus is here
He’s waiting for you
He longs to meet you
But first you must take off your shoes
Then you’ll stand in the presence
of Jesus Christ our King
Stand in the confidence
He’s given everything
that you need
for this life
by his love
Cast off your cares
Your worries and fears
God’s hands will wipe away all of your tears
Basin and towel
Are waiting for you
He longs to cleanse you
But first you must take off your shoes

Romani outreach in Bogacs


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On my weekly commute to Bogacs, the sun is setting much earlier as the darker days of winter approach. On these long drives I enjoy listening to worship, to teaching and spending some time praying. Previous weeks in Bogács we sat outside on old removed car seats and makeshift benches. Now we’re back to meeting in front of a wood burning contraption that serves as a small heater and a stovetop. The light is dim inside. The crooked front door hardly closes properly and is constantly swung open and slammed shut by various kids, family and neighbors constantly going in and out.

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Above: A pic taken 6 years ago with Katyus and her two daughters Iszabella and Maci.

After the passing of Katyus’ husband Pujka (Poy-ka), who went to be with the Lord, God has kept the door open to continue to meet with his wife and sometimes his adult daughters and sons for conversations about faith in Jesus. Katyus (Cot-choosh) seems to be understanding more and more each week but is not ready to take the step of faith. Last week after going through John chapter 3 together, the word of God made clear that Jesus is offering the way for Katyus to be saved from a life of living in darkness opposed to God. She said at the end of the study, “I don’t want to just believe because my husband wanted me to or because of pressure. I need to believe myself.” I am thankful that God continues in His mercy to give her patience and mercy in revealing Himself through these studies. I sought to support her in her thinking that she must have her own faith and make her own decision while not ignoring the urgency in God’s call that each of us repent and believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord of life.

It is hard for me to hear week after week the spiritual turmoil, the works of darkness so active in the lives of this family and community and wanting for each of them the treasure that I have received by God’s grace. The treasure that I know is the way to peace and living hope. May the Lord continue to open their eyes to the truth that Jesus is the way to the Father and that relationship of peace with Him is the life that they are truly longing for.

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Above: Meeting with Edit in Bogács for weekly Bible study. Edit’s house is just a few blocks away from Katyus. Edit who was baptized two years ago continues to grow in her faith. She also has opportunity through the week to talk with Katyus and encourage her to turn to Jesus.

“Grab and Go” Clothes for the community


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Above: We have seen our “Grab and Go” community service grow over the past few years. We take donations of clothing and offer the clothes to the community twice a year. This year some of the moms that attend a Mother of Preschoolers club that our church holds weekly gave a helping hand in setting up. We not only use this ministry in Petofibanya but have expanded it to be used in Jászfényszaru where we are also doing church planting work.

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Jászfényszaru team building retreat


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Above: God has been gracious to put together a core group of believers in Jászfényszaru with a vision for church planting. In our Jászfényszaru church retreat we spent significant time praying together, discussing callings and giftings and vision for the future.

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Above: Melinda (far left) and Bogi (to her right) were also able to attend. Both Bogi and Melinda are in education and have significant connections in Jászfényszaru’s community. In the future we are looking for ways to work together in combining what we and they do with summer camps every year. We need your continued prayers that God lead us and make the way to continue proclaiming Jesus in Jászfényszaru.

We have liftoff


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Above: Friday youth group meeting in Petofibanya.

We have witnessed over the years the powerful impact that summer camps have had on teens in our church and community, and yet the large group that was formed by the end of summer seemed to fade away every year as soon as school began. This year, God is doing a great work among our youth who have bonded together after summer and continued to grow. Four teens, Szonya, Laura, Betti and Luca are currently attending a class on baptism. Last year, none of them were part of our local fellowship. Laura told her classmate Szonya about our youth group meetings and after attending one, decided to attend church. After that Szonya decided to go to a conference together with the teens and on the train ride back, Anna (national partner Miki’s daughter) explained the Gospel to her and Szonya put her faith in Jesus. Szonya began inviting others from school to our youth group meetings and we are seeing new faces attend.

