Sunday, July 31, 2011

Counting Down OR How to Save Money as a Parent, Part 3.

Tomorrow morning Balázs leaves to Vajta for 1 month to serve as a volunteer in the Summer of Service program. We are excited for him, and expect that this will be a great experience and that he will grow a lot as he serves the Lord there.

We told Nate today that Balázs will be gone for a month, and he was pretty sad about it, and told Balázs that he should stay home and not go.

So Rosemary made a way for the kids to count down the days until Balázs comes back. She strung together old toilet paper rolls and numbered them and hung them up in Nate's room.

Every day they will take one roll off, until Balázs gets back home.

God bless you, Balázs! Have a good time in Vajta. We'll be counting the days until you return.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cars 2

Nate is a huge fan of the movie Cars. He knows the whole story, all the characters, and has assigned everyone in our house a car name. He, of course, is Lightning Mcqueen, I am Tow Mater, Rosemary is Sally, Balázs is Doc, and Felicia is "Low and slow"

So when when Nate saw the advertisements a few months ago for Cars 2 he was pretty excited.

Over the last few months we've been building up to it - grandma and grandpa have sent a few toys and today he got a special Cars 2 hat from them to wear to watch the movie.

Today was the big day - the opening day in fact, for Cars 2 in Hungary, so we took him to see it. It was his first time at the movie theater, and he had a great time. Nate has been counting down the days since before English camp, and when I went into his room this morning, I asked him: "do you know what day today is?" - to which he said: "it's Cars 2 day!"

We were curious how he would like it, and if he would be scared by the dark room or the loud speakers, so we tried to prepare him for it as best we could. In the end there was no problem at all - in fact, I think we may have just turned him on to a new and expensive interest!
We went with our friend Leo and his son Alex. Balázs also came with a friend, but Felicia stayed home with Kristen, a friend of ours from California who is staying with us for few weeks here in Eger. It was nice of her to watch Felicia so we could both take Nate out for his special day.

Nate got to know some new cars today: Finn, Pacer and others, and Rosemary got a new car name. She is now called Holly Cady (the girlfriend of Tow Mater :-)

Here are some pictures:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Morbid Angol Mondókák, 2. rész - Morbid English Nursery Rhymes, part 2.

Egy pár hónapja írtam egy bejegyzést néhány különösen morbid angol mondókáról, és megtudtam, hogy a magyar mondókák közül is van olyan ami elég bizarr.
Fogalmam sincs miért akarná bárki halálról, pusztulásról, betegségről és szenvedésről szóló gondolatokat ültetni egy kisgyermek eszébe lefekvés előtt, de úgy néz ki, hogy ez világszerte egy elég elterjedt szokás!

A few months ago I wrote this post about some particularly morbid English nursery rhymes, and found out that Hungarian nursery rhymes can also be quite bizarre.
I don't know what it is that would make someone want to put thoughts of death, destruction, sickness and suffering into the mind of a little child right before bed, but it seems to be a fairly common practice worldwide!

Íme, még egy mondóka amit találtam néhány napja a gyerekeim egyik könyvében:
Here is one more such nursery rhyme that I came across the other day in one of my kids' books:

"Goosey, Goosey, Gander
(Libácska, Libácska, Gúnár)
Wither shall I wander? (Merre járjak?)
Upstairs and downstairs, (Fent, lent)
And in my lady's chamber. (És a hölgyem kamrájában)

There I met an old man, (Ott egy öreg emberrel találkoztam)
Who wouldn't say his prayers, (Aki nem akarta elmondani az imákat)
I took him by the left leg, (Megfogtam a bal lábát)
And threw him down the stairs." (És lehajintottam a lépcsőn)

Először is: Ki ez a liba? Valami gengszter Istenért?
Who is this goose? Some kind of thug for God?

És mit mond az ember a gyerekének miután elolvasta neki ezt a verset? "Jól van fiam, most mondjuk egy imát - mit szólsz hozzá?"
What do you say to your kid after you read them that poem? "Alright son, so what do you say we say our prayers now?"

