December 2022

Merry Christmas!

Puppet Ministry outreach Map

Above: An overview of the small towns and villages we visited with our Christmas Puppet Outreach. The grey map of Hungary in the bottom left shows our region in red where we live and do most of our ministry.

We've just completed an amazing two weeks sharing the Gospel with over 2000 kids in public schools through our Christmas Puppet Ministry. This open door in Hungary gives us the opportunity to visit schools every Easter and Christmas. Check out the short film below to get an idea of how free we are to share the Gospel through this ministry!

Thanks all of you that partnered in praying for our Christmas Puppet Outreach in public schools. We know we can expect spiritual battle as we are going into unreached areas to sow seeds of the Gospel to the next generation of Hungarians. We are so thankful that we had many of you praying for us!

The day before our first puppet show, we drove from one gas station to the next, only finding orange cones set up.



Above: Gas stations throughout Hungary were "out of order" the weekend before puppet ministry began.

At one point, after getting in line and pulling up to a pump, we thought we would be able to fill up our tank only to be told by an attendant, “We’re all out.” We realized we might run into some serious problems with all of our traveling to schools throughout our region as an ongoing gas problem became a gas crisis in Hungary. Praise God that we were finally able to find a station with a long line of cars that meant we would be able to fill up. We began praying and asked the Lord for help and at midnight the government made an announcement that they were lifting the long standing gas cap that was causing the crisis. Gas would be more expensive at the pump, but this would alleviate the problem of stations being out of fuel. God was making a way for us.


The night before our first show, Sharon who would be serving as one of the puppeteers came down with a fever. God gave her strength for the next day and she was able to serve with His help. Sickness was a definite problem throughout this outreach, as members of the puppet team came down with various sicknesses as well as our children becoming sick which led to one puppeteer having to drop out of the rotation. But looking back, we praise God that He made a way for others to fill in and we were able to serve in each of the 28 schools on our schedule with no cancelations. Your prayers were heard!

Above: At each school we go through the process of unpacking, setting up and then breaking the set down, repacking and driving to our next destination. The team worked great together with unity and a spirit of joy.

Above: We had a few days with flurries and mornings with icy roads. But overall, God provided beautiful weather which was very helpful for all of the driving we would be doing. Praise God there were no problems with our vehicles or traveling when the conditions were more hazardous.

Above: At the beginning of each show, to break the ice, Miki helps the kids imagine a snow storm and together we build snow men (and of course have an imaginary snow ball fight).

Above: Three from the Fülöp family! Our long time Hungarian partners in ministry Miki and Erika, as well as their daughter Anna (now married) served together.

Above: Kids are very quick in learning this year's song and join in with the motions.


This year's story was about a boy who falls into a deep pit while out in the mountains. He remembers the advice of his grandfather to pray in situations like this and trust in God to answer. He prays for help and that no wolves would come near since the area is known to be inhabited by wolves. A wolf does come, but soon after, an eagle swoops in and frightens the wolf away.


After the wolf leaves, the boy's sister happens to come near to hear her brother shouting for help. She happens to have jump rope that she lowers to save her brother.


Later, after coming home and sharing what had happened with their grandmother, she uses it as a lesson on how God answers prayer (not always the way we expect). She then begins to tell the Christmas story and how Jesus came in a most unexpected way.


After the puppet show, Erika shares the Gospel with the kids hitting on themes that they just learned from the show.


After Erika shares the Gospel, we have the kids sing the song one more time. By this time, they are much more familiar with the words and do a great job singing along.


Above: The children's workbooks that we provide to each of the schools we visit. It also includes a QR code that takes them to a site to be able to view the puppet show again and hear other stories that help them to understand the Gospel. We distributed 2000 booklets as well as Christian literature for teachers in each school. Please pray that the sowing of these seeds would lead to transformed lives as a new generation turns to put their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord!

Mothers of preschoolers Christmas Gathering


To bring the same blessing of the puppet show and the Gospel to mothers (and their families) in our community, we organized a gathering for Mother's of Preschoolers that our teammate Heidi has developed relationships with over the years.

We were thankful for a great turnout of families who were able to see the puppet show. We also distributed invitations to our Christmas worship service as well as printed testimonies of some of our church members.

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Above: This is also a time where I break out all my photography equipment to provide free family portraits as a gift to each family that attended.

Gizi's husband passes away

In the midst of puppet ministry we got word of Gizi's husband Misi passing away. We were privileged to be part of the funeral service and had the opportunity to proclaim the living hope we have in Jesus Christ. Gizi is a strong believer and we trust she will continue serving with deep joy at the retirement home where she resides.

Gift Donations for our community

As a way to bless the poorer families in our community, teammate Heidi organized a swap table where people from the community were asked to bring donations of children's gifts. There were also children's Bible's available for kids and hot tea for visitors. We had a pretty good turn out and we trust those who donated and those who received were blessed.

