February 2007

Monday ESL


Above: Allen's students: Heidi, Hajni and Gabi S. Gabi was kind enough to help me translate in our second hour of Bible study tonight.


Above: Students from Brenda's class. Vali and Terez (right hand side) have been students in our program for years. It has always been our hope that they would attend a Bible study, but they continue to show no interest in spiritual things. We are thankful that we still have brief opportunities to interact with them in a class setting and around town.


Above: Heidi's class with Judit, Miki and Feri. Feri stayed after for the Bible study tonight and shared more about his family with me. He said he often plans to attend our service on Sunday, but something always comes up. I believe Feri does have a desire to attend, and I know that he would benefit spiritually from the fellowship and teaching. Would you pray for him that he would have the resolve and the desire and the ability to get to church on Sunday?

Sunday Játszóház and Worship


Above: It's back to back Children's Play House! Yesterday we held one in Selyp and today we held one for the kids in Petőfibánya.

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Above Left: Andi enjoying games with her son Milán. Above Right: Heidi getting into character for today's interview with those from the story of Moses.

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Above: Miki always gets the kids laughing. He played the part of a very young Moses being brought up in the palace.



Above: The mother, seated above left, has allowed her kids to attend our church for the past few weeks. This was her first time to attend, and I believe it left a great first impression.



Above: We are always thankful when looking out into our congregation and seeing the evidence of God's grace in the lives of changed men and women. Tonight, I prepared a slide show with memories of our brother György Kovács who recently went to be with the Lord. Many in the congregation knew György personally as he often taught in our church and attended outreaches. When we sang after members gave testimony as to how György influenced their lives, I could only rejoice in knowing that György is singing new songs of praise in the presence of Jesus Christ. How awesome is our God who has made a way for us to have eternal life through His Son Jesus!


Above: I have given Dezső the responsibility to preach once a month, as I believe God has given him the gift of teaching. We have been meeting once a week and I have the privilege in coaching him in sermon preparation and Biblical leadership. Dezső did an excellent job tonight preaching on God's command to have no other God's before Him. He made clear that man was created to worship, and he also highlighted the various idols that the world holds before God. Dezső challenged the congregation to put aside all objects of worship that are not worthy and that lead to destruction. He challenged us to fully commit ourselves to the only One who is worthy and wants the best for us.

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Above L: Celebrating birthdays! Zoli with his mother Ildiko (left) and Eszter (right). I got into an interesting converstaion before service tonight with Ildiko and her mother. Her mother asked me, "Do you believe that we had lives prior to this life?" I had an opportunity to explain that we only have one life and afterwards comes judgment. I also explained the hope we have in Jesus, who saves us from wrath and secures a place for us in heaven as children of God. She replied, "I agree. These people keep arguing with me about having to pay back bad things I did in a past life, but why would I have to pay back something I can't even remember?" She also jumped in now and then filling in parts of the gospel as I spoke, showing her agreement with God's truth.


Above: Dávid (left) visited tonight after disappearing from our fellowship for some time. We were glad to encourage him and talk with him about various issues in his life that distract him from God. Please pray for Dávid to be renewed in his faith and to grow in maturity by God's grace.

Weekly Update

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Above: Zoli filling our ceiling with an air powered sticky dart gun.


Above: Zoli and Gabi S. at thursday night's discipleship study. Zoli is holding his English camp brochure that he had just received in the mail. Both Gabi and Zoli look forward to attending and serving according to their giftings. Last week, I gave Gabi the responsibility to prepare to faciliate tonight's study. Gabi did an excellent job with opening prayer, conversation and presenting truth about Jesus from God's word. Please pray for these young men to develop into mature followers of Jesus and that they would be used to bless others in their faith in Christ.


Above: Elianna and Benjamin getting ready for bedtime.


Above: Kira showing off her new teeth.





