January 2006

Monday Night ESL

I always start my class with the question: "How was your week?" Dezső answered, “I was at your house on Thursday and yesterday I worshiped God here. I was blessed yesterday at church.” Of course, I didn’t pay Dezső to say those things in front of the other students. I am so thankful for the change that is taking place in his heart. I hope that God will use him to draw many more people to Himself.

At break time, I was able to talk with Hajnalka and Andi who visited our church last night. They both had a positive experience and it seems that they are open to attending an upcoming evangelistic Bible study that we are starting next month.

At break time, I also overheard Dezső talking with Heidi, Enikő and Gergely about his experience reading a new translation of the Bible. There are two Bible translations available in Hungarian, comparable to the King James and NIV translations in english. In most cases, the only exposure to the Bible any of these students have had is with the older translation. I was encouraged to see Dezső using opportunities at break time to turn attention to God's truth.

Above: Val’s class. Out of the eight students pictured above, Gabi S. is the only one who has come to know Jesus. Please pray for God to do a mighty work in the hearts of the other students through Gabi S. and Val. Pray that they may be drawn to Him and saved from every form of deception that keeps them from seeking God.

Sunday Night Worship

Hey Allen, look what we made in Sunday school! Great looking crafts thanks to our friend Julika who commuted from Budapest to teach the children tonight. She told me that she had no trouble (not always the case) with the 13 kids who came tonight. Below L: Sunday discipleship small group study before church. Today we were glad to have visitors from the west-20 minutes west that is. Margit and her son Feri (Below L) are looking for ways to have fellowship with other Christians. Unfortunately there is no evangelical church in Kálló where they live. We are seeking God’s wisdom for ways we can help Margit.

Tamara (who teaches ESL in Petőfibánya) and husband Attila (above R) strengthened our body tonight by serving in worship and hospitality. Two of Tamara’s students (Hajnalka and Andi) visited for the first time. The message tonight was very evangelistic, and It is my hope that Hajnalka and Andi gained a greater understanding of God’s love and His desire to give them a new life in Christ.

God has been using our Friday night sports outreach to draw new teenage visitors to church. Tomi (below L) who comes to sports, visited church for the first time tonight. Norbi comes off and on with some of the other teens who are already saved. As these teens have come to know us and God's message through the sports outreach, the barriers to church and hearing the gospel are being torn down.

Above L: My joy: Giving Gabi T. (saved on Friday) his first Bible, and giving an overview of it’s parts. Above R: Milán was a big influence in bringing Gabi T. to many of our outreaches and even church. Tonight Milán pulled me aside so that we could pray for his girlfriend Réka to come to know Jesus and for Gabi T. and Ádám (also saved Friday) to be strengthened in their faith.

Above: After service, Gabi S. and Dávid toying around with the piano. These two young men have shown a constant desire to grow in their faith. On the way home, Dávid told me about a young man that he sees everyday while traveling to school. His name is Balázs and Dávid found out that he was involved in Satan worship. Dávid took the opportunity (on the daily commute) to give testimony to his past involvement in Satan worship and his new found life in Jesus Christ. Soon after, Dávid led Balázs to the Lord. Praise God! Balázs lives in the neighboring town of Lőrinci. Please pray that we would soon meet in Church service, or sports, or one of our small groups so that we could encourage Balázs in his faith.

Friday Night Salvation!

“Listen! Whoever is thirsty, come to the water!...You don't have to pay; its free!” (Isaiah 55:1) This was the verse that we read today as we met this morning as a team in Petőfibánya.

“But those who drink the water that I will give them will never become thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give them will become in them a spring that gushes up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

Tonight’s Friday sports club ended in a celebration of new life. Ádám and Gabi T. have made decisions tonight to put their faith in Jesus! Praise God with us for this work of God’s grace!

What happened?
It is ironic that today I was feeling spiritually and physically weak. Usually, I spend a few hours preparing for the short teaching that we present to the teens at break time. This afternoon, I just couldn't focus. I struggled in prayer time. I left the house feeling completely unprepared.

