“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Prince of Peace.
Such hope wrapped up in these words, in these titles of Jesus! I pray this week as you celebrate Christmas, that it will be a strengthening, joyous time of reflection on the tremendous love of God, who took on flesh, coming in the form of a humble baby, and made a way that we could have restored relationship with God. As I ponder these things, I want to say thank you for the ways you have supported and encouraged and partnered in the gospel, that more may know this wondrous love of God and receive the greatest gift of all.
I returned to Hungary at the beginning of November and after ten days in official post-travel quarantine, was able to jump back into much of life and ministry here. Things have looked a bit different due to covid restrictions, the main thing being that our church is only able to have online services right now. Thankfully we are still able to meet in smaller groups, and I am super grateful for our Monday night girl’s bible study and the one-on-one times I am able to have with girls. I have also been able to have girls over Sunday mornings to watch our online church service together, and that has been a great blessing!
Though I wasn’t able to return to the kindergarten to teach my class there, the Lord provided new teaching opportunities for me. I have taken on a few students for private English lessons, which is a new challenge for me! I appreciate the opportunity to teach English and the way it has given a way to connect with more Hungarians outside of the church.
This week approaching Christmas is a busy one! Since we are unable to have our usual Christmas service together, we have been putting together cookie packages to take and deliver as a little gift to our church members and others, like those who had been coming to the Lighthouse outreach events before the restrictions started in November. More than just giving cookies, it is an opportunity to take time to connect face to face with people, talk with them, pray for them, and let them know that they are seen and cared for even amidst this time when we are more isolated from one another. Pray for those we connect with, that they will be encouraged and strengthened. And for those we will visit who do not yet know Jesus, pray that this will be a fruitful opportunity to share the love Jesus and good news of all that God has done for them!
I thank God for the strides that I was able to make with health during my time in the states. I saw a lot of improvement and my health became more stabilized. I ask continued prayer for this area of health. Upon returning to Hungary, I quickly had old symptoms return and it has been apparent that something in my living environment is affecting me. In light of this, the next step I see to take is trying to make some practical changes. It seems possible that my current mattress could be toxic to me, so I am looking into purchasing a new mattress. It’s all a bit of a guessing game to figure out what the source could be, so I ask prayer for wisdom and strength to make the decisions and changes.
No matter the season or circumstance, He remains Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. May you know deep comfort and joy in the Lord this week and in the weeks and months to come. You are wondrously loved!
It’s amazing how much can happen in a few short months. I am extremely grateful for this time that I’ve had in the states. I was able to celebrate the marriage of my youngest sister and spend much time with family as I’ve taken time to address health these past few months.
I have also been deeply encouraged hearing about what God has been doing in Pécs in these few short months that I have been stateside. I am excited to share an update with you about some of that!
This summer, a number of college students in our church stepped out in bold new ways with vision to reach their peers and friends with the gospel. Every other week throughout the summer they planned and held events, which they call Lighthouse events. They invited friends and peers and stepped out to invest in new relationships for the sake of the gospel. Though it would have been amazing to be there in person, it has been a tremendous joy these past few months seeing these students take initiative, step out of comfort zones, and together seek the Lord to guide them, empower them, and use them for the sake of His kingdom.
With the end of summer, these students were seeking God for how to continue during the school year. Last week they held their first event of the semester and were blown away by the number of people that showed up. Dana, an international student from Jordan, shared a testimony about some of what God has done in her life. Dana is one of the girls who has been a part of our Monday night girl’s bible study and I am so proud of her!
We’ve prayed for this. We’ve prayed for students to know and love God, to grow in Christ, and to step out to live on the mission of God themselves. To see this happening in new ways these past few months has been amazing. Praise God for His faithfulness! He is pursuing hearts and carrying out His redemptive work and it’s incredible to have a front row seat!
Monday Night Women’s Bible Study
This is another area that I am excited to share about! The girls chose to continue together through the summer months while I was gone. One of the girls, Flóra, took over hosting each week, and they continued all through the summer and now into the school year. They have had a few new additions to the group and I have been marveling over the work of God with this as well! It’s a joy to see these young women taking initiative to lead and continuing to pursue the Lord together.
I shared in my last update about some setbacks with my health, which brought about the decision to come to the states for a longer stay. I’m grateful to share that I have made some good strides with healing these past few months. I’m thankful for this time where I’ve been able to rest and address health while also enjoying family.