Above: Firday night's Sports Outreach. We had an overwhelming amount of kids attend on Friday. Usually we rotate between three teams when we play soccer. On Friday, we had to rotate between 5 teams. It was honestly a bit hard to control as most of these kids lack any foundation in discipline and therefore have limited understanding of boundaries in behavior. Unfortunately, for the first time in this ministry, I had to break up the beginning of a possible fight and send one teen home. It is always sad to see most of the these teens leave when the time for optional Bible study arrives. This night, just before we were going to begin our Bible study, a teen who had obviously been drinking came in and drew everyone outside within minutes. We were thankful for the four who remained.



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Above: Játszóház (Playhouse) is one of the ministries we are using in our 'first steps' in churchplanting in the neighboring town of Selyp. This is also an opportunity for members of our church (like Gabi S. and Zoli above) to serve in evangelistic ministries. We were not sure how many kids and parents would show up today. Others in the town informed us that events/gatherings were not a popular thing. We were greatful for God drawing many kids who attended our VBS last year to come today. We had over 20 children attend, and also 4 parents!


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Above: Today's teaching was on the Prodigal Son. Janka told the story while Allen helped the kids follow visually with a sketch board. The verse that Julika is holding up is Luke 15:18, "I will get up and go to my father and say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. Janka did a great job explaining the gospel and God's readiness to forgive and receive those who come to Him through Jesus.


Above: A father (Sanyi) from Selyp helping his son with the egg in spoon slalom race (sounds pretty dangerous, but fun).

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Above Left: Janka and Csaba talking with Gyöngyi who helped us in last year's VBS. Gyöngyi is one of our key contacts in Selyp, and she often attends MIki's evangelistic Bible study. Gyöngyi's husband is Laci (seen talking to Miki above right. If you follow our bog, you know that Laci attends our ESL course in Petőfibánya and is obviously seeking answers about spiritual realities. Miki told me that he was able to share the gospel multiple times in his conversation with Laci. God prompted me last week to prepare a CD with a sermon that I thought fitting for where Laci was in his journey to find truth. I was able to give him the CD today. Please pray for God to give Laci understanding of the Gospel, and that Laci would see his need, and the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.


Above: Cleaning up Selyp's Community Center. We were thankful for the freedom to use the community center in Selyp to communicate God's love and His message of hope in Christ. After the dust settled (literally), teammate Heidi called us together to present a surprise birthday cake to
Mani (Julika's daughter: below). Both Julika and Mani have been a tremendous help in our children's ministry. We are greatful for their servant's hearts.


György Kovács

Zsuzsa and György Kovács

This past Tuesday, our dear brother Kovács György went to be with the Lord. Please pray for his wife Zsuzsa as she grieves the loss of her husband.

The family shared this verse in an email:

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, now and forevermore. (Psalms 125:2)

They said that "after a time of suffering [from cancer], he went home to the Lord in peace."

When we think of György, this scripture comes to mind:

I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day - and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing. (2 Tim 2:7-8)

We thank the Lord for using György in our life to direct us toward Petőfibánya. He was a key factor in our decision making process. He has been able to cast vision and stir hearts to fulfill our calling to see the gospel of Jesus spread throughout Hungary. We also thank God that after hearing he had cancer, György was able to complete a book to equip and encourage Hungarians to plant churches throughout Hungary. May we run with the same urgency and faith as he did. Until we join him in seeing our Lord at the finish line.


Monday ESL

Tonight, we had a good discussion in our second hour of English Bible study. Students Laci, Monika and Eszter stayed for the study. Laci was full of great questions about what we believe and why we believe it. He has foundational knowledge of the Bible, but questions the authenticity and therefore, the authority of it as God's word. I am thankful that we have this opportunity for Laci to voice his questions and to receive answers from those who were also skeptics at one time (myself, Csaba and Dezső) . I challenged Laci to examine his motivations for asking. If he was asking just to argue and not to hear possible answers, it would be meaningless. I also challenged him to consider the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus was raised from the dead, He is worth listening to. If He was not raised from the dead, our faith is meaningless. I challenged him to truly take his questions to God (he believes there is a God), and that God is not intimidated by our questions. Of course, I also answered questions, but my desire was not to win an argument but to present information to Laci that made clear to him why I have this hope in me. It seems clear to me that Laci is testing the foundation which we put our hope in, and I am glad that he is! Please pray for our continued interactions with him in Bible study, and in our ESL program. Please pray that God would be gracious to him, giving him answers to sincere questions, and giving him understanding of the gospel through the Holy Spirit.