At 5:00, we met with Dávid and Gabi for discipleship. These young men continue to grow in their faith and it was a fruitful time. Dávid shared that the Lord continues to give him opportunity to share God's truth with his classmates who are involved in the occult. I was encouraged to hear him pray for one of his classmates who often verbally persecutes Dávid for his faith in Jesus. David said, “Lord give him wisdom, help him to understand.” Dávid also shared with us that for months now he can't loose his joy. This is obviously the fruit of the Spirit in Dávid. Gabi realized that he often struggles against fear and panic attacks. We have seen that fear is a common weapon that the enemy uses in this town. Please pray that Gabi may find complete freedom from fear through God's provision of love and protection.

Above L: Discipleship with Dávid and Gabi. Above R: Zoli was the one who invited Ádám to all of our outreach events. Through his friendship, he was used by God to carry Ádám to Christ.

At 7:00 we held our sports outreach. When I yell out, “Break time!” midway through the night, everyone grabs a seat on the benches and I present truth from God’s word. Tonight was a clear example of God using me in my weakness. I usually have notes and print-outs of Bible verses and have practiced in my mind what I will say. However, I had nothing tonight. No plan, just weakness that turned me to completely depend on God. He led me to ask the question: “If you were given the chance to ask God one question, what would it be?” After some brief discussion I turned the question around. “If God were to ask you ‘why did my Son die on the cross,’ how would you respond?” Some responded, “To pay for our sins”, and others, “to give us new life”. As I continued to say, “but why?” Gabi T. finally called out, “because he loves us.” This gave me an opportunity to explain the gospel and invite the teens to make a decision of faith in Jesus Christ in prayer. After break time, we played basketball for some time and were preparing to leave when I heard Csaba's voice echoing in the hallway. He was praying. He approached me a few minutes later and said, “Ádám and Gabi T. have told me that they are ready to put their faith in Jesus.” Then came a moment that I will never forget. The teens who have already been saved gathered around in a circle: Zoli, Gabi, Milán. In a large embrace, Csaba led us in prayer and Gabi T. and Ádám were saved! Praise God for His wonderful work of grace! Hallelujah!

Above: Milán welcoming new brothers to the family of God. Below: A picture of God’s grace at work bringing new life to a new generation of Hungarians!


Thursday Night Bible Study

Above L: After returning home from pre-school, Ben stalks the Postás (Mail lady) for Thursday’s delievery. Above R: Zoli and Gabi taking full advantage of 'make yourself at home.'

It was a full house tonight with two new guests and of course 'the regulars'. I can think back a year and a half ago when we were not sure if anyone would show up (and sometimes no one came). We praise God for the growth and consistency of this small group, and the way God's word is transforming us together.

For those of you who prayed that Hajnalka would come tonight–she came! We just met Hajnalka on Monday as she was a newcomer to the English program in Petőfibánya. I was proud of each member who sought to make our new guest Hajnalka feel welcome. It was clear that she was quick to trust the group. She shared her heart openly as if she was with friends. It is our hope that she will also attend this Sunday's service where I will be preaching from John chapter 3.

Péter was our second new guest. We just met him last week (see 1/22/06 blog in archives). Since Péter works in Budapest as a fireman instructor, we didn't expect him to return in time for the study. Surprise–he got off work early. Péter is an encouragement to be with. He was saved just a few weeks ago, however his knowledge of the Bible and ability to apply God's truth to life is great! He requested prayer tonight for peace in a severed relationship. Please pray that God would guide him in wisdom and peace in this tough trial in his life.

Above L: Benjamin tries on Péter's fireman instructor jacket. Above R: Elianna entertaining Gabi.

The truth about Jesus that we focused on tonight is summed up in John 11, where He says, "I am the one who brings people back to life, and I am life itself. Those who believe in me will live even if they die. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe that?"

Wednesday Birthday Party

Above: The little ones hard at work preparing a birthday cake for Vali Néni (Aunt Val)
Below L: Heading to Todd’s house for the party bundled up–it has been below zero the entire week-yikes!

Above R: Val trying to blow out her candles as Ben helps with his gail force winds. Left: The love between a Mother and daughter.


Cultural differences

Today would have caused me to have a mental break down five years ago. However, since I have adapted to this culture my expectations have changed. Let me explain.

