Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mid-Week with Emerywood Youth

It is just over mid-week with the youth team from Emerywood Baptist in High Point. They have been doing Backyard Bible Clubs for Roma children in the village of Ujleta and Pocsaj. The weather has been hot and sunny but the team has been energetic and playful. The kids have soaked up the attention and hugs. Please continue to pray for us all this week. Pray we can be the hands and feet of Christ, sharing without reservation. Pray for continued good health and safety in our traveling.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Emerywood Youth are in the House!

The youth team from Emerywood arrived today. Everyone got here without problems and with all their luggage - answered prayer. Despite their jet lag they were enthusiastic and ready to see a bit of the city. Pray for us as we head out at 9:15 in the morning for Debrecen (where we will sleep) and Ujleta (where the Backyard Bible Club will be held). The youth will conduct their first BB Club Sunday evening with the kids at the Ujleta. To say these Roma kids are excited for the American team to arrive is an understatement! They already think this team is rock star status. Monday-Wednesday we will be in Ujleta in the morning and Pocsaj, another village with a Roma church, in the afternoon. They finish up in Ujleta on Thursday morning and head back to Budapest for a few days of touring. Please pray for safe travels, good health, and that we may each be the presence of Christ this week. We plan on lots of hugs and smiles for the Roma children.

Friday, July 24, 2009

We Have a House!

As of August 21, when the landlord is finished painting and tiling, we will officially be living in the XVI district of Budapest. We are excited and relieved. Thank you for all your prayers that we would quickly find the right house. We are positive we have. It is a 'twin' house or what Americans call a duplex and is only nine years old. We share a side wall with an elderly lady that the landlord assures us is a good neighbor as long as you don't block her driveway. The house has exactly what we asked you to pray for: a modern kitchen, a small yard for the dog, at least 2 bedrooms (we have 1 and what the Hungarians call 2 halves {small}), near the MO and M3 highways, and I laughingly told a few people we would love to have two fully working toilets - this house does! We appreciate your support and concern. Now - come see us, we have the room!

Emerywood BC Youth Team

Please pray for the 12 members of the Emerywood Baptist Church youth team leaving the USA today, arriving tomorrow to join us for a week of Backyard Bible school activities. They will be serving in the mornings in Ujleta (the Roma kids are so excited, this is a first for them) and three afternoons they will be in Pocsaj. Pray for safe travels, the arrival of luggage, and that God's hand will be upon the team as they serve as the presence of Christ in eastern Hungary.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prayer Request - Natasha's father

Prayer Supporters: Please include Natasha and Tibi in your prayers for the next few days, even weeks. We received news today that Natasha's father passed away. He was only 53 (average life expectancy for Roma men here is 55) and was a believer. While his family is comforted that he is in heaven, they still grieve. The names Natasha and Tibi may be familiar to you because we told their amazing story when we spoke in various churches and other settings. They came to know the Lord because Natasha attended a local Bible study. Afterwards Tibi felt called to be a leader and learned to read by studying the Bible. They were also legally married because of their convictions. Natasha and Tibi now have started a little church in their home in the village of Szakmarcserke.

The funeral is tomorrow (Friday, July 24th). Pray for the family.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

House Hunting Update

We have looked at several places ranging from, "You've got to be kidding!" (the one with the beauty shop space in the front with pipes coming up in various places where sinks used to be) to "the bus stop is how far?" (brand new house in a hilly neighborhood with a 30 minute power walk to the bus stop) to "Do what??" (twin house where the wife lived upstairs and the husband lived downstairs. We got to choose which apartment we wanted and obviously which spouse had to move.) We have also seen two places that have promise. We have two more to look at and hope to make a decision by the end of the week. We are anxious to be in our own space with our own things. Please keep praying for the right decision and just the right place to make our home.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Legally On The Road Again or Drivers Licenses Extended!

