Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

Christmas in the USA is different from our celebration in Hungary. There is more commercialism, more of a frenzy to buy gifts, more light displays, and more products with Christmas themes. There are similarities too. Family time, good food, best wishes, and beautiful music, to name a few. We enjoy celebrating in either culture.

Our family thanks you for your support in 2008 and look forward to great things in 2009.
Blessed New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Miracle!

My sister, brother, and I agree we have our Christmas miracle. We went from the worse scenario, expecting Mom to lose her leg, to the best scenario, anticipating her release the end of this week. We owe her orthopedic surgeon a big debt of gratitude. Mom is out of the woods and we are grateful for all the prayers we know our friends and church families said on her behalf.

The next few weeks will be difficult as we look to moving her home. She won't be able to walk for a couple of weeks and will need skin grafts on a portion of her lower leg. But these are things we can easily overcome.

Christmas is a time for miracles and we got ours! Thank you for your role in helping us. We are giving praise to the Great Physician, whose birthday we celebrate during this season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Prayers Needed

I am writing this from Missouri where I sit near the ICU with family members and close friends waiting for updates from a kind surgeon and a very competent, patient nurse. My mother, Velma Foster, was in a serious car accident Friday evening. Through the miracle of the seat belt and air bag she escaped with only serious injuries considering she had a head-on collision with a semi truck. Mom is badly bruised and has a broken right wrist. Luckily she is left handed. The worse of the injuries was to her left leg. At this time we sit waiting for word if the tissue damage is so great she may lose it. Right now the word is guardedly good. If she continues as hoped we will know tomorrow or Tuesday. Please pray for her and us, the family as we sit waiting, waiting, waiting.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Helping the Scouts with Goulash for 200!

Ministry doesn't stop just because we are no longer in Hungary. Ministry is a lifestyle for us and many others. I, Tammy, was asked to help the local Boy Scout troop at our new church, Emerywood Baptist, make goulash for the local urban ministry outreach. The boys chopped and diced. My mother-in-law, Doris, and I baked 328 cupcakes. The scout leader, John, gathered bread donations from all over the city. The boys were on hand to dish up soup, fill glasses, cut bread, and give a little Christmas cheer. It was quite a cooperative effort (where have I heard that word before??). There were four large pots of authentic Hungarian goulash and I used the last of my imported goulash cream for seasoning. It was worth it. The down-and-out that came in for the free meal were very appreciative and complimentary. It was a good experience for all of us. The presence of Christ, not matter where you are in the world...

Telling the Roma Stories

'Tis the Season... Many Baptist churches traditionally promote missions during the Christmas season. We are privileged to be able to visit several churches to talk about ministry among the Roma in Hungary and other countries. We are blessed to be able to do that ministry through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. It is through the support of missions minded churches and individuals partnering with us and CBF that we are serving. Thank-you!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy 14th Anniversary!

This is a big week for us. We celebrate 14 years of service with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as strategic coordinators. Happy Anniversary!

Speaking at FBC Greenville

I, Tammy, have spent a lot of time in November and December speaking at churches, telling the Roma stories, and encouraging gifts to CBF's Global Missions Offering.

First Baptist Church of Greenville, SC has been a partner of ours for several years. Members come every year to teach English and be the presence of Christ among the Roma students at the Gandhi High School in Pecs. In fact this is the church that sent us Glen and Clista Adkins, our current Global Service Corps workers, now teaching at Gandhi. It was my privilege and pleasure to speak to their Women's Mission Circle in November (Both Ralph and I had also shared in their Sunday morning service in October) The ladies were fun to be with and showed such excitment to hear how God is working among the Roma in Hungary. It also gave me the opportunity to visit with five women who have been apart of the teams. (pictured here: Ethel Childress, Becky Boutin, and Elaine Sarratt. Susan Shelley and Peggy Goodman were there too) Thanks ladies. I had a blast!

Our First NC Snow

Snow generates a lot of excitement here in North Carolina. We counted on having a balmy winter compared to what we experience in Budapest. Imagine our surprise when we awoke to a dusting of snow on the ground. The schools were delayed for 2 hours and there was a mad rush to the grocery store for milk, bread, and toilet paper. (Not sure how those are related or what the need is to hoard them). It was fun while it lasted - very briefly. This shot is of the side of our dollhouse as we affectionately call it. Happy Winter!

Monday, November 10, 2008

We Are Family

The WMU VA conference ended today, but not before I was able to share the stories of the Roma women many times. It was a great blessing for me personally as many women assured me they pray regularly for the Gypsies of the world. They were eager to hear how those prayers have been answered. I had a terrific time immersed among the prayer warriors of Virginia! Many of them had used the CBF missions material for the October studies so they had lots of questions.

"I've Been To The Mountain!" Saturday afternoon during break time I took advantage of the opportunity to squeeze in a walk. The clerk told me the trail was about a mile and it would take me to the "peak." Silly me didn't realize that meant that parts of the trail would be straight up! It was a challenge to get there but the view was certainly worth it. The path was covered with yellow and gold leaves. At the top I could be the mountains and the beautiful fall colors. God's creation! Gorgeous!

