January 2022

Hope filled NewYear

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Above: The Mercers, Allen, Sharon, Benjamin, Elianna, Kira and Ziva.


We know that many of you have suffered great difficulty and challenges in 2021 and are in need of renewal and hope. Isaiah 40:29 tells us that our God "Gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength". What an encouragement to know that our God helps the faint, the weary and the exhausted! Isaiah goes on to say in verse 31, "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles." When you are without strength and feel you can go no further in life, there is our Lord Jesus ready to provide renewal to those "who wait for the Lord". I believe 2022 is a year filled with hope, because our hope is in Jesus who proved His amazing love for us at the cross. Our God will have new mercy ready for us every day. Our Savior will provide for all of our needs as we seek His kingdom first. And the passing of another year will only bring us that much closer to the return of Jesus and His ultimate reign as our King. May God renew your strength and bless you in this new year with living hope in Christ!

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Above: One of the projects I worked on the weeks leading up to Christmas was to paint this Nativity mural to be displayed in the front of the local elementary school in our home town. Kids, parents and teachers pass by this area every day and we also posted a series of posters with the Biblical account of the birth of our Savior Christ.

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Above: Miki dropping off Puppet Ministry Gift Packets for kids in local schools.

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Above: Because of Covid, we have not been able to travel to schools to perform our Christmas Puppet show, however we were able to deliver our puppet ministry gift packets to children and teachers. Our hope is that the restrictions will be lifted this year, and we'll be reunited with school kids this Easter.

Christmas Choir


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Above: Church member Gizi giving big hugs to Elianna and overjoyed to sing songs about our Savior at Christmas.

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Because of the restrictions related to Covid, we had to keep a safe distance and meet outside for our Christmas choir's performance at the retirement home in the neighboring village of Rozsaszentmarton. God transformed GIzi from a life of bitterness and depression (because of the loss of her child), to a vibrant and joyous woman who spreads Christ's love. She had to move to this retirement home a few years ago and since that time has been on mission to serve her peers and look for opportunities in sharing the Gospel. What a joy to see the impact she is having in her old age.

Mothers of Preschoolers ministry


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Above: Teammate Heidi continues to keep connected with mothers of young children through MOP's ministry.

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We're thankful for these friendships with those who do not yet understand the Gospel and for opportunities to share Christ's love with them.

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Above: We held a Christmas outreach for these families, with singing, a puppet show, crafts and a free photo session for family portraits. Heidi wrote out her personal testimony and we included it with an invitation to our upcoming Christmas worship service. We praise God for a great turn out and for the open door to share the Gospel.

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Above: One of the family portraits from the Christmas outreach.

God is drawing this family to Himself in multiple ways. Their daughter Rebi (above center) who has been attending our VBS for years made a decision this past summer at camp. Their family lives on the same street as our Hungarian partners in ministry and the mother and father have begun attending an Alpha Course at Miki's house once a month. Please pray for parents like these who have known us through VBS for years but still do not understand their need for Jesus.

Christmas Youth Group Gathering


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Above: Brenda attending youth group with her little sister Korina. I've been meeting with Brenda, along with teens Lili, Barni and Betti to study God's word together. Please pray for the youth in our church to be strengthened in their faith and know Jesus more deeply.

New Year's Eve Worship Service


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Above: It's our tradition to come together New Year's Eve and celebrate as the body of Christ. We sang together, heard from God's word, prayed and had lots of fun playing games into the night. We were thankful for visitors and parents of kids who have attended VBS spend some time with us.

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The blessing of 18 years serving together


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Above: Miki (center) holding his daughter Anna with his wife Erika standing to his left in 2002. Sharon far right holding Benjamin.

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Above: Miki and Erika with their youngest Naomi, their son Bence and their daughter Anna with her fiancé Patrick.

In our training as missionaries, we often heard the fact that the number one reason missionaries leave the field is relational problems with team members. It is a work of God's grace to have given us growing unity and friendship with our Hungarian partners Miki and Erika for over 18 years. God has used us in each other's lives to sharpen one another, bring counsel, healing and correction. We've been through many conflicts, difficulties and deep waters together in ministry and God has never failed to show us His faithfulness in helping us maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. What a blessing to have faithful Hungarian partners in ministry!

Miki and Erika's oldest daughter Anna (far right) is pictured with her fiancé Patrik. They plan to be married June this year and have given me the privilege to join their hands in marriage. These are special kids (now young adults). So much of our ministry these days involves our own kids who have gone from being little children in our camps to writing and performing dramas, sharing the Gospel, being part of the worship team, teaching and organizing various church ministries. It is such a sweet season seeing them using their unique giftings in serving Jesus but we know that this season won't last forever. God has plans for our kids that may involve them moving away to new harvest fields. We already are preparing for our oldest daughter Ellie to be in the US this year as she will begin a new season of life as a freshman in college. We appreciate your prayers for Ellie as she makes her final decision as to which college to attend.

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Above: Our PI teammates Roger and Heidi and our Area Leader Cathy. We also are thankful for our fellow PI missionaries that have been so faithful through the years. Our team has gone through various changes in the past two years, as long-time teammate Brenda has returned to the US and Tom who served with us for years is also returning in February. We would appreciate prayers for God to raise up new team members to strengthen our church planting team in Hungary.

Szalagavató!


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Above: In December, Ellie had her "Szalagavató" which is a type of ribbon ceremony for seniors in high school similar to a special event like a prom in the US. The seniors receive ribbons recognizing they are on their way to graduating. They also prepare comical skits for parents and teachers and perform a special ball room dance with their class.

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Above: If you listen closely you can hear me saying, "1, 2, 3, oops, 1, 2, wait, what…" as Ellie gives me a quick lesson in dancing.

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Our family greets you from Hungary and we thank all of you for your continued partnership and kindness toward us. We will be taking a furlough this summer and fill you all in with the details when the time approaches. We would appreciate your prayers as Ellie makes her decision about which college she will attend in the US, prayers for the youth in our church to continue to flourish in their faith, prayers for our team to continue in unity and be guided with God's wisdom as to the path forward.
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