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Above: Far left, Anna with Szonya sitting to the right.

Before attending our first baptism small group meeting, Szonya asked, “Can my mom come?” We have known her mother Brigi since she has attended various VBS camps and is connected with some of the other women in our church. Brigi did come to that first class and it was great to have an opportunity to go through the Scriptures exploring the basics of the Gospel message together. Sonya’s mom Brigi has never attended our church, not out of opposition but as she told us: “I’m afraid I’ll break down weeping when you guys sing again.” She has found herself in the past at our VBS deeply moved seeing all the kids worshipping together. I assured her that others may be doing the same in our church and we would love to have her join us on Sunday.

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Above: Our daughter Kira (right) with Alina (left) helping at a recent conference at our church.

We are also encouraged to see the growth in the older teens who are finding ways to use their giftings to serve others. The young men have helped the elderly in our church. The entire youth group visited and cooked for an older church member who had returned home form heart surgery. Younger leaders in training (Peti, Eszti and Arni) helped organize a one day conference for our church and a few other congregations in our region. In that conference, the youth performed an evangelistic drama and a few of them, including our daughter Ellie gave their testimonies as to how they came to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.

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Above: Ellie sharing her testimony at a recent church conference.

Praise God for this move of His Spirit drawing these teens to Himself! Please pray for Szonya, Laura, Betti and Luca who are considering baptism. Pray that these teens may also become light to their friends and families and reveal the life of Christ through their transformation.

Christmas Puppet Outreach just around the corner


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It’s hard to believe, but God has kept the door open for our team to do puppet ministry for over sixteen years. That means every Easter and Christmas season, we can openly proclaim the Gospel message throughout our region with the prayer and hope that the seeds planted may take root and flourish in a new generation of Hungarian believers. Please pray that we would have the needed number of volunteers to help this year and for success in preparing.

Family news


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Above: Our daughter Kira far left with classmates in traditional Hungarian dress.

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Above: “May Hungarians be blessed”

This month, our family will be re-applying for our Hungarian residency permit extension as we do every 5 years. We would appreciate your prayers for this process and for approval for the longest period of time permitted.

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Above: Kira (red plaid shirt) loves doing drama and singing. She is in her last year of middle school and will need to choose which high school to attend. This is not an easy process and can feel quite burdensome for an eighth grader. We would appreciate your prayers for this process of finding the school that is a right fit.

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Above: Ben, who is now eighteen and taller than me has many new changes on the horizon. He is in his final year of high school and will need to decide which college to attend next year. This is already a challenge in itself and an extra challenge being oversees and figuring out the options and requirements. We would appreciate your prayers for Ben!

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Above: Having some fun celebrating Ellie’s birthday in September.

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Above: Family fun at Budapest’s zoo. (Ziva 7, Kira 13, Ellie 16, Ben 18)

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Thank you all for your long term partnership in ministering to Hungarians, we continue to need your help in this ministry! We are encouraged and blessed by your support and look forward to seeing more fruit growing in a new generation of Hungarians. You can find more information about financial giving by clicking HERE.

We leave you with a Psalm that has encouraged Sharon in this last month: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” — Psalm 28:7
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Teen Camp report

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Our teen camp is the last camp of the summer and was used by God to continue watering the seeds already planted in earlier camps (VBS, Baseball, English) that many of these kids have already attended. This camp is definitely a bit different in environment than the others as we sleep in tents and take showers with bags of water that have been heated in the sun. Lots of dust, bugs and time outdoors, but a camp that the teens thoroughly enjoy and return to every year.

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Above: Erika explaining to Virag some basics of the Bible as she has recently received her very own for the first time.

