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!