Presently, I am still in the states with plans to return to Hungary after a brother’s wedding at the end of October. I continue to seek the Lord going forward, as I look to address health and make decisions for the future. There are many unknowns for me with the months to come, and I covet your prayers!
Praise God for His continued faithfulness!
Personally, I ask prayer for full healing, for wisdom as I maneuver this healing journey and seek God’s guidance regarding future steps, and for deepened trust in the Lord through this season.
Pray for the Lighthouse events. Pray that God will strengthen and guide the students leading, as they plan events and seek to share with friends and classmates the hope that they have found. Pray for all those who come to these events, that they would have a hunger for truth and that their hearts would be transformed by the gospel
Pray for the women in the Monday night bible study, that God would give them spiritual wisdom and insight as they study His word together, that they might grow in their knowledge of God. Pray also that God would continue to give them vision and empower them to step out in obedience to Him.
Interestingly enough, the same verse on my mind to share in my last update, is one I happened to read yesterday in my personal study time. I think it’s still as fitting for us now as it was three months ago!
“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
I hope this finds you well and that you are finding great help and comfort in the Lord during this time. Those of you in the U.S. have been on my heart these past few weeks with all that is happening there. I have been praying that God would grant you wisdom and hearts of compassion and love.
WHAT’S GOING ON IN HUNGARY?
Here in Pécs, things began to open up again at the beginning of May and now, five weeks later, life is largely “normal” again, other than wearing masks in shops and on public transportation. Our church has been meeting outside near a local pond. It has been such a blessing to be together again, after months of online connections, and to have opportunity to speak of Jesus out in our community, coming closer to people who would not have stepped through the doors of our church otherwise. Personally, after many many weeks of being alone here in my apartment, I am so thankful to again have girls over or meet over coffee, have our women’s bible study together in person, and gather with the church body.
STORIES OF GOD AT WORK AMIDST THE CIRCUMSTANCES
Though these past few months have brought a lot of unexpected difficulties for many, numerous testimonies of God doing amazing things have emerged through it all. I want to share with you one such beautiful testimony!
Recently, I sat with a friend over a cup of coffee and listened to her share about a bible study that she started in her dorm during the time of lockdown. If you have prayed for the women in my young women’s bible study at all in the last two years, then you have prayed for her. The Lord put it on her heart to start a bible study and she, choosing to walk in obedience to the Lord’s leading, invited two other Christian girls to begin a bible study together.
They began meeting every day, invited others in the dorm, and in time they became eight—eight young women, from different cultural and religious backgrounds, coming together every morning for an hour and a half to study the bible together. Amazing, right?! Last week, one of the girls gave her life to Jesus. Another of the girls unexpectedly lost her dad a couple months ago and the Lord has used it to help carry her through these months.
Listening to my friend share about how God has been using this time, I was deeply moved. This is what we pray for! This is what we long to see—our students growing deeper rooted in Christ and stepping out in obedience to Him to be a part of His kingdom work!
Thank you for your prayers for our students and for God’s work here in Hungary!How great is our God!
He is not shaken when everything around us is/seems shaken. He has been actively working in mighty ways during these past few months, this being just one example. I know there are countless others! Do you have any God stories to share as a result of these times?
In my last update I shared about finding answers regarding some health issues and starting treatment that I would continue in Hungary. With the unexpected circumstances of the past few months, however, I was unable to fully continue my treatment which made for some setbacks with my health. Because of this, the decision recently emerged to spend the summer months in Washington to further address health there, closer to my doctor and easier access to supplements.
Truthfully, this was a hard decision to come to. When the Lord led me out on this path of healing, I knew it wouldn’t all be easy. Even still, I find that I wrestle with God’s timing and plans at times. It’s a slow, sometimes painful process, learning patience when healing doesn’t happen as soon as I would like or when I don’t understand what God is doing.
Yet, I know there is purpose. I know the events of the last few months and the setbacks that have happened as a result were not hidden from God. Through it all I have been safe in His hands. And now, though different than I would have planned, I see His hand in the details that led to the decision to travel home for the summer.
HOW CAN YOU PRAY?
For perseverance and strength to endure challenges with joy
For healing, patience, and deepened trust in the process
For the young women in my Monday night bible study, that they would be strengthened and built up in Christ and that God would give them vision for how He would use them for His glory and kingdom purposes, even this summer.
Pray for my friend leading the bible study in her dorm, that God would strengthen her and continue to lead her and this group of young women. Pray that God would do a transformative work in each of their hearts by His Spirit.