Miki’s car would not start in the sub zero temperatures this morning, so I took him to the hospital. He was TOLD to be their for an 8:00 am appointment. When we arrived, Miki noticed that their was a sign hanging on the office door where he was to have his stitches removed. “Hours: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm”. Hmmmm. We contemplate, “Why would they tell you 8:00 if it doesn't open until 9:00?” Well, we can wait an hour–no problem. Being the FIRST ones there, we found a comfy spot on a wooden bench opposite the door and began...well, waiting. As 9:00 am approached, the hallway began to fill with people. First a young woman with a limp. Being frustrated herself, she asks us to watch her things while she goes outside for a smoke. Then, an older woman with an arm cast is escorted by her son. Then a man who chooses not to sit, but stand directly in front of the door. Then another sitting on the very edge of a bench closest to the door. I am surprised the bench didn't tip over. By 9:15 am all the benches were lined with heavy winter coats, fidgeting people and Miki and I telling stupid jokes. Miki tells me giggling, “In Hungary, you haven't been to the doctor unless you have waited until noon.”

Wait, there is a woman in a uniform. It’s almost 9:40 am now. All the people gaze in expectation. She unlocks the door, not saying a word, for example not saying, “just another minute” or “sorry that we asked you to come in at 8:00 and are running an hour and a half late opening the office doors.” But hey, no big deal. After going in and out of the room (for reasons unclear to me) about 10 times, she finally stands at the door with an announcement. “I don't know when any of you got here, so hand me your papers and we will go in that order.” Ummm, what order? Everyone jumps to their feet and stacks their papers in her hand faster than you can say “hey I was here first.” Actually, Miki did get his paper seemingly second in her hand. But most comically, they began calling names in reverse order. People that showed up just 10 minutes ago were strutting into the office while Miki and I could only say to each other smiling: It is written, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

Monday Night ESL

Above: “So what do you call this...” Mariann smiling as I violently wave a spatula in the air. Mariann is an english teacher in a local public school. She is a frequent visitor to our thursday night Bible study and sometimes 'stops by' church. Heidi lives in the neighboring town of Lőrinci where we are extending our outreach for church planting. Pray that they may both personally meet the Savior.

Tonight, Hajni (Above R) came for the first time to our english program. We are thankful that this program reaches a variety of age groups from teens to mature adults. As I spoke with Hajni at breaktime, I found out that she has some background in studying the Bible. However, as she put it, “I kind of have a different perspective...I have turned to philosophy and nature.” I invited her to our Thursday night bible study and to this Sunday's church service. Please pray that she may be drawn to God's love, wisdom and His message of grace.

Above: Other new students this semester, Orsi (who attends the same public school as Gabi), and Levente. We are trusting God to use these ESL classes for His glory and to draw these students to Himself. We praise Him for the availability of the local community center (no cost to us!) and the bond of trust that we have gained through offering these classes.

Sunday Worship

Above: Ildiko (Zoli’s mother) toys around with the piano before worship service.

Tonight we held public worship in Miki’s house. We were glad to see newcomers and friends who often visit like Ildiko. It was very encouraging to hear Ildiko speak up in our time of thanksgiving. She said, “I want to thank God for allowing my son to meet such a loving group of people...people that have a good influence on him. I can't say that I'm a believer yet, maybe I will be some day. But, I do thank God that the change in my son's life and the way that people have treated him from this church are proofs of God's existence.

It is clear that Ildiko is seeking answers to life's tough questions. God blessed our guest speaker Bernard (Above L) with the ability to communicate the gospel through interaction and conversation. Ildiko posed some tough questions about the origin of evil and why the 'good' always seem to die young. I was glad to see that Ildiko felt at ease to share her heart and her hesitations about God. Where else would she be able to do that and find mercy and grace directing her to the Son? Please pray that Jesus would heal the spiritual blindness that causes many to stumble in Petőfibánya.

Last night Csaba decided to attend his home church in Budapest at the close of his week long church planting course before returning to Petőfibánya. While there, Csaba was introduced to a young man named Péter (Above R). As it turns out, Péter also lives in Petőfibánya and was saved in Budapest just two and half weeks ago! (And what are the chances of these two meeting?)