Now I'm off to the Virginia Baptists annual state meeting in Roanoke...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Virginia WMU - With My Sisters in the Mountains

The theme is "We Are Family, I've Got All My Sisters With Me" and Virginia women from churches across the state are enjoying the sisterhood! I'm at Eagle Eyrie, a Baptist conference center in the mountains of Virginia. The Women's Missionary Unions across the state get together annually to celebrate, learn, fellowship, eat, worship, sing, and just be women together. This year's worship services are being led by "Women By Design". They are a group of five ladies that use humor to teach about life and God's word. I am leading a breakout session called, "Gypsy Women, Life on the Edge". It's only been a few hours and already I am enjoying the atmosphere and camaraderie. My first session was well attended as I told stories of what we as American women have in common with Roma women. I wished them good luck and sent them into the night with a gold coin (chocolate filled). I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gypsy Camp?

Halloween is a fun time to dress up. I recently used it as an opportunity to teach about Roma stereotypes. Our new church home, Emerywood Baptist Church, had a "trunk or treat" - a new cultural experience for us I might add. I dressed in a costume and decorated the back of my car in ways that people stereotypically think Roma (Gypsies) dress. I gave out gold (filled with chocolate) coins - don't people think Gypsies believe gold brings you good luck? It gave me opportunities to explain Roma are really not like this. Well, it gave me the chance to explain it to a few people. I quickly learned the kids were just concerned about getting their candy and moving on to the next trunk. :) It was a fun cultural learning experience for me.


We enjoy corresponding with everyone who supports our ministry through CBF. However, if you leave us a comment on our blog we don't have a way to write you back. You have to either contact us through our CBF email address or leave your email address. Some people click on privacy controls and that is a good thing but it keeps us from being able to contact you. Please don't think we're ignoring you because we're not. We have to be in touch. Thanks.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Safe Travels!

"God give us safety in our travels." That is the prayer we pray and ask you to pray whenever we have a volunteer group with us in Hungary. We have been blessed that our groups have had no major mishaps except maybe a flat tire, a dead battery, or a clipped mirror in a tight parking situation. This July we gave God the glory for keeping us safe when a van loaded with tired young people from Virginia being driven by our colleague, Greg Smith, had a major tire blowout. We were hurdling down the four-lane at 65 mph (within the speed limit) when driving behind Greg's van I commented he must have hit something because there was smoke and debris shooting out. Greg managed to keep the van under control and safely get it to the side of the road. While cars whizzed by us as we stared at what was left of the tire. we were astonished, thankful, and relieved that he was able to do so. After much effort and a lot of sweat in the 90+ degree sun, the tire was changed and we were on our way. "God give us safety in our travels". Amen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Summer Fun in Berencs & Kekcse!

"Yes Lord, Jo Ur, Si Senor" All the same song, just in three different languages sang by the Latino Youth of Virginia and the Roma kids of Berencs and Kekcse. The Latino Youth, part of the ministry of our colleagues, Greg and Sue Smith, came to Hungary the end of July to led children's backyard Bible clubs in the two villages of Berencs and Kekcse. The Roma kids basked in the attention of the Latino young people like the surrounding fields of sunflowers soaked in the sunshine of the summer days. The singing was exuberant with lots of motions, the story telling was interactive as the youth involved the kids (Moses led the children through the Red Sea one day), the crafts were fun, and the games never ending! Language learning was a daily activity as we heard Hungarian, Romany, Spanish, and English being spoken. Parents came to watch the activities and a few of the moms even participated in jump roping. It was a walk down memory lane to the days of their carefree childhoods. Soon the week was over and we boarded the vans for Budapest. With sweet goodbyes and a few tears, the Latino Youth parted having been the presence of Christ among the Roma children of northeastern Hungary.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time Flies

We have been in the USA for over two months! Wow! I apologize that I have not updated our blog. I promise to be better at it.

In case you haven't heard, Ralph's father, Lee Stocks, died September 14 after struggling with cancer. The family was with him and we were grateful he did not suffer. Lee was a man of great faith and we all took comfort in that.

Currently Ralph is studying! He joined Amy & Josh with homework and reading assignments. He is taking a pastoral counseling class through Wake Forest Divinity School and his internship through the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, VA.

We are also speaking at churches, telling the stories of the Roma of Hungary and the way God is at work among them. Busy, busy, busy! However, we are never too busy to hear from friends - give us a call or send an email - we want to see you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Latest...

Well, finally after living in a whirlwind of activities, much planning, lots of packing, many good-byes, and great anticipation we arrived in the US for our off-field assignment August 1. It was a sweet reunion with our children and Ralph's parents. We are very grateful to the missions-minded folks at Emorywood Baptist Church in High Point, NC who had a cottage ready for us to simply walk in, unpack, and be at home. Everything was in place right down to new toothbrushes! Thank You! We had our first American breakfast at the local mom & pop restaurant, worshipped in a beautiful sanctuary with padded pews and an orderly service (not found in our usual Roma churches), spent a great deal of time in the grocery store trying to make decisions (way too many choices!), and enjoyed the orderly driving & much lower gas prices ($4 a gallon here verses $9 in Hungary) We are headed to Missouri for a week with Tammy's family. Then we will take both our children to college August 16th (Where did the time go?? How can they both be in college??). After all these activities we will settle into a routine that we hope will include seeing many of you. Please give us a call or send us as an email if you would like for us to come and share about the Roma ministry in Hungary. Ralph's schedule is somewhat limited as he works to finish his seminary degree but Tammy is ready and willing! We look forward to hearing from you!