For divine wisdom and discernment in ministry and decision making, to hear God’s voice clearly, and be willing to follow His guidance
Pray for God to deliver people in our city from spiritual blindness and supernaturally open their eyes to the light of the Gospel.
“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121:1)
This verse came to my mind as I was writing and is my prayer for you, for me today. May we lift up our eyes to Him, who made heaven and earth, looking to Him for help. May we find rest in Him who keeps our life. Our help is in Him. How comforting that is!
Thank you for your support and prayers, they are powerful and needed. Thank you for coming boldly before the Lord to intercede for the lost, broken, and hurting.
Wow, a lot has transpired in the world in a matter of a few weeks! It’s interesting, going through this experience on such a worldwide level. Here in Hungary, further restrictions of movement are now in place as of Friday. People are only allowed to leave their homes to go to work or to run essential errands (thankfully it is still permitted to go for walks outside, granted the decreed appropriate social distance is maintained).
Before I go into more detail about what that means for life and ministry presently, I want to apologize for the long gap between my last update and this one, and attempt to give you a run down of the past few months. The last time I wrote was shortly before I traveled stateside for six-weeks with the purpose of spending the holidays with my family, connecting with as many of you as possible, and seeing a new doctor to hopefully address some ongoing health issues.
Six weeks isn’t all that long, but somehow a whirlwind of change seemed to take place in that time that extended to my return to Hungary. I regret not writing an update sooner, but truthfully I struggled to put the words together before now. I will do my best now to do just that ?
First of all, I want to express my deep gratitude to each of you who took the time to meet and connect during my time in Washington in January. I left every meeting so encouraged and thankful. This was also true for the short hellos and hugs I got to exchange with some of you at church. I am very grateful for that time!
It was really great to spend time with my family. Thankfully, I was able to see all of my siblings at some point during the trip, as well as visit with grandparents and extended family. One of the highlights was the birth of my first-ever niece, Loretta Eleanor. It was so special to hold her the day she was born, as well as be there to witness my parents as new grandparents and my brother as a father!
As some of you know, I was able to see a new doctor while stateside and I am thankful to share that we were able to find some answers! Thank God!!
For those interested, in short, we discovered that I have been dealing with some bacterial infections and mold toxicity. We were able to begin treatment while I was in Washington and thankfully I am still able to continue treatment and work with my doctor while here in Hungary.
From the start, my doctor warned me that I would likely feel worse before better. These symptoms are termed as “die-off symptoms” and they happen as bacteria die off when an infection is being treated. As I have now discovered, these die-off symptoms are not comfortable and can be frustrating and discouraging. It helps knowing they are a normal part of the healing process. Why am I explaining all of this? Well, because I want to share honestly with you about these past few months and this has been a big part.
GOD, MY STRENGTH
In this past year I sensed the Lord clearly leading me to lean into healing and I saw His hand so clearly in the details of my trip home to WA this winter, being able to see a new doctor and take steps out on a road towards fuller healing. From the start I knew it wouldn’t be an easy journey, yet I knew that God would be with me through it all and that He would strengthen and help and uphold day by day. That has proven true.
It hasn’t been an easy few months. In the days of “worse,” it has been hard to face physical limitations and weakness. Hard to know what to do in those moments. I have wrestled with discouragement, tears, questions, doubts, fear…. but in the midst of it all, I have also known unhindered joy, deep thanksgiving, peace, comfort, security. I’ve discovered more fully that suffering and joy are not mutually exclusive, nor is God’s goodness excluded from hard places. It’s strange to find pain and overflowing gratitude and awe of God’s goodness together, hand in hand. But there they are, companions on the journey. God is gracious, kind, and so very good!
CURRENT LIFE AND MINISTRY IN PÉCS
Upon returning to Hungary it seemed that God had carved natural space for me to heal amidst continuing life and ministry here.
Previously, a large part of my weekly, every day routine included coming alongside Balázs and Leah, our pastor family here, and helping with the schooling of a few of their daughters. Previously, I had been working with them every school day, from morning into the early afternoon. Long story short, their schooling situation changed while I was stateside and from the beginning of February I was no longer needed every day. Though a hard adjustment in some ways (I miss the every day moments with Leah and the kids!), this turned out to be a timely provision because I ended up feeling pretty poorly many mornings of the past few months. Not needing to be up and out the door early every morning was a huge help to me!