Today, Péter came to our discipleship class before church and also shared his testimony in service. A few years ago, he went through a divorce. He turned to drinking, but that didn't remove the burden in his life. Afterwards he became utterly depressed and was on medication for some time. That didn't solve anything either. His co-worker in Budapest suggested, "Péter, what if you were to accept God's grace and forgiveness right now and allow Jesus to give you a new life as your Savior and Lord?” Without hesitation, Péter said, “Yes, but what do I need to do to be saved?” It was at that time that Péter's friend led him in prayer and he received Jesus by faith. Péter jokingly said, “I was saved in under five minutes.” It was evident as I spent time with Péter that he is full of joy and the peace that surpasses understanding. We look forward to getting to know Péter more and watching the transformation that occurs in all those who allow the Physician to do His work of healing.

Above L: Dezső continues to participate in worship by playing bass guitar. His wife Márcsi also attended with the kids. Please pray for her to come to know the Savior as well.

Tonight as the Mercer ministry mobile was en-route taking church members home we came across a young couple who ran out of gas. It is terribly cold here, and they were thankful for my offer of help. After taking them to the local gas station and back, we gave them an invite to our service on Sunday. Please pray for them that they may be drawn to know God and that we may meet again.

Saturday Snow

Above: Elianna unwinds her entire body to unleash a snow ball which in the end sticks to her glove and falls to the ground.

Today we spent some time at Miki’s house practicing (above) for tomorrow’s worship service. I am encouraged as I see Dezső becoming more involed in church and his faith in Christ growing. On thursday night Dezső spoke to us about prayer and how it is a struggle for him. We were able to discuss what our Lord teaches about prayer and also how our relationship with God is enriched in prayer. At practice today, I was blessed to hear Dezső pray out loud with a sincere heart. Praise God!

Above L: Ben and Anna (Miki’s daughter) digging for 'lost treasure' in the back yard. Above R: Elianna and Bence (Miki’s son) pretending to have in depth conversations about life.


Friday Night

Above: Preparing for our film club. Miki and Allen enjoying some pop-corn goodness. Below: Dávid and Gabi join the tin foil fun as we settle in to watch the movie 'Signs'.

Today (before Film Club) in our discipleship small group with Dávid and Gabi, we studyed the details of the first and second coming of Christ. At one point I asked them how they would feel on that day when they personally stood before Jesus. Dávid said, "It will be amazing to be face to face with my Savior, the almighty God." What an encouragement to hear this young man’s growing faith!

“Poor Miki!” As you can see, Miki’s finger is on the road to healing (at least we hope that's what is going on under all those bandages). In a few weeks he will have the wires (used to reset some cartilage) pulled out. Tomorrow, we are meeting together for worship practice with Dezső. Instead of guitar, Miki is quickly sharpening his piano skills to lead worship on Sunday.

Thursday Night Bible Study

O.K., so the above photo isn’t from Thursday, but technically our baby was with us Thursday night. These are pics from Wednesday's visit to the doctor. Sharon and the baby are healthy. Praise God!

Above L: Ben with his friend Dezső 'baba'. Ben is the door opener on Thursday nights and greets all of our guests with creative nick-names. God has blessed us with a warm family atmosphere. Above R: Janka (one of our Hungarian church-planting partners in ministry) chatting with Sharon before studying into God’s word.

Above L: Ben and Elli doing a project with mom in the kitchen while Allen facilitates the study in Matthew. Above R: Miki home from the hospital, discussing a personal relationship with God verses a heartless religious life.

“Those who are not loved I will call my loved ones. Those who are not my people I will call my people. Then they will say, 'You are our God!'”Hosea 2:23

We praise God for His plan being worked out in Petőfibánya. He is calling people to Himself. They are growing in their faith and decaring, “You are our God!”

Monday Night ESL

Tonight, with the help of teammates Tamara and Val, we started a new semester of ESL in Petőfibánya. We were excited to see three new students register. One of those students is Kira (below). Sharon met Kira last night in a local restaurant and invited her to attend. It turns out that Kira is Attila’s sister. You may remember that Attila is the young man who frequently visits our worship service and thursday night Bible studies.

As my class settled in tonight, I carried in the white board I use to teach. It is the same white board that we use on Sundays to display our Church service schedule. I was unaware that last Sunday's schedule was written on the board in marker. As the students prepared for me to begin the lesson, I flipped the board around and in big letters there was an invitation to church. I didn't notice at the time that I had also left the dry board eraser down stairs. In my head, I thought, well that's convenient. So, it seems our church received some 'free' advertising tonight.

