Sunday, December 11, 2011

Busy times...Gary preaching today

We're in the midst of very busy times here as we prepare for our 5-month Stateside Assignment..I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep up with updating you all very well.  I do have pictures and more prayer requests that I'll post when I can.  Right now we are getting ready to leave for Kaba, where Gary will be preaching at an event at the small Baptist church.  Please pray that the Lord will speak through him in spite of his exhaustion, and that He will give Gary the ability to communicate clearly what's on his heart (never easy to do in Hungarian even when well-rested and perky!)

Thanks for praying for us, and also a big thank you to those of you who give through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which makes it possible for us to remain here and do the work that we do.  You all are a blessing, and we appreciate you!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The ministry continues!

  Thank you for praying for the clothing distribution in Tiszafüred - it was great!  The church plant group came and worked, Pastor Csaba and Sanyi (another friend from an area church) came and helped, and others donated additional clothing.  The response was quite good, and it was a blessing to see people finding things that they needed.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped, donated items, or prayed.  Most of all, praise the Lord for how He worked to provide the opportunity to meet needs and nurture relationships. Here are some pictures of the event:

 There was lots of help from the church plant folks.....people were happy to find needed items

We had a table of Bibles & Christian literature............Sanyi giving a Bible after a great conversation

EXCITING NEWS - After the event, the people from the church plant continued to see so much need and interest that they decided to organize another clothing distribution to make the left-over items available to more people--this follow-up distribution will be Saturday, November 19.  We're so happy that they are taking the initiative to continue this ministry!  Gary and I are available that day and will also be going to help, but we know that they would have it even if we weren't able to be there!

With cold weather settling in, families are in need of warm clothing - coats, boots, shoes, etc. - for both children and adults.  Please pray that the Lord will supply what is needed before Saturday, so that when these families come to the distribution they will be able to find what they need to stay warm.  Continue to pray for spiritual impact in addition to the material assistance that is given.

Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Not the normal birthday

This Saturday is Gary's birthday, and we have a special day planned!  It's not going to be centered around cake and candles, however--that's coming at another time--instead we'll be spending a good part of the day at the church plant in Tiszafüred for a community outreach.  Friends and co-workers have donated good used clothing and household items, which we'll be distributing to those who need them.  We had originally planned to give it all away for free, but Pastor Csaba and others advised us to sell the items at a very low token price to make sure that people aren't just grabbing a lot of  things because they are free.  That happened at a previous event in the area, and some people took a lot of clothing and then dropped some of it out in the street.  If someone comes Saturday and doesn't have the money for something they really need, we will gladly give them the items, though. 

We have encouraged the members of the church plant group to consider needy people that they know as they have been sorting through the donations we have delivered to Tiszafüred over the past week or so, and we told them that before the "sale day" they are free to go ahead and donate items to those that need particular things.  Our friends there have been very happy to do that, and it's been wonderful to see their excitement about making a difference in lives.  Just one example: a gentleman who is going through a very hard time in life was very happy to receive a good supply of warm socks last week, which will make a real difference for him as temperatures continue to drop.  What a joy it is to us to see members of our little group, who are themselves just beginning to learn what it means to follow Christ, already reaching out in love to those around them!

As we meet and talk with the people who drop by this Saturday, we will also be giving away New Testaments and children's Bibles to those who are interested, as well as inviting everyone to the weekly Bible studies and the monthly "first Sunday" worship services.  Please pray with us for a Kingdom impact at this Saturday's event, that both the physical and spiritual needs of the people will be met.  To God be the glory!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Please pray re: court date on the 20th

This is another update to the Friday, Oct. 7 post, when we asked you all to pray about a really tough conversation we were going to have with a former member of our church-plant group.  The whole thing is quite bad, even more complicated than we had realized, and because of some things that have happened the two main players in the situation have been told to appear in court this Thursday, Oct. 20.  Please be praying that the judge will have great wisdom, that the truth will be brought to light, and that God will use whatever happens to give Himself glory. 

Thank you!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sunday October 16 is Day of Prayer for European Peoples

Join us Sunday, October 16 in praying for the people groups in Europe.  From the website:

"October 16, 2011 has been designated a Day of Prayer for European Peoples. Please download the 2011 Prayer Guide that that highlights what God is doing in the European affinity and enlist your church to pray consistently and effectively for the lost of Europe. Join others around the world on October 16 and petition the Father to remove the spiritual blindness pervading Europe and bring many to faith...."  [more information is at]

Monday, October 10, 2011

First Thanksgiving at the church plant

In Hungarian culture there's no tradition of a nationwide Thanksgiving Day like we have in America, but the churches do have their own version of Thanksgiving.  The way it's celebrated and the date varies from church to church, but on the designated day they bring things that represent God's goodness and provision...often fruits, vegetables, a loaf of bread, a bottle of water...and place them on the table at the front.  Sermons and songs of thanksgiving are shared, then afterward there is usually a fellowship dinner or refreshments.