Up until last week, when the coronavirus situation really began here in Hungary (worldwide), I was able to continue as normal with other areas of work and ministry: language study, discipleship meetings with university students, young women’s bible study, worship ministry, english lesson with óvi (pre-school) class.. Due to current circumstances much of what that looks like has changed for the time being and I will do my best to share what things look like currently as I share prayer requests for each of these areas:
Hungarian language study – (continuing through skype lessons). Pray that the Lord would grant understanding and comprehension, and for endurance to keep pressing on! Thank God for the progress that has been made.
Óvi class – (currently unable to teach with schools/kindergartens closed). I am praying about taking on more of this kind of work when this coronavirus situation ceases! It’s a great way to build relationships with Hungarian families and individuals in the community. Being a native speaker, there are many opportunities. Pray for wisdom and direction regarding this.
Young Women’s Bible Study – (we are continuing via video chat). Pray for us as we continue to dig deeper into the book of Romans. Pray that God would grant understanding and do a powerful, transformative work in hearts as we read and study the truths in these passages
Women’s ministry/discipleship meetings – (continuing through phone calls and video chats). Thank God for the ability to stay connected through various avenues! Not being able to meet in person has meant many phone calls to stay connected and this will continue in the coming weeks. Pray for God-centered conversations. Pray that God will use every conversation and phone meeting to encourage and build up and point people to the Lover of our souls, Sustainer of our lives, the Solid Rock on which we can stand. Typically we have an all-women’s bible study (different than the young women’s study I host on Monday’s) once a month. We have decided to have this meeting more frequently via video chat (every other week) during this time.
International students – Hungarian students have been sent home, but most international students are still here and more alone during these days. Many of them are facing loneliness, homesickness, and worry for family that is far away. For those that are believers, pray that they would wholeheartedly seek the Lord in this time, soaking themselves in His Word, and running to Him as their source. Pray that they would find great comfort, peace, and rest in Him. For those who do not yet know the Lord, pray that they would have a hunger for Him, a longing to know truth. Pray that they would recognize their need for God, turn to Him in repentance and belief on His son and be saved.
Personal – I would ask prayer for full physical healing, and for endurance day by day as I continue on this journey. Pray for comfort from the Lord in these many days of being home alone. Pray for deep rest, for patience, for guidance, and more than anything that I may know the Lord better.
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this, and thank you for your continued love and support. I thank God for all of you! I would love to pray for you during these days, are there ways I can pray for you? Please don’t hesitate to share, or to ask questions if you have any. It’s always great to hear from you, but it would be especially nice in this time of social distancing!
As it says in 2 Thessalonians 3:5, may the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ during these days. May you find great comfort in Him and rest in His sovereignty. You are loved, beloved!
“Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God…” (v. 1-3)The psalm goes on and towards the end he writes “but I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!” (v. 29) What comes immediately after this is profound. He says, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hooves.” (v. 30-31)
Afflicted, in pain… these are strong, forthright words. But while he says I AM these things, he also says I WILL praise and thank God. He does not sugarcoat his situation or undermine the pain. No, he honestly gives voice to the pain and hardship he is facing AND chooses even stillto praise God and magnify him by giving thanks.
We also discover something marvelous in verse 31, and that is how God is pleased with a sacrifice of thanksgiving. More pleased, David says, than if he had an offering to bring. You mean, even when I have nothing to offer/nothing to bring to the table, I can come and give thanks to God and that brings Him immense pleasure? Yes, yes, yes!
Whatever our circumstance, be that one of evident abundance and gladness or one of intense pain and affliction, we have the opportunity to choose to praise God and give Him thanks, and when we do, it pleases Him! I find great comfort knowing that even in desolate “nothingness” there is something of immeasurable value to bring before God (thanksgiving). It is evidence to me of a God who shines light into darkness, brings forth pools of water in the most desolate wastelands, and brings dead bones back to life. And that God is beautiful and so SO worthy of all of our attention and affection and praise. We can truly give thanks to Him because He is good and his steadfast love endures forever!
I am learning to choose, to practice this thankfulness in the “good” days AND the hard and painful ones. Looking back at the past month and a half, here are a few things I am thankful for:
That God is alive and active, drawing and wooing hearts of people here in Pécs
Hope. For eternity and for today
Opportunities to serve God with music
Friendships with so many incredible people from all different cultures and languages
The beautiful Hungarian language — for increasing understanding and the continual joy of learning, and for a teacher who is helpful and encouraging!