In class, I presented the scenario of traveling into the future 100 years. I asked the students what they would do in the future if they had 24 hours before returning to the present. Dezső said, “I would look for the Baptist Church in Petőfibánya because I am sure that it would be here.” Dezső has come a long way in his faith over the past three years. He is becoming an advocate for our church. I also asked Dezső what he thought about last night's Worship Service. He said, it was great, but I missed playing bass. Even though Miki will be unable to play guitar this week, Dezső suggested we still meet and practice worship together. Thank all of you who have been praying that Dezső come to see God’s plan for His church. Please continue to pray!

Below: Andi shared with Csaba how she often desired to go to our church with Kati, but doesn't want to go alone. Andi attended our special Christmas service a few weeks ago, but has not returned since. Please pray that God would give her courage to come back and that He would also bless Kati with a desire to know Him more. I look forward to the day when they both will attend with hearts of worship because of God’s forgiveness.

In other news, we are sending Csaba to Budapest this week to participate in a church planters training course. Please pray that God would continue to equip Csaba and build up his faith. Csaba is a member of our church and currently lives in the neighboring town of Lőrinci. We believe that Lőrinci also needs to hear God’s message of restoration through His Son. As Csaba says, "I don’t believe it’s by chance that I am serving on a church planting team in Petőfibánya and that God provided a place for me to live in Lőrinci.”

Sunday Worship

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1) Dave hall (pictured above left) and the Worship From the Nations team challenged us toward living out these words. Today we held a special day of worship, with guests from Budapest, Pásztó and Gyöngyös.

Above L: A leader from Pásztó shares his desire to see a small group started in his village. Next to him, Jonatán, praised God for the breakthroughs he saw in 2005 in the church plant in Gyöngyös. Above R: A focused time of prayer for Gyöngyös, Pásztó, and of course Petőfibánya.

Above L: Dezső and Attila join us in this day of worship. Above R: Csaba with Ádám after hearing a powerful gospel message preached. Please pray that Ádám would choose Christ and be transformed by His grace.

One of the goals of Worship From the Nations is to equip worship leaders in church plants. It was great to have three men from our church who have expressed interest in worship attend today (Dezső, Dávid and Gabi). Maybe someday soon they will become worship leaders themselves in this growing church.

Above L: No, that’s not ours. Sharon is holding Alina, Eszter’s newborn baby. Please pray for Alina who may have a possible health problem. Above R: ‘Long time no see’ Viki who is on a break from college attends service tonight and reconnects with Heidi. Some of you may remember that Viki made a decision in an English camp two years ago. Please pray that God would continue to draw her close and build her faith.

Below: Mop Squad. God has blessed our church with these young men who gladly serve behind the scenes. Gabi, Dávid and Csaba. Gabi was the first to come and the last to leave. Dávid shared with me his progress in preparing a short message on what he is learning from God about prayer. I have asked him to share in church in the near future. Csaba recently asked Miki and I to commit to teaching him more about church planting. We are currently mentoring Csaba and have hopes that he will become a faithful leader in the future.

UPDATE ON MIKI: Before worship service, I accompanied Miki to the hospital. It turns out that he has a broken bone that can not set properly without surgery. He had surgery today at 3:00 and will be in the hospital for a few days (why-I have no idea). Please lift Miki up in prayer that his finger would heal completely. If it doesn't, this could hinder his ability to lead our worship as he will not be able to play guitar. He was disappointed that he couldn't come to this special day of worship that we had planned for weeks. He is also disappointed that the new relationship that we have developed with Dezső (practicing worship together on Saturdays) has been put on hold. I believe this is an attempt of the enemy to destroy the great things that have been happening for God’s glory through worship. After spending $250 on a repair just days ago, Miki’s car has broken down again (different problem). Please pray that God would provide a dependable vehicle for Miki and his family.

Friday Highlights

Today we had our weekly team meeting. As we look forward to this new year, we reviewed the Evangelistic and Discipleship ministries that God has led us to do in order to see a church planted in Petofibanya. Our hearts were blessed to see that we are functioning in 10 weekly ministries that are bearing fruit. Please pray that our team would have wisdom as to how to proceed in 2006 for His glory!