Lehet, hogy ez nem a legjobb módja, hogy az ember arra tanítsa a gyermekét, hogy szeresse az Úr jelenlétét...
Maybe this isn't the most effective way to instill in your child a love for the Lord's presence...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011



Took this, photoshopped it, and uploaded it from my tablet.

Taking it easy this week, decompressing after a very blessed English Camp last week.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

English Camp update

The last few days of camp have been very good. The kids have been having a great time, and we have had many opportunities to share the love of the Lord with them.
We have a book table with free Bibles and other books for free, and everything has been taken. The Gospel has been shared many times and in many ways, and all the kids have heard it. Please pray that they would not just view it as simply information, but as something which can be theirs, and that they too would make the decision to follow Jesus and receive his love and grace for them.
All in all the camp has been really fun. I think it is so cool that we can organize an event that is very fun and also focused on sharing the Gospel.
Tomorrow is the last day of camp, but hopefully it is the beginning of something new in the lives of these kids and in our church.

Please pray for us!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Toy

My parents generously bought me an Android tablet - a Samsung Galaxy 10.1.
The team from Whitefields Community Church in Longmont, CO brought it over for me when they came out to serve at our English Camp, so I've only had it since Saturday, and am still learning the ins and outs of it.
I'm looking forward to seeing how I will be able to use it. I am planning to preach from it - and am looking forward to not having to print anymore, and having all my sermons and messages saved on one portable device. I have also been using the tablet here at camp a lot to look at and update the excel sheets we use for camp and for the church accounting. Whenever someone comes to me with a question I can easily access the information they need.
I've also been reading a lot on it with Kindle - which is awesome on it - as well as using it to blog during the camp.
I expect that my laptop will gather quite a bit of dust in the near future, and that I will mostly use it for writing sermons and papers for school and for uploading photos from my camera. It's hard for me to see tablets totally replacing laptops, although I'm sure that time is coming soon.

I had debated between getting an iPad or the Galaxy tab, as they are the same price, but decided on the Android for the following reasons:
- I have an Android phone, use Google calendar, Gtasks, Picasaweb, Google Docs and have all my contacts synced with Google - and on Android this all synchronizes so well.
- It has a great screen with higher resolution than ipad.
- It runs flash. Using it to browse the web is not like using a big phone, because you can do everything on it that you could do on a laptop.

The only thing that was enticing about the ipad is that there are more apps available. But as the Android market share grows, more and more apps will be made for Android tabs.

Anyway, I like this new toy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

English Camp - Day 2

English Camp is up and running smoothly.

In a way, camp is what you make it - the environment and the opportunity are here; what we do with it and how we use the time is up to us. Please pray for wisdom and guidance in how we use the short time that we have here!

Yesterday I had to discipline some kids who were breaking rules, and since then I have realized that because I am the disciplinary figure at camp, the kids aren't too interested in being my friend :-) When I go up to them and ask them what they are doing, they automatically get defensive and nervous. But that is fine really, because there are 26 other helpers they can get to know and be friends with.

Lisa and Jason gave their testimonies today. The testimony times have been well attended and are a great way for us to share the Lord with the kids, as well as a good starting point from which to start conversations about spiritual things.

For me Wednesday always marks a turning point in the camp, where once we have established relationships, we can take them a bit deeper without it feeling forced or out of place. Please pray that we would be able to do this effectively.

Camping Trip to Slovakia and Poland

Two weeks ago I took a few days off and went up north to the border of Slovakia and Poland with Balázs and Dani for a few days of camping, hiking and sightseeing.

We started out with the idea of wanting to go white water rafting, and after looking into it, we found that the closest options were Bosnia, Slovenia, or Slovakia/Poland. The former two options are about 7 hr drives from us, but SK/PL is about half of that.

