May 2021

May Update

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Sharon's time in Bogacs


I’ve been delighted that in the past few months that I’ve been able to go with Allen to Bogacs. I enjoy being there, meeting those that Allen knows and getting to hold a lovely squishy baby. :-) But the best part for me is meeting with Izabella. You may remember that a number of years ago she was freed from demonic oppression and came to faith in Christ. Her boyfriend of many years is in prison and she is raising her 3 boys alone. Recently as we were talking, she cried out in exasperation that she is not enough for this task. When I agreed with her she looked startled. So I began to explain to her that without God we are not wise enough or big enough for the task of raising children. Just the previous day I had an experience while talking with my spiritual director online. I shared this story with her.

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My spiritual director asked me to think about what I most desire today and I began thinking about my kids and how each of them are going through a difficult time at the moment in one way or another and how I desire their well being, even if it means a season of difficulty. She then asked me to just sit with that desire and see how God might like to minister to me in that or speak to that. Almost instantly I had a picture in my mind of my kids being held in my hands and God’s great hands under mine. Toward the end of our hour together, she invited me again to remember my desire and to seek God and see if He had anything to add to what He had already spoken. As I settled myself in God’s presence, I was surprised to see that the image had changed slightly, but meaningfully. God now placed one of his hands directly under my kids and the other stayed under my hands as I supported them. It was such a reassuring picture for me of God’s faithful care both for me and for our kids. It reminded me that even though He has given me this monumental task to parent these kids, He is ministering directly to them and not just through me.

As I shared this with Izabella her eyes began to grow wide and tear up, and she exclaimed, “God meant for me to hear this too!” We were both so delighted at God’s care for us as parents and His care for our kids as well. Please pray for her as she seeks to raise her kids in a godly way in a community with no other believers and she has to “swim upstream” against the culture to do this.

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Above: Izabella's oldest son Aladar.

The need for fathers


As Sharon mentioned above, Izabella's boyfriend has been in prison for some time. Aladar, Izabella's oldest, has shown some interest in God over the past few months choosing to sit in and listen to the Bible study time. A few weeks ago, he began to move in a very dangerous direction in his life that was bringing his family into great grief and worry. After I heard about what was happening, Aladar showed up and sat down with a smirk, knowing that his mother had been sharing about what was happening. Instead of yelling at him (which may be the only way family have tried to get through to him), I began sharing some of my failures and struggles when I was young. And with compassion, but very sternly warned him that it only takes one foolish decision at his age to lead to great loss, regret and grief.

Part of the issue involved him ignoring his mom asking him to be at home at night. Instead he would leave once she was asleep and not return until the next day. I told him that his friends that support his foolish behavior have no real love for him like his mother. She would be willing to give her life for him, while they are only around as long as they are being entertained. I tried to make clear to him that God had given him a tremendous gift in his mom that now knows Jesus and is seeking to follow Him and yet he was leaning into a life that was moving in the same direction that led to his dad being in prison and the family being in poverty. I encouraged him to choose life. Take advantage of all of these opportunities God had given him and escape the cycle of being another poor man in prison living with regret. Aladar seemed to take it well and we left not knowing where this would all lead. We prayed and returned next week.

With great joy, Izabella shared that Aladar began staying home and listened to his mother since that conversation! Praise God for working in Aladar's conscience and helping him turn away from rebellion and foolishness. Many young teens in this town are already sexually active having parents that really don't pay much attention to what their children are doing. Many Roma kids become parents at 14-16 years old. Having no real maturity, no means to support their family, most turn to some type of crime to survive. Please continue to pray for men to be saved in Bogacs. Pray for those men who are in prison to find new life in Christ. Pray for these kids who have no father figures to find Christ and come out of this terrible cycle of poverty and crime.