**I will post pictures of our last camp with the Latino Youth of Virginia as soon as possible. My camera is on its last legs and I am unable to download pictures. It was a WONDERFUL week!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hunter Says Good Bye - Getting Ready for Off-Field

We're headed to the USA on August 1. There are many details to attend to - packing, cancelling phone service, what to do with your stuff. Today we said good bye to our dog, Hunter. It was sad but we felt good because the family he will be with is a dog-loving family. One less detail to worry about. Thanks Helen and Ellis Vaughan!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Team TAG Does Vienna

Having a weekend to relax was wonderful. We all spent the first day resting and doing laundry. On Saturday I loaded up the car with Amanda, Anna, and Cody, our Team TAG (summer college students) and Edit, our friend and comparable-to-none Hungarian translator, to head for Vienna for the day. It is only a mere 2 hour drive and the borders checks are gone thanks to our European Union membership.

We had a great time exploring the city, seeing the summer castle of the Hapsburgs, eating schnitzel, soaking in the magnificence of St Stephen's cathedral, and strolling the tourist walking street.

Szatmarcserke Kids LOVE Camp!

The van was packed and our spirits were high as we headed out of Budapest for the little village of Szatmarcserke. Team TAG (Amanda, Anna, Cody, & Robert) were joined by Katie Beth Adkins (recent college graduate and daughter of our colleagues, Clista & Glen) to provide a week of children's camp. This was a first for the tiny church and the first day 14 brave children came not sure what to expect. With smiles and lots of energy we sang, told the Bible story, did crafts, had a snack, and played games. The next day the numbers doubled and as word spread what a great time camp was, our numbers tripled! The kids learned new songs like "Baby Shark", "Waves of Mercy", and "God is So Good". They helped reenact Bible stories like Noah's ark, the Good Samaritan, and Queen Esther. The children enjoyed the crafts of cross necklaces, visors, flying birds, and other fun things. Snacks were hastily gobbled or given to moms for safe keeping so everyone could run outside for games of baseball, soccer, 4-square, and jump rope. A few of the young boys were smitten by the team girls and presented them flowers on the last day. As we prepared to say good bye the kids asked why we couldn't stay another day or two. Some were tearful when we said it wasn't possible this time. Lots of hugs were exchanged and great memories formed. The Roma children received the message of God's love from the college students hearing the call to serve God in eastern Europe.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Adkins Granted 3rd Year! Hooray!

Our colleagues, Glen and Clista Adkins, who have almost served a year in Pecs, have begun a wonderful ministry among the Roma high school students at Gandhi. They followed behind Penny Mann, taking the ministry she grew faithfully and tremendously a step further by not only teaching English but also ministering among the staff and beginning a choir. (The choir has their first road trip to Lepzig, Germany the end of this month. Please pray for them.)

Glen and Clista are Global Service Corps workers. This is a short term program through CBF with the standard being a two year commitement of service. We all knew the ministry at Gandhi is having a great impact on the students and staff. We requested the Adkins be extended for a third year. Why so early you ask?? The Gypsy Team, CBF national, the Gandhi School, and we local field personnel, do strategic planning, budgets, invite short term personnel (volunteers) and other things way in advance. So you see the need to know...

Just this week we received news that the extension was granted!!! Hooray!!! Answered prayer!!! Glen and Clista will be serving God and spreading the Good News of His Love for the Roma youth through the 2009-10 school year. Thank you for praying for this school and the students there.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

TAG - You're It!

Our TAG (Touch A Gypsy) team of 4 college students returned to us today. They had 3 weeks of successful camps in Slovakia with our colleagues, Dianne & Shane McNary. Pray for us as head off to Szatmarcserke (yes, that's the name of a village) to do a week of Backyard Bible Club for Roma kids. This will be a first for this little mission. Pray the children will come, have a great time, and feel the love of Christ through the actions of this TAG team.

We are also excited that Katie Beth Adkins, daughter of our colleagues Glen & Clista, will be joining us for this week. Katie Beth is a new college graduate, and is spending the summer with her folks before starting her new job this fall.

It all adds up to a fun week.

One last prayer request - pray for milder temperatures. Tomorrow's predicted high is 96 degrees Fahrenheit. That's hot! It's hard to keep your energy level up in scorching heat. And there is little AC available.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Memory Lane & the Soft Sell

We spent our weekend walking down memory lane and hearing the case for living outside the Budapest city limits when we return next year.