Our destination was the Pieniny mountains, a national park which spreads across the border of the two countries. The Dunajec river forms the border for some kilometers, particularly in the Dunajec Gorge, which is the pearl of the whole national park, and is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Dunajec River

There is a long history of rafting in the Dunajec gorge - about 150 years ago rafting trips began on the river for the guests of the Polish spa town of Szczawnica. The traditional rafting is done on wood rafts tied together, and although it is interesting and traditional, the wooden rafts are mostly for seeing the canyon, not for riding the rapids - they try to avoid them as much as possible so as not to damage the boats.

We decided to go with rubber rafts, and tried to hit all the biggest rapids and get as wet as possible. We had a great time, and the scenery was beautiful.

We also climed Trzy Korony, the most famous peak in the region.
Trzy Korony

One of the best things we did was to take mountain bikes with us. There were 3 of us, and we were only able to bring 2 bikes, but that wasn't a problem. There were times when 2 of us would go biking and one of us would stay back - other times we were able to rent a third bike. It definitely made the trip a lot more fun - both in the mountains and in the cities we visiting.

When we weren't climbing mountains we went to the cities of Bardejov, SK (also a UNESCO site) and Zakopane, PL.
World Heritage

Two Castles

All in all it was a great trip. I miss the mountains already, and can't wait for the next time I get to get back up in the hills.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

English Camp - Day 1

The first day of camp is always the most tiring for me, and today was no exception. The great thing about how the camp has grown and evolved over the years is that God has given us great helpers, and I often find that if I step back and don't try to do everything myself, then other people step up and use their giftings, and do a great job.
Today was a good example of this. I love engaging the kids, but with the camp getting bigger, my role has now become more overseeing and behind the scenes. It has been great seeing others grow and "take the ball and run with it".
The helpers we have this year are great and have already started building relationships with the kids and are spending a lot of time with them. Last year we got the idea to have a coffeehouse for the kids, where they can buy soft drinks or hot chocolate and can hang out and listen to music at night before bed. The coffeehouse has been a big hit, and is a great place for us to engage the kids and get to know them. Please pray that these relationships grow and that as we share our lives with these kids, they would feel the love of Christ and we would be able to share the Gospel message with them.

Unfortunately one of our helpers, Phillip, a football coach from Miskolc, had to leave early today because of something to do with his job, so we have one less teacher, but it seems like we are going to be ok.
Geoff and Angela from Syracuse did a great job with the evening program "Minute to Win It". The kids were super into it, even though it was very hot in the big stone building were we have the evening programs.
The teenagers from Colorado have been really good at making friends with the campers. Please pray for them to have boldness and wisdom in sharing their faith with their Hungarian peers.
Please also pray for the testimony times to be powerful and well attended. Dani is taking a greater part in leading the camp with me this year, and is doing a lot of the speaking and announcing. Our hope is that the kids would get to know him and attend youth meetings after camp is over.

William Carrey said: "Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God." We expect great things from God this week.

Jó Reagen Budapesten - Ronald Reagan Statue in Budapest

Csütörtökön Budapesten voltunk, és a Szabadság Téren ráakadtunk a nem-rég felavatott Ronald Reagan szoborra.

On Thursday we were in Budapest, and came across the recently dedicated statue of Ronald Reagan in Szabadság Tér.

Ronald Reagan in Budapest

Jó Reagan

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Save Money as a Parent - Part 2: Use Your Hands

Being a parent is expensive.

As if feeding them and clothing them isn't enough - they want to have fun all the time. No matter where you take them, there are advertisements for films or products that they don't need, but they would enjoy nonetheless. Of course, every parent wants their kid to be happy and enjoy life, but some of us are on a budget!

One method I use to save money: Using my hands.
Here's what I mean:

I have probably saved THOUSANDS of Hungarian Forints using this method (roughly about 10 US Dollars) - but that is $10 more I can spend on sending my kids to college, right?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Anatomy and Huncutság

A conversation with Nate at breakfast this morning:
"Daddy, you're a farmer, and I'm a cow!"
"Oh, ok cow. Can you give me some milk? Do you have milk in your tummy?"
"No. Cows don't have milk in their tummies.
"No? Then where do they keep the milk?"
"Cows keep the milk in their butts!"
"Yea, cows keep the milk in pink butts that are under the cows."

