Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Today is the day in the US when we remember the men and women who gave their lives and those that continue to give of themselves in serving our country in the armed services. I have long heard the saying, "Freedom isn't free." I came to understand the true meaning of this through the life of US Marine Lance Corporal Andrew Russoli, 1984-2005. Andrew was the son of our friends from Greensboro, NC, Sally White Sipes and Roland Russoli. He was a childhood friend of Amy's. Andrew's life motto was 'Strength and Honor'. Today I remember Andrew... Strength & Honor...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pocsaj Celebrates

Their first meeting place after they outgrew their living rooms was a room at the local police station. The local villagers thought this was a hoot because stereotypically Roma (Gypsies) and jail go hand in hand. This group was different though. They were meeting to worship the God that loves and cares for them because they ARE Roma. From this location they moved to an abandoned movie theater and from there they relocated to their very own place of refuge, a house renovated into a church. This journey is only a portion of what the Pocsaj Roma Baptist Church celebrated this past weekend.

It has been a history of highs and lows but one to be celebrated nevertheless. They remembered the outdoor baptism, not a big deal until you realize it was in December and there was snow on the ground. Fondly they recalled the birth of triplets to a faithful couple struggling with infertility and seeing those three babies dedicated to the Lord. There were remarks of various revivals, worship leaders, volunteers from Hungary and from the USA, and so many other wonderful memories. The congregation gave thanks to God for leading them this far and asked his blessing on their future. Join us in praying for the Pocsaj Roma Baptist Church and for God's leading...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

25 Years Together...

May 25th was a very hot, humid day in southeast Missouri in 1985. Northside Baptist Church, a split from the First Baptist Church in Bernie, MO, population 1500, was overflowing with friends and family. My dad decided to cut off the air-conditioning just before the ceremony began because the drafts were making the candles smoke and I had fulfilled my wedding dream of lots and lots of candles. Smokey candles just would not do! The sanctuary instantly heated up to sweltering and the good folks inside began to fan themselves with old bulletins and hymnal covers. After being escorted down the aisle by my dad, I eagerly grabbed Ralph's hand and prepared to say, "I Do" only to have to stifle the giggles as everyone in the wedding party stared at the huge drop of sweat on the end of the pastor's nose. Each of us were gently shaking our heads, hoping he would too, our shoulders shook, we were afraid to look each other for fear of laughing out loud. Pastor Bob waxed on about the institution of marriage while all I, and I later found out everyone else on the platform, could think was "DROP! DROP!"

That was the scene 25 years ago today that started us out on this wonderful adventure of marriage. It's been a roller coaster of adventure with 2 fantastic children, homemaking in Thomasville, Greensboro, Derecske, and Budapest, supportive family, great friends, excellent colleagues, and a loving God. Happy Anniversary to us and we're looking forward to the next 25 or more!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

End of English Club or How to Spend a Relaxing Saturday

Last fall I was searching for a ministry opportunity and was invited to help with the English Club of the Kelenfold Evangelical Church. I became the conversation facilitator for a group of intermediate English learners. I occasionally led the devotion time and often brought a cake for dessert. (Much to Ralph's dismay they were always eaten - no leftovers for the hubby) My group consisted of Hungarians in various walks of life but all eager to improve their English. We had a good time each week discussing various subjects, reading out loud, and defining vocabulary words. They were an eager group and also helped me learn new Hungarian words.

To celebrate the end of class (it runs only during the school calendar) the whole club consisting of beginners, intermediates, and advanced learners attended a picnic on Frank Hill. The garden plot was owned by one of the students and we had authentic goulash cooked the old-fashioned way over an open fire. The views of the city were beautiful and the weather was sunny. It was relaxing to sit and enjoy the company. I'm already looking forward to this fall.

Planning a Mission Trip?

A colleague shared an interesting article about the "Ten Worst Practices" of short-term mission trips. It is a brief article and well worth the read. Scott Kirby's Equipped for Adventure: A Practical Guide to ShortTerm Mission Trips is a practical resource for any short-term mission trip leader/organizer.

(idea from Shane McNary)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Josh Turns 21!