Romani from Ukraine

Above: Hungarian speaking Romani families that have been displaced from Ukraine because of the war. These families continue to pray for peace as they have family members still in Ukraine and they long to return to 'normal' life back at home. By God's grace the local government in our hometown has provided housing for these families and the men have found work. It is a challenge for them as they are all in one living space, with a shared bathroom and kitchen which has led to tension in relationships. They are all believers and have been attending our church and I have begun meeting with them once a week focusing on teaching about how God has equipped us to live with Christlike love in relationships. They have commented multiple times that the Scripture and teaching I have brought was as if I knew what was happening in their midst. It was just what they needed to hear. I told them that all of God's word has powerful truths that we need to be reminded of, but it was God who loves them that directs which Scripture to bring for encouragement, correction and direction in their lives. Please pray for the war to end in Ukraine and for these families to continue to grow up in their faith as they learn new lessons from the Lord in this time of difficulty.

Christmas Choir

Our church loves to sing and each December we bring our voices and the story of Christmas into the community. Today, we visited the retirement home where church member Gizi resides. After the presentation, Gizi came forward and began introducing each of us personally to those attending and talking about how she regard us as family. She was also excited to see both Kira and Ellie who are back visiting on Christmas break. Tonight, the choir plans to sing outside at PetÅ‘fibánya's local market.


Above: We're very thankful to have Ellie and Kira home for Christmas! You can imagine how excited Ziva is to have her sisters back.


We wish you all a blessed Christmas! May the gift of Christ and the peace of His presence bring you spiritual rest and an overflow of joy as you remember all He has done to rescue and restore you. Thank all of you for your prayers and generous support that enable us to continue serving in Hungary! We appreciate all that you do to stand with us.

December Update

The other side of prayer


I’ve always loved the verse about Enoch in Genesis 5:24: “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” Years ago, this verse spurred me on to begin literally walking with God. I think I’ve mastered the ability to read Scripture while walking without any major spills to date. About eight months ago, I was walking with God, reading Scripture and thinking about some of our family needs. At that time, it was very clear to us that Kira was wilting from anxiety and burdened with her school situation. Sharon and I were convinced that Black Forrest Christian Academy would be a place where she may find the best hope of reviving through the strong support from a Christian school and community. But there was one BIG problem. For us, It was a shockingly large amount of money that made things continue to feel impossible.

As I continued to walk and read through my yearly Bible reading plan, I came to 2 Chronicles 25. I began reading the story of Amaziah who had just spent a serious amount of money to hire 100,000 mighty men of Israel to join him in battle. Then God sends word to Amaziah that he not allow Israel to go with him in battle. Amaziah is thinking, “I just spent a bucket load of money to hire Israel. This makes no sense!” Actually Scripture records Amaziah saying, “What shall we do about the hundred talents that I have given to the army of Israel?” Then God, on that long walk, brought encouragement to my spirit as I continued reading: “The man of God answered, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.” The Spirit reminded me in that moment of the lavish generosity of God. He reminded me that God has all the resources needed to provide much more than we ask or imagine for Kira’s need. Like Mary, I treasured up these words and pondered them in my heart. “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.”

A few months later, we were blessed to be back in the US with many of you sharing life, sharing stories of God’s work in Hungary and also sharing our need for Kira. We were months into our furlough and we still had not made a final decision as to whether we would move ahead with sending Kira to Black Forrest. We just didn’t have enough. Sharon had it in her mind that if we were able to reach 50% then we should go ahead, but God challenged her thinking one day while she was worshiping at BVBC. He encouraged her to step out in faith in His presence and power to provide instead of basing her trust in a certain amount of money being raised. After sharing with me what had happened, we decided to move forward while I continued to remember: “The Lord is able to give you much more.” Today, we are on the other side of those prayer requests. We are looking back with awe and thanksgiving, that God truly provided for Kira with amazing generosity through many of you! It is such a joy to be ‘on the other side’ of a prayer request, but the potential for faith to grow happens before reaching ‘the other side’. We are still praying and asking God for things that are impossible and wait with hope that these requests will also one day become praise and thanksgiving to God who answered by giving more than we could even ask or imagine.

As our church in Hungary enters into the season of Advent, I recently preached on the life of Elizabeth and Zechariah. This couple, that God declared to be righteous had grown old together without receiving a desire of their hearts to have their own child. I wonder how many years they prayed and waited and there was no answer while their neighbors and friends with whom they grew up with had homes bustling with children. They remained faithful to God not allowing this unfilled desire to move them away, but rather they pressed in all the more to love God. And little did Zechariah know that one day in his old age, he would enter the tent to fulfill his priestly duty and be on the “other side” of his prayer. “For your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” (Luke 1:13) There is great joy in being on the “other side” and seeing the generosity and power of God bring amazing answers. But there is also amazing work happening in our hearts in the time of waiting and praying. This is God’s greenhouse where faith has the most opportunity to grow!

Above: Kira was able to come home for a few days on break after adjusting to student life at Black Forest Christian Academy in Germany. Thank all of you that generously provided. We have already seen tremendous change academically (A's and B's), emotionally (good friendships and supportive teachers), physically (she's on the basketball team) and spiritually (she's planning on going on a summer missions trip to Kenya!).


