(Note: This post was written Sunday, June 30 but not received until today, July 1).
Happy Sunday to you all! The team is staying at a church named Golgata here in Kaposvár in Southern Hungary. The team spent some time getting to know the pastor and his family, and we realized we are blessed to be here with such servants to the gospel! Pastor Jury ("George" in English) and Itsel, his wife, have been such encouragers to the team today in introducing us to Hungarian culture that is outside of Budapest.
It has been an honor and privilege to work alongside them today in drama ministry with two church services while we get to know their place of ministry. Jury and Itsel also have their son, Olag, as their worship leader, and this family actually moved from Serbia to invest in this church plant in Kaposvár over 20 years ago. Would you join us in prayer for workers to be sent here to aid in helping this community for the gospel? The harvest is rich, and we have seen the believers gather in this place today.
The church members were very excited to see us and humbled by the drama as we spent today getting to know and practice our Hungarian phrases, and the church members, their English phrases. The students engaged with the people around the block with music and singing about the fruit of the Spirit. The pastor and his family were encouraged by the team engaging with the people as the day went on and are looking forward to ministry this week.
Please continue to pray for divine appointments and revival in this place as we work with Jury, Itsel and Olag. We cherish your prayers and are thankful for your time in reading!
For His Glory!
--Eastern Europe Leadership
It is hard to believe the team is moving from the city to another town. The city of Budapest has been our home for this past week, and we have been in awe of meeting so many people around the world here. The Holy Spirit has filled our conversations and humbled our team as we realized God can speak through any situation and through any person.
The book of Philippians seems to have been brought to us in so many avenues this week. One of our team directors shared Philippians 1:6, "He who began a work in you will bring it to completion" earlier this week, but Jason Teboe from Germany also encouraged the team with Philippians 2:1-16 in reminding us we are called to imitate Christ's humility, and our work is not in vain. What an encouraging time in God's Word as the team continues to walk in unity and seek divine encounters wherever we go.
The Hungarian students: David, Dori and Bugi, have been with us this past week have been so encouraged by the team. As their last day of ministry with the team was Friday night, the team spent some time encouraging them and thanking them for their legacy in joining in the work to share the gospel. The bond these students have shared as family in Christ was inspiring, but the Hungarian students had a surprise for the team before they left ... they had purchased postcards for us with a handwritten message from Philippians 1:3-7.
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart, and whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me."
May you be just as encouraged by this as we have been. We thank you for your prayers! Now on to Kapsovar!
—Eastern Europe Leadership
Sziastok, Family and Friends!
#TeamEasternEurope has been traveling around the city and has had a full day of worship, prayer, teaching and fellowship. We call these the Awe Factors as we unite as a team in Jesus ministry. These factors help us grow deeper, more focused, stronger and closer as disciples. We are so grateful for this team in Eastern Europe! As the team caught up on laundry and began packing for our upcoming travel to Kapsovar, we spent time in a local wash point (laundromat) and engaged in God's Word in small groups while discussing what it means to persevere in running the race.
As the team came up the long escalators from the depths of the metro to Deák Tér, we then engaged in drama ministry to reach the depths of the hearts of the people surrounding us. In Hungary, speaking about the Lord can either lead to an in-depth conversation or a quick "nam" (no). The team has experienced compassion this week and was vastly encouraged. Many of the students tonight met seeking souls seeking truth and were able to point them toward the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) tonight. Some believers even stopped in their travels to encourage the team and pray for the ministry here. God knew the encouragement was perfectly timed in this place, for God charts our course.
You may be wondering about ur blog title, "Jesus and Dr. Pepper." We have been sharing Jesus to so many around us that we were reminded of another area of ministry within the borders of Hungary: each other.
This team has an important member in our ranks here in Hungary, and she is our country contact. Elissa Bella Joy shared with the team her testimony of accepting Christ from the "Jesus" film while under socialist rule in this country, as she is Hungarian. Elissa Bella expresses her gratitude for accepting Christ. Though she has never seen the Christians who brought the video to Hungary again, she prays for them every day. This captivated our hearts as a team to encourage us to keep planting seeds as the Lord is the one who harvests; we are the workers who are obedient to sow.
Not only does Elissa Bella join in the work here in Hungary, but she saw a need for our team of finding Dr. Pepper here. Elissa Bella met the team this afternoon with her backpack and umbrella to protect from the sun, but as the students engaged in ministry, she had a Dr. Pepper for each person to just love them today. Jesus sees the need for each person and provides just what they need—even if it is Dr. Pepper.
Thank you for joining in our journey through prayer!
—Eastern Europe Leadership
You can’t escape the chiseling of God in your life on the mission field. Weakness rises to the top.
Some would see this as a bad thing, and some would keep this from stepping onto the mission field.
But in reality, it’s beautiful.