Monika and Eszter were quite in the discussion. Brenda was able to talk to them afterward about some of the things we discussed tonight (she gives them a ride home). Monika said there are things that we will never understand that must be taken by faith. Eszter said that she is sometimes confused as she studies about creation, but in school she is taught evolution. They both sound right to her. We are thankful for this study stirring up real questions concerning our faith, and the doubts that people are often afraid to discuss in a church setting. In this context we are able to ask for God's direction in speaking truth to others and encouraging them to put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Sunday Worship


Our First Love Baptist Church congregation tonight.


Above: Dan and Missy-a blast from the past. Dan served on a short term trip to Hungary 4 years ago. He returned recently to Hungary with his wife Missy on a survey trip. We were thankful for his visit to Petőifbánya tonight, and his participation in our worship service with violin.


Above: Heidi reading Julika a verse in celebration of her birthday. Julika has been a key person in our growing children's ministry. She is gifted in teaching and is full of ideas for using crafts and games to communicate biblical truths. We are blessed to have her serve on our team.

Teenager Ádám and also Andi came to our class on baptism this afternoon. Andi told us that she now understands the Gospel and has chosen to believe. She has also decided to be baptized! We praise God that Andi has responded to the gospel message with faith in Jesus! Thank all of you who prayed for her! Please pray also for Ádám as he considers salvation in Christ.

Weekly Update


Above: Kira having some fun with dad in the 'office'.

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Above: Elianna dressed up as a princess in 'Farsang" at her preschool. Farsang is similar to halloween without all the 'evil' connotations. Benjamin was faithful to give his impressions of her outfit (can you read his expression?)


Above: We visited teammate Brenda's new apartment earlier in the week, taking measurements for cabinets and carpet. As with most apartments in Petőfibánya, they require a lot of fix up before moving in. Brenda was forced to move after one year as her old apartment (which was great), is being prepared for the landlord's daughter. Please pray for Brenda in this process of moving (a few blocks) to a new place.


Above: The view from Brenda's new apartment.


Above: Ádám and Zoli. Zoli did an excellent job co-leading our thursday night teen study. I was able to coach him in the process and I was very proud of how God used him in our study. Ádám, after disappearing from our fellowship for some time, has returned and is attending small group and church. Please pray for his spiritual growth.


Above: Our Friday Sports Outreach was low on attendance, but very fun! All six teens payed attention in our Bible study at break time. I continue to review verses that we have been learning over the last few weeks, and the teens are remembering key parts that I leave out. I hope that God's word will begin to transform their minds and their hearts and lead them to know Jesus.

Monday ESL


Above: Some of my students, Dezső, Gabi S., Hajni and her son Attila work through a team project in class.


Above: Heidi teaching Miki, Jutka and Feri. We were missing the majority of our students tonight. We think it may be from sickness.


Above: Brenda's class. Brenda had an opportunity to apologize to Vali (above center) about a misunderstanding last week. This is a big step in language for Brenda (apologizing in Hungarian) and also a clear evidence of our love for our students. Brenda continues to encourage Vali to stay afterwards for our optional Bible study, but Vali seems uninterested. Please pray for Vali to gain a desire to investigate the claims of Jesus, and to come to know Him personally. (Vali is one of Ben's preschool teachers).


Above: Although Feri stayed after for a short time to talk to Miki, no other students stayed for our optional Bible study. We used to the time to 'hang-out' as a team, and spent some time in prayer together. It's always good to see the unity of our team and how we enjoy each other's company. We hope that next, students will be over sickness.

