Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Szalapart School and Other Open Doors

And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)

Yesterday I had an appointment with the director of the school where we started doing religious ed classes last school year. They were very excited that we were still interested in coming and hadn't been turned off by the poor behavior of the gypsy children. The director asked if we would expand the ministry to two groups - one for little kids and another for older ones who will live in the school's dormitory which they just finished building. We will also start doing social programs in the school on some Saturdays for the poor gypsy population - mostly giving away donated items, like clothes and things for the household, and organizing events for children. We hope that in these ways we will be able to bless them, build relationships with them and share the Gospel.

In other news, the Bible study we started two weeks ago in Heves is doing well. We have a core group already developing. The first time out we had about 20 people show up - last week 12, and we will see how many come out tomorrow. They core group has asked me to come out to their neighborhood and meet some of their friends who are interested in the Lord, but are too shy to come out to the Bible studies. We are planning to do that next Saturday.

The thing that strikes me is how many opportunities there are in our city and region for effective and fruitful ministry - but truly the laborers are few.
I am quite glad to see that our church is an active church that really sees their city and region as their mission field. But we there are only so many of us, and we are all busy with life - work, school, family, church - including myself.

So I am praying that God will send more workers into this ripe harvest field. Please join me on doing so!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Trip to Serbia

This past weekend we filled up all 7 seats of the Dacia, and drove to Subotica, Serbia.
Our purpose in going was to take some people from our church to see the work that God has done through the Calvary Chapel there - which was the first one in Central/Eastern Europe.

On Saturday we hung out in the city, ate some great čevapi and hung out with friends from the church.
Nate and Felicia like traveling and found plenty of places to play and run around.
(pictures by Kovács Kati)

Because the Subotica church service is on Sunday evenings, Sunday morning we went down to Bačka Topola for church, and I had the privilege of preaching the sermon.

After church we went to a lake outside of town, where we drank coffee and the kids got to play at a playground.
Later in the afternoon we went back to Subo for lunch, and we hung out in the church coffee shop until service started.

Church in Subotica:

On Monday morning we headed back home to Eger, but we did some shopping first. We found this juice, which I think God ordained for our family:

I think we need to find a way to get this stuff by the trucklload!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Border Crossing with Kids - Határátkelés...Gyerekekkel

This past weekend when we went to Serbia we had a little problem at the border, and I'm writing this in the hope that it will help someone to avoid the problem that we had.

Múlt hétvége amikor elmentünk Szerbiába, volt egy kisebb problémánk a határnál, és ezt azért írom, hogy segítsek másoknak elkerülni egy kellemetlen helyzetet.

I'm pretty sure that changing laws is the main hobby of all politicians.

Úgy tűnik, hogy megváltoztatni a törvényeket minden politikus fő hobbija.

When I first moved to Hungary in January 2002, I was told not to bother getting a visa for Hungary in the US, but to just go to Hungary and then get my Hungarian visa in one of the consulates in a neighboring country like Slovakia or Romania. When I arrived in Hungary I found out that the law had been changed on 1 January, and now you could only get a Hungarian visa in your country of origin. I didn't have the money to get a ticket back to the US, so I stayed as a "tourist" for 8 months by "border hopping".
By August 2002, the law had been changed again and had reverted back to the old way - so I was able to get my visa in Slovakia.

Amikor ide költöztem Magyarországra 2002 januárjában, azt mondták nekem az USÁban, hogy nem kell magyar vízumot intézni Amerikában mielőtt megyek - hanem csak menjek el Magyarországra, és majd valamelyik szomszéd országban intézzem el a vízumot egy konzulátusnál, pl Romániában vagy Szlovákiában. Amikor megérkeztem, megtudtam, hogy 2002.január 1-jén megváltozott a törvény, és a magyar vízumot csak abban az országban lehetett igényelni ahonnan származott az illető. Mivel nem volt pénzem visszamenni Amerikába, itt maradtam "turista"-ként 8 hónapig, úgy, hogy néha átmentem Romániába egy egy pecsétért.
2002 augusztusában megint megváltoztatták a törvényt és visszaállt a régi rendszerre - így Szlovákiában tudtam elintézni a vízumomat.