First, we traveled to Derecske, the little village in eastern Hungary where we spent our first term. We have many fond memories (a few bad ones we choose not to dwell on) and good friends. (The picture on the right is our friend, Kati Kiss and her granddaughter, Tamara (my namesake!) We were amazed to see the changes in the village - a stoplight, a round-about, the church being renovated, a chain grocery store, our old house brightly painted, and the our street paved (!) - just to name a few. Even though there were many new things, we found the friendships we hold dear were the same. We had a good time walking down memory lane with the Saska and Kiss families.

The next day we spent with our ministry friends, the Csuhai family. Jozsi Csuhai and Ralph work closely together in the Roma ministry. Zita, the wife, and I enjoy each other's company but don't have many opportunities to visit (we live on opposite ends of Bp and she has a 1 year old). Jozsi and Zita want us to move to their side of Budapest, outside the city limits in one of the little towns surrounding it. They took us on a drive and pointed out all the positives of such a move - quietness, fresh air, lower rents, good public transportation, etc. They also showed us the various things they knew we would want in a location - a good supermarket, a gym, a place to walk, train or bus service, close to the main highway, etc. We value their friendship and appreciate that they want us to be closer to them so the friendship can grow. We will pray and ask you to join us in asking God to guide us in the right direction for our future ministry.

It was a good weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Role Reversal

Today I had to go to the dentist whose office is downtown. I took public (two buses and a subway) and arrived 20 minutes early. Not wanting to look too eager to get my teeth cleaned I decided to wait on a nearby bench and read for a few minutes. (I rarely ride public without a book a long) I was soon greeted by two Roma men, one was offering me a Christian tract while saying, "I see you are reading. Here is something to read that will change your life." I thanked him and declined the paper. I admit I really was not paying too much attention because there is always someone handing out advertisements on the street. But the man would not be put off. He insisted I needed this paper. It was then I realized he was trying to witness to me. While smiling I again declined the paper and said to him, "En is hivo vagyok." I, too, am a believer. With a nod and a smile the two men went on their way.

**Footnote - I must have looked particularly worldly or sinful because as I made my way home I was again stopped on the street by two elderly women who wanted to give me a tract and tell me about Jesus. Maybe it was national tract day in Hungary and I missed the memo?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Csobanka Praises...

We continue to see the answers to our prayers and God is working! The Roma congregation at Csobanka is still on the road of forgiveness and healing. Yesterday we had a great day of singing and fellowship during the worship time. After the service there was a business session led by Jozsef Csuhai, the Baptist Union Roma Ministry Coordinator. It could have been a contentious time with two of the topics being controversial but again we saw God's grace at work as the discussion was heated but never ugly or spiteful. The congregation agreed to give shelter to a young Roma man and his family by allowing them to live in the actual church building temporarily. (Remember the Roma church buildings we minister with are actual houses converted to worship centers) Next they agreed to allow Jozsi Olah back into the fellowship with the promise of assurance that he will continue to seek healing and reconciliation for the difficult problems in his life and his family's. Thirdly we elected two people to do the financial accounting and another man to be the head layleader of the church. Lastly the congregation discussed the generous offer they have received from a Hungarian believer to outfit the church with a gas heating system. A budget must be developed and a plan to pay the gas bills must be settled. It was an amazing Sunday! Thank you for praying for the Roma of Csobanka and we ask you to continue to ask for God's guidance, wisdom, grace, and healing for them.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Soccer (Football) Mania

If you are anywhere in Europe you cannot miss the fact that the Euro Cup 2008 is nearing the final game of the championship. Most everything in Europe comes to a standstill during these games. Hungary does not have a strong tradition of fielding a football (that's what it's called in the rest of the world other than the US) team in the European games but the Hungarians love to watch it. Our local mall has a huge screen set up as do many of the large parks and other public areas. Even the local "villa", a mansion used for weddings and other celebrations, had a huge screen on its lawn for a business group to watch the tournament. Football fever is hot and it will hit its peak in the last game between Spain and Germany on Sunday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

WOW! Csobanka Prayers Answered!

Many people ask how they can help us and we answer: Prayer. We have for many months requested prayer for our Roma church in Csobanka. There has been great turmoil and strife among the members. There was a rift that only God could heal. In April I wrote that the Lord's balm of peace and forgiveness had begun to spread among the Roma of Emmanuel Baptist Church (the official name of the Csbonka congregation). We continued to ask for prayers for the softening of the heart of our guitar player and song leader, Kovacs (KO-vach). He is back!! We are praising God for this answered prayer!!

Yesterday we went to Csobanka for the first time in a few weeks. We had attended English church with Josh for his last weeks in the country and had then gone to northeast Hungary for children's camp. So we were eager to see our friends in Csobanka. Imagine our joy when the first person we saw inside was Kovacs tuning his guitar! As the service began there was a joy in the singing as he led us through a series of choruses along with new member who plays. We clapped and sang and clapped and sang! Many of the regular members were present as well as a few new ones. We definitely "danced before the Lord" with full and grateful hearts.