On Sunday, October 2, the Tiszafured church plant had its first Thanksgiving service, and friends from some of the area Baptist churches came to celebrate it with us.  What a blessing to see another "first" in the life of the developing church there!  As we worshiped together and thanked the Lord for His blessings, high on my "thankfulness" list was this small group of people; what a privilege it is to be able to be here, to see God working in lives and changing hearts...mine included.

Church plant group on Sept. 30, 2011                         Group photo after the Thanksgiving service

Friday, October 7, 2011

Difficult conversation today - UPDATED

First an update on Gary's trip to Romania and the meetings that we asked you to pray about.  The Angel Wings meeting went well, PTL.  Gary will be helping with the foundation strategy and planning more, as well as mentoring future leaders for the work there.  Six of the young people from that area will be using their energy and talents to make for smoother and more effective ministry and for a stronger evangelistic emphasis.  All of this will take a lot of the burden off of Pastor Edmond, as the president of the foundation, allowing for growth in the foundation and its programs.

The meetings that Gary had hoped to have with representatives of the Convention of the Hungarian Baptist Churches of Romania didn't happen on this trip, but hopefully he can get together with them before too long.

Now for today's main prayer request...this afternoon (10 a.m. CST) Gary and I and Pastor Csaba will be having a difficult but necessary conversation with someone.  A real problem has been going on for a while now with someone who was formerly a very regular member of our church plant in Tiszafured, and we believe the time has come to try to talk it through with the person.  Please pray for wisdom, clear communication, and for emotional, spiritual, and relational healing.  May the Lord's name be glorified in all that is said and done.
UPDATE:  The meeting that we had that afternoon was very difficult, as we had thought it would be.  Nothing seemed to be resolved, but we were able to bring a needed message to that home.  Please continue to pray for the person and the whole difficult situation, and that the Lord will ultimately be glorified in whatever happens. Thank you!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Important meetings in Romania tomorrow

Please pray for Gary as he travels to Timisoara, Romania tomorrow to meet with Pastor Edmond, Angel Wings Foundation president, and others regarding the future direction of the ministry and about possibilities of how the Lord may be leading us to partner more with them in the years to come. For more about the work of the foundation see our August 27 post. This is a pivotal time in the history of the foundation, and Pastor Edmond and all of us appreciate your prayers for direction in how to proceed.

While he's in Romania Gary also hopes to meet with some leaders of the Convention of the Hungarian Baptist Churches of Romania regarding future opportunities for partnership work.

Please pray for Gary's travels and for everyone involved in the meetings. May the Lord be glorified in the discussions and in all the decisions made.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Connections Debrecen starts tonight!

This evening will be the first coffeehouse event of this school year, and we're excited to see that according to the Facebook invitation page MANY people may be coming!  PTL for the opportunity to spend time with young people from Hungary and around the world (there are lots of international students here in the city because of the university.)  A Hungarian friend of ours, "Jimmy," is going to be playing piano for us, which is always a treat & definitely adds to the coffeehouse environment.  We always have free coffee, tea, snacks, and either live music or some kind of game or activity...but the main attraction is the opportunity to hang out, talk, and get to know each other.  Please pray with us that great new friendships will be formed, and that we will be able to share with many about the greatest friend there is.

  Here are some photos from last year: Jimmy playing, & some conversations.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Border crossing went great, PTL!

"Thank you" to all who prayed for Gary and Darrel's border crossing yesterday - it went great! Praise the Lord, they had no problems at the border, and they are both now safely at home again (Gary to Debrecen, Darrel to Budapest.)   The Hathcocks are enjoying having their personal belongings from the trunks brought from the Ukraine, things they hadn't seen for so many months! Please pray for them as they continue to adjust to life in a new country, for their language classes, for the girls in their new school, and for opportunities for each of them to share their faith with those they come into contact with.  We praise God for this family who have come to minister in Hungary with us!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Prayer request re: Ukraine trip

Gary and Darrel are in the Ukraine this weekend to bring back the Hathcock family’s things from their former place of service.  Gary called earlier to say they hadn’t made it through the mountains yet so are going to spend the night and do that part of the driving in the morning. He sent me a text message just now asking for prayer for them at the border crossing tomorrow.  Please pray for grace in the eyes of the officials at the border, and for continued safe travels during the rest of the trip. Thank you!
Image is from

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Feeling thankful

I'm pausing in the middle of a busy day, feeling thankful and praising the Lord. 