Honest hearts who are facing doubts and questions and pressing deeper to seek out what is really true
Seeing people desiring to know God and honor Him with their lives
The opportunity to teach English to a group of 4-6 year olds and see them enjoying the lessons, singing and speaking new words in English
Getting to spend time with ALL FIVE of my sisters here in Hungary. Especially for getting to share my home space with them and have them meet some of the people who are so dear to me here
That God cares enough to deal with the messy and hurting places in our lives
The list could go on and on! The last thing I want to mention is how thankful I am for YOU! I am so thankful for continued love, prayer, and generous support. I couldn’t be here without all of you and it is such a privilege to have you standing with me. THANK YOU for your partnership in seeing the gospel go forward here in Hungary!
What are you thankful for? If you have time sit down and write a few down, I would love to hear some of what you are thankful for!
PRAYERREQUEST FOR SATURDAY
Saturday our church is hosting our annual Women’s Christmas Tea outreach event. This has been a key event every year, one that God has used in impactful ways to reach hearts of women in our community. It’s a fun evening of yummy treats, music, crafting, a short encouragement, conversation, and more. Each year women in our church invite friends, family, and coworkers and each year many come who would never otherwise step foot into a church. This year the message that will be shared is God’s lavish love for us from the story of the prodigal son. Will you join us in praying for this event? Pray that hearts would be open to hear and receive the truth of the gospel! And pray that this time could be a catalyst for further conversations about God and deeper relationship opportunities between the women in our church and our friends who come.
I am excited to share that I will be traveling stateside for a home visit! For those of you in the PNW, I will be in the Vancouver/Portland area for Christmas and through January and would love to connect with you! I am looking forward to seeing and reconnecting with many of you!
P.S. Below are a few pictures from the time with my sisters!
I hope this finds you well and that you are enjoying the days of Fall!
THANKS FOR PRAYING
The last time I wrote, I shared about a family festival that churches in our city partnered together to put on in order to show love to our community and share the hope of Jesus. Thank you for your prayers for this event!
In the days leading up to the event, many of us were under heavy spiritual attack and I was reminded afresh how important and powerful the prayers of God’s people are. I can’t say enough how much I value all those of you who are coming alongside God’s work here in Hungary through prayer. The impact is more than you could know, so thank you!
We have heard personal stories from non-Christian friends who came, telling how their hearts were touched. I am confident that seeds were planted that day and praying that many more opportunities will arise with these friends to share and message the truth of the gospel to them.
There are so many who live day by day without knowing they have a Maker who loves them and whose desire is for relationship with them. Please pray that God would be honored in our city, that false ideas of who He is and His character would be shattered and that eyes would be opened to His goodness and mercy and grace.
I have appreciated being back in the routine of school-year ministry–working with the children, monday evenings girl’s bible study, language lessons, times meeting with girls one-on-one, etc.
Monday’s nights continue to be a highlight each week! We speak often how encouraging this time is for each of us. This fall we have been walking through 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Paul speaks often in these letters about the hope we have beyond this world and the promise that Jesus will come and someday we will be with him. He writes this as an encouragement to the Thessalonians to not lose heart in the midst of suffering and persecution. The troubles of today will not last forever and we have a hope that cannot be snatched away. What an amazing encouragement and reminder!
A fun, new addition this fall is an English lesson that I have started teaching once a week at a Kindergarten in a nearby village. There are eight children in the class, mostly between the ages 4-6. I am excited for the opportunity to connect with Hungarian families and so far I am thoroughly enjoying teaching the children! This is a first-time experience for me, teaching English in this capacity, and so far I am loving it!
Praise God for the ways He is using our Monday night girl’s study to encourage and build up! Pray for these girls that they will grow deeper in Christ in this season of their lives and pray that they will be vessels of God’s truth and grace to their classmates and coworkers and those around them.
Continued prayer for wisdom and strength for teaching the children and caring for them.
With the winter season drawing nearer, we are beginning to plan and prepare for our Women’s Christmas Tea outreach. Each year many women come who are not believers and we have the truth about Jesus with them. This year our desire is to share about God’s lavish love for us. Please pray for us as we plan and prepare every detail, from the craft and decorations to the message that is shared.
Personally, pray that God will grant wisdom, understanding, clarity, and strength for the things that He has set before me.