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We were thankful for more integration with teens from the town of Vecsés where fellow missionaries are church planting. Over the past year, these teens have been able to meet with those from our area and we hope to strengthen this partnership. Our theme for this camp was about how we view ourselves, and how this view of ourselves (whether healthy or unhealthy) affects our lives. Hungary is listed as the country with the third most suicides in Europe and many struggle with a sense of utter worthlessness and hopelessness in life. We sought to turn attention to the value that God puts on every human life and the ways the Gospel changes how we can live with a sense of hope and value through Jesus Christ.

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Above: Church member Józsi sharing his testimony at camp. On Sunday, Józsi shared these words with the church: “God has given us such an amazing opportunity to spend time with kids this summer in these camps. Each member gave what they could to help share God’s word with them. God has given to us amazing unity as we served together. He has shown us that He wants to do even more as he filled this community center on the last day of VBS in Petofibanya with parents and kids. God encouraged us to keep pressing on with the number that attended baseball camp and as we had opportunity to talk to the kids about God. We had the same encouragement in Jászfényszaru with the VBS and finally with the teen camp the last few days. For me, the teen camp was like seeing a cherry tree blossom, being filled with flowers. This camp was like seeing all those flowers and the hope that many of these flowers will produce fruit. I am so privileged to have witnessed all these teens building relationships, paying attention to the teaching, talking about God. They spoke about God, not out of a sense that we expected them to say something, but from their own hearts. I’m so thankful for all of you and how God has used members in this church to work together to not give up on any of these kids and to see fruit in their lives.”

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Above L to R: Our daughter Kira, Zsofi, Betti and Luca.

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Above: Gabi (blue shirt center)

Not too late to dig up what was burried


This camp was not only used to encourage and build up the teens, but it was also the beginning of something in one person particularly that was very powerful. Gabi, one of our young adult members has for years seemed to cease growing and intentionally kept his distance from opportunities for mentoring and discipleship. When Gabi was first saved years ago, he was involved in youth ministry, he attended theological training and wrote his thesis on discipleship. Then he just seemed to fall away and in like manner to Jesus’ parable, he had just buried the wonderful spiritual gifts that God had given him to use for His glory. It was difficult to see this happen and hard to understand why.

This past year our church made a change in the way we hold our worship service. Instead of just preaching and then ending with some musical worship, we reworked the format so that there would be small group time after the preaching. We have noticed that in these small group times, Gabi seemed to begin to participate and show interest and growth. Then Gabi was able to attend English Camp and help out with organizing the games in the evening. He seemed to become more and more passionate for the things on Jesus’ heart. When the time to plan the teen camp came, teammate Miki invited Gabi to be a major part of the planning. Gabi believed that God led him to the theme and Gabi was the moderator for the discussions the entire week. He did an excellent job and once again, we began to see the Gabi that seemed to have been lost for years. Gabi is a gifted teacher and really could connect with the kids.

At the end of the week after teammate Roger spoke about real change and how we are going to take steps to follow Jesus, Gabi was one of the handful of people that boldly stood up and shared what God had been teaching him. Gabi said, “God is calling me to use the gifts he has given me for Him. For a long time, I have focused on other things. But now that is going to change. This camp has been the first step in that change. I am committing to this change in my life from now on.” This had to be one of the highlights of my entire summer as I heard those words from Gabi. Would you pray for Gabi as he is stepping back into fellowship in a way where he is teachable. Pray that he grow as a faithful husband, father and follower of Jesus Christ.

This camp was a wonderful closing for summer and has provided great momentum for both teens and adult members of our church community to continue growing as disciples of Jesus. Thank you all for your continued partnership.

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Above: An “exausted after camp” family picture as we came to pic up the kids at a missionary kids camp in mid August.

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Above: As the kids were at camp, Sharon and I were able to take a vacation and tour around a few countries in Europe.

As we now exit summer and enter into a new season seeking to keep the momentum going, please pray for the leadership team and our church. Pray that God cause growth to all of the seeds that have been planted and that He continue to give us wisdom as to how best to equip the saints, and grow in maturity as one body in Christ.
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