Gary made it safely back from Romania after a good week of's so great to have him back, and I know that God will continue to work in the lives of the young people there.  Gary had no problems at the border with all the stuff in the car or with the paperwork issues we were a little concerned about.

Another praise...I got a call to come by Immigration, and we have now picked up our new residence permits.  It feels so good to have this taken care of!  We won't have to deal with that again for three years.

There's always so much to be thankful for.  Sometimes in the midst of the busyness of life it's good to just stop for a few minutes and say, "Thank you, Lord!"  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Please pray as Gary travels and for the camp - UPDATED

 Gary just left for Romania with a carload full of interesting stuff for the Angel Wings aviation camp in Romania this week...a homemade wind tunnel, homemade model of a plane with electronics and moving parts to demonstrate flight principles, other items for demonstrations and lessons (and most likely a toothbrush.)

     Here are some photos from last year's camp so you can get an idea of what it's like:

A teams of campers with the wind tunnel......Gary teaching, with Pastor Edmond translating to Romanian

Staff & campers enjoying good Romanian ultralight getting ready while another comes in to land

   Please pray for safe travel for Gary, that he won't have trouble at the border (his cargo looks very unusual and there is also the possibility of trouble with paperwork), and that the camp will greatly impact the young people for Christ.  Principles of flight will be used to illustrate spiritual truths, the young people will experience a lot of Christian love and bonding through sports, music, and worship times, and they will have the opportunity to fly in an ultralight plane.  For many this will be the first time they have ever flown in any kind of plane!  Please pray for safety in all of the activities.

For more information about the camp and the Angel Wings foundation, find them on Facebook, the foundation
 web site, and their YouTube videos (the newer video or the original that gives more background info.)

Thanks for your prayers!


I got a message from Gary that he made it through the border crossing just fine!  Thanks for praying...please continue to pray for him and the ministry at the camp. May this week be a turning point in many lives.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saying goodbye

     It hasn't been an easy day for us today, as the time finally arrived to take our co-worker Stacia to the airport in Budapest and see her off on her return trip to the States.  It's been a great two years, though, and as her term has now ended we can only praise the Lord for letting her be a part of our team. She's been a blessing in many people's lives - ours included.  We know that she'll continue to stay in touch with good friends she's made here, and will keep on mentoring them and drawing them closer to the Lord.

    Please be in prayer for her over the coming hours, that she and her luggage will all arrive safely, and that her reunion with her family will be a great time for all of them.  As she adjusts back to life in the U.S., please pray that she will find a job to support herself and work on paying off college loans, and that the Lord will guide her as she begins seminary in preparation for future ministry.

   Stacia, thanks for your heart to serve the Lord, and for all that you invested over these last two years. May God richly bless you as you move into this new stage of your life....we'll miss you!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

August 20 - St. Stephen's Day

August 20 is St. Stephen's Day, celebrating the founding of the nation of Hungary over 1000 years ago.  As they consider their history, pray that Hungarians will find a personal relationship with Christ that goes beyond tradition and national heritage.


Here in Debrecen a big part of the celebration is the Flower Carnival, which includes a huge parade drawing participants and spectators from around the world.  Flower covered floats, marching bands, flag teams, baton twirlers, and marchers in traditional dress represent countries such as Italy, Germany and Israel, as well as those above wearing traditional Hungarian clothing.

**The photos shown above were actually taken a previous year--our camera is currently having serious problems which we hope to have repaired soon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Camps going on this week - UPDATED WITH PHOTOS

    We are partnering this week with the Grain Game team to provide camps in Puspokladany and Karcag.  Another team, which is from Weems Creek Church in Annapolis, Maryland, arrives today to partner with Pac Kerti Mission in Debrecen.  Pray for Kingdom impact! 

UPDATE - Pictures from that week

Kids at both Grain Game camp locations, Puspokladany and Karcag, learned truths from the Bible in a fun way...lots of games and object lessons to make the nuggets of truth stick in their memory. 