So, here is what happened this weekend:
Rosemary and the little ones are dual citizens, but we never bothered to get Hungarian passports for the kids - we always just used their US passports whenever we traveled, and had no problems. This time when we were leaving Hungary, the border guard told us that we have to prove that our are Hungarian citizens, because otherwise it seems that they have been living in Hungary illegally without visas.
In the past it had been enough to show their Hungarian address cards, but this time they said it was not enough. We would have been able to prove that easily by showing their birth certificates, but those were back in Eger - 320 km away.

Szóval, ez az ami most történt a hétvégén:
Rosemary és a kicsik mind kettős állampolgárok, viszont soha nem igényeltünk magyar útleveleket a kicsiknek - mindig csak az amerikai útleveleit használtunk amikor utaztunk valahová, és soha nem volt ebből probléma. Most, ahogy elhagytuk Magyarországot, a határőr azt mondta nekünk, hogy be kell bizonyítanunk a gyerekek magyar állampolgárságukat, mert különben úgy tűnik mint ha illegálisan tartozkodnak Magyarországon vízum nélkül. Eddig elég volt megmutatni a magyar lakcímkártyait, de most azt mondták, hogy ez már nem elég. Simán be tudtunk volna bizonyítani az állampolgárságukat a születési anyakönyvi kivonataival, de azok otthon voltak Egerben - 320 km-re tőlünk.

In the end, the border guards were very understanding, and after making some phone calls were able to let us through by leaving a note at the border that we should be allowed through, as it was clear that the kids were ours and Rosemary was able to verify her Hungarian citizenship.

Végül nagyon rendesek és megértőek voltak a határőrök, és egy kis telefonálgatás után átengedtek bennünket, mert nyilvánvaló volt hogy a gyerekek a miénk és Rosemary be tudta bizonyítani a magyar állampolgárságát.

The point is this: if you have kids who are dual citizens, you need to get them a passport or a photo ID card. It used to be that they only issued these ID cards to people over 14, but now the law has changed and they can be issued to newborn babies as well.

A lényeg az, hogyha kettős állampolgárok a gyerekek, igényelni kell nekik vagy egy útlevelet vagy egy fényképes személy igazolványt. Régebben csak 14 évesen lehetett kapni személy igazolványt, de most már az újszülött babáknak is lehet kérni.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bomba Jó - Bomb in Eger

Today while doing a construction project on a garage in Eger, they found a 250 kg bomb from World War 2.
The bomb was apparently dropped by an airplane but never detonated. It must have been covered up by dirt and was undetected for years, during which time someone built a garage over where the live bomb rested and parked a car on top of it every day for the past 66 years.

Here are some pictures of the bomb:

And here is a map of where they found it on Fazola Henrik utca:

View Larger Map

Because of the bomb, they evacuated the entire downtown.
Happens to be that our church is downtown, and was included in the evacuation zone. We have Bible study on Wednesday nights, and what's more is that tonight we had one of our "Vision Meetings" scheduled, in which we talk about the vision of the church and discuss the church's various ministries.

Because the church was inside the evacuation zone, those of us who came to church found each other, and after waiting for a while for them to let us back into the city center, we decided to go to our house and have the Bible study in our garden. Turned out that our neighbor was entertaining guests in the garden, so we tried the basketball court at the end of our street - which also turned out to be full.
When we got to the basketball court, I realized that we were right across the street from the house of a family from our church, so I went over and asked if we could meet in their garden. They are wonderfully hospitable people, and they let us come and have our meeting in their yard.

In the end, it turned out to be much nicer than sitting cramped inside the four walls of the church building.
Here's a picture of our Wednesday night group in Kati néni's garden:

Life in Eger is never dull!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to Normal

Our summers are always one of the busiest times of the year for us, filled with outreaches, conferences, guests and traveling.

But today, as summer is coming to a close, life is getting back to normal.

Balázs came back home today from Summer of Service in Vajta. He had a great time and made good friends. He was telling me today about how they would pray together and encourage each other - that is exactly the kind of experience we had hoped he would have. He is home a week earlier than originally planned, but it is better this way, because he can get ready for the start of school at the beginning of September.