Sunday Worship


Andi with her two son's Máté and Milán.

Last week, we invited those believers who had not been baptized to a special class to be held today before worship. As the time for class approached, Miki and I began to wonder if anyone would show up. A couple of minutes before 3:00, Andi rushed in and apologized for being late. We returned her apology with smiles and a warm welcome.

We first met Andi through our English classes. Andi works in one of the two preschools in Petőfibánya and has become a regular attender to church, ministry events and Bible studies. But to be honest, I was not sure if she understood the Gospel or not. After praying together, my first question to her was, "Andi, tell me what it means to have a relationship with God." She struggled a bit (because she is very shy), but talked about how she needs His direction in life and goes to Him for prayer often. Miki then asked her, "Andi, if you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?" It was clear that she was not sure.

I then explained to Andi that before baptism, it is important to understand the Good News that Jesus offers us. We spent the rest of the class time focusing on the gospel message, and what it means to believe in Jesus, receiving His gracious gift of salvation. We talked about His coming from heaven, His becoming flesh, His perfect life, His sacrificial death for our sins, His resurrection to new life, and His free offer of forgiveness and eternal life to those who turn away from their sins and believe in Him as the only Savior and Lord. It was clear that Andi was beginning to understand in ways she previously had not. She said, "I honestly don't know if I have ever considered this decision personally. I sometimes doubt if God really loves me and died personally for me."

We left her with an explanation of the Gospel message and challenged her to consider Jesus' message this week. I sense that God is moving in her heart and that she is very close to trusting Jesus. Please pray for her especially this week. I have seen the enemy strike hard in these times to distract and sidetrack people from taking the time to meditate on God's truth and respond to it. Pray that she may understand God's message of salvation and respond in faith.

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Above: Janka's ministry in pre-school is bearing fruit! Janka holds a Bible class once a week with the kids in preschool, and some of them are beginning to visit our church. Norbi (with Ben above Right) is one of Ben's classmates (and close friends) in preschool who visited our church for the first time tonight. We hope that someday, his parents will also visit.



Above: Zoli did an excellent job serving on our musical worship team tonight. He also told me how he has already been preparing for facilitating our thursday night Bible study. Teenager Gabi S. gave testimony tonight about our thursday night study and told the congregation what God was teaching us about how to respond to fear. I am so glad to see these young men begin using their gifts in the body!


Above: The mad rush to the snack table after service. As you can see here, I think Janka may have had a larger congregation of kids than the number of adults upstairs. We are hoping that God will provide more workers for the children from within our church in the near future. Please pray that God would raise them up.

Saturday Update


Above: Zoli showed up a bit early on Thursday for our teenager discipleship study. The kids love his antics and I'm sure Zoli doesn't mind theirs either.

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Above: Later, Gabi walks in, only to be greeted by a mad lamb puppet. Poor Gabi. We were also thankful for Ádám coming (above right with Ben). Ádám is more like a visitor than a regular attender. I hope that this will change and that He will begin responding to God's grace in His life.

Though a planned a different discussion, God led us to the topic of fear. These teens are very fearful of the future in this stage of life. They are thinking about choices for school, after school and if they will be able to find jobs or lead a family. This was an excellent opportunity to listen to what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:25-34. As we studied the chapter, we discovered how God values us, how He is sure to provide for us, and how we can depend on Him for the unknowns in life. "But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)

Next week's teenager Bible study will be facilitated by Zoli. This will be a first for him! It is my desire to see these teenagers carry on the Bible study when we are away on furlough in the fall. Please pray for Zoli that this would be a positive experience as he prepares at home and facilitates the group on Thursday.


Above: We had about 18 kids come to our Friday night Sport's Outreach. We play soccer for an hour and a half, and use the last 30 minutes for an optional Bible study with the teens.


Above: Zoli and Gabi T. battling and laughing. Please pray for Gabi T. who once showed interest in growing in his faith, but now no longer attends Bible study and church.