Photos from the Grain Game camp in Puspokladany - Grain Game staffers are in the blue T-shirts

The Weems Creek volunteer team made a big impact in Debrecen at the Pac Kerti Mission, too.  They made a lot of good relationships among the kids and adults that were there.  At the closing ceremony of the camp the mission had a baptism for three new believers (unrelated to the camp that week), and believers came from the mother church, (Debrecen Baptist) and from other area churches.  A lot of people from the neighborhood also came out of curiosity, and they heard the Gospel shared over and over through music, testimonies and preaching.  It was an awesome day! 

The Weems Creek team with kids from the camp.......Justin, Weems Creek team leader, giving his testimony

Pastor Tibor from Hajduszoboszlo baptizing our new sister...Pastor Lajos (Debrecen Baptist), Pac Kerti Mission pastor Csaba, and Pastor Tibor pose with the baptismal candidates.  Please pray for these new believers as they continue to live out their faith with joy even in difficult times.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

31 Days of Prayer for Eastern Hungary

Join us in May for a month-long prayer emphasis on eastern Hungary.  Download the prayer calendar from our website and pray each day for specific prayer needs and people here in our area.  Thank you for joining us in the work through your intercession!

Meet our new team members: the Hathcock family


Darrel and Kimberly have three daughters:  Arianna (13), Abigail (11), and Sophia (7), and a small black dog, Ella (see below).  Darrel was born in Amory, Mississippi, and is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  Kimberly was born in Big Rapids, Michigan, and is a graduate of Missouri Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  

During seminary, Kimberly and Darrel were parts of separate evangelism ministries in New Orleans’ French Quarter.  That is where they met in March of 2003. This experience continued to remind both Darrel and Kimberly of God’s desire to reach the nations, and on June 4, 1994, the couple married.  Before serving with the IMB, Darrel served as a campus minister with Baptist Student Ministries in Carthage, Texas, and in Springfield, Missouri. 

The Hathcocks have served with the IMB since April 2002, first in the country of Belarus, followed by a second term in the country of Ukraine. During their next term the Hathcocks will join us on the Eastern Hungary team, moving to Hungary in June of 2011.  Following a year of intensive language study in Budapest the family will move to Debrecen, where they will focus on student ministries.  Please pray for the Hathcocks as they continue the process of following Him and seeking His Kingdom.

While the Hathcocks are in the U.S. Ella has been staying with the Millers, helping with computer work and other tasks.  She will be very happy to see her family arrive in Budapest in June!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Urgent prayer requests re: concert tonight - UPDATED

We’re getting ready right now to leave for Nádudvar to set up for Aubree & Seth's (our interns) concert tonight, but we are having technical difficulties with the trailer electrical system, also one problem after another in everything we’re trying to do. Please pray that we can becalm, think clearly, work through things, and get the team and equipment there and back safely.  
Pray that Seth and Aubree will be able to keep their concentration and energy level up, and will communicate the joy of the Lord through both their music and their conversations after the concert.  Most of all, pray that what the Lord wants to accomplish tonight at the concert and afterward will NOT BE HINDERED by the multiple problems that we are having, and that He will receive all the glory! 
UPDATE:  Thank you for your prayers!  The technical difficulties with the trailer were overcome (at least for now--we do have to get repairs made this week) and the concert went very well.  We are so thankful!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Coffeehouse continues

It was a busy Thursday afternoon at the Millers' house....we were getting ready to leave to set up for coffeehouse.  Gary was brewing the coffee and putting it in the pumper jug, and I was wrapping up a couple of trays of muffins that I had baked earlier in the day.  Cappuccino muffins just seemed to belong at a coffeehouse, and they were so yummy (thanks, Jennifer, for sharing the link to the recipe!)

Cappuccino muffins and our coffeehouse cups are ready to go...we rent the room but bring all our own things in bags.  Sometimes we even take our electric piano, which is not an easy thing!

In February we had American line dancing one week.  As always, there was a lot of time to hang out with friends and talk.

Also in February, a Valentine's Day party with cookies to decorate & craft supplies for making Valentines.

Something new that month was our first Art Night, with an exhibit of photos, drawings, paintings, and pottery.  In addition to that, Aubree gave a presentation on a 3-D art project she had done in high school, and we saw a Youtube video on sand art by Joe Castillo

Other popular events we've had recently were a musical evening with Seth and Aubree (February) and an evening of Hungarian folk dancing (March).  The folk dancing was such a hit that we continued it the following week.

