March Update

Misi's Baptism


Above: Misi at one of our outdoor volleyball get togethers in 2012. God has given us many inroads into the community as we've lived in Petofibanya since 2003. Misi's wife Móni put her faith in Jesus and was baptized in 2015 (pictured far right below next to our daughter Ellie). Moni's husband Misi would visit our church and ministries off and on, but didn't show any signs of turning to Jesus. We praise God that after knowing him for over 10 years, Misi has decided to believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Here is what Misi shared at his recent baptism in January.

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“When I didn’t know Jesus, I struggled as an alcoholic. Not many knew about my struggles as I sought to keep things secret. And also, I smoked and partied with my friends. At one point, I found myself sitting in a pew at a year end midnight church service. There was an elderly woman seated next to me. She asked me if I had a prayer booklet. At first, I was just shocked. Why was she asking me? She doesn’t even know me. Then she told me that she had an extra one and handed it to me. I returned home after that encounter and continued with the usual partying and drinking. The following year, I once again decided to go to the midnight church service. I saw others that had been there last year and asked them where the elderly woman was that I had met previously. I found out that she had passed away the day after we met. It was hard for me to accept that she was gone. It hit me hard and after going home, I began thinking more seriously about my life. Am I living the life that God wants me to live? But once again, I returned to living the same way and years passed. After getting married to Móni, I began attending this church. As the years went by, I began getting free from alcohol and today I don’t miss it at all. And thank God that I’ve also begun experiencing freedom from smoking. There was also a time when I stopped attending church for two and a half years. But it is as if a voice was convicting me and telling me that this is not the way of life. Thank God that I turned back and began attending again. And I’m here today to be baptized in Christ because I know that there is no other way of life. There is only life with Him. I believe this is the Lord’s work in me, because without Him it just wasn’t possible. I believe He has more things to do in my life and that He has a plan for my life.”


Marika's testimony of God's grace.

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In our Sunday Worship Service we often give opportunity to church members to share testimony about how God has been at work in their lives. Marika shared the following words recently:

“In 2005, I was baptized and from that time on I’ve attended this church. There was a time when I stopped because of the pandemic. But I realized, I just have to be here again because watching the online services just wasn’t enough for me. I want to thank God for the many ways He has saved me. I am full of thanks to Him. When I was a child there was a terrible sickness that led to paralyzation if children did not receive the needed vaccine. I had a cousin who was paralyzed in that time period and I was in danger of the same thing. But thank God the vaccine came just in time. God delivered me. Later there was a time when I nearly drowned. When help came, I was already unconscious in the water. God delivered me. There was a time when I rushed to catch a train. I leaped on and with one hand grabbed the railing not knowing that train would take off right away. Someone happened to be in just the right place to rush to support my back so that I would not fall off. God delivered me. There was a time when I attempted suicide and thought that it was a way to escape the pain of life. God sent help and delivered me. I know that this is not the right thing to do and I would never do it again. God continues to encourage me and when I find myself down and discouraged, He always gives me strength and encouragement to press on. I could go on and on about how God has done so many miracles and I’m so thankful to Him.”

It is interesting how we came to know Marika. When we moved to Petofibanya, one of our first outreaches involved the distribution of the Gospel of Luke and an invitation to view the Jesus film in the village's local community center. We distributed over 3,000 gospel of Luke booklets and invitations and were hoping to get at least a 1% response (which would be 30 people). We not only invited those from our village but from surrounding villages. There were only a handful that responded, but one in that handful was Marika. She had walked miles from her home in a neighboring village to come to see the Jesus film. And after viewing it, she made a decision to put her faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Praise God that she continues to walk with Jesus Christ and we have seen growth in her life as she has taken a very active role in prayer in our church. We are thankful that God brings hope and life in Christ to the elderly and youth alike in our community.

Help for marriages

In the ministry of church planting, we believe that marriages and families in the church must have within themselves gospel witness for the church to continue to grow. Unfortunately, there are many marriages struggling in our local body and we have been led by God to spend a season focused on strengthening marriages. We have multiple married couples in our church body that recognize that their marriages are in trouble but they don't know how to fix all that is falling apart. We have been praying and burdened with the need for stronger marriage relationships and God has opened doors for us to begin meeting with various couples for marriage counseling. One of the discussion questions I often ask in counseling is thinking about your upbringing and identifying one positive thing and one negative thing that you witnessed in your parents' marriage. In our context, I usually don't have to wait long to hear the words, "I really can't think of anything positive". There are stories of multiple adulterous relationships, alcoholism, abandonment and domestic violence. With this as the foundational example of 'normal' relationships, you can imagine there are deep issues in both husbands and wives that need healing in order for their marriage relationship to flourish according to God's design. Would you please pray for this season of sowing into marriages to produce godly fruit, healing, and break throughs that lead to marriages in our body having within themselves a strong gospel witness of reconciliation, peace and sacrificial love.

As we've reported previously, four Róma families that were forced to leave Ukraine now live in our village and have become members of our church. You can imagine the trauma they experienced through these unexpected changes and the stress they were under as they no longer have their own houses for their own families, but now share one space with four families. After hearing of their difficulties in finding peace and having problems with strife in these tight quarters, God led me to begin meeting with them weekly for Bible studies specifically related to relational peace. Praise God for ways that His word has broken through barriers and brought help to establish more healthy patterns in their relationships. From what I hear from these brothers and sisters, it seems that they have never had these type of Bible studies that seek to find the practical outworking of the Gospel in our everyday lives.