Again, I can’t say enough how thankful I am for each and every one of you. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ, and may He give you peace at all times and in every way. You are precious in His eyes!
The start of September has brought the beginning of a new school year and the transition to “normal” routine, but before I delve into the things happening presently, I would like to give a brief recap of the Summer months.
GYŐR ENGLISH CAMP: What a privilege it was to come alongside this week-long Josiah Venture English Camp in partnership with the Győr Baptist Church. One major highlight was seeing the enthusiasm and intentionality of young Hungarians to invest in students, work to build relationships, and to boldly share the gospel.
LOCAL CAMPS: I had the opportunity, along with a few other English speakers from our church, to help with a few English camps in nearby towns. All organized and led by local believers who have a heart to reach kids or high school students with the gospel through the tool of learning English. It was a privilege to be able to come alongside them and be a help and support to them in the work that they do year by year and great to connect with youth and children in our local Pécs area. You can pray with us that God will continue to reveal Himself to these students. Pray that the seeds that have been planted will be watered and that their hearts will be drawn to Christ.
I enjoyed a week-long conference in Austria called Refresh, designed to provide a time for those who serve in ministry to get away and be refreshed. It was truly a refreshing week for me. I am so grateful for the time getting to connect with others who are also serving in cross-cultural ministry, for the great times of encouragement from God’s word, and also for the restful beauty of the place, getting to steal down to a quiet dock early in the morning, wander about mountain trails, or sit by small streams, to have time alone with the Lord to process and pray.
Lake Balaton Camping with Church Friends
Twenty-four of us from our church fellowship took a camping trip to Lake Balaton. It was a wonderful trip. I am so thankful for these friends and brothers and sisters in Christ and this season we get to share pursuing Christ alongside one another.
Back to School
Nearly overnight the city has gone from quieter streets to bustling with people again. University students have returned, new students have arrived, and families are back home getting into “normal” routine.
Personally, it is great getting back into the routine of teaching and ministry. I am loving the coffee dates and dinners reconnecting with students and friends. It is great to be back teaching the girls and to again be hosting Monday night girl’s Bible study. I am freshly reminded of the amazing work that God has invited us to be a part of here.
This time of year is exciting, seeing who we come into connection with and get to step out to love and care for these. It’s a joy leaning in to invest in relationships knowing that God’s desire is for each and every one and that He is actively working in lives around us. No matter where they come from, be that Hungary, Jordan, or South Africa, they are in Pécs for this season and we believe God’s desire is that they would take steps closer to Jesus during this season of their lives. You can pray with us that hearts will be turned to Jesus and those who already know Him will grow in the knowledge and love of God.
Prayer Opportunity for Saturday
This coming Saturday, September 14, will be the annual Életút (Way of Life) family festival downtown in our city. Many churches in our city partner together to show love to our community and share the hope of Jesus. Among the other awesome programs throughout the day, our church band is playing a two-hour concert in the evening. This will be the closing event of the festival and through both song and words, we will share about doubts, fears, wanderings, struggles, and the answer for all of these–Jesus Christ.
You can pray for us even now as we have our last practice together before the concert and as we prepare to sing and share.Pray with us for every piece of this festival, that God will be honored and glorified, that hearts will be drawn to Him. Pray that eyes will be opened to the truth of the gospel. Pray for continued unity and love among the churches in our city.
Festival on Saturday. Pray for soft hearts to hear and receive the gospel and that God will be honored and glorified. Many of us have been battling with intense spiritual warfare throughout this week, pray against the enemies attempts to discourage, torment, and tear things apart.
Continued prayer for wisdom and strength to help teach the girls and to point them to Jesus.
Keep praying for Gitta as she continues to discover what it looks like to walk as a follower of Jesus.
Continued prayer for Monday night Bible study with uni girls, pray that God will be honored through our time and that we will grow deeper in relationship with Him.
Your prayers and support mean so much! Thank you!!
Wow, there is so much to rejoice over! December was marked by so much abundance and joy. All throughout the month, these words kept coming to mind: Light has come. And indeed, as I reflect on this season, the truth of those words is interwoven through every piece.
December began with our Women’s Christmas Tea outreach event, Light in Winter/Fény a Télben, meant not only to be a fun event to look forward to in the winter months, but ultimately a time to share about the true Light who entered our dark world.
