The Mercer Family

Family portrait 2012

Allen: Allen was born on April 24, 1972. He grew up along side his two older brothers in Wilmington Delaware. Allen graduated with a BFA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 1994 winning the award for best portfolio. He immediately became partner in Brand Design Group Inc. and later helped establish House Industries Inc., a computer type foundry. After finding Christ, he attended Moody Bible Institute’s graduate school for one year.

Sharon: Sharon was born as her parent’s only child on September 25, 1971. She was spent the majority of her childhood being raised in Wilmington Delaware. Sharon first attended Liberty University and then later transferred to Bethany College of Missions in Minneapolis to complete her bachelor’s degree in Cross-Cultural Studies.

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Benjamin: While Ben was still in Sharon’s womb, his life was threatened. A doctor who examed Sharon concluded that our less than 12 week old child had died. After further examination, the cause of alarm was found out to be a polyp. After removing the polyp, God granted that the pregnancy would continue to full term. Benjamin was born on July 1st, 2001 and we rejoice in God’s provision. Later at two years old, Ben developed sever problems breathing and was rushed to the hospital with a life threatening fever. Over the course of two weeks, his body struggled to recover from pnemonia and bronchitis. Once again, God was gracious in delivering him from death and returning him to complete health. God has given Ben giftedness in speech and wisdom beyond his age. Beyond those things, Ben is very active and loves a physical and mental challenge. We pray that he would grow to use this wisdom to glorify God and that his giftedness might be a blessing to others.

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Elianna: Elianna was born September 3, 2003. Her middle name is Joy, and this is what defines her. Her smile can light up any room while her personality adds to the brightness. Elianna likes to follow Benjamin around and present herself on the same intellectual level. She likes to sing and her dance moves are beyond definition. Elianna can make a beautiful crafty creation out of just about anything laying around. She is a very talented artist.

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Kira: Kira was born May 11, 2006. Her middle name is Grace. Her name means light of grace which we experience shining from God. Kira likes to make up her own songs, give gifts to others and began her own small group talking about Jesus in pre-school. She is full of laughter and often giggles uncontrollably when tired.

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Ziva: Ziva was born November 20, 2011. Ziva means “radiant” and her middle name Elizabeth means “God’s promise.” “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” — Psalm 34:4-5

Conversion Experience

Allen: After reaching the lifelong goal of owning and operating a successful Design Firm, Allen suffered a mid-life crisis at the age of 25. Success had given him no satisfaction, and depression became a daily battle to conquer. He began to reevaluate the meaning of life, and the claims of Christ. Church soon became an addiction, and the word of God was His new love interest. Allen gave his life to Christ in 1996. After a year of intense growing in faith and knowledge of Christ, Allen decided to be baptized to declare publicly his commitment to Christ. The night before his baptism, he clicked on a Christian radio program just as they read this verse: “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.” (Ezekiel 36:25-26)

Sharon: Sharon was raised in a Christian family in Delaware. At the age of 8 she was at a Christian summer camp when she clearly heard the gospel. She felt strongly convicted that she needed to respond to the message and went forward after the service and talked with one of the counselors. Sharon received Christ that day after being convicted that she was sinful and that Christ was King of all and the only One able to rid her of her sin and make her right with God. She gladly repented that day and received Christ into her life. At 11 years of age, Sharon was attending her local church when she heard about baptism and was convicted that she should be baptized since she was a believer and should not wait until she became an adult.

who is your sending church?


Allen and Sharon Mercer are sent out by Brandywine Valley Baptist Church located in Wilmington Delaware.

what mission organization are you with?


We are employees of PIONEERS, a non-profit organization which seeks to mobilize teams to glorify God among unreached peoples by initiating church planting movements in partnership with local churches.

why hungary?


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Through a series of short-term missions trips, Sharon, as a single young woman, found herself teaching English in public schools from 1992 to 1994 in Hungary. She grew to love the culture and the people, and came to sense their great spiritual need. At that time, Hungary led Europe in suicide rates and had less than 1% of Evangelical Christians. She returned to the US to complete a degree in cross cultural missions, with a burden to return to the ‘Magyar’ people. Just months before her return to Hungary to commit to full time missions, she recruited Allen (or should we say he fell in love with her). Through much prayer, wise counsel and God's guidance, Sharon and Allen were married and spent another year in the US as Allen finished a year of graduate school at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. We arrived in Hungary in 2000 and have been privileged to join God in many gracious works that He is doing among the Magyar!

why “java journall”?


While attending Bethany College of Missions, Sharon was challenged to write a paper on church planting. As she considered the Hungarian culture, and sought a bridge of communication to the Hungarian people, she recalled the saturation of coffee houses throughout the country. Sharon proposed in that paper to use coffee house as a tool in church planting. The coffee house was the perfect neutral ground to interact on a daily basis with the lost and share the Gospel. (She also has a hidden expertise in making coffee) Hence, the birth of “Java Journal.” In our first two years serving in Hungary, our team (small at that time) set out to build and facilitate the usage of such a coffee house in partnership with a young church plant in Budapest. God provided the space, the money, and continues to use the “Olimpia Kávézó” (Olympic Coffee House) as a place that reaches out to the community, and also is host for small, equipping and teaching days for Christian workers.

where do you live in hungary?


We live in Northeastern Hungary in the village of PetÅ‘fibánya. This is a town of 3,600 people who have atheistic roots and no evangelical church. We primarily minister in this town and it's surrounding spiritually needy villages and small towns.

how long will you stay?


We are committed to serve in Hungary until God leads us elsewhere. We hope to return on furlough every three to four years. Our furloughs can last up to 9 months depending on our circumstances.

where do your kids go to school?


All of our kids attend local Hungarian schools and speak Hungarian. Benjamin and Elianna have even been chosen out of their class to attend regional math and grammar competitions.

is the language difficult?


Here is an example of one of the longest words in Hungarian: Megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért.
God has been gracious to help us learn and minister in Hungarian.

hows the weather?


About the same as the weather from our home state of Delaware. There are four seasons, but the winter lacks sunlight! It get’s dark here around 4:00 p.m. YIKES!

what is the time difference?


The time here is six hours ahead of Delaware’s time. We’re usually fast asleep by the time most of you are eating dinner.

hows the healthcare?


We are able to use private medical care that is equivalent to US standards. Praise God!

hows the food?


Neighbors have been known to surprise us with foods like pigeon and goulash soup. I have also had white bread covered with lard (yes truly 100% lard) offered to me many times. We are able to find fast food in the city (about an hour from our residence) like McDonalds and Burger King. In our home, we eat what Sharon cooks (yes it is delicious), and occasionally Allen prepares home made cinnamon bread. Three in our family have Celiacs and cannot eat gluten. Thankfully there are options for Sharon to order various gluten free ingredients.