Nate went back to óvoda today. He seemed a bit nervous at first about going back, but was excited to play with the new toys. When I took him to the courtyard where the kids were playing, he at first just looked around and didn't want me to leave, but after a minute some kids called him over to play with them and he went off running around with them laughing and smiling.

After being away from home, Felicia was excited to sleep in her own bed again :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

20 Éves a Golgota - Golgota is 20 Years Old

Kevesebb mint egy hónap múlva, szeptember 4-én, ünnepelni fogjuk azt, hogy a Golgota Keresztény Gyülekezet már 20 éve működik Magyarországon. Egy nagy közös ünnepi Istentisztelettel fogjuk megünnepelni az évfordulót Budapesten, a Városmajor Szabadtéri Színpadon.
Vissza fogunk tekinteni és megemlékezni mind arra amit Isten elvégzett a Golgota gyüelekezeteken keresztül az elmúlt 20 évben, és előre tekinteni mind arra amit Ő még szeretne elvégezni rajtunk keresztül az elkövetkezendő években.

Íme az évforduló weboldala: http://20eves.golgota.hu/

In less than a month from now, on September 4th, Calvary Chapel will be celebrating 20 years of work in Hungary with a big anniversary celebration in Budapest at the Városmajor Szabadtéri Színpad
We will be looking back and remembering all that God has done through Gologta in the past 20 years in Hungary, and looking forward to all that he desires to do through us in the years to come.
Here is the website for the anniversary - check it out: http://20eves.golgota.hu/

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Ministry - Új Szolgálat: Heves

For some years now we have prayed about starting a new fellowship in the town of Heves, about 45 km south of Eger. We have had quite a few people in our church from Heves and the surrounding region, and we feel that now is the time to take a step of faith and see if the Lord blesses it.

Néhány éve már keresük az Urat abban, hogy indítsunk-e egy új közösséget Hevesen. Jó néhány ember járt már hozzánk gyülekezetbe Heves környékéről, és úgy érezzük, hogy itt az idő, hogy kilépjünk hitben és meglássuk, hogy áldja meg az Úr.

Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.”
And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.”

(1 Samuel 14:6-7 ESV)
Jónátán tehát ezt mondta fegyverhordozó legényének: Gyere, menjünk át ezeknek a körülmetéletleneknek az előőrséhez! Hátha tesz valamit értünk az ÚR, mert az ÚR előtt nincs akadály: akár sok, akár kevés ember által szerezhet szabadulást. Fegyverhordozója így felelt neki: Tégy mindent úgy, ahogyan gondolod. Láss hozzá, én veled leszek, bármit tervezel!
(1.Sámuel 14:6-7)

I love church planting and being part of new things that the Lord is doing and reaching new people.
Please pray for this endeavor, that God would be glorified in it and that it would be a blessing to the people who live in and around Heves.

Szeretek új munkákban részt venni és új gyülekezeteket plántálni, hogy még több embert tudjunk elérni az Úrért

Kérlek, imádkozzatok ezért az új kezdeményezésért, hogy Isten dicsőségére legyen és hogy áldás legyen azoknak számára akik Hevesen és annak környékén laknak.

Here is a picture of the building we will be holding the meetings in, and the flier we used to announce the first meeting:
Íme egy kép a hevesi műv központról, ahol az alkalmakat fogjuk tartani, és a szórólap amivel hirdettük az első alkalmat:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Short Trip to Vajta

We went to Vajta last week for the last 2 days of the all-Hungary conference on Thursday and Friday.

Because we hadn't signed up for the conference on time, there weren't any places for us to stay at the conference center, so we stayed at the horse farm across the street.
The kids were really excited about the horses!

On Friday I taught a morning session at the conference and then in the afternoon got to baptize Dani, a guy from our church who came to the conference for the week.

Originally, Kristen, our friend from California who stayed with us for a few weeks, was going to attend the conference for the whole week, but instead decided to go for the last two days and use the money she saved to send Dani for the whole week. She was especially happy to see the impact the week in Vajta had on Dani, and that he decided to get baptized and publicly declare his commitment to Jesus.

Dani is a friend of Balázs, and it has been cool to see Balázs encourage his friend to walk with the Lord.