THANK YOU for all of your prayers! God answered above and beyond what we thought or imagined. Not only was every detail beautifully woven together, but it is evident that GOD was and is pursuing hearts. Of the 65 women who came, nearly 30 of them do not yet know Christ. What a joy it was to see them hear that their lives matter to God, that he loves them deeply, and that their lives have purpose because of Him!
“Is what was shared really true?” The same woman who asked this question at the tea gave her life to Jesus three days later!!
In a land of deep darkness…. has light shone.
I was reminded of these words in Isaiah 9 as I was reading the Christmas story a few days ago.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:2, 6
The Light of the world, come to rescue and redeem. Friends, it has truly been a joyous month reflecting on this reality, all while seeing fresh glimpses of darkness being swallowed up by light.Praise be to God!
Although I missed my family, I had a wonderful Christmas here in Pécs. I didn’t feel lonely for a moment!
My friend Cara hosted a Christmas Eve party and it was a nice evening spent with a dozen university students also here without family. Christmas day, our pastor and his wife opened their home for those who would otherwise be alone on Christmas, and it was another wonderful day of joy, games, laughter, love, and good food with friends old and new.
PRAISE!! Praise God for an amazing Christmas tea and for the fact that He was and IS pursuing hearts! Praise God that because Light has come, there is now Hope for all nations
Pray that seeds that have been planted will continue to be watered and grow.
Pray for the woman who gave her life to Jesus, that she will grow deeply rooted in Christ. Pray for protection from any attempts of the enemy to destroy or cause doubt. Pray that her family will also encounter the God who gave His life for them.
Continued prayer for language study
I can’t say it enough, THANK YOU for your prayer and encouragement, and ultimately for your partnership in the Gospel. It is a joy to link arms with you and join in with the work that God is doing here in Pécs.
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this coming year! Happy New Year!
P.S. Vancouver Friends:
I have plans to be in Vancouver for two weeks in January for my brother’s wedding! With such a short visit, I plan to spend most of that time with family, but Sunday, January 20th I will be at Glenwood church and would love to say “hello!” and connect with you in passing there!
I have been trying to take more photos of life happenings here in Hungary, so I thought I would share some of this months snapshots with you!
“NOW – Night of Worship ” Event
Our church hosted a worship event. It was a great evening lifting up praise to God. We sang, prayed, and a few individuals in our church read out verses that God had put on their heart. There is something so powerful/transformative in gathering to lift up His name and exalt Him together. Pray for those who came who do not yet know Christ, that they would be drawn to Him.
I had the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with some awesome friends, old and new! It’s not easy being away from family during the holiday’s, but I had a great time with these friends enjoying good food and reflecting over the past year and giving thanks.
I had the girl’s make a “Thanksgiving” book, writing/drawing things they are thankful for. The two photos on the right are of Esztie’s. She wanted to write “God is our only Savior forever and ever” 🙂 (I suggested adding spaces between words but she didn’t like that idea! Lol!)
More opportunities with young women and language study
We’ve continued our Monday night girl’s bible study and I’ve also enjoyed other opportunities to connect with girls over cooking food together, making music, and just chatting. I’m continually encouraged seeing how God is working in their lives.
I took the photo on the right a few days ago during a rainy walk to my language school (there has been very little rain the past few months (at least for a Washingtonian gal) so I was thrilled by the rain! 🙂
PRAISE!! Esztie read her first words this month! Woohoo! After months and many hours working on letter recognition and sounds, I was so encouraged to see her cross this milestone! She’s continuing to make progress and I love hearing her sound out new words and read each new page in a book. Please keep praying for my work helping teach the kids, for wisdom and strength to best help them and also point them to Jesus.
WOMEN’S CHRISTMAS TEA event happening at church December 8. This is one of our biggest outreach events during the year. Women in our church have been inviting friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, classmates.. and there will be many who come that do not yet know Christ. We will have treats, songs, a short sharing time, and crafts (we’re doing a pottery craft this year). I am leading the singing time with a few other young women. Pray for us as we prepare for this event, pray for preparation of hearts even now, and pray that those who come will learn of God’s grace and love towards them and that hearts will respond to Him!
Continued prayer for the young women in my life here and for language learning
And on the note of thanksgiving, I want to say how thankful I am for all of you. Your continued prayer and support means so much. I’ve also been super encouraged to hear from some of you this past month! Thanks for keeping in touch!
It was the beginning of September when I last sat down to write, and now, as October already comes to a close, I thought I’d share a few photos to give you a glimpse of life these past weeks:
Outreach event in one of the city’s main squares. Our church had the opportunity back in September to lead the closing music event of the all-day outreach. It was a neat time partnering with other Pécsi churches to share the hope of Christ with our city.