I found it so funny I decided not to correct him :)

Felicia on the other hand is quite the "huncut" (HU for rascal)

She insists on sitting like this at the table when we eat:

She wants to sit on the table with her feet in her chair, and she insists on feeding herself.
Unlike Nate, when he was her age, Felicia is in a hurry to grow up and do everything her big brother does (by this I mean feeding herself and talking - Nate never sat on the table!).

Today Rosemary put Felicia's hair in pig tails for the first time.

The purpose was to get her hair off of her neck, because it has been so hot lately - but she looks very cute with them too :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Surprise Amendment to the Church Law in Hungary

Last night the Hungarian parliament passed the new law regarding churches.

At the last possible moment - at almost midnight - in a move which is seen by most observers as very tricky and shady, the proposed law, which I wrote about previously in this post, which included Calvary Chapel and many other churches, was modified right before it went to vote before the parliamentary assembly.

Whereas the original proposal, which was made public a few weeks ago, listed 3 categories for churches (a., b. and c.), these categories were now removed, and only the following groups were permitted to retain their church status: Roman Catholics, Hungarian Reformed Church, Lutheran Church, 3 Jewish denominations, 4 Orthodox denominations, Unitarian Church, Baptist Church and the Faith Church.

This means that not only Calvary Chapel, but the Methodist Church, Seventh Day Adventists, Evangelical Pentecostals, Islam, Buddhism and many other churches and religions will have to apply to receive recognition as a church, and each will have to be voted upon by the parliament, which must approve it with a 2/3 majority.

In my opinion - and I am not alone in this - this is a major step backwards in regard to religious freedom in Hungary, especially considering the part about the parliamentary representatives needing to approve a church with a 2/3 majority in order for them to be given the title of church.

As I understand it, this will not affect the status of Calvary Chapel in Hungary immediately, and we still don't know the details of exactly how this will affect us.
Most likely, we will apply for continued recognition as a church, and I believe that we will receive it. What is sure is that it will be a difficult road, navigating the political and legal issues involved.

Please join us in praying for Hungary and for the ministry of Calvary Chapel here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Please Pray for Our English Camp

Our church's English Camp begins one week from today, on July 18!

This is our biggest outreach of the year. This will be our 6th camp, and this year will be the biggest one so far.

Here are some stats on this year's camp:
  • 121 campers
  • 75 girls, 46 boys
  • 78 first-time campers, 41 returning campers
  • Average age of campers - 15-16 yrs old
  • 27 teachers and helpers - 17 Americans, 9 Hungarians and 1 Indian
Over the past few years, this camp has always been a very fruitful time.
Please pray that the Lord would prepare the hearts of the campers to receive his love. Please pray the helpers that we would be sensitive to the Spirit and speak about the Lord with conviction and anointing.

Last year we began a youth ministry to follow up with the kids, that was quite strong for a few months. Please pray for this follow up aspect, as the camp is really just the first part of our outreach to the youth of this city.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

From Her Poverty

This past week we received a tragic report from another part of Hungary, that a young family had lost their 2 year old daughter in an accident. To make matters worse, the husband is unemployed and only works occasionally.

This morning I told the church about this family's situation, and asked them to pray for them, and pray about whether or not they would be able to help this family pay for the cost of the funeral, so they wouldn't have that as an extra burden during this incredibly difficult time.

A few people came up to me after church to offer money, but the most moving was that the one woman in the church whose family is in the most difficult situation financially came and gave me some money to send to this family.
It wasn't the biggest donation that was given, but it was especially moving, because I know that she couldn't afford it - she just did it as an act of generosity and compassion.

It reminded me of the story of the poor widow from Luke 21 -
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4 ESV)

What an example that woman is for the rest of us.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Toy Doctor - One of Dad's Many Roles

As a dad, there are many hats that you wear and many roles that you play.
You are counselor, instructor, handy-man - in Christian families, hopefully dad fills the role of spiritual leader as well.

Another role I find myself playing quite a bit is that of 'toy doctor'.

Today, two of Nate's favorite toys broke - the ninja sword I just brought him back from Poland was broken in the heat of combat, during a sword fight with Balázs, and the leg of Woody the Cowboy was tragically severed in the middle of an obstacle course.

I got out the super glue and attempted to repair the broken sword and reattach the severed limb.

The reattachment of Woody's leg seemed to be successful, although all movement in it was lost - but after a few minutes of play it broke off once again.
At this point I told Nate that I was sorry, but now Woody's leg was gone forever, and there was nothing more I could do. When Nate heard this, he put his head in my lap and started to cry and asked if we could go to the store and buy a new leg - which I told him was unfortunately not an option.

As he cried, I realized that he was not only sad that his toy was broken, but it was as if he was actually mourning the loss of a friend - something that he had played with and was attached to.
So, I got out the tools, and figured out a way to reattach Woody's leg with a screw. He hasn't regained all of the movement in his leg - but the operation was a success.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Thoughts on Poverty, Injustice and Generosity

A few years back, someone from church came and asked me how it could be that God allows famine in Africa.

According to the Bible, there are 2 reasons for poverty: 1) Laziness and 2) Oppression and Injustice.

The Bible talks about this:
A poor person's farm may produce much food,
but injustice sweeps it all away. (Prov. 13:23)

Why is there famine in Africa?
Obviously it is not because there is not enough food in the world to feed the entire population of the world - it it because the food of the world is disproportionately distributed. The wealthy countries of the world consume much more than the poorer countries of the world.
And much more food could be produced than is being produced. Much of the farmland in Hungary and Ukraine, for example, is not used to its potential.

So, the short answer to the question - Why is there famine in Africa? Corruption. Injustice. Sin. Because being ethical is often not financially advantageous.

I just finished writing an essay for my theology studies on the contribution of the book of Jeremiah to the issues of social justice - and one thing I found when studying Jeremiah was this: Jeremiah's main claims in the book regarding social justice are 1) that kings and governments have a responsibility to provide care and justice for the poor, but 2) the responsibility to care for the poor does not rest on the government alone, but it is God's expectation that all people be involved in the cause of justice for the most vulnerable members of society.

The basic ethical demand of the Bible is to imitate God (Lev 11:44); as God sums up goodness in his own person, man’s supreme ideal is to imitate Him. Words like ‘hesed’ (steadfast love), ‘munah’ (faithfulness), 'mishpat' (justice) and 'sadaca' (righteousness) are used to describe both God’s character and his moral requirements of human beings.

The "quartet of the vulnerable" in the Bible are: Widows, Orphans, the poor, and Immigrants.

Here is a thought provoking quote from Daniel Estes:
God puts needy people on our path so that we can help to meet their needs, and so that they can be the means by which we can learn to be sensitive and compassionate. When we refuse to look at them, we become blind; when we refuse to listen to them, we become deaf; when we refuse to feel for them, we become cold and hard.
Estes, Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms p.240-241

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for his Maker. (Prov. 14:31a)

That makes me ask the question - what does it mean to oppress the poor? Other than politicians and rich people who take advantage of the poor, where does oppression of the poor end? Does it include supporting industries that oppress the poor? Is that passive oppression?

What can I do to "do justice" and care for the vulnerable?

The righteous know the just cause of the poor,
but the wicked do not understand knowledge. (Prov. 29:7)

Generosity in the Bible is a practice that imitates God's pattern of giving to address the needs of others.
Estes, Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms p.243

These are things I am thinking about lately.
I don't have all the answers yet, but I believe I am asking the right questions.