Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Day in Újléta

We were very blessed to spend some time Christmas day with our brothers and sisters in Christ at the small Baptist church in Újléta, which is a little less than an hour's drive from Debrecen.  Our good friend and ministry partner Eduárd Nitkovszki leads the service there about once a month, and he invited Gary to bring the message on Christmas.  The Lord knew what was needed and exactly when--as it turned out, Eduárd was getting sick and could barely speak, let alone preach!

Gary spoke on "Who is Jesus," an in-depth look at who Christ is; he ended with the question, "Who is Jesus to you?"  It was an encouraging and yet challenging time of self-examination, as well as a wonderful celebration of God's great gift of His Son, our Savior.

We were missing our family in the U.S. on Christmas, so it was a special blessing to be among the precious people in Újléta in such a loving, family atmosphere.  We both left feeling that they had blessed us much more than we had them!

Pray for the church in  Újléta, that they would be strengthened and encouraged, and that they would continue sharing the love of Christ with those in their community.

Gary preaching in Újléta
Gary preaching Christmas Day at the Baptist church in Újléta

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ordination in Püspökladány

Praise the Lord for the opportunity we had Saturday, December 10, to attend the ordination service of our friend and national partner János Kiss into pastoral ministry. He and his wife Rozi have been faithfully serving in Püspökladány for many years now, and it was a joy and privilege to get to be there as he was officially ordained as pastor of the church.

Pray for János, Rozi, and the Püspökladány Baptist church as they continue to minister in their community.  

"Praying for Püspökladány" video on Vimeo.

János and Rozi (left) listen az Pastor Csaba of Hajdúszoboszló speaks

Reunion of old friends--Carolyn, Ani, Gary, and János

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Interest in gardening program encouraging

Praise the Lord for what He did through Dr. Curtis Smith this last week!  The concept of outreach using gardening is really catching on, and it looks like there are lots of open doors of opportunity. Thank you so much for your prayers for Curtis and those he spoke with while here in eastern Hungary.  Pray for the follow-up and implementation of new ministries.

Dr. Smith & translator Eduárd Nitkovszki at Monday evening presentation

Monday, December 5, 2016

Gardening for the Gospel

Please be in prayer for New Mexico volunteer Dr. Curtis Smith as he ministers here in Hungary this week, using his background as Agricultural Science professor, county extension  worker, gardening columnist and TV series host.  Tonight he will be  doing a presentation to area church leaders on how to use a Master Gardener program in outreach for Gospel connections.

While in the Debrecen area he will be doing several presentations to various groups, doing site visits in Roma villages, and spending time with interested individuals.

Pray that God will provide open doors for many spiritual conversations; also that believers will catch the vision of how to use agriculture and gardening not only for feeding the physically hungry, but also for providing spiritual food to those who need to know the Lord.

Curtis and Gary preparing for tonight's presentation

Friday, December 2, 2016

Lottie Moon Week of Prayer

Please join us in lifting up the nations during the 2016 Lottie Moon week of prayer, starting this Sunday, Dec 4.  Links to fascinating real-life missionary stories, photos, and videos can be found on the IMB website at https://www.imb.org/lottie-moon-christmas-offering-week-prayer/.

Thank you for praying with us!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Light in the darkness

Photo of candle and Christmas Joy display
Last night there was an electrical problem on our block, and the power went out in half of our house...later it was out for quite a while in ALL the house...then back on in the other half.  This kind of thing went on for much of the evening, making a Skype meeting and VOIP phone calls quite a bit shorter than planned.

It's so easy to feel dependent on luxuries such as electricity, but darkness and lack of Internet can make us slow down a bit and look at things differently.  Candles and our mini oil lamp gave a pleasant glow and a feeling of fun and nostalgia to our home. It's amazing how even a little light can dispel the darkness!

And yes, the power company guys did come and get our power back on in time for us to turn out the lights and go to bed.  :-)

Pray that we will shine His light in dark places.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving blessings

It was a joy to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Budapest team - we are blessed to have such wonderful people to serve with.  We always come away filled with encouragement (and in this case, with some really tasty food, too!)

Praise the Lord for how He meets our every need and beyond, and for the family He gives us when we are missing those back home in the U.S.  Pray that we will always keep a thankful heart no matter what circumstances arise.  It gives glory to God, keeps us from becoming discouraged, and is a witness to the people around us that the joy of the Lord is not dependent on the crazy ups and downs of life.

Photo of Team Budapest with support personnel
Team Budapest with support personnel

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Snow flurry sighting

As I left the grocery store this morning I was excited to see the first snow of the season--it was only a flurry, but a thrill nonetheless!  I know a month or so from now it won't sound as fun, but today when I saw the swirling white flakes I felt like a little kid again.  I love to see the changing of the seasons, and this one reminds me that Christmas isn't far away!