Many mornings spent helping teach Eszti and Lizzie. I spend most of these mornings with Eszti. We are currently working on letter sounds (building up to the point where she can learn to read) and numbers. There’s a myriad of reasons that make learning (and teaching) extra difficult and even though progress may be slower than normal, I can look back to when we started in September and see that she has made progress. It’s exciting the days when I see her understanding or doing something that she was unable to do/grasp a few days before!
The girl’s love having “art time,” so as often as possible we try to fit in time for art. We’ve spent time drawing, painting, and my personal favorite, creating masterpieces with nature supplies (leaves, sticks, etc.). Lizzie made a moose out of leaves and sticks that was all too cute, and you should have seen our leaf crowns! It’s very possible that these art times are just as fun for me as they are for the kids… 🙂
Eszti and Azzy (Asland)
Tea party celebrating Lizzie’s birthday
Lots of fun opportunities connecting with young women. Monday night girl’s fellowship at my flat has been a highlight each week. Every week it has seemed to be a source of deep encouragement and refreshment for each who come. Coffee dates and other times getting to know girl’s individually has been another highlight. It’s a privilege having the opportunity to invest in so many girl’s lives, from all different cultures and backgrounds. God is doing some amazing work, both in the lives of those who already know Him and love Him and in drawing some who are still searching for truth. Pray for these young women, that wherever they are at in relationship to God, they would take steps closer to Him.
Hana, a dear friend and fellow missionary
Gitta, my new Hungarian friend.
A fun visit from my sister and cousin Naomi, along with her family. It was sweet to see familiar faces from home and I enjoyed the opportunity to show them around this beautiful place I get to call home.
Beautiful view above Pécs
Monthly Women’s Bible Study. I had the opportunity to teach our monthly women’s Bible study (different than the girl’s fellowship I host on Monday’s) this past Friday. We are doing a study through the minor prophets and October’s book of study was Habakkuk. Some of you prayed for me as I prepared and prayed for our time, THANK YOU! My sharing time went well and we ended the evening with some really great, honest discussion. Each woman who came shared of how they were touched in some way by our study through Habakkuk.
I too, was personally deeply encouraged by this study through the book of Habakkuk. The past six weeks have been the most difficult I’ve had since coming to Hungary. When I first began to study Habakkuk and prepare to share at our Bible Study, I was feeling a sense of despair and deep pain over some things and, like Habakkuk, had troubled questions. What struck me as I studied through the book of Habakkuk was seeing how Habakkuk moved from a place of despair to a place of hope, trust, and confidence in God no matter what. Surprisingly, it wasn’t because he came to fully understand what God was doing and why (Habakkuk honestly expressed his confusion and dislike of God’s plan). Rather, through a process of honest complaint and listening to God’s response, he chose to humble himself (letting go of what seemed right in his eyes) before God and put his trust in God.
How freeing and life-giving it was for me to be reminded that the way forward in the place of troubling questions and despair is to come honestly before God with these things, recognize that He alone is God and remember His past faithfulness, and then to humble yourself under His mighty hand. We may not fully understand, we may not like a circumstance that God has or will allow, but we can choose to live by faith and, like Habakkuk, say:
Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
(Habakkuk 3: 17-19)
Wisdom, strength, and inspiration for my work with the kids. Prayer for patience and grace.
The young women I have the opportunity to invest in. Pray for deep work of the Spirit in hearts. Pray for trust to be built in relationships and that our time together will guide them closer to Jesus.
We are beginning our Women’s Christmas Tea event preparations. This is a special outreach event in December with a craft, goodies, music, a short sharing time. Pray for us as we plan and prepare. Our theme this year is from Ephesians 2:10 – we are His workmanship (masterpiece, work of art). Pray that God will be preparing the hearts of those who will come even now.
For our church and leadership, prayer for wisdom. Our church has grown a lot in numbers this Fall and we need God’s wisdom and direction in how to proceed with the new challenges and areas of need that come with more people to care for (a good “problem” to have!). For our leadership, please pray against the enemy’s attempts to accuse and discourage.
As usual, I continue to thank God for you all. Thank you for your prayer and support that makes it possible for me to be here. Thank you for “linking arms” to see people of all nations and tongues know the God who created them and died for them so that they could have restored relationship with Him.