Even with Hungary’s inflation and energy restrictions, Christmas season comes with houses covered with colorful lights and decorations. It seems as if these decorations go up earlier and earlier each year, as people seek to extend the beautiful environment and good feeling of Christmas. At the same time, I am reminded that this is a season of great difficulty and trials and all the lights and Christmas decorations cannot wipe away the pain and grief that many are experiencing today. In our own congregation, one elderly woman remembers the year anniversary of her son passing away after years of alcoholism and drug use. I know wives in our church that are suffering as they see their husbands destroyed by alcoholism. Another church member has just found out that she has a cancerous tumor that cannot be removed. And one of our oldest members, Gizi (pictured below) is commuting from her retirement home by bus to visit her husband in the hospital who is in his last days suffering dementia.


Gizi shared the following testimony recently: “Misi and I have spent 48 years together, and yet he is now in such a condition that he doesn’t even recognize me. When I am there at the hospital with him, he calls my name. And when I touch his face or shave his face, he begins rejecting me because he thinks I am a nurse at the hospital. After pushing my hand away again and again, he calls out my name. His eyes are open looking at me, but he cannot see that it is me. After leaving and waiting for the bus, I began thinking. This is the way I am, and many of us are with God. When He comes calling to us, or to lay His hand on our face, we turn away or push away His hand, His helping hand, because we don’t know who He is. We hear His voice. He speaks. Yet, we still don’t recognize that He is with us. It was as if God was saying to me, ‘Was it hard for you to experience your husband pushing away your hand and even cursing you and rejecting you. You do not recognize that I am speaking to you and that I am here with you. Do not fear.’ Every day God is with us. I feel I have been called to serve wherever God has placed me. Right now, I do that by helping people every day with sewing things for people at the retirement home. My eyes are really bad and even with my glasses I can’t see the end of the string or the eye of the needle. Time and time again, I say to God, ‘Lord, I can’t see the end of this string or the eye of this needle, but if we do this together, then I can put this through.’ And I push it through on the first try! God is there with us in the little things and the big things, but we often don’t recognize His voice." — Gizi

This is our hope in the midst of groaning in this world. Our God is with us in the little and the big things! Our God’s hand is present. Yes, the Christmas lights and decorations do bring a bit of cheer, but they will never be able to wipe away the tears of deep grief. But we know the day comes when ‘Immanuel’ will do just that!

“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” — Revelation 21:3-4

Jesus: Let the little children come to me!


Emese (above) is one of the children that God gave us the privilege to share the Gospel with through puppet ministry and VBS camps. Unfortunately, we lost contact with her after her family had moved two hours away. Time passed and just recently, Emese, now a teen, reached out to our church asking if she could attend worship service. What a joy to see the seeds of the Gospel flourishing in her life. It was not family or friends that convinced her to come to worship service, but a desire that God put within her to get up early and find a way to commute.


After weeks of attending, Emese now a teen (Pictured with teammate Heidi above) shared with me this past Sunday that she would like to be baptized! God is raising up a new generation to glorify His name and continuing to use children’s ministry to direct them to Jesus Christ.


Above: Last week's puppet practice in our basement

Starting this Wednesday, we begin our Christmas Puppet Outreach where we’ll be visiting 28 public schools and sharing the gospel with over 2000 kids and many teachers. Would you partner with us by praying for this ministry with the hope that there will be many more like Emese who turn to Jesus to become children of God? I’ve created a prayer guide that you, your family or your small group can use as a guide to pray. You can download it here: Christmas Puppet Prayer Guide

Family News

Above: With Kira and Ellie no longer living at home, We are thankful for the ability to connect through video. Ziva has done well transitioning to being an only child at home, but still misses her sisters. Ellie is doing well in the big city, has found a local church and is also involved in a drama team. She has developed some good friendships and is enjoying her time at Moody. Thankfully, we'll all be together for Christmas this year. The countdown is on!

Above: Patrik and Anna (the daughter of our church planting partners Miki and Erika).
Our 'extended' family, Patrik and Anna, are expecting a child! This in itself is an answer to prayer as Anna has health issues that have been known to prohibit having children. Please pray for the child's healthy development and for continued direction for this young married couple who loves the Lord.

Above: We were thankful to be able to spend some time with Ben and his girlfriend Niki at a Thanksgiving gathering. Ben is taking a year off of school and continues to live and work in Budapest. Please pray for both Ben and Niki and continued opportunity to share Jesus Christ with them.

Thank you all for your continued support of our family and ministry in Hungary. We are continuing to raise support for a new vehicle and would appreciate any contribution toward this need. Every time we are able to visit the US, we are reminded how great a family we have in Christ. It was a joy to worship together with many of you at BVBC and Bible Fellowship Church! We look forward to seeing what God will do through our partnership together in this new season of life and ministry in Hungary. "The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." — Zeph 3:15, 17