What a blessing it is to see the wonders of nature and think how the Creator God became man, came down to us and brought the greatest gift of love ever given.   

Pray that our friends here in Hungary will look beyond the wonders of creation to the Creator who loves them and has provided the way to forgiveness and new life in Christ.

Neighborhood view with snow flurries
Click photo for enlarged version

A view of our neighborhood from the balcony.  The camera didn't pick up the snow flurries very well, but if you look closely you can see white spots  in the photo and a slight bit of accumulation on the roof of the house to the left. More will come, I'm sure! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Namesake restaurant

Last Sunday when we were in Tiszafüred we went back to the Molnár Vendéglő, our favorite restaurant in the town.  Interestingly, the Hungarian word "molnár" means "miller," so we've felt a special affinity for the place from the very beginning.

In past years when we were going every week to serve at the church plant we would always stop there to eat.  Besides enjoying some very fine traditional Hungarian food, we became good friends with the owners and waitresses, and a lot of great conversations and sharing took place.

It was wonderful on Sunday to renew our acquaintance with the Molnár friends!  Please pray for these hard-working people and their families;  ask that Gospel seeds sown over the years will bear fruit in their lives.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Tiszafüred Day of Thanks

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays in the U.S.--coming together to remember the blessings of the year, praising God for who He is and all He's been doing in our lives.  Hungary doesn't have this national holiday as we do in America, but in many of the churches a day in the fall is set aside for giving thanks.  The church plant in Tiszafüred invited us to come back and visit for this special celebration on October 30, and we loved the opportunity to join them.  Along with the church plant friends, we also enjoyed getting to spend time with brothers and sisters in Christ from other churches in the Karcag church circle from surrounding towns.

Carolyn with two dear church plant friends, Jutka and Zsuzsa

Gary and Carolyn with Pastor Csaba and his wife Andrea

Church circle friends celebrate with the Tiszafüred church plant (photo by Sándorné Bögös)
Praise the Lord for the Scripture and testimonies that were shared, and for the encouraging fellowship that took place!  Pray with us that the Gospel seeds will take root and produce fruit in the lives of those present who haven't yet come to Christ, and that those who do know Him will soon follow in baptism.  Ask for God to give strength and wisdom to Sanyi, who comes each week to lead the church plant, and for Csaba, the area pastor.  Gary and I are praying and discussing with them how we may be able to provide encouragement and training to help initiate growth in the group.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

60-year anniversary of the 1956 Revolution

In Hungary October 23 is always a day of solemn remembrance, a day of looking back on the 1956 Revolution against Soviet-imposed rule.  This year marks 60 years since the traumatic events.  Great hope had swept across the country, dreams of a new way of life; but the popular uprising was brutally crushed after only thirteen days.  As Hungarians gather to remember their heroes, martyrs, freedom, and freedom lost, pray their eyes will be opened to Christ’s sacrifice for them, and that they will come to know the freedom that can never be taken away.

Here's an interesting account of one who lived through that time: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/23/europe/hungarian-revolution-escape/

Monday, October 17, 2016

Meeting with partnering ministry organizations

We had the pleasure of hosting a meeting with some partnering ministries recently in our home, where ideas for future work were discussed (along with a little clowning around).  Pray for wisdom in how we can best partner in the work, and for these friends as they continue to reach out to a world that needs the Good News.

(Left to right) Péter Miklósváry, Head of Grain Game Hungary; Chip Riley, The Grain Game founder; Valentin Nehro, head of Association of Hungarian Baptists in Ukraine, and his son.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New stage of ministry

Thank you to all of our friends who have been praying for us over the last months even though we haven't been staying in touch very well (sorry!)  We have been going through some difficult things in life.  Praise the Lord for His mercy and faithfulness no matter what life brings!

We are back in Debrecen, working on refreshing our language skills and doing a big reassessment of demographics and ministry--where are people in Hungary now spiritually, where is outreach now being done by others, where are the places most needing ministry started, etc.  All of this information is useful in prayerful consideration of where and how to focus time and resources of the IMB Eastern Hungary and Budapest teams over the coming years.

We have been meeting with a lot of national partners, leaders of other organizations, and individuals that we have worked with in the past.  Please pray for us as we learn and as we make plans for strategic ministry.  We want to clearly hear the Lord's voice and follow His leading in everything, so that we will walk on His path, not our own.

