March Update

P1163697-Enhanced-NR.jpg

Above: A flooded field becomes a temporary ice skating rink for our hometown of Petofibanya.

Isn’t it amazing how God continues to seek and save the lost throughout the world? When I was saved by God’s grace in the small state of Delaware, I had no idea I would be sent to the small village of Petofibánya that many Hungarians don’t even know exist. God knows, and God cares. No one is lost in the crowd of over 8 billion people in this world. There is no ‘middle of nowhere’, no ‘out of reach’ that Christ cannot saturate with His love and raise the spiritually dead to life. What a privilege to be His child and to join Him in His purposes!

P1163513-Enhanced-NR.jpg
Above: Welcome to the family of Christ, Barni and Erik!

Over the past few months three youth have been baptized from our church. One of them, Barni, says in his testimony, “I grew up in a Christian home.” That’s a rare statement for those being baptized as most are first generation believers. Barni’s parent’s were actually saved in our church as first generation believers. Odett, another youth baptized, also has parents that are first generation believers that were saved in our church. Praise God for His work in entire households and for a new generation of Hungarians that are growing up in Christ.

IMG_7332.jpg

Above: Erik, unlike Odett and Barni is a first generation believer. Erik first came to know us through our VBS ministry and he began attending our church in 2021. He said he didn’t believe in God but was interested in hearing God’s word. He ended up faithfully attending church and also the youth group meetings and eventually put his faith in Jesus.

Here are a few testimonies from their baptisms:



APC_3331-Enhanced-NR.jpg
APC_3209-Enhanced-NR.jpg
Above: Odett with her best friend Magdaléna (who was also baptized) As Magdeléna is a member of another Baptist Church, we joined together at their church for this celebration.

“Hello, my name is Odett. When I was in third grade, my classmates began bullying me. When I thought about what they said, I just didn’t want to go another day being in the same situation. I saw that one of my teacher’s Edit would pray in our Bible class. I decided to pray. I thought at first that prayer wasn’t really going to change anything, but I began anyway. I began praying each morning and the bullying stopped. I began to realize that it’s true that the Lord is with us. I received Jesus, the only Son of God who died for our sins.” — Odett

Odett mentions her teacher Edit in her testimony. Edit was also saved in our church years ago and is known by most of the village as she has taught in the local middle school for many years.

P1044966.jpg
Above: Edit teaching in Petofibanya's middle school.

There is a situation in Hungary where public schools that were no longer able to be sustained by the government could become financed by established church denominations. The Baptist church took over the financing of many schools when this happened, but this did not mean that these schools became ‘Christian’ schools with teachers that are believers.

P1044821.jpg

This did however allow for more open doors to teach the Bible, which is happening in our local ‘Baptist’ middle school in Petofibánya. We praise God for positioning Edit along with our teammates Roger (above) and Janka as teachers in this school that can share the light of Christ in this setting.

P1163494-Enhanced-NR.jpg

Barni’s testimony


“Hello, my name is Barni and I’m 17 years old. I grew up in a Christian home. Every year I would attend summer VBS and I would always pay attention to the teaching. I believed that God existed and that Jesus came to earth to die for my sins, but I didn’t surrender my entire life to Him. This past summer at English Camp we talked about the topic of trust and allowing God to take control of our lives. After attending that camp and then another VBS, I decided to surrender my life to Him to lead.”—Barni

P1120158-Enhanced-NR.jpg
Above: Barni at last year's English Camp in morning Bible reading time.

Jatszohaz


IMG_0675.jpg
The majority of children that attend our summer VBS camps are unchurched. In order to maintain a relationship with them throughout the fall and winter months, we hold a “Játszóház” (Play House) once a month that is a mini-version of what they experience at camp.

P1000564-Enhanced-NR.jpg
P1000751-Enhanced-NR.jpg

We have Bible teaching, lots of singing, a craft and fun games for the kids. Parents also usually stick around and there is opportunity to reach out to them. Please pray for spiritual breakthroughs in these families that have heard the gospel but have yet to take that step of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.




Free to Love




I’ve been songwriting since 2016 but very few songs have been in Hungarian. The complex grammar, long and short vowels as well as a rich vocabulary have made it too challenging for me to attempt. Last summer at a songwriting camp I played one of my songs in English for the teacher and he gladly took it home and translated it for me. While Ellie was home at Christmas, we were able to sing it together at our church. My heart’s deep desire is to be able to empower Hungarians to write worship music for Hungarian churches. Pray with us as we explore ways to bring this vision into reality. — Sharon

Original lyrics:

Free to Love
Sharon Mercer
 
Vs 1
Troubled waters swirl around me
Turbulent times fill every headline
Peace is fleeting like shifting shadows
Who will rescue me? Who will rescue me?
 