Terike (above right with husband Józsi) has especially been convicted and continues to draw near to Jesus and recently shared her desire to be baptized. She had put baptism off for so long because she thought she had to attain to a degree of worthiness in her works in order to be baptized. We jokingly asked her, "So when do you think that will happen?" We know that none of us can win God's acceptance through our own works. We gain His acceptance through faith in Jesus who lived the righteous life that we in our sinful nature could not live. I am thankful for the gospel becoming more clear to this group of believers and the gracious gift of sanctifying work that I see the Spirit bringing into their lives as they find their families now planted in Petofibanya for this season of life. Please pray for their spiritual growth, so that Lord willing, when they return to Ukraine, their maturity in Christ will bring blessing and help to others.

New generation of leaders

Above: Szabi, Bence and Lilliom helping in Friday night's youth group meeting.
A group of 'homegrown' young adults continues to lead our Friday youth group ministry. We rejoice to see them leading times of worship and sharing lessons they are personally learning from Jesus.

Above: Betti and Anna above center are also choosing a path of theological training.

Would you join us in praying for these four young adults: Bence and Anna (brother and sister), Szabi and also Betti who is already attending her first year of theological studies.

Játszóház (Children's Playhouse)

As we seek to find ways to stay connected with the many relationships we have built through our summer VBS ministry, we have launched a Children's Playhouse ministry once a month that is a mini version of what we do in our camps.

With our teammate Roger working in the local public school, we were able to get the word out as well as send invites to all of those who have attended camps in the past. We praise God for a great turnout with a majority of kids who do not attend church.

Above: Betti who was once a child attending our VBS camps, now is a young adult helping in this ministry. As I mentioned above, she is one of the young adults attending theological studies.

We can see how God is doing a wonderful work in the hearts of these kids. We appreciate your prayers for continued open doors to share the Gospel with entire families. Check out this video for some highlights of our time together.

Another way we serve kids in areas we are seeking to church plant is helping preschools as they celebrate Children's Day. We have volunteers from our church that paint sparkly pics and give out balloons. Here are some pics from such an event in February.

Above: Teachers can't resist getting in on the festivities as well :)

Sunday Worship

Above: Breaking up into small groups at our New Year's Eve Worship Service.

Above: Afterwards, we had lots of family fun planned up until midnight where we joined hands to pray together.


We have had some Sundays set aside for focus on prayer. Team member Heidi has used her artistic ability to help with the set-up of prayer stations that we have at different areas. Groups move from station to station and focus on various topics for intercession.

New mercer ministry mobile

Thank you for praying and for those that have contributed in order for us to buy this vehicle. We've already put it to use filling it with seven passengers and helping transport people and supplies in various ministries.

Kira's Mission Trip


We wanted to extend our thanks to all of you for your prayers and generosity that have resulted in Kira being able to attend Black Forrest Christian Academy in Germany. We have seen tremendous change in her and are confident that she is getting the needed education and spiritual support that have now enabled her to thrive. With God's help and provision we would like to continue to have Kira attend and coming next semester, we could use you help again with costs.

In response to a list from Black Forrest of opportunities for missions, Kira has decided to join a group ministering in Africa! Please continue to pray for Kira, and specifically pray for her upcoming trip explained below:

"Our team will be partnering with a local diocese outside of Nairobi. We will have the opportunity to come alongside the local church by planting trees on land set aside for the a Prayer and Retreat Center Garden. The Team will also get the chance to host and lead a bible club for children, pre-teens, and teens. Team members will also participate in a mentoring program for elementary-age children at the church-run primary school where over 350 students attend."

Ellie in Chicago

Above: Ellie far left when visiting us on a winter school break in December.

We're very thankful that Eliana has adjusted well to life in the big city. One of the first things she searched for was a home church which she soon found. She enjoys meeting with a small Indian congregation and has also developed great friendships from school and from this church. Ellie has enjoyed finding groups that pray together and has also spent significant time with teams at abortion clinics helping raise awareness of other options. Please pray for God to guide her in His wisdom, to protect her and continue to cause her to flourish spiritually.

Above: Ziva's most recent costume that she ended up winning first place for at school. Ziva is very creative and loves to pour herself into drawing, crafts and most recently creating earrings that she's actually made a profit on selling.

It's been a big adjustment without her sisters who are some of her best friends. We're thankful for being able to stay connected with video at various times through the week. Even with the extreme change, Ziva has been doing well. We were especially blessed to have both Kira and Ellie home on their winter breaks which helped ease the difficulty of their not being here.

Above: Even with my spiked hair, I'm still shorter than my son? Ben has decided to take a gap year and is currently living in Budapest working in retail. We were also thankful to have some quality time with him this past Christmas.

We are often asked how hard it is with our daughters no longer at home. Of course we miss them, but we have a deep sense of joy that they are growing as responsible adults and are gaining so many experiences and opportunities that are new and exciting. This is what we've always wanted for them. And most of all, we continue to pray for their own personal faith in Jesus to grow and their love for Him to deepen.


Above: When it snows here, you've got to take advantage of it right away! We've only had mild snow here off and on, with it melting soon after. Ziva was so desirous of snow for weeks that Sharon suggested that they pray and ask Jesus for it. He answered, and amazingly, it began snowing just in our village while in the surrounding villages there was nothing. This was just another way of God encouraging Ziva in His abundant kindness.


Easter Puppet Ministry

We're just a week away from our Easter Puppet Ministry. We appreciate your prayers as we'll be sharing the good news of Jesus' resurrection from the dead in public schools throughout our region. I hope to send out a prayer guide in the near future for those who want to partner with us in prayer.

"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20

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