Tuesday, January 20, 2009

International World Changers

Our International World Changers planning meeting in Prague went great this last week!  We were really impressed with the IWC program, and with Mike Landrum and Chet Andrews, who are the leaders for our project.  The plan is to build a small playground in an area of Debrecen that has nothing for the kids, and to also do children's Backyard Bible Club-type ministry with the kids who are there.  This will be in partnership with Debrecen Baptist Church (the Hungarian church we attend), which is working to plant a church in that area.  We believe this is a great opportunity to minister to individuals and families and show them the love of Christ, and also to assist in building bridges with the community to help the new church plant.  The project is planned for July 25 to August 1, 2009.

Please pray with us that if it's the Lord's will for us to do this, that He will burden the hearts of the right people to come and help.  At this point we have no young people registered, and it's already time for the teams to be forming.   If you or someone you know might be interested in this project, you can find more information about IWC at http://thetask.org/youth/IWC/default.htm. You can also register for our project online.

Chet, Gary & Mike discussing plans for the IWC Hungary project

You may remember us asking you to pray for our friend Tibi, who has been working in Holland to support his family.  They haven't been able to give him many hours to work there, and things are not going well at all for the family.  Please pray for encouragement and provision for Tibi, Marian and their girls, that the Lord will use this time to draw them closer to each other and to Him.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holidays, technical disasters and serious prayer requests

Here we are just 11 days into 2009 and it's hard to believe everything that's happened over the last couple of weeks....[scene fades as flashback begins] 

Christmas here was quiet, just the two of us at our house.  Of course we missed our kids (one in Missouri, one in Africa), our parents and other relatives in the States, and Holly and A.P. (Holly went to America for a quick visit with her family, A.P. was with a friend in Budapest.)  We did have a great day, though, celebrating Christ's birth, opening some presents, and relaxing.  Thank you to everyone who called or sent us cards, pictures, and emails...it's so encouraging to know we are loved, remembered, and prayed for!   It was a wonderful treat to get to talk to some of our family members on the phone for Christmas, and even getting to do a chat complete with video with our son Danny and his girlfriend Nicole.  We got to talk to Jennifer, too, some days later when she was able to place a call as she passed through Kenya.    Got to love this modern world and its technology....except when now and then something goes terribly, terribly wrong...[ominous music cues a change of scene]

...a couple of days after Christmas the hard drive on Gary's laptop CRASHED!     Thankfully, Gary had just backed up his files, so no data was lost.  After finding out that the computer was not fixable we got a new one here locally--a no-frills "workhorse" according to the online reviews--and begin the process of getting it set up.  It came with XP Home in Hungarian, so we tried to install our XP Pro in English instead, only to find out that it just isn't that easy!  Technical problems abounded, and after several conversations with Hungarian tech departments (and having to tell them that I'd already tried all their suggestions) we found out that we'd have to get some special drivers so that our version of XP could recognize the hard drive because of how things were set up on the laptop here in Hungary.  After some tricky little work-arounds we finally got it going, and Gary is now finishing setting it up and getting used to it.  MORAL OF THIS STORY--backing up your files really is a great idea.  There's enough to deal with when your computer crashes even without the headache of missing files!

Just about the time we think we know what an emergency is, we get a jolt of reality from the outside world and realize the little situations in our lives just aren't that important.  This last week because of some problems between Russia and the Ukraine, the flow of natural gas to a big part of Europe was cut off, right in the middle of an unusually cold spell.  We had already been hearing of people freezing to death in their own homes here in Hungary and across the region, and now this happened! I'm sure you've probably seen something about this on the news, but if not here's a recent article:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7822694.stm.   This is an extremely serious for hundreds of thousands of people, so please pray!  Countries affected are Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia, and Austria.

Back in the Miller household, a couple of evenings ago our home telephone, internet, and Vonage suddenly quit right in the middle of our work.  The next day we contacted the phone company, and they had no idea what the problem was.  We were told to call another number (thankfully we have cell phones!) and request a service call.  Gary called, and they said they would call us back to set up an appointment...but they never called.  We had so much to get done before we leave for Prague for a week, and we were afraid there was no way to get up and running before our departure...but praise the Lord! after only about a day and a half our phone rang, and it was all working again.  God is good!We had our first class of this semester with our English learners in Hajduszoboszlo (an outreach ministry in partnership with the Baptist church there) and it went great even though numbers were down because of illness.  I had a brand new student in my beginners' class, Erzsebet (Elizabeth in English); she's very motivated, but it's tough on her since the others have now had some basics that she hasn't. Please pray that she can catch up and feel like a part of the group.  She wants to learn English so she can go visit her daughter in London.

Tomorrow morning Gary and I, along with Holly and A.P., will be heading to Budapest for a language exam(AAAK!)  What I mean to say is, please pray for us!  Gary and I will go on from there to Prague, where we'll be in a series of planning meetings throughout the week with team leaders in preparation for a group of International World Changers who will be coming to serve with us later this year.  Please pray for wisdom and direction in the planning process, as well as for safety in traveling for everyone attending the meeting.

Holly and A.P. are getting to join in with some of the ministry and outreach with a volunteer team from Biola University who are here working with Russ and Trudy Chun of Good Sports International.  Please be praying for them, too.  Thanks!

I'd better get off the computer and get some sleep--morning's coming soon.  Good night!