Thank you for praying for the Csobanka church. There is still healing that needs to take place. Please continue to pray that the members will forgive each other and realize their need to be like Christ in all aspects of their lives. Give God the glory!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Student.GO Off to Slovakia

We have a team of college students spending the summer with us and our CBF colleagues, Dianne & Shane McNary, in Slovakia. Amanda from UNC Asheville, NC; Cody from Texas A&M, College Station, TX; Robert from Campbell U, Buies Creek, NC; and Anna from Southeast MO State U in Cape Girardeau. We call them Team TAG (Touch a Gypsy). They had an outstanding week of Backyard Bible Camp with Roma children in Tuzser (in partnership with the youth from Vestiva Hills Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL) After a couple of days of recovery at our house, they left this morning for three weeks of camp in Slovakia. Please pray for each of the team as they are the presence of Christ among the Roma in eastern Europe.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lots of love, lemonade, and laughs - that's the way the week could be summed up. The Youth group from Vestiva Hills Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL and four members of Team Tag (CBF Student.Go summer missionaries) spent a week in Tuzser, Hungary providing a Backyard Bible Camp for the Roma students. Each day we had over 150 kids squeezed into a tiny room for energetic singing, a interactive Bible story, a fun craft, and a yummy snack. The day concluded with games in a nearby field. Two evenings we held a "Teen Night" when only teens were allowed in the church. The young men and women enjoyed having a time just for them and hearing the testimonies of the American youth. It was difficult to say good bye when the last day arrived. The message of God's love, joy, and acceptance rang clear as we shouted our farewells. It was a fantastic week!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Joshua Guy Stocks Graduates!

It was a week of parties and celebrations as we went from house to house honoring the graduates with food and drink. Nine parties in seven days! Whew! It was tiring but oh so much fun. Josh and his friends took advantage of the week by hanging out, playing basketball & X-Box, even sleeping on the sidewalk in front of the school one night.

Graduation day was full of smiles and tears. His school has the tradition of honoring the families by giving the mother a rose during the ceremony. It is a special moment. Afterwards we hosted a group of people for a cookout. I think after a hectic week of preparations we were all ready to sit and relax, being together one last time as families.

The exodus of graduates and their families started the next day. Constantly saying good-bye is a fact of life in the missionary world. Knowing we may never see many of these people again makes it more difficult. We have lots of happy memories though.

This marks the end of one phase of life for the us. Ralph and I are officially empty-nesters. Amy returned to the US Saturday and Josh follows on Wednesday. While this chapter is coming to a close we are excited to see what God has in store for all of us in the next ones!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


This is a big week in the Stocks family. Our son, Joshua, graduates from the International School of Budapest on June 6th at 10AM. We are very proud of him. He plans to attend Mercer University in Macon, GA this fall. Join us in celebrating!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Gandhi Camp: English + Games + Food = FUN!

28 Roma Gandhi students, 1 French Gandhi teacher, 11 Campbell University students, 1 recent Clemson grad, 1 Hungarian translator, and 2 CBF Field Personnel - mix them all together and you have a week of fun for all! The team of 12 from the US came to teach English to the chosen Gandhi students at an overnight camp in the countryside near Pecs, Hungary. The Gandhi students came to practice their English and to hear native speakers communicating. So much more was accomplished.

Laughter could be heard throughout the week as the three daily English lessons with different international themes were taught. During the recreation times the competition was good-natured and energetic. (4-square, Blob tag, soccer, limbo, frisbee tag, and others) Meals times found all present ravenous and willing to try new things. (Fat cookout for the Americans and American pancakes, s'mores, sloppy joes, and tacos for the Roma.) Craft times were spent creating works of art with picture frames, Chinese take-out boxes, and other various items. During the morning and evening gathering times the singing was enthusiastic and joyful. The talent show showcased the gifts of the Roma and Americans alike. The most moving times were the evening devotions when the American young people spoke of God's love and His influence in their lives. The Roma listened as their peers told them of God's forgiveness, power, and sacrifice. What a testimony!

When the 5 days together drew to a close tears were shed, email addresses exchanged, and memories stored away. It was a wonderful time for all involved. We are grateful to Erika, the Gandhi director, for trusting us with her students. We are grateful to the group of American college students for giving up a week of the their summer and a bit of their spending money to minister along side of us. We are grateful to all of our prayer supporters for praying for this week. Mostly we are grateful to God for loving us all.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Computer virus! Achoo!

We actually wish we had a physical ailment that could be cured with rest and chicken soup! Computer viruses are much harder to deal with. Thanks to our wonderful CBF Technical Support, Jenny Samp, we were able to "cure" ALMOST all of it. Unfortunately due to a glitch, we lost all of our emails and most importantly all of our email addresses. (Yes, we had it backed-up but something failed.) So if you haven't heard from us - we're starting all over again. Please email us so we can get you back on our update list. We are not giving you the cold shoulder nor have we dropped out of circulation. We want to be in contact! Please send us a note. Thanks! Tammy & Ralph

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"What's Your Name?" FBC, Augusta!

"Mi A Neved?" is what is written on the front of the t shirts - what's your name? As each Gandhi student was handed one they immediately turned it over to find their name in the list. Then big grins broke out as they saw it there in black. It was another sign that they are important.