We want to wish our son, Joshua, a very happy 21st birthday! Or as we say here, "Boldog Szulitesnapot!" We love you! Picture #1 is present day with his Aunt Stacy and picture #2 is at about 2 years old.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gandhi & Campbell - Day 3, The Last One

"Rain, rain go away..." so the old children's song goes. Unfortunately the rain was accompanied by gail force winds and very cool temperatures. The day started with a warm breakfast of sausages and pancakes with gallons of hot chocolate. We crowded into the common room for English lessons and play time, only venturing out for bathrooms (in another building) or a hot drink (also in another building). During the last devotion time Jonathan shared about the greatest hero of all: Jesus Christ. Then as is our tradition, we held a talent show, took a group picture, and finished up with S'mores. Who knew you could make S'mores in the oven?? The talent show was fun with lots of lively music and the students went wild when Glen and Clista sang an old bluegrass song. Tears flowed as we reminded the students they are loved by God, they are loved by us, and they can do ANYTHING they put their hearts, minds, and energies into. Gandhi students are the best!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gandhi & Campbell - Day 2

Today could have been titled: How to Entertain Teenagers on a Rainy Day in a Small Space. The weather did not cooperate. It was rainy and cold with a a gusty breeze. This did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Gandhi nor the Campbell students. The Super Hero English lessons went smoother with more participation as the leaders grew more comfortable and the students grew bolder. The normal outdoor activities gave way to bracelet making, Wii playing, cards, folk dancing, assembling a puzzle, purse making from bandannas (the genius idea of Shirley Womble), movie watching, and of course, lots and lots of English conversation. We kept the food coming and the hot water pot full for tea and hot chocolate. The day ended with devotions led by Savi on the Bible Hero, Moses. Savi began his story time by saying, "Jo Estet!" which means good evening in Hungarian. The kids broke out in cheers and clapping. My favorite moment was watching the girls, eager to share their culture, teach Anna how to do a Roma dance. Despite the rain and gloomy skies, the day was filled with fun.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gandhi Gimnaszium & Campbell University - Day 1

With the beginning of English camp today we marked the 5th anniversary of providing a fun-filled English-learning experience for Roma students at the Gandhi High School in Pecs. This is the 3rd year the student ministries of Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC, has partnered with us and Glen and Clista Adkins to lead the camp. The excitement was so high and the reputation of fun so well known that there was a waiting list of teenagers that wanted to attend this year.

Today centered on getting to know one another, eating good food, practicing English, and playing games. The Gandhi students had barely gotten into the camp before a quick game of 'Round the World started at the ping pong table and the chalk lines were being drawn for 4 Square. The English lessons this week center on Super Heroes. Tonight during the devotional time, Campbell Divinity student, Shirley Womble, told the story of a real hero from the Bible, Queen Esther. Two girls called out because they are named Esther but were not familiar with their namesake.

Tomorrow promises more fun, story telling, games, and of course, lots of food (what else can one expect when 29 teenagers are hanging around?). Please pray as the Campbell team builds relationships that they will be the hands, feet, and mouthpieces of Christ. Please pray for the rain to hold off and the temperatures to be warm.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Web Design for Project Ruth

Project Ruth, a ministry located in the Ferentari neighborhood of Bucharest, is making a difference in the lives of Roma (Gypsy) children. Through education they are helping to break the cycles of poverty so prevalent among the Roma. Project Ruth was one of CBF's first mission partners and one that Ralph and I are closely associated with.

Check out their new web site and consider how you might help through prayer, giving, or volunteering.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Introducing Rachel...

Rachel (Stephen) Brunclikova is already known to people who are familiar with CBF Global Missions with the Roma. Rachel began her service years ago as a Global Service Corp missionary when she served in Litomerice, Czech Republic. After graduating from Truett Seminary in Waco, TX, Rachel returned to Global Missions, this time as field personnel serving in Kosice, Slovakia. Rachel left CBF to marry Vlada, a Czech national.

A couple of years ago discussions of whether Rachel was interested in returning to missionary service were a mere curiosity. But over the next year, many things happened in Rachel and Vlada’s life which prepared Rachel to return to her calling to serve among the Roma. Because of follow up medical treatments after an operation, Rachel will be commissioned in absentia during the General Assembly, 23-26 June, in Charlotte, NC.

Join us in praise for Rachel, Vlada and their son Michal Patrik (who will be four years old in July). Pray for Rachel as she continues to heal and as she begins her ministry. As an Affiliate, Rachel must raise 100% of her financial support – she is not funded through the Offering for Global Missions. Pray that God will lay a burden for all the people of the Czech Republic – Roma and non-Roma – and that God will lead individuals and churches to invest in the ministry of Rachel Brunclikova.

If God is leading you or your church to give, contact us and we’ll tell you how to support Rachel!

**This blog entry written by Shane McNary, our Gypsy Team colleague. Thanks Shane!