Above: Milán (who was saved three months ago) shows off his soccer skills.

In the evening we held our Friday night sports outreach. This has been a great way to meet new teens in town and to share God's message of hope with them. Tonight as we shared the Gospel in break time, I was amazed at how well the teens payed attention. At the point when we asked for some quite time for them to respond to God in their hearts in prayer, the room was completely silent. This is not always the case. Praise God for drawing these teens closer to Himself. Please pray that many of them would respond to the invitation to come to this Sunday’s worship service.

Above L: Before sports, we met with Gabi (far left) and Zoli (middle) for a time of studying God’s word. Below L: Ádám not only comes to Friday night sports, but he also regularly visits church. Please pray that he would gain complete understanding of the gospel of peace and receive the gift that God has offered. Below R: Attempting to jump start Miki’s car in the frosty mist after our sports outreach.

The battle for Sunday:
For weeks now, we have been planning to have a special day of worship in Petőfibánya this Sunday. Dave Hall and his team Worship From the Nations (WFN) will be blessing us by facilitating our time together. We had been planning to meet in our regular meeting place, when we received unexpected news on thursday that the room was no longer available. This may not seem like such a big problem, but we had already advertised this worship service throughout two towns and there are not many other choices for meeting places in Petőfibánya. In essence, we were in a hopeless situation–that is, if we had no One to turn to. We joined together in prayer this morning, and God answered in a big way this afternoon! He provided a bigger room in the same building that is usually not easily attainable in short notice.

Well, the battle for Sunday has not ended. Tonight while playing basketball, Miki's finger was severely injured. What does that have to do with Sunday? Well, Miki is our lead guitarist in worship. Tonight, his finger was in such bad shape that he can not play guitar. We also planned to gather together tomorrow to practice with Dezső who recently joined our worship team playing bass guitar. Because of Miki's finger, we had to cancel. We are asking for healing. Would you also ask God to miraculously heal Miki's finger?

We expect church planters from two other villages to join this special day of worship. Please pray for all to be protected from the enemy. Pray also that we may fill Petőfibánya with the praise that God deserves. He is worthy!

Thursday Night Bible Study

Above and Below L: Dezső and Janka writing their definitions of forgiveness. Below R: Before saying good night, having some fun in the hallway with Gabi.

Tonight we were blessed to have Dezső, Milán, Gabi S., Gabi T., Janka, Miki and Csaba over for our Thursday night Bible study. We spent our time in the first part of Matthew 9 and also extended our conversation on forgiveness. At one point we reviewed Mark 11:25 “Whenever you pray, forgive anything you have against anyone. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your failures.” Then the light bulb went off in Dezső’s heart. With a contemplative expression he said, “You know...I have a friend...I think I haven’t forgiven him...I think I have been holding onto anger.” Praise the Lord for using His word to teach us and to build us up. Praise Him for setting the standard for forgiveness. “Be kind to each other, sympathetic, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you through Christ.” (Ephesians 4:32 )

Tonight’s Public Worship

Tonight’s worship service was filled with new faces. Many of the children who attend our children’s saturday program that we hold once a month usually don't come to church. Tonight however, many of them arrived with their friends. It is unfortunate that many parents in this village do not join their children in seeking God’s love. The six children pictured above came without their parents. Please pray that there would be a transformation in the hearts of the parents. One of my desires in the new year is to be used by God in Petőfibánya as John was used:

“He will go ahead of the Lord with the spirit and power that Elijah had. He will change parents' attitudes toward their children. He will change disobedient people so that they will accept the wisdom of those who have God's approval. In this way he will prepare the people for their Lord.” Luke 1:17

For some time, we have been praying for Dezső (below left seated next to Miki). For the first time tonight, he brought his family to church and participated by playing bass guitar. We have known Dezső since we began our ESL program in 2003. Since that time our thursday night bible studies were his only source of Christian fellowship and edification. We praise God that after 3 years of building trust and teaching through God's word that Dezső is taking the next step in participating in public worship. Please pray for Dezső and his family.