Please pray with us that as we have a great time together at the coffeehouse, good relationships will grow and flourish, and that an eternal impact will be made in the lives of these young people from around the globe. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Prayerwalking in Nádudvar

Last week our team did a lot of prayerwalking, using maps to cover every street in Nádudvar.  As we went up and down each street praying we also stuffed flyers into mailboxes, inviting the people to a concert.  The Baptist churches in the Hajdúszoboszló area have formed a musical group for the purpose of outreach, and Saturday, Feb. 19 at 7 pm (12 noon CST) they'll be performing in Nádudvar at the culture house.  Please pray that many people will come and hear the gospel, and that a Bible study group will be formed of those who are interested in learning more.  Pray that the lives of many in this city will be impacted for Christ.  Praise the Lord for the work that Pastor Tibor and the churches of the Hajdúszoboszló area are doing to reach out into new areas.

Gary prayerwalking in Nádudvar.  At times we waded through deep mud to make it to the
houses, but the cold and mess were a small price to pay for the joy of praying on site and
inviting people to the concert.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Partnering for future work

One part of our work is in connecting people and resources to help set up partnerships to further the Gospel.  This picture shows one of the meetings that took place in a coffee shop during our recent trip to Slovakia, where we set up a meeting between our friend Chip, his co-worker Nesha , and Chris, a missionary from the UK who is currently transitioning from Slovakia to Moldova. This conversation may result in a Bible camp for children in Moldova later this year (  Another meeting the same day was to discuss a possible camp for Roma children in Slovakia.  Please pray that these camps, as well as the many others also in the planning stages, will through solid biblical teaching help to raise up a new generation to follow Christ.

From left to right:  Gary, Chris Elston, James "Chip" Riley, Nesha Smelley

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Please pray for Gary as he travels - UPDATED

Gary will be leaving in the morning for a two-week trip around the Balkans with a national pastor and our friend Chip, who is making connections for future camps for kids.  Please pray that they will be able to connect with everyone that they need to, that there will be opportunities to share, and for safety in their travels.  Also please pray for the rest of the team as we stay here in the Debrecen area and continue with the work here. 


UPDATE:  Gary, Chip, and those they were traveling with all made it safely back home after almost 2 weeks of intense travel, on-site prayer, and meetings with people all across the Balkans.  Thank you for your prayers for them; praise the Lord for the contacts that were made and for the future possibilities for ministry that are now being considered.  Please pray for provision for the projects, for wisdom in decision-making, and that the Lord will work in a mighty way through the ministry that will result. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Here are some pictures from the last coffeehouse of 2010, when we had a Christmas celebration.  Along with decorating Christmas cookies and gingerbread men and stringing popcorn for the tree, we sang Silent Night in as many languages as we could.  And as usual, there was plenty of time to chat and share about what's important in life.  We had a great time!

Tonight (Jan. 20) will be the first coffeehouse of the semester following a break for the holidays...please pray that it will continue to be a blessing to many, and that we will have wisdom and good communication in sharing with those who come.

Monday, January 10, 2011

More about Tiszafüred

This last Friday night several people from other churches in the area that Csaba pastors came to worship with us at the church plant (Csaba is the Hungarian pastor who is partnering with us in the work.)  Two Tiszafüred ladies were also there, so along with our own team we had a nice group - it was very encouraging!  Aubree, Seth and I led in some praise songs, then Gary taught from the Scripture.  We were going back to the basics of faith, and talking about what Scripture is and how God uses it in our lives (2 Tim. 3:16).   At the end there was a testimony from one of the visiting ladies about how the Lord was working in a troubled relationship she had been having with a neighbor, and the peace she had found in Christ. 

Praise the Lord with us for the work the Lord is doing in our area, and pray that many in Tiszafüred will come to repentence and new life in Christ.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Church plant in Tiszafüred


This building is the culture house in Tiszafüred [TEE sah few red], where we have been renting a room each Friday evening for the new church plant. It's about an hour's drive from Debrecen. There is no other Baptist church in the city, but Csaba Pesti, the pastor from the town of Karcag, is partnering with us in the work.  At this point only one person is coming regularly besides our team, Pastor Csaba, and some people from his church: the lady's name is Ida, and she is a very special person.  We've had some really good discussions during our Bible teaching times--led alternately by Gary and Pastor Csaba--and she absolutely loves the praise time with Aubree and Seth playing their guitars.  Please pray for this new friend of ours, and also that many others in the town would come join us and open their hearts to the Gospel.  Also pray for wisdom and direction, as Csaba is currently discussing with his church people the possibility of changing the time and place for the work there.