Yes, our drivers licenses are officially extended for another five years! Hooray! Thanks be to God and thank you for praying this request for us. We anticipated bureaucracy and frustration but got efficiency (well as efficient as it gets) and patience. The first step was the physical exam where we anticipated like last time - EKGs, urinalysis, etc. We worried over Ralph having to take the eye exam. (Side note: For those of you that worry because you have ridden with him in the crazy Hungarian traffic - it's not his eyes!) The doctor, a friend of our landlord's, had us do a few awkward balancing things like walking across the room with our eyes closed. Then he looked at Ralph and said, "You wear glasses." Then to me, "Read the chart." The next thing we knew we were standing on the sidewalk, forms in hand, scratching our heads in wonder. (In the Dr's defense Ralph had explained we just did complete physicals in the USA.)

The next portion was the actual office. As long as you are prepared to wait, all is good. We brought books to read. Here, too, everything went smooth. Well there was one little glitch when it was discovered Ralph's birthday was wrong on the original Hungarian drivers license. Each public servant had to go up the chain of command until "the buck stops here" person got him to sign an affidavit stating his actual birthday. For a few moments we thought they might actually call his mom and ask. :) We have to go back in 2-4 weeks to pick up the actual licenses themselves. (None of that printing them out on the spot stuff here.)

We are grateful for all of you praying for what might seem a small thing but impossible to do without in our ministry here. Please continue to pray for our housing situation. We are looking but have not found anything yet. To God Be The Glory!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where Everybody Knows Your Name...

Sunday afternoon we headed to Csobanka, the village north of Budapest that is home to the Roma (Gypsy) church we attended. A group watched us get out of the car, not sure who we were until Ralph opened the gate and said, "Any friends here?" We were greeted warmly and enthusiastically with handshakes and kisses on both cheeks. Everyone began to say, "A Ralfiek!" In Hungarian that means "The Ralphs!" That is a short way of addressing a family without having to call everyone's name. In this case that was only me. We sang choruses and the preacher of the week spoke for 47 minutes! Welcome back. Then it was catch up time. Ralph spoke about our time in the USA and we heard about their families. It was a wonderful reunion.

Prayer Request - Drivers License

Please pray for us as we begin the process of renewing our Hungarian drivers licenses. It is an involved process requiring a visit to the doctor for testing and an eye exam. We will attempt to begin on Monday, July 13th. Pray all will go smoothly and we will be renewed without delay. Thanks

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Welcome Back to the Land of the Magyars!

After nearly 11 months, a college graduation, a seminary graduation, lots of opportunities to tell the story of ministry among the Gypsies, several family crisi (is that the plural of crisis?), seeing old friends, and making new ones, we've arrived in Hungary. It was difficult to say good-bye and the trip does not get any shorter or easier. We're now energized and ready to see what God has planned. First thing tomorrow we begin house hunting. Please pray we can quickly find a place that meets our needs and in the right location. We also have to get our Hungarian drivers licenses renewed. Pray this goes smoothly and quickly. It involves an eye test, EKG, and urinalysis. It's good to be back!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Packing Never Gets Easier

The dance has begun. I make the piles of things to pack and Ralph figures out how to get it in the suitcases. There are of course the little negotiations that go on. "Does THIS have to go?" "Yes." "Ok, pick out something else to stay." We go back and forth about what we each declare as necessities. :) Packing does not get any easier. Although 'space bags' help. We are thankful to FBC, Greenville, SC for gifting us with these big baggies that seal and vacuum pack down clothes, making much more room. Now I'm off to WalMart for one last buying spree of decaf tea, mustard, and cold medicines...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

15 years and Still Praying...

Ralph and I are attending the annual meeting, the General Assembly, of CBF. It is much like a family reunion, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Wednesday night was the commissioning service for new personnel. Clista Adkins and I entered the nearly full sanctuary of South Main Baptist Church and quickly claimed seats on the row with her husband, Glen. I found myself sitting beside Beverly Greer, Coordinator of Missions for CBF of South Carolina, a long time friend. As I sat there I realized I first met Beverly 15 years ago at my own commissioning service. During the time of the service when they asked attendees to lay their hands on newly commissioned personnel, Beverly laid her hands on me. On that day, she later told me, she prayed for me and continues to this day - 15 years later. Beverly is one of Ralph and my prayer warriors. Pray-ers committed to praying for us and the Roma (Gypsy) ministry regularly. Thank you Beverly! Would you consider joining her?