Above: Norbi celebrating after scoring a winning goal.

I am saddened that most of the teens leave for the optional Bible study. Out of the four that stayed, two of them are growing in their faith and the other two are just interested. I am thankful for the privilege to build into their lives, but have desire to see more teens come to know Jesus, the Son of God.

Meeting with the mayor


Above: Today Miki and I met with the Mayor of a small village of 450 residents. He heard about our VBS that we held last year and is seeking to send children this year. His village is also helping sponser Hungarian kids that live in Romania to also attend our VBS this year. Through the course of our conversation we discovered that he is a Christian and he also prayed with us at the close of the meeting. We praise God for His work in bringing us together, so that more children will hear about Jesus in this year's VBS in early July.

Monday ESL

Tonight we started a new semester of our community english classes. It turns out that we had to switch our classrooms around a bit, as the Retired Club is now meeting in one of the larger rooms we use. I had some time to talk to one of the club attendees and I hope that in some way we will be able as a church to reach out to this generation.

We thank God that there were other rooms that we could use in the community center, and for the kindness and flexibility of Jutka who is in charge of giving out rooms to use.


Above: Miki and Feri. Feri was a faithful attender to our English Bible study last semester and we were glad to see him here tonight. Feri is a Christian, but is not involved in any local fellowship. Please pray for him and his family that they would be drawn closer to God through fellowship. I found out last year that Feri plays on Petofibanya's adult soccer league. He also visited our Friday sports outreach, and we hope to see him visit again this Friday for soccer. Please pray for him.


Above: Brenda's class won the prize for being the largest. We were thankful to see Eszter and Monika (first two students seated top left) return as students. Brenda has developed a relationship with them and visits them in their village of Jóbágyi. Eszter has also previously visited our worship group practice to learn more about playing guitar.


Above: Heidi's class included a news student by the name of Laszlo (above center). Miki met Laszló in the neighboring village of Selyp and invited him to class. Laszlo is the husband of Gyöngyi who helped us in last year's VBS. Both Gyöngyi and Laszlo attend Miki's evangelistic Bible study in Selyp.

Toward the end of the second hour, Laszlo began participating more, and asking pointed questions. He was honest in saying that he is not a believer, but he is open to find out more about what the Bible teaches. Dezső gave him a copy of the "Is Jesus God" book, which is effective in dealing with common skeptical questions about Jesus Christ. The end of the book includes an explanation of the gospel and an invitation to believe. Please pray that Laszló would come to know God's truth, and that he and his family would be saved by God's grace. Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday Worship



Above: Teenagers Ádám, Zoli, Gábor. with a sense of humor as usual. Gábor did a good job tonight in front of the church sharing about our experience at the orphanage last Thursday. We are hoping that more church members join this ministry in the future.


Above: Gabi, Csaba, and Janka. Janka usually teaches children's Sunday School, and tonight she had a full classroom! We are so thankful for her ministry. I can remember when we used to meet in a house group with kids running in and out of every room as we tried to hold service. I'm glad we're past that stage.


Above: Just before church service began, I glanced outside to see this beautiful sunset.


Above: Péter preached a powerful message on the power of God's word in our lives when we truly believe what it says. He is a gifted teacher who often goes on for minutes quoting scripture from memory that applies to his message. I am also very thankful for his investment in our church body, building them up with sound doctrine and providing examples of application. Péter has important decisions to make and changes happening in March that will affect his ministry. Please pray that God would give him wisdom and direction in this time.

Please also pray for our Monday night English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. We will be starting a new semester and expect some new students. Please pray for Allen as he prepares for the second hour of optional Bible study. Pray that students would stay to find out more about God through His Word.