Chorus
Lord, let your Spirit wash over me
Just like the waters cover the sea
Lord let your Spirit wash over me
Cleansing my heart so I can be free to love
To love to love, so I can be free to love
 
Vs 2
Angry voices endlessly echo
Anxieties lies clutter my mind,
Ceaseless rumors plague and vex me
Who will be my guide? Who will be my guide?
 
Bridge
Your heart is for me
For my transformation
Your heart is for me
Over all temptation
Your heart is for me
In every situation
Your heart is for me
And I can be free to love
To love to love
I can be free to love

Ukrainian-Hungarian-Rómani families


Please continue to pray for the families that fled from Ukraine and have settled in Petofibanya that attend our church.

P1163090-Enhanced-NR.jpg

Above: Sanyi and Ilona have both benefited from the focused studies on marriage and commented on how much their relationship has changed by God’s grace.

P1163229-Enhanced-NR.jpg
Above: Erno with his daughter Johanna and wife Szandi.

Erno had a terrible accident at work months ago where he had broken both of his wrists. By God’s grace he continues to recover and even was able to share a song that he wrote with the church, with enough healing to be able to play the guitar. Being displaced has been very challenging and yet a tremendous blessing for his family. Johanna has excelled in school and had education here that was not available to her previously. Erno has had a revival of faith and is maturing through the trials. He is now part of our worship team.

How is Kira doing?


APC_3112-Enhanced-NR.jpg

As many of you have been part of God's provision in Kira's life to be able to attend Black Forest Academy, I wanted to share some her recent writing with you.

Danger Of The Mundane
by: Kira Mercer

I stared at myself on that cold winter night,
Faithless, hopeless, unknown
Thinking of all the ways the stories of old could be flawed and mis-told

Sleep, I thought.
I just need sleep,
and all my fears of the facade will fade with the jumping sheep.

But when i awoke the truth stared me down.
With all the thoughts of this invisible crown—
I was still doubting.
My heart still pounding with questions too complex for my mind breakdown.

But there in the panic, God sent a friend. She reached out a hand to my soul and she said,
“Doubt over complacent”
I read

You see faith is often crushed under the weight of the mundane.
And without a perfect challenge we often force ourselves to pain.

But in those moments, in those fears
in those drowsy nightly tears
The God of ages stands above and cradles us with boundless love.
He’s not bothered, not surprised
He’s not put down by our demise
He is faithful He is true,
and His love carries me and you.


God heard you when you cry in uncertainty.

Lately I’ve been wrestling with my faith, with all the questions that come along with my love for Jesus. And I’ve come to realize (because of good friends) that asking and debating and questioning your faith isn’t wrong. It’s not sinful to ask questions, and it’s not against God to plead with him to make himself known.

Psalm 73: 21-24 says: ”When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.“

God isn’t shocked by your unbelief. Even the most famous people in the bible: Noah, Moses, even Jesus’s own disciples doubted him.

But when we doubt, Jesus reached out in kindness.

John 20:27 says: ”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Jesus didn’t get angry at Thomas, he didn’t scream at him for not understanding, or for being a “bad follower”, he responded with love and care, and he gave the proof that his beloved child desperately needed.

Faith is an essential part of being a follower of Jesus, but so is doubt. If you never debate the validity of God‘s word then your belief is blind, but by asking questions and searching for answers, you gain a deep trust, that is no longer rooted in overheard doctrine and passed down tradition, but in solidly placed faith in a trustworthy God. — Kira

At the Airport again


APC_3107-Enhanced-NR.jpg
Above: Multiple trips to the airport as Kira returned to Black Forest Academy in Germany and Elianna returned to Moody in Chicago after a great Christmas break together.

We would appreciate your prayers because of recent changes to the residency process in Hungary. Our permit will be due for renewal this year and because of an overhaul of the residency system, we are still looking into how to proceed.

Unexpected return to the U.S.


APC_3203-Enhanced-NR.jpg
Above: Allen with his brothers Sam and Bob.

In late January, Allen returned to the US as his dad had become seriously ill. God worked out just the right timing, as Allen’s dad was released from the hospital the day after Allen arrived. Allen was able to help in the recovery process at home. His dad continues to make steady progress, but has many challenges ahead. We appreciate your continued prayer for him. Thank all of you who heard about this return and joined in prayer! Allen was able to return to Hungary in February.

Puppets already?


P1137853-Enhanced-NR.jpg
With the Easter celebration landing on an earlier date this year, we're already calling schools and preparing for our Easter Puppet Ministry starting next week. As we go out to proclaim the good news of Jesus' death for our sins and triumphant resurrection from the dead, we ask that you pray for us. You can download a PDF Prayer Guide by clicking this link.

Thank you!


P1163366-Enhanced-NR.jpg
Above: Ellie, Sharon, Allen, Ziva, Ben and Kira (oh, and Phranky in Kira’s arms)
Thank you all for your faithfulness and generosity in partnering with us in this ministry in Hungary! We deeply appreciate how God has used you to equip us and our kids toward following our callings for His glory.

“The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” — Numbers 6:24-26
blog comments powered by Disqus