Tibi's baptism


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Some of you may remember in our last update that a man named Zsolti was baptized from the neighboring town of Apc. He since opened his home for small group Bible study that Tibi began attending. Tibi and Zsolti are neighbors and Zsolti had already been seeking to help Tibi with everyday needs with food and help around his house. As we continued to meet in small group, it was clear that Tibi had some kind of background with Christianity, but he confessed about himself that he was not yet a believer. About the third or fourth meeting, the Spirit of God brought understanding and conviction to his heart. Tibi was in tears as we continued to study the life of Christ and His call to repentance and faith. Tibi put his faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Here is an excerpt from what Tibi shared at his baptism:
“When I think about Jesus, I think about how you are a pastor and how Zsolti invited me to church and for both of you that was fulfilling a responsibility. Some of us have less and others have more responsibility. Jesus had an unbelievable amount of responsibility and He was willing to offer His own life, so that we would be saved from our sins. So why would anyone not be baptized? Jesus is so good and ready to forgive. The time has to come in your life when God speaks and tells you, “The time is now.” And when I heard that there was an opportunity to be baptized, I knew it was time. I want to live according to the Lord’s will and ask Him to lead me. Because I need Him.” — Tibi.

Virag with the Lord


As months were passing, and Covid continued to spread throughout Hungary and through our congregation, I was thankful for God sustaining our lives. In fact, I was just sharing this thankfulness with Miki who had fully recovered from Covid and would be considered in a higher-risk category.

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Just then, Miki received a message on his phone. We were outside at the time helping another church member with some construction at his new house. Miki shared the news with all of us, "Virag is on a breathing machine." Virag? We were in shock. Virag (pictured below), one of our church members is only 27 years old.

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We stopped to pray for her and just a few hours later, Miki received another message: "Virag has gone to be with the Lord." Virag's mother (pictured below) who is also a church member and a cancer and stroke survivor had Covid just a month prior and fully recovered. Her daughter Virag was not as fortunate.

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Above: Virag's mother Margit serving at VBS


This was a terrible and shocking loss. But because of our Lord and Savior Jesus who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, we knew our grief would not be the same as the world. Virag had Jesus and now Jesus has Virag in His presence. So we turn again to the living hope found in God's word: "We believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." (1 Thessalonians 4:14). As you can imagine, Margit is experiencing the pain of loss as well as her son and their family. As most members of her family are not believers, please pray that this would lead to hearts turning to Jesus. Virag's brother takes his children to our VBS every year and he has been open to the Gospel. May the Lord use VBS this year to continue proclaiming that Jesus has overcome sin, death and the judgment we deserved. Please pray that God's Spirit move on the hearts of children and parents to show them the way to eternal life in Christ.

Life after lockdown


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Since most of us have either already been infected and have immunity or have been vaccinated, we rejoiced in getting back together in smaller venues with the church. What a great way to kick-off things with a Hungarian style cook out! Always delicious, but don't ask what's in the stew.

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Above: Sharon, Ellie and Kira. Both Sharon and Ellie are fully recovered from having Covid after having lingering symptoms of fatigue for months. We praise God for their healing. Although we have mostly stayed connected online with team members every week, it was a relief to finally meet face to face and enjoy a time of fellowship with friends from church.

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Youth Group Returns


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Above: I guess that's one way to keep the germs away. Teens beginning to meet weekly again for youth group at Miki's house.

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Above: We praise God that momentum is picking back up as we're beginning to gather the teens together weekly. We've got a great group of teens that are beginning to discover their own giftings and we look forward to seeing how God will continue to bring them to maturity in Jesus Christ.

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Please pray that God use these times to strengthen and encourage them and that those who are not yet saved who are attending would come to understand their desperate need for Jesus. There has been much stress and even depression that has threatened all of these kids as they were isolated through lock down. Pray that each of them (including our two teen daughters Ellie and Kira) grow in having their own personal experiences learning to trust and depend on God and His word in their struggles in life.

Family Fun


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To relieve the monotony of online school, over the past few months we've sought to find ways to be active outside going hiking, biking, walking and having our fair share of time with various farm animals.

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Above: Sharon looking over our hometown of Petofibanya.


As we turn our attention to the upcoming summer months, we are full of hope and anticipation for what God is going to accomplish. In just over a month and a half, we'll be jumpstarting our summer outreaches with Baseball Camp. After that practically every other week we'll be serving in camps for children, teens and young adults. It is an intense season, but a summer full of amazing opportunities to sow seeds to a new generation of Hungarians. We appreciate your continued prayers and support!

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” — Psalm 28:7

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