Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Penny Mann, Our Colleague

January 31st is Penny's birthday. Happy Birthday!!! Please pray for her on her special day. Penny has worked at the Gandhi School in Pecs, Hungary teaching English for two and a half years. She is part of CBF's Global Service Corps. Read more about her ministry at www.thefellowship.info/News/releases/070125Mann.icm Penny finishes her term of service this summer and we will miss her deeply. Pray God will show her the next step He wants her to take.

Picture: Penny riding bikes with our son Josh.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Roma Baptism in Debrecen, Hungary

In December Ralph traveled with our ministry partner and Hungarian home missionary to the Roma, Jozsef Csuhai (CHU-hi-ee) to Debrecen for a baptism. This was not an ordinary service! Of the nine candidates ready to show the world their faith in Jesus Christ, five were from the same immediate family! There was great rejoicing as each of their heads were immersed and especially for the family taking this new walk together. The candidates gave their testimonies of how their lives had changed for the better. There was lively singing and of course, as good Baptists do, afterwards everyone headed to the fellowship hall for food! Join us in praying for these nine new believers.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Gypsy Smith School Session, January, 2007

The first session of the new year of the Gypsy Smith School for the training of Roma leaders was held this January. The classes are held for a week at the Ruth School building in Bucharest, Romania. This session had 22 attendees and that is exciting!

This session was also a celebration. Sandu, a church administrator from Bolintin, a town outside of Bucharest, graduated. He had successfully completed the three year cycle of classes.

The January session was led by two guests lecturers from the USA. T Thomas, CBF Oklahoma coordinator, taught on evangelism. T is founder of the Gypsy Smith School and the initiator of CBF Romany work when CBF Global Missions was just beginning. It was old home week for T! Also teaching was Rusty Brock, pastor of Northwest Baptist Church in Ardmore, OK. Rusty taught on the Passion Narratives. Both men were warmly received. We were appreciative of them for leaving their ministries and families in Oklahoma to come to Romania to serve for a week.

The Gypsy Smith School meets four times a year for a weekly session. Please pray for God to call out volunteer lecturers for each session. Pray for the Roma leaders to come, learn, and take back their new knowledge to apply in their churches. Pray for continued financial support of the program so the sessions may continue. Pray for God's hand to be upon this endeavor.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Christmas Celebration at Csobanka - Emmanuel Baptist Church

Christmas is a special time, especially for children. The children at Emmanuel Baptist Church, a Roma (Gypsy) church in Csobanka were no different. They dreamed of presents, candy, and other goodies. Unfortunately their parents are mostly unemployed so the families live well below the poverty level. This year something was different as the air buzzed with excitement at the church. At Christmas time they learned there was a birthday to celebrate and the children had heard rumors of gifts and yummy food. It was difficult to participate in the singing, help light the advent wreath, and sit through a sermon! Finally something out of the ordinary was happening! The girls and then the boys were asked to come forward and each was given a large Christmas bag full of goodies. After graciously saying thank you, they eagerly peeked inside. The bags were full of toys, school supplies, socks, gloves, a hat, dental supplies, an orange, and most importantly, candy! Wow! Even the adults got a surprise treat of candy canes and “szalon cukor” (special Hungarian Christmas candy) tied together with colorful ribbon. The party continued with lots of red and green cupcakes and fruit flavored soda. As the families left you could hear shouts of “Merry Christmas” floating through the dark night. Happy Birthday Jesus!

More About the Service:
The lighting of the advent wreath is a relatively new experience for this church. Ralph explained what each candle stood for and a young girl or boy came forward to light the candle. Afterwards the congregation repeated, "Peace, joy, love, and hope".

You can see from a few of the pictures that we set up an assembly line in our basement to stuff the bags full of goodies. Our son, Josh, and our CBF Global Service Corp worker, Penny Mann, were on hand to help. This project was made possible because of the prayers of our supporters and the generosity of several church groups: Westwood Baptist Church, Cary, NC; Grace Fellowship Baptist Church & Mollie Monk, Meridian, MS; Ladies Mission Group, FBC, Clemson, SC; and Ladies Mission group, Parkway Baptist Church, Greensboro, NC. It was a joyous time!