Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Fruit of the Spirit is...Patience

The old saying goes, "Patience is a virtue." How many times have we laughingly said, "Lord give me patience and give it to me now!"? For Adam Hufnagel, a Hungarian lay leader, the fruit of the Spirit was very present. For 20 years, Adam and his wife, Lenke, have traveled to the village of Solvadkert to be the presence of Christ among the Roma there. They began a Roma Club as an outreach to share the Good News. Adam and Lenke faithfully went to the village, building relationships and patiently giving of themselves. Many seeds were planted and nourished but no Roma made an outward declaration to follow Christ - until recently. Adam and Lenke reaped their first harvest this past week when the first group of professing believers was baptized. Gyula Sztojka with seven members of his family entered the waters to profess Jesus as their Savior for the whole village to see. It was a wonderful celebration with praise songs, testimony, new Bibles, and prayers said for each new believer. The Fruit of the Spirit... patience and faithfulness for 20 years.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow..."

The week with the team from First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC seemed to fly by. Before we knew it our last day had come. After a farewell luncheon provided by the Gandhi administration, the team set up in the hallway leading to the cafeteria. The next few hours were spent saying good-bye and handing out book mark Valentines. The book marks had been lovingly crocheted by ladies at FBC. To each was attached a heart that reminded the students of God's never-ending, always constant, unconditional love for them. It was a terrific way to end the week.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gandhi's Got Talent!

Simply saying, "Gandhi's Got Talent" is an understatement! The students of this school are exceptionally gifted. The week of English tutoring and special events traditionally ends with an all-school talent show. This year was no exception. The talents ranged from traditional Gypsy dancing to hip-hop to modern Hungarian pop. The library was packed with students eager to cheer on their friends. The talent portion ended with the FBC, Greenville group leading a routine to "Love Train" which turned into a free-for-all dance session. After the awards were given out everyone was surprised with ice cream. As the students made their way to their dorm rooms you could hear laughter and the refrain of "Love train, join hands, love train, get on board..."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Scenes from Gandhi Choir

Tuesday night the Gandhi School choir that Glen has led for the last three years gave a concert. It was lively and beautiful. So many of the students are very musically talented. It was a treat for them to perform and certainly a blessing for us to listen. The four musicians surprised us by coming in wearing shiny silver and black matching shirts. They were quite proud of themselves for thinking of this. Most of the ladies of the choir were dressed in their traditional outfits or dressy clothes.

After the concert we celebrated with a party - Bingo, cookies, candy, picture taking, and lots of conversation. Bingo was lively since the students shout out when they have the number called and not just when they have Bingo!

It was a fun day

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Scenes from Gandhi Bible Club

The Gandhi Bible Club began in 2000 when CBF placed the first Global Service Corps person, Mark Knowles, at the Gandhi School to teach English. It was a partnership with the Hungarian Youth at the Pecs Baptist Church assisted by Tamas and Szilvi Goebl. When Penny Mann arrived a few years later, she and the Goebls continued the club. Today the Bible Club members meet with Glen and Clista Adkins and the Goebls.

This past Monday the First Baptist Church Greenville, SC team provided a few surprises for the Bible club and a good time was had by all! The evening began with singing, an icebreaker game, and a devotion on the Good Samaritan. These students understand what a Samaritan may have faced during Jesus' time. Also the lesson of "Who is a Neighbor?" was good for all of us.

The second half of the club time was spent playing Bingo by placing red hot candies on the cards as the numbers were called out. Next pictures were taken of the students to be placed in frames with the week's Bible verse theme on them. Lastly there was food! Teenagers the world over love to eat and these are no exception. The homemade Valentine sugar cookies were a welcome treat until the teens spotted the chocolate. This was all topped off with chips, coke, and hot cocoa. What a night!

ET gets a Computer

FBC Greenville has been investing in the lives of the Gandhi students for several years. When they first started ET was a young student, small in stature, but very vocal and energetic. The team members have watched him mature into a wonderful young man. Most of us, though, will always picture that little boy trying to help FBC member, Henry, clap in rhythm to a praise song and seeing ET burst into laughter when Henry couldn't quite get it.

ET graduated last year from Gandhi and this past fall began his studies at the university in law. To show support for him and to say how proud they are of what he has accomplished, FBC Greenville gifted ET with a computer. When it was presented to him yesterday at lunch he was overcome with emotion. He said, "I have no words in any language..." With tears in his eyes he thanked the FBC members over and over. It was a huge gesture of encouragement and will make life easier as ET becomes a lawyer.

Thank you FBC, Greenville for caring about a young Roma boy and continuing to support him through the years.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gandhi, Tshirts, & Hot Cocoa, Oh My!

The day began with the FBC heading to worship at the Pecs Baptist Church. The roads were snow packed and many remarks were made on how life goes on in Pecs during the snow but in Greenville everything shuts down. We had a meaningful time when communion was served. The Hungarian words were not understood but the symbolism of what we were doing together as believers was very well known.

We lunched on the mountain and had to tramp through the snow to get to the restaurant overlooking the city. The team gets energized by their romps through the white stuff!

The evening found us making our way to the Gandhi School. Since most of the students board at the dorm they begin trickling in between 5PM-8PM. In one of the common areas the Greenville folk set up a hot chocolate station and a table overflowing with tshirts. The hot chocolate was very welcomed on this way-below-freezing evening. Did I mention the team brought 90 pounds of it?? Marshmallows were a new thing for some of the kids. Since there is no equivalent in Hungarian we called them "sponge candy". Like most teenagers, the Roma kids love tshirts. The long-sleeved, red t's with a light bulb on the front were very popular. The theme this week is "Let your Light Shine". There were lots of shouts of greetings as the older students came through the doors and saw members of the Greenville group - some have come multiple times and the relationships have grown.

Great way to spend a cold, snowy evening in Pecs, Hungary

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gandhi Staff Appreciation

The staff at the Gandhi Roma High School in Pecs, Hungary works hard. As a way of saying thank you for all they do to teach and help the Roma youth the team from FBC, Greenville, SC provided lunch for them. With Valentine themed table decorations, gyro sandwiches, and homemade cookies the staff was made to feel extra special. Becky Bouton, team leader, presented Erzsbet, Gandhi director, with the gift of a bag and then each staff person received one. The food was delicious and the fellowship sweeter. Thank you hardworking Gandhi staff!

"What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander?"

The local government in the village of Szatmarcserke recently sponsored a program for villagers to purchase geese at a great discount. This Roma woman took advantage and purchased two. While visiting in Szatmarcserke with our ministry partner Tivadar, Ralph walked in as the cook was plucking and gutting the geese in her living room. We're not sure the old saying applies here - looks like both "gooses got cooked". (I know bad play on words!)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Scenes from Szatmarcserke...

Ralph and our friend, ministry partner, Tivadar, a Hungarian pastor, travel to Szatmarcserke monthly to encourage and mentor local Roma church leader, Tibi and his wife, Natasha. Szatmarcserke is located in the northeast section of Hungary not so far from the Ukrainian border. These are scenes from last weekend's trip. The Roma church there is thriving despite the harsh weather and economic conditions the Roma endure. Praise the Lord!