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

Gary in after-dinner discussion about ministry with a Hungarian believer.  
Pray for "Z" as he learns more about effective outreach and church planting.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Month of prayer - Day 24, denominational leaders

Today our prayer request is for denominational leaders as they guide the churches' missions and outreach. Pray for wisdom and strength for them as they move boldly forward in training, encouraging, and setting a strong biblical example of evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.

As you pray, lift up in particular the President of the Hungarian Baptist Union, János Papp [Yaː'-nōsh Pŏp]; the General Secretary, Kornél Mészáros [kor'-neːl meː'-saː-rōsh]; and the Director of Missions, István Durkó [ēsht'-vŏn dur'-kō].  

European Baptist Federation photo taken at the Baptist Union of Hungary's Annual General Meeting in Budapest on April 23rd, 2016:  http://www.ebf.org/hungarian-baptists-re-elect-their-president-and-general-secretary

More photos of the meeting on the Hungarian Baptist Union's website: http://www.baptist.hu/mbe-valaszto-kozgyulese-ujpesten/

Friday, May 13, 2016

Month of prayer - Day 13, leaders of counties and towns

We praise the Lord for those joining us in intercession for Hungary--eastern Hungary in particular--during this month of prayer.  The Lord is moving and stirring up things, changing hearts and drawing many people to Himself!  

As I read my email this morning I was encouraged by a newsletter from our friend Chip Riley of partnering organization The Grain Game.  He has a heart for the world and a special love for Hungary, which loves him in return!  In support of the month of prayer, he posted a short video of scenes from a very special little town in eastern Hungary called Karcag [KAHR-tsahg].  It contains scenes which look very much like many communities around our area, so if you haven't been to Hungary it's a great way to catch a glimpse of the region.  As you pray for the leaders of counties and towns across eastern Hungary today, add focus to your prayers by viewing Chip's video on YouTube, or any of the 14 videos we have posted on the  "Hope for Eastern Hungary" Vimeo channel.

And for other Grain Game glimpses of Hungarian towns:  Nádudvar [NAHD-ood-vahr], Nagybaracska [NAHJ-bahr-ahch-kah], Debrecen  [DEH-breh-tsehn], and Tócóskert [TOHTS-ohsh-kehrt] (a district in Debrecen).  (A big "thank you" to Chip and the Grain Game team!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Month of prayer - thoughts on day 3

Hajdúszoboszló Bible distribution/blood pressure booth, 2008
Today is day 3 of the month of prayer for eastern Hungary.  This morning as I was reading the prayer request and praying, asking God to "stir people's hearts to read and obey the Scriptures," pictures began to flood my memory.  I began to see face after face of people from over the past years...people who picked up a Bible at one of our Bible booths, received one as a special holiday momento at the coffeehouse ministry, or as a personal gift after a conversation about the Lord.

Praise the Lord, thousands of Bibles have been distributed, and we know that they are in homes all over eastern Hungary; some may have now been carried far beyond our area, even to other countries. We know that God's Word is powerful and active (Hebrews 4:12) and it will not return to Him void, but will accomplish what He desires (Isaiah 55:11).  Pray together with me for each of those who now has one of those Bibles in their home, that they will be irresistibly drawn to read it.  Pray that hearts will be softened and lives changed as God's Word draws them to Him in repentance, obedience and love. 


Friday, April 29, 2016

May month of prayer coming soon

The 14th annual "31 Days of Prayer for Eastern Hungary" begins in just a few days!

Join us throughout the month of May in targeted, strategic prayer for the people of eastern Hungary. The prayer calendar is available as a PDF download. Feel free to copy and share it or use it as a bulletin insert.

Thank you for praying with us.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Websites are back up

Praise the Lord, both www.heartforhungary.com and www.hope4ehu.com are back up and running!  It feels good to know that people can find our information and photos again.   We sure do appreciate your prayers.   :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Our team websites are down

Hello, everyone.  This morning I noticed that both www.heartforhungary.com and www.hope4ehu.com are down - sorry about that!  They are on the same server, so apparently there's an issue with that. I haven't heard back from our technical contact for the sites yet, so I don't know how long we'll be down.

The IMB Western Hungary site is still available at http://www.Hope4Hungary.com.

If you would like to get ahold of any of us on the IMB Hungary teams but can't because the sites are down, please use this blog's contact form and I'll forward the message on to the proper person.

Please pray we can get the technical problems solved soon!  Thanks.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Long-overdue post

Hello, praying friends.

Just want to let you know in case you hadn't heard, Gary's mother did go home to be with the Lord on Dec. 23.  So much has been happening since then that unfortunately we have not been keeping up with the blog and newsletters.  We hope to get back in communication very soon.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support!