Above left: Sharon blessing our time of worship by playing the flute. Above right: A family that has been faithfully attending our church from the neighboring town of Lőrinci. Lőrinci may be where God is taking us next to plant a new church in the future.

Left: Csaba, Dávid, Gábor, and half of Zoli hiding from the camera behind the door. Except for Csaba, all of these young men became Christians just last year. We hope that in this new year we will see them maturing in their faith in Jesus Christ. Please pray for them that they would persevere and that God would build them up for His glory.

After church, I was able to give Dávid (above light blue t-shirt) a free Bible program that would allow him to do word studies on his computer at home. Dávid is an avid reader and a deep thinker. I can clearly see God’s work on his heart as Dávid consistently asks me questions about the faith and seeks for truth. Dávid has a heart to reach his friends in school (many who are drug users, or involved in satanic worship) with the Gospel. Please pray for his protection from the enemy and for his success in bringing glory to God by leading his friends to Jesus.

Encouraging Events

This morning we were encouraged by a visit from János Papp (A leader from the Baptist Union in Hungary). We were able to share the highlights of how God was at work in Petőfibánya in 2005.

Above Left: Erika (Miki’s wife with their 2 year old Bence) Above Right: Visitors from the Hungarian Baptist Union

Later, from 5-7, we met together with some of the growing teenage believers. Dávid, Gabi, and Milán attended our weekly discipleship study. We focused our time on studying God's word in such a way that we apply it to our lives.

Dávid (above left) shared with us that he wanted to visit a friend in Budapest that he has known for some time. Unfortunately, his friend is a devil worshipper and is also using heroine. He wanted to share the gospel with her and encourage her. Dávid said that prior to tonight's meeting, he wasn't sure which Bible verse to share with her about true happiness. When he arrived to study tonight, he was amazed that we were in Psalm 1 that spoke about the way of true happiness. He said, "Now I have a verse to share with her."

I was most encouraged when Dávid spoke up after our time of closing prayer. He turned to the other two teenagers and said, "I used to think when we prayed together that I wouldn't pray out loud because I could do it later at home. But God taught me that He is glorified when we pray together. Even if it is a short prayer, or a prayer of praise, it glorifies God." Wow! Praise God for working in Dávid's heart and teaching him the value of prayer and evangelism! Please pray for Dávid that he would become an effective evangelist to those in bondage to devil worship and drugs. God saved Dávid from such things, and now He is sending Dávid to rescue others with the good news! Praise God!

After our discipleship study, we were off to our sports ministry. We usually play indoor soccer, and basketball in the rented gym in the local public school. However, tonight when Miki tried to unlock the door, the key broke (above). Ooops. Plan B, let's pack in Allen's car and hang out at Miki's house.

I believe that a major part of building trustworthy relationships with these teens happens here. Many of these teenagers heard about church through this sports outreach. Many of them have heard the gospel for the first time in their lives in break-time between games. Please pray for the young men who still have not made decisions that they would be drawn to the Truth and find a new life of hope and peace in Him.


Thursday Night Bible Study

We praise God for the return of Mariann and Attila to the Bible study. Because of their work schedules they were separated from us for some time. Mariann has a 2 year old and teaches english in public school. Attila is a single young man who works at a local machine shop. Neither of them have made decisions, but they both show signs of gaining more understanding as they learn more about Jesus. In our prayer time I was encouraged to hear personal requests. This was a sign to me that the group is beginning to form a bond of trust. I was also encouraged to hear Milán (in red sweatshirt above) pray tonight for others in the group.

Above Left: Mariann conversing with Janka (a fellow Hungarian worker on our church planting team). Above Right: Dezső strumming a bass guitar. Below: Csaba, a member of our church, with Attila.

The guitar story: Some time ago, Miki and I learned that Dezső once played the bass guitar semi-professionally. We have been seeking for more ways to connect with Dezső, and music seemed to be a natural avenue. Just this week, one of my friends from Petőfibánya offered to loan his bass guitar for Dezső to use. Dezső's face lit up tonight when he saw it in the study. Miki and I hope that some day he will use his skills to glorify God in church service. Our families will be getting together this Saturday for lunch and a time of musical worship. Please pray that it would be an edifying time.

Below left: Elianna fills my arms with 'sister and brother and mommy' Below right: Ben and Elianna practicing for the real thing.