When we told Nate that Dani was going to get baptized, he was very excited that "little Dani" was going to get "bath-tized"!

After we did the baptism Nate came up to talk to me:
  • Nate: Dad, I want to get baptized too!
  • Me: Maybe you can get baptized in a few years. You can get baptized when you decide that you want to believe in Jesus forever.
  • Nate: Dad, I want to be Jesus from Eger!
I think we had a communication error, and that Nate probably doesn't understand what 'forever' means - but that is quite the ambition, none the less!

Balázs is working hard and having a great time in Vajta. On Friday night, after the final session, we packed up and headed home and said goodbye to Balázs until the end of the month.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Saving Trees

I just bought my textbooks for my next semester of seminary. For the first time ever I won't have to pay expensive shipping costs to get my school books to me in Hungary because I bought all of them in Kindle format.
Besides saving on the shipping costs, all the books also cost less in Kindle format.

I was a bit concerned about using e-books for school, but after using one of my Kindle books as a reference last year, I realized that it is actually much better than having a paper book. Besides not having to carry huge texts books with you in order to study outside of your house, you can easily do word searches and highlight, and if you want to reference something, you can simply copy it and Kindle automatically gives you all the reference information for your footnotes.

I have had my Android Tablet for 3 weeks now and absolutely love it. I preach from it at church, I read on it, takes notes on it, blog from it, etc.

I'm excited about going paper free - saving some trees, not having to store a bunch of books and handwritten or typed notes all over my house...

Here are my favorite apps for my tablet:
  • Kindle reader
  • Documents to Go (the full version is well worth the money - it is the one app I have paid for)
  • Dropbox
  • Evernote
  • Pulse
When will you join the revolution? :)

Monday, August 01, 2011

American Christianity

I got an invitation to teach a class this fall on church history at a school of missions in Ukraine, so I have been reading the book "From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya" by Ruth Tucker as part of my preparation.

Today I came across a quote I found very interesting. It was written in 1926 by a Japanese Christian leader named Kanzo Uchimura. One of his main goals was to establish a truly Japanese church and Christian movement rather than have a Christianity that was viewed as a western import.
Here's his critique of American Christianity:

Americans must count religion in order to see or show its value…. To them big churches are successful churches…. To win the greatest number of converts with the least expense is their constant endeavour. Statistics is their way of showing success or failure in their religion as in their commerce and politics. Numbers, numbers, oh, how they value numbers! … Mankind goes down to America to learn how to live the earthly life; but to live the heavenly life, they go to some other people. It is no special fault of Americans to be this-worldly; it is their national characteristic;
Kanzo Uchimura, “Can Americans Teach Japanese in Religion?” Japan Christian Intelligencer 1 (1926): 357–61, cited in Walls, “The American Dimension,” 2., found in Tucker, Ruth A. (2010). From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions . Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I like Uchimura's focus on establishing a truly indigenous Christian movement in his country - I believe that should be the goal of all mission work.
I think there is something to what he says about American Christianity, although I don't fully agree with his critique.
On one hand, what he says about how Americans tend to measure success in ministry similar to how they measure success in commerce is often true, and definitely deserves consideration.
On the other hand, Kanzo Uchimura himself came to faith in Christ through the efforts of American missionaries in Japan, and I think the focus he mentions of American Christians to make as many converts to Christianity as possible is a noble, and Biblical thing.

As one who is American but has lived outside of the US for many years now, I have gained a bit of perspective on American culture and mentality by being able to observe it from the outside. Despite all the critiques that could be (and are often) made, there are some very positive things that I see. For example: American people are generally very generous, and are quite willing to give of what they have to help people in need or to support causes that they believe in. That is a praiseworthy thing. Also, Americans tend to have an entrepreneurial spirit - which amongst believers can create a culture of being willing to step out in faith and attempt great things for God. The parting words of William Smith Clark, the American missionary who trained the local evangelists who led Kanzo Uchimura to the Lord were: "Boys, be ambitious!" I believe that culture of being willing to step out in faith and follow the Lord wherever he leads is something which is not American, but very much Biblical, and something which Jesus taught and demonstrated in his life and ministry.

What do you think?