Our weakness, our sin is exposed under the light of God’s truth. And this is what makes going worth it.
Painful? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. Challenging? Yes.
But so worth it!
We have been in the Refiner's fire this week as we have been on the front lines pushing back darkness. In one of our times together, the question was asked, “What weakness has risen to the top? Pride, selfishness, independence and speech were just a few of the weaknesses the team mentioned.
Through all of this, the Refiner's fire, a testimony is being forged through the test. The glorious stories of lives being changed on the streets of Panama to the Kuna Islands will forever be etched in our heart and told to the next generation.
In addition, the test presented to us this week will be told to many in the next week, months and years as a testimony to how good God is.
Last night was a fitting close to our drama ministry here in Panama as we performed the drama to the owners who “just happened to be in town,” but we know it was a divine encounter. We also presented it to the staff, who have been so gracious to us. The Lord used our team incredibly, and Martha shared a bold net.
We prayed over a young lady who is pregnant but does not know what direction to take in life,. She seems to be in a difficult place. Her boyfriend left her and wanted her to get an abortion, but she chose life. One of our students had an opportunity to pray for her and encourage her. Her test was a testimony for us as we heard all that she has been through yet clung to her hope in God. Would you pray for this young lady?
After returning from the islands yesterday, our students went to a local hangout spot, and we had a few respond to the gospel: a Kuna lady and a sno-cone vendor.
Be proud of these students; they have served Jesus well this week. Today, we will teach our students about how to prepare for home. How do they go back and make a difference and share about all of the great things God has done?
Pray for us as we finish up our ministry in Panama today and head back home tomorrow!
Grateful as always for your prayer support,
—Team Panama Leadership
#TeamGambia spent our day experiencing the culture in The Gambia. We spent time together going to a monkey park and checking out some local shops. We know that God is still at work all around us, so while we were doing this, we were handing out gospel tracts and looking for conversations.
The team will pack up our things in the morning as we prepare to head home.
Please pray for the Lord to continue to give visions and speak to people’s hearts. Pray for the tracts that were handed out, that people would read them and come to the truth. Pray that we would have safe travels home and that the Holy Spirit would continue to move in people's hearts to draw them toward the one true God.
Grateful for your prayers,
What amazing things God is doing here in Budapest.
The students have experienced God's power as they are obedient in sharing Jesus through the gospel. Our team has gone out into parks and plazas without translators this morning. The students were ready to engage in conversation with the language barrier as they were looking forward to ministry today. We were reminded that God is bigger than any barrier, and we just want to celebrate with you how great God is in His provision! Many students experienced conversations of sincere heart with the people of Budapest to talk about what they believe in and point them to the truth.
One of our students was sharing how much this trip means to them as they are growing in truth and what it means to share Jesus with people through conversation. This student was hungry for the next step in their faith and was thankful that God called them to Eastern Europe to grow deeper in the Lord. Jesus calls us to "Go and make disciples" in Matthew 28 and that "People will know you are my disciples by how you love one another" (see John 13:35).
We are so proud of this team and love seeing their heart in worship and in sharing the gospel. These young adults have been willing and ready to go each time we engage the people, and you can see their hearts growing in compassion for each person they come in contact with. The team has asked and prayed to see with Jesus' eyes and love with His heart to the people we encounter. Please pray for continued opportunities as we share!
The team will be going to several plazas in the city tonight as we begin to find any opportunity to share Jesus in the capital of Hungary, the city of Budapest. Our time here is about to transition to two more cities, Kaposvar and Pecs. These cities are further away from the capital, but would you join us in prayer for the people of these cities as we wish to be good stewards of the time we have left in both of these places? It is hard to believe we have been here almost a week and how much the Lord has grown us here.
Looking forward to sharing what God is doing in all of these places, but we thank you for your kind words, encouragements and prayers always!
—Eastern Europe Leadership
#TeamGambia had the last day of medical clinics today. Overall we saw over 1,000 patients with whom we shared testimonies, Bible stories and prayers!
The village we went to today doesn’t have much access to medical treatment. The people kept thanking us over and over again for coming. We were so grateful that God gave us the opportunity to share the truth with the people there and let them know that Jesus loved them and died on the cross for them, just as He did for you and me.
Please continue to pray for the conversations that took place, that the people's eyes would be opened and they would see truth. Pray for them to have visions so they would know the one true God. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give them clarity. Pray for physical and spiritual healing. Pray for God to move!
Today, the team took time out to learn more and engage with the culture and history of the city of Budapest. We visited the site that was once an underground church that began in the time where Christianity was rejected by the government. Today, the church still conducts services and is a place where people can come and learn of the rich history of Hungary.
We also visited the castle wall, built in the 1800s. The view was so impactful because we got to look out onto the city we have been praying for. