July 2011


Last week I got a call from Miki inviting me to play tennis with a young man named Béla that we have been trying to get to know more. Béla has attended various sports outreaches we have held in the past. I broke out my tennis racket (I can’t remember the last time I played) and picked up Béla just a few blocks away from my home.

Above: MIki, Erika and Béla. It was great exercise and great to have an opportunity to connect with Béla who invited me to his house after tennis. I met his dad, his brother and his little beagle. We spent over an hour just talking and I believe this is just a first step in God using me and others in Béla’s life to direct him to Jesus Christ.

Above: Yeah, I know how you feel. This is our neighbors dog that has grown up while we were back in the US.


Above: On Thursday, we held our teen discipleship meeting in the local community center. Praise God that both Eszti and Zsófi who recommitted their lives to Christ at camp (having already made decisions in the past) attended. Dezső doesn’t water down teaching for the teens, but is going deep in Scripture with them.

Above: Tomi and Peti also attending Thursday night. Praise God for this opportunity to teach His truth to those growing up in Christ.


Above: Enikő and Gabi were married on Saturday! Other than Gabi’s sister Niki (who is a member of our church) both their families have no relationship with God through Jesus. This would not only be a special day for them to proclaim their vows before God but also an opportunity for their families to hear about Jesus.

Above: Dezső was first to speak, giving an introduction of who we were and where we have come from. Dezső highlighted our need for Jesus Christ, and gave personal testimony to Jesus’ work of restoration in his own life.

Above: Petőfibánya’s worship team, Dezső, Eszti and Miki.

I was also given the privilege to preach at their wedding on the love of Jesus Christ and how it applies to marriage. I highlighted the counterfeit views of love and how Jesus’ love is a humble love that seeks to serve. It is my hope and prayer that Enikő and Gabi grow in the knowledge of God’s love for them and also grow in their love for one another.


Above: Thirty eight campers surrounded by volunteers from Hungary and the US.

Above: Cherry sharing the Gospel in morning reading hour on Thursday.

Historically, Thursday has been one of most challenging days at camp. This is the day we share personal testimonies, the gospel, and invite campers to make a decision. Having served in these camps for years, I can attest that we have consistently been bombarded with spiritual attack seeking to distract workers and campers from this special night.

This camp was no different. One translator woke with a migraine headache and tooth pain, another translator was struggling with a sore throat. One of the parents of a worker who would be sharing their testimony was scheduled for surgery on this day. In our morning meeting just before the kids were to go off to reading the Bible, a camper had a seizer.

Throughout the day from our reading time to conversation time we sought to clearly present the gospel. We were in great need of God's almighty hand guiding us, protecting us and bringing healing throughout the day. The whole week was designed to prepare campers for this day.

Above: As I mentioned in my last blog post, Nari (above) who was recently saved (and greatly influenced from our past camps) was planning an evangelistic drama to present Thursday night. Miki and Gabi, both from Petőfibánya had roles in this drama and were practicing with us. Gabi had stepped out to find some supplies and minutes later rushed back requesting Miki's help. Apparently a camper was struck just below the eye by a club on the mini golf course and needed emergency medical attention. Ironically, Gabi himself was rushed to the hospital a few years ago on gospel night with a head injury. These attacks, designed to distract, are like clockwork. Miki ended up taking the camper to the hospital and we were reminded to pray again and needed God's grace to regroup and continue practicing the evangelistic drama.

Above: Thankfully Gabi, although injured was able to complete camp.

God was gracious to have Miki and the injured camper back by the time the evening program began. The whole week we have been singing songs in English, but on this night, we sang in Hungarian. After one testimony and one song, it was clear that God's Spirit was bringing conviction to campers and touching many in the room. Some of the least expected were hunched over, not because of boredom and fatigue, but because they were uncontrollably weeping. These included Domi (my roommate), Vince (the brother of Bence who was saved a few years ago at camp) and Eszti who is from Petőfibánya and was saved last year.

Above: Zach sharing his testimony.

After the testimonies, the students were given the choice to either stay after if they wanted to know more about the decision to believe in Jesus or they could leave and participate in free-time activities.

Praise God that many chose to stay, some making first time decisions to put their faith in Christ and others renewing their commitments to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Vince (above red shirt far left) talked only a short time with staff because he was weeping. Vince said, "I understand everything and what I have to do." He prayed a short prayer and was really thankful for God's love. On Sunday, he attended worship service in the town of Vecsés where fellow Pioneers missionaries are planting a church. Vince gave testimony that last year he thought he made a decision to put his faith in Christ, but this year he is sure that he has surrendered his heart to Jesus and is looking forward to being part of the body in Vecsés.

Above: Domokos and Zach


Above: Domokos praying with Miki.

It seemed evident that from the second day of camp Domokos (my roommate) was being drawn to the Father. He formed a friendship with staff member Zach and commented on how kind he was as a man. On Thursday night, Domokos was overwhelmed after Zach's testimony and decided that night to put his faith in Jesus. Domokos attended church service in Vecsés (a first for him in this type of setting) and stood up to share how thankful he was for the camp. It turns out that initially he didn't want to attend, but his mother convinced him. It was very hard for Domokos to say good bye after worship service, seeming to leave and then coming back and being in tears. Please pray that Domokos finds a home in the church plant in Vecsés and matures in Christ.

Above: Adrienn, a first time camper who had been meeting regularly with Tahran, said on the first day, "I'm not into this Christian stuff." But on Thursday night, she listened intently to the gospel and went from not needing it to open to it. She shared that all of these things are new for her having never heard them before.

Tomi (above right) who initially heard about the camp through the church plant in Vecsés said he is very close to making a decision after Thursday night.

Above: Ádám (from Petőfibánya) was very quick in getting out of the room after the evening. Greg caught up with him and took a walk with him. Ádám said he hates these nights because it makes him cry and he doesn't want to cry. He has had a tough family background and doesn't understand how God can love him having not experienced love from his family. On the last day I said to Ádám, “Don’t be a stranger” as I was passing by. He caught up to me and said, “What do you mean?” I told him I remember years ago when we used to meet but then school and work and other commitments came into his life and he disappeared. We exchanged numbers and I hope that things will change.

Above: Praise God that Ádám came to worship service in Petőfibánya on Sunday. Afterwards, he told me, “It is nice to be here again.” Please pray for Ádám.


Above: Kitti talking with Jenny after Gospel night.

There are a number of campers with us that have family members working at this facility and live in Lakitelek or in the neighboring town of Kecskemény. Kitti's mother is actually one of the cooks at this location. Kitti was crying a lot throughout Thursday evening. She said that she has gone to church in the past, but this week was the first time she understands what the Bible is really about. She said she only believed in God as an idea. But she said, "You people here believe in Him as a Person!" She has exchanged contact information with staff and we ask you to pray for follow up.

Above: Zsófi and Kitti, both from Lakitelek.

Zsofi prayed with a staff member Thursday night but she needs prayer because it seems parts of the Gospel are still not clear to her.

Above: Zsoka is another local who's parents are members of the folk dance group that performed at our camp last week. Zsoka goes to a religious school and knew in the head, but not in the heart what we had been teaching. On Thursday night, in tears Zsoka put her faith in Jesus asking God to take what was broken and put it back together.


Above: Zoli was very ready to put his faith in Jesus Christ. He understood everything he needed to do and it was just a matter of getting together in prayer. Surrounded by others who were influenced by camp or saved in camp in the past, Zoli prayed for salvation in Jesus. Zoli ended up attending Vecsés' worship service on Sunday with his brother Laci (also a camper see photo below) and his mother who is a teacher in Vecsés' highschool. Kristin, who served at our camp, was able to talk to their mother and God opened up a door for her to share the Gospel. Zoli's mother said she doesn't believe in God, which is the same thing that Laci her son said at camp when he first attended in 2010. Laci at the end of that camp went from atheism to being open and ended up coming back this year with his brother Zoli. This family is very close and we ask you to pray for God to breakthrough every barrier of unbelief and to bring them all to salvation in Jesus.

Above: Zoli left of me and Laci his brother to the right.

Above: Levi and Gregg. Levi had been very tough the whole week and not interested in serious conversations. Levi came a few days late to camp and with disdain said, "I had no idea I was coming to a Bible camp." As soon as Thursday night was over, he was out the door. Throughout the week it seemed as if he was trying to sabotage all conversations and was causing distractions. God began to touch him through different workers like Gregg who reached out to Levi. Levi came home after Gospel Night and something changed in his heart. Levi opened up for the first time with Gabi (his roommate). He didn't understand why so many people were crying and asked, "Why didn't I cry?" He was so jaded from abuses in his family that he said he could no longer cry. He said it t was good to hear the people that spoke and the abuses that they have also gone through in life. We are thankful that God has begun a work in his heart. On the last day of camp, Levi's grandmother picked him up and was in tears saying, "It's a shame that there is nothing like this in our town. I haven't seen anything like it before."


Above: Eszti, from Petőfibanya, made a decision last year, but because of school, a tough study schedule and family expectations, she had little to no fellowship with other believers. Eszti was weeping and said, "I'm not the type of person that gets emotional." She shared that she accepted the truths of God's word last year in her head, but this year, she now believes in her heart. Brenda and I encouraged her to see the future as a time to refocus, establishing new ways to walk in fellowship with God and believers.

Above: Zsófi and Eszti, both from Petőfibánya

Zsófi, also from Petőfibánya shared that she had already decided to put her trust in Jesus on one of our summer hikes. Coming to camp reaffirmed her desire to follow Jesus. Like Eszti, Zsofi was not in fellowship with other believers after her decision. On Sunday, Zsofi and Eszti attended church and we look forward to meeting more often from now on for discipleship.

On the last night of camp, Nari was given the privilege to share her testimony to the campers around the campfire. Nari has the type of story that many of these kids can relate to. Family members who are alcoholics. No background in going to church or believing in God. An empty and hopeless life and a dependence on popularity, talents or worldly things to cope. Nari did a great job sharing and ended her testimony with the same verse that was in the evangelistic drama she had performed, John 3:16. Nari said, " I have One Friend who is always there and who loves me and this is God." Right after the applause began, there was applause from heaven as thunder was heard for the first time over the course of this 7 day camp. It was just another sign of God's approval of this testimony from Nari and His love for her through Jesus Christ.

As I consider these stories, it is evident that this camp was not just about campers getting saved but God reminding others of His love and stirring them to grow. It was also a place for young believers to give testimony to God's grace as they served Him with joy.

Unfortunately, many of these campers are going back to homes where there is a void of everything that we have displayed and taught this week. We ask you to pray by name for those I mentioned above and others who may not have verbally responded but who's hearts have been touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ.


After arriving safely with all our luggage Thursday evening, we were off Friday afternoon to English camp in a town a few hours away from our home in Petőfibánya. We praise God for His gracious provision, giving us the needed strength to make it this far.

This year, instead of leading English reading time (Bible study), I have been given the responsibility to teach level six. I have a great mix of 8 students, most of which have attended camps in the past.

Above L to R: Nati and Nari.

One of my students is Nari (see above right). Nari has attended camp for years and just yesterday I found out that she had put her faith in Jesus Christ over the summer. Nari shared her testimony with me over break time and her experiences at English Camp played an important role in her salvation experience. When I think about Nari, I remember previous camps when she brought choreographed worldly dance routines to present in our talent nights. This year, because of Jesus in her life, she wants to present a choreographed evangelistic drama and asked me to participate in it! Praise God for the work He is doing in the campers lives and his gracious perseverance in convincing them of HIs love through Jesus Christ.

Every year, camp leaders are placed in rooms with students and the times just before bed often lead to great conversation. Before the students arrived, I was asking our Father to place the kids He wanted in my room and to open up a door of opportunity with them. I asked the Lord to use me as someone standing at an intersection in their lives directing these kids to the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Above: Imi.

Above: Domi in Bible reading time.

My roommates turned out to be Imi (attended many times in the past) and Domonkos, a new camper. Both are friends through family connections. Last night Domi asked me whether it was better living in the US or in Hungary. This led to getting into my testimony and how God led me His Son. Domi was very interested and continued asking more and more questions: Where did we come from? What happens after we die? Is there some punishment for evil? How did God lead You? How do I talk to God?

It was clear that God is answering your prayers and my desire that a door would be opened. Domi is clearly open and I encouraged Him to seek Jesus this week and trust that God will lead him to find truth. I gave a brief explanation of the Gospel and highlighted the contrast between religion and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And I also made clear the necessity of faith in Jesus.

Imi who was listening to our conversation chimed in, “Are people going to share their life stories again this year." Imi is referring to what we call Gospel night where a few people give their testimony and share their faith in Christ. There is an invitation each year to stay after these testimonies and to respond to all they have been learning about Jesus through the week. Imi added how much he liked that night and how powerful the testimonies were last year.

Please continue to pray for these campers, some of whom (like Domi) are hearing the gospel for the first time. Pray for the workers as well as we are giving our all in sweltering heat. The days are exhausting but so rewarding, but we need prayer for strength.

Above: A fun night of Hungarian folk dancing with members of a Lakitelek dance team and later with all of the students.

Above: Good night from Lakitelek Hungary.



Our family is just days away from returning to Hungary! We praise God for so many of you who have played a part in our support being raised from 61% to 83%! We appreciate your commitment to building Christ's kingdom in Hungary and giving us the means to return.

Lord willing, our flight touches down this Thursday and on Friday, we are off to serve in this year's English Camp.



Above: Some photos from last year’s English Camp. Every year, we get a mix of teens, young adults, single parents and even some who are retired who attend our English Camp. Our desire is that whatever walk of life they have come from that they encounter Jesus Christ at our camp. This is a great opportunity to introduce the broken to the only One who brings complete restoration to life through salvation. A common theme in Hungarian’s lives is hopelessness. Jesus wants each of them to cast their burdens on Him and find rest in Him as their Lord and Savior. Would you join us in praying for this year’s camp?

petofibanya students
Above: Campers who are attending from our hometown of Petofibánya. Some of you have asked for help with names, so here it is:

Gabi (gah-bee)
Eniko (any-koo)
Niki (nick-ee)
Gyozo (Jew-zoo)
Zsofi (show-fee)
Eszti (es-tee)
Ádám (adam)

If you still can’t pronounce their names, don’t worry, God understands who you are talking about in prayer. Please pray especially for Zsofi since this is her first time attending English Camp, but not her first time hearing the gospel. She has gone to various teen outreaches we have held in Petőfibánya, but I believe this will be a completely different experience for her. Those in the top row have already put their faith in Jesus (three of which were saved in English Camps) and are growing in our local church.

Prayer Requests:

• For our remaining financial support to come in.
• For strength and wisdom as we pack and prepare for our return to Hungary.
• For Allen's preparation of curriculum for his class at English Camp.
• For success and safety in travel (many suitcases and many kids, U.S. to Budapest, Budapest to Petőfibánya and then Petőfibánya to Lakitelek for English Camp).
• For help in overcoming jet lag and fatigue from traveling.
• For continued protection and healthy growth of our child (Sharon now at 20 weeks!)

mercer shadows

Above: Our family spending a day at the beach last week. This was the kids first time at a beach. They had a great time!