This week a team from First Baptist Church in Augusta, GA is saying to the Gandhi students "What's Your Name?" through the English lessons, fun nights, and outreaches. In class they are learning the different names we are called. In the evening they are shown that God knows their names - each and everyone.

On Thursday night, a man with a famous name, Elvis (!) and the Elvisettes, showed up during the pizza dinner. At first the students were stunned but as "Hound Dog" began they went wild with the rhythm! Who would know a lawyer, doctor, minister, businessman, and CBF GSC'er had so much talent to share??

Friday all the staff was honored with a tea of appreciation. They too received t shirts, New Testaments, and special gift bags full of teacher supplies. We wanted to say how thankful we are for their dedication to Gandhi.

After a weekend to recuperate, Monday began with English classes again. Monday evening was game night with ice cream and the opportunity to make name necklaces - another way to be reminded God truly knows your name and loves you.

Please continue to pray for the Gandhi students. Ask God to call out young men and women to follow Him and be leaders among the Roma of Hungary. Give praise for the influence FBC has had this week. Continue to pray for Clista and Glen Adkins and their ministry there.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Csobanka Heals - Answered Prayers

It was a dark, dreary winter and the weather had little to do with it. Our little Roma church in Csobanka was suffering. You may have noticed for many weeks I have listed on our prayer requests, "Please pray for healing and forgiveness among the members of the Csobanka Roma Baptist Church". There were words spoken, feelings hurt, unkind actions taken, and satan was having a heyday, giggling all the way as the members dropped out, refusing to return despite efforts at reconciliation. We knew only prayer, the work of the Spirit, could heal the wounds. Two - three faithful kept the little church going. Our spirits sagged as we went through the drab, gray days of winter. We continued to ask our supporters to pray...

God heard and answered! Spring came and along with it new life! Suddenly, without any signs, the members begin to come back! We have had near capacity crowds of 16-20 adults and 4-6 children. Last Sunday, with the blooms of the fruit trees, tulips, and lilacs adding color to the landscape, the voices singing praises to God could be heard as the church met. Healing has begun and forgiveness is coming. Several members testified that they realized they shouldn't let others get in the way of their relationship with God. We are overwhelmed at the working of the Spirit in the lives of Roma members. There is no way to explain it but through the power of prayer and God speaking to their hearts. As we left, I thought surely satan is crying today! For God has overcome! Thank you for being a part of that!

Please continue to pray for the Csobanka Roma Baptist Church and its members. There is still reconciliation that needs to take place. While forgiveness is being offered, it is hard to forget the hurts. Ask the Spirit to continue to work, softening the hearts, and bringing the discouraged ones back to Him. Please ask specifically that God would speak to Kovacs (KO-vach), our guitar player and song leader, and his wife, who are still not ready to return.

Join us in praising God for answered prayers!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ministry in Action

Music to the ears.... Glen and Clista Adkins joined our team last August and serve on staff at the Gandhi High School in Pecs. This all Roma school fosters the students in positive ways as they study and navigate the high school years. Clista teaches English not only to the students but to the staff as well. More about that another time...

Glen came with the goal of building a music program and helping record some of the Roma music by writing it down with notes and lyrics. Presently he is working to form a choir and teaching the musically gifted students (music is a huge part of the Roma {Gypsy} culture), who often sing, dance, and play musical instruments with a natural ease - how to read music, follow a director, sing in parts, and other great musical things. (Is it obvious I don't know much about it myself??) Click on the link below to hear a bit of what is happening at the Gandhi school and see the talented students. You will note (look quick) one of the young men playing a "kanna" - what looks to us like a milk-jug. The dance you see the young ladies doing is very traditional. It is taught to them by the older women in their families - mothers, aunts, grandmothers - and passed down through the generations.

Glen and Clista will be taking this very talented group to Lepzig, Germany in July to perform at the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Youth Conference. This will be a trip of a lifetime for most of these students. Join us in praying they will see Christ. The world gives negative messages to the Roma, pray these students will experience love and acceptance first hand from those gathered for this meeting.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cooking Lesson

I enjoy cooking (but not the cleaning up!). My friend, Zita, who helped me entertain a Roma friend with a cooking class, asked me to teach some of her Hungarian friends. So with recipes in hand I helped a group of eight learn how to do some easy, fun, and delicious foods for parties. We did mini hotdogs in a sweet/spicy sauce, onion dip, Hidden Valley (with a Hungarian mix), a paprika dip, no-cook banana pudding, and three variations of oatmeal cookies. Whew! The ladies, being ladies, also talked about husbands, kids, work, and church. I showed them how to carve out a cabbage or a round loaf of bread to use as serving dishes. I explained presentation can help make food look good. It was fun and served as an outreach for Zita to also invite the ladies to be apart of the Baptist Church's women's group.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Gypsy Cluster Meets in Athens

The Gypsy Cluster meets twice a year to strategize, talk budgets, hear reports on each other's ministries, fellowship, and in Athens - eat some great Greek food. We welcomed newcomers, Glen and Clista Adkins, to the group while saying good bye to Eddie and Macarena Aldape. (They are NOT leaving CBF, they continue to minister among the Banjara of India but are moving to a new team in Asia.) It was a fruitful and fun meeting.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Rome at Easter