Friday Meeting and Sports

Our day began with a team meeting where we discussed the changes taking place on our team in the near future. What changes you may ask? One of our Pioneers teammates, Heidi will be going on furlough soon and will seek to know God's will once she returns to Hungary. Heidi has been such a special part of our team, and both the Americans and Hungarians are already 'mourning' the loss of her presence in our everyday lives. We are also planning on going on furlough later in the year, and will be away from our team for 5 months in that time. Our Hungarian partner in ministry, Janka has also expressed the possibility that she may be moving back to Budapest in the future. These are all big changes that strike at the heart of the feeling of stability. We are reminded in the midst of all of this change not to base our confidence in any one team member, but in Christ who will continue to build His church. I am thankful for Him, and trust that all these things will be used for our spiritual growth, the growth of the church and the glory of God.

Later in the evening, I SMS-ed (can I say that?) all of my teenager contacts and invited them to our sports outreach we hold on Fridays. Around 18 teens showed up and among them new faces!


Above: Some 'cheerleaders' visit for the first time.


Above: New faces, Ábel and I don't know the teen's name.



Above: The gym that our church rents out every Friday to provide a place for the teenagers to play soccer.

I was so proud of Zoli tonight who opened the evening in prayer. It wasn't one of those, "Dear God, thank you for tonight, amen" prayers. It was full of pauses, thinking, and it was clear that Zoli was having a conversation with Someone He beileved in. I am also thankful to see Zoli's change in attitude while playing. He used to flair up in anger, and be anxious (I call him 'Tank') Tonight, he did a great job keeping his cool, apologizing to kids when he saw he was at fault and helped kids off the floor when they fell down.


Above: Zoli talking with Bence.

After an hour and a half of soccer, I invite the kids to an optional Bible study. Tonight seven kids stayed (two of them, were Gabi K. and Zoli who are saved). I asked if they believed in God, half said "Yes, and the other half said, "sometimes." I challenged them to seek the truth this year and to find out more about God through the Bible. We talked about God's love (and the proof of his love through Jesus), His gift of eternal life, and the peace that He gives to those who put their faith in Jesus.


It is our hope through this ministry that these teens will develop a hunger to know more about the gospel. Please pray for these teens that they would also respond to the invitation to come to church on Sundays.

Thursday Orphanage/Care Center

Once a month, we travel into the bordering town of Lőrinci to minister to the kids and teens at the orphanage. This is beginning to grow into a church ministry, as teenagers Gabi S. and Zoli usually serve with us. We praise God that Andi and Hugi (from church/ESL program) also decided to join us in this ministry this week. We had so many people serving, that we decided to break up into two teams and travel to two locations. The pictures below are from the house we attended while the other team ministered in another location.


Above: Playing team games at the orphanage. Teenager Zoli (center bottom) was our cornerstone.


Above: Pioneers teammate Heidi and teenager Gabi hold the foundation of their meager attempt to out do our pyramid. Good try!

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Above: We first met Elemér (seen with Heidi and Allen) in our puppet and drama ministry in public schools. I can remember how he used to literally hang on to us with an embrace as we had to leave his school. We are thankful for the opportunity to continue building a relationship with him and continue teaching him more about Jesus.


Above: Janka (Hungarian partner in ministry) led game time and also some interesting discussion about personality types. Janka has been pivotal in getting this ministry going and is such a giver of friendship and Christ's love to them. After our time of ice-breakers and discussion, I led a time sharing important truths from God's word.


Above: Ricsi and Norbi. Norbi took some time to come out of his shell and slowly began participating whole-heartedly in games and discussion. As I was teaching 1 John 5:13 from the Bible, I left out some words to have the kids guess. "have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have _________." Norbi was the first one who answered "eternal life!"

Towards the end of the evening, we were invited to have dinner with the kids.


Above: Filling our bellies with specially made Hungarian spread on bread, consisting of cottage cheese, red pepper, and mystery ingredients. It was delicious!

Tomorrow we will meet as a team to discuss our yearly goals and future ministry. Please pray that we would be guided by God and that He would give us wisdom to know His will in the planning and decisions. Tomorrow night, we will begin our sports outreach again with the teens in Petőfibánya. Please pray for that ministry as well. Thanks!

Oh, here is Sharon's baked pumkin and Kira's reaction:

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