Everyone said we were crazy to go to Rome between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday! We wanted to celebrate Josh's last Spring Break at home and Rome is where he wanted to go. It is such a Biblically historic city filled with outstanding works of Christian art - not to mention the largest cathedral in the world! The crowds were not bad at all - although we were there Monday and Tuesday of the week. I'm sure the closer it got to Good Friday, the more crowded it grew. It was a fun time for us both.
This picture is me (Tammy) and Josh in St Peter's Square in front of St Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican City.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Easter Traditions

Easter is a major holiday in Hungary. We have a large Catholic population so a large number of religious activities are held. Culturally the Magyars have special activities to celebrate this occasion too. On Easter Monday men of all ages dress in their finest clothes and call on the ladies in their lives. They ring the gate bell and say a little poem that has been handed down through generations of Hungarians. The men then sprinkle the head of the females with perfume. In response the women are to give the men a red egg. Through the years the dyed egg has evolved into a chocolate egg with fancy wrapping or in some cases the lucky fellow gets money! Many Hungarian children also receive chocolate bunnies and have an egg hunt in the yard. It's a fun time for the children.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Missionary Moms Having Fun

What's the saying about "All work and no play"? On the last weekend in February most of the community of the International Christian School of Budapest (our son Josh's school), which is largely missionary, puts aside their work to have fun at the annual basketball tournament. It is a great time of relaxing, watching basketball, eating junk food, and being together. We are grateful for all the work that goes into making it happen.

This year I helped organize some of the entertainment - a group of moms doing a routine with mops in a spoof of the drill team or flag corps. To see the routine click on the this link- Or you can search You Tube for ICSB Mopping Moms. Thanks to our friend and colleague, Glen Adkins, for immortalizing us on the web!

It was also a time of mixed emotions for our family. This was Josh's last basketball game and Ralph's last time to coach the team. There were nine seniors on the varsity team! It was a tear fest for the moms when the last buzzer rang. Now we're marching on to graduation.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gypsy Smith School to Celebrate 10 Years

Dear Gypsy Smith School Faculty,

How many years do you think the Gypsy Smith School has been serving Roma church leaders? I’m sure many of you who were involved from the very beginning could answer this question very quickly. Others may not be so sure. Well, the answer is 10 years!

This March we will be celebrating 10 years of the Gypsy Smith School. We wish all of our GSS faculty members could be physically present at this special event, but we realize this is simply not possible. So, we would like for you to be present with us in two ways. One way is to intentionally pray for the Gypsy Smith School every day during the month of March. In this way you’ll be present with us in thought and spirit. The second way we would like to request your presence is through a simple statement. We’d like for you reflect on your time with the Roma students and send me a statement about your most memorable/significant moment with them. We plan to share some of these memories at the celebration and in this way you’ll be present with us through sharing your special memories. We also may use these statements for the newsletter and/or webpage.

You can send the statements to

Thank you for your prayers, statements, and continued support of the Gypsy Smith School.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Roma Missions Weekend

On Saturday, 2/16/08, the Roma Missions Committee held their quarterly meeting. This is when they discuss strategies, make plans, affirm each other, offer advice, and whatever else needs to be done. It was a very productive meeting.

On Sunday the leaders spread out across the city to speak in various Hungarian Baptist churches to ask for prayer and support for the Roma of Hungary. We took our guests Tibi and Natasha Lakatos and Tibor Joni to our Hungarian partner's, Tivadar Szegedi' church. After a great meal in Tivadar and Zsuzsa's home we were off to the Csobanka Roma church. The Roma leaders encouraged the members to reach out and bring about healing to the others that have fallen away. The church is going through tough times.

On Monday we had to go by the Bible League headquarters here for Tibi and Tibor to pick up Bibles for their small but growing rapidly congregations in northeast Hungary. Then we spent the rest of the day touring Budapest, eating bean goulash, and freezing in the cold as we walked around. Lots of work and ministry was accomplished as well as a time of rest and relaxation.

Please continue to pray for the Roma Mission of Hungary as we partner together to bring the Good News to the Romany.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Women Bonding

Everyone talks about Male Bonding... I recently experienced Female Bonding that crosses cultural boundaries and is evident despite differences in languages.

Saturday was a regular meeting of the Roma leaders. We invited one of the men, Tibi, to bring his wife, Natasa, to spend the weekend with us. They have carried most of the burden of a building renovation (changing a house into a place of worship) in their village of Szakmercserke. We wanted to give them some much needed R&R.

While Tibi and Ralph were in the meeting Natasa and I headed to the Csuhai house. (Jozsi was in the meeting too) Zita Csuhai had invited a Hungarian friend to join us too. I spent most of the day teaching the ladies several American recipes. (Zita had been asking me to do this for a long time) We learned how to make chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, cheese balls, pigs in a blanket, and a sour cream dip. As I measured with American utensils, Zita took the flour, sugar, whatever and measured it the Hungarian way. We made ourselves sick from munching on the food throughout the day.

This day was more than cooking and eating. It was four women talking about life - raising children, shopping for good prices, keeping house, weight, hormones, and about the challenges we face. An American, two Hungarians, and a Roma - all laughing and having a great time together with the common bond of womanhood. Isn't God great to make us so wonderfully and fearfully???

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Help Wanted. Young, Energetic Workers Needed.

Below is an invitation to join Georgia CBF in a short-term mission trip to assist us in an English camp for the students at the Gandhi School. We take the top, specially chosen students to a nearby camp for English learning, games, fellowship, good food, and most importantly, an opportunity to see Christ through those serving. Look at our blog dated July 4, 2008 to see pictures of last year's camp. Take a glance at the website and please consider being a part of this adventure.
**Note there can be some flexibility in attending the organziational meetings if you are too far away. Access to a phone for conference calls would be a plus.

Hungary Mission Trip
You are invited to join others on a mission trip to Hungary on May13-23, 2008. Serving alongside CBF Field Personnel, a team of 6-10people will lead a five-day English camp for Roma (a.k.a. Gypsy) highschool students. Visit for more information orcontact Scott Ford at or 478.72.1191 ext 28. The website notes a February 13 application deadline which is somewhat flexible. Just call or email soon to get involved.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

3 More Years! 3 More Years!

No, it's not a political chant - it's Ralph and me shouting about our residence permits! We were granted 3 more years! It is an answered prayer. The missionary grapevine here is full of stories about others being granted varying amounts of time. We had hoped for more than 1 year so we wouldn't need to renew in the middle of our off-field assignment next year. That would have been a hardship. Thanks for praying!

**Josh was only given through the end of June. They said since he was graduating that is all he needed. Now how did they know he was going back to the US for university??

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Field Personnel Entertainment

Hungary is not a very attractive place in the winter. The days are short on daylight, drab, gray and wet. On just such a day, while visiting Glen and Clista Adkins in Pecs, we laughed and relaxed at the Pecs Marzipan Museum! Calling it a museum is being generous since it is really no more than a store lined with display racks. However, the displays were awesome! A life size Elvis all from marzipan! Models of the cathedrals of Pecs and Budapest. A desert scene. Models of Disney characters. Furniture with elaborate embroidery designs - all from marzipan! It was a delightful way to spend 30 minutes. Fun in Pecs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sneak Peek at the Gandhi School Choir

Double click on this web address for U-Tube to get a sneak peek at the Gandhi School Choir. CBF's newest staff person, Glen Adkins, is ministering among the students with music. Despite only having met a few times before Christmas, the group has a beautiful sound. Please pray for this ministry - Ask God to bring the students to the class, give Glen ideas and patience, and that through it all His name would be praised.
**If for some reason the video doesn't come up when you double click - go to and put Gandhi Choir in the search box. It will appear then for sure.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus in Csobanka!

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party?!?! After lighting the Advent candles and listening to a sermon on Christmas gifts, we celebrated the greatest gift of all - God's Son! Ralph and I came prepared with a car load of balloons, horns, hats, drinks, yummy food, and a tray of cupcakes that spelled out "Boldog Szuletesnapot Jezuska". The children and adults donned the party hats and munched down on the food. It was a great time.

Once the party was winding down we sent the children out and brought in boxes sent by some of our partnering churches (see below). The parents could pick out gloves, hats, socks, toothbrushes, and toothpaste to take home for Christmas presents for their children. After all had gotten what they needed we sent the remaining items with a Hungarian friend who ministers at an orphanage near his home. (The children's homes here are filled with Roma kids who have very little hope of getting a gift on Christmas.)

The day before a Hungarian partner had brought a puppet show to Csobanka and invited the children to come. They were to hand out the Christmas child boxes provided through Samaritan's Purse. (We know many churches in the US that support this ministry) It was a wonderful experience. The children were excited, the parents pleased, and the workers relieved. We were unsure how many kids would come so it was difficult to estimate the number of Christmas boxes needed. God is in control - how could we doubt? There were 50 boxes and... exactly 50 children!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Christmas in Szatmercseke.

In Hungary it is a Christmas tradition that Baby Jesus and his angels bring the Christmas gifts - not a jolly, fat man dressed in a red suit. Angels come in many forms and this year in the village of Szatmercseke they were named Ralph and Tivadar, who came in a Skoda car (no sleigh) loaded down with Christmas boxes and bags. They were not alone. Other angels assisting were the members of Westwood Baptist Church in Cary; WMU ladies with Felicity Gordan at Parkway Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC; the children of Northside Baptist Church in Bernie, MO, (Tammy's childhood church); and members in Meridan, MS at Grace Fellowship Church - who all contributed with different items for the bags. We were overflowing with hats, gloves, socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other hygiene items! The adults received gifts too thanks to the Wrights at Grace Fellowship who sent lots of candy canes.

The children were excited to get their boxes/bags and have something special of their own. We also stuffed inside a little toy, a notebook, crayons, cookies, and an orange. The celebration was more special because a truckload of furniture, donated to the Roma mission, also arrived this very day. Several families were able to take home badly needed items to use for their families.

Thanks to all who contributed. Christmas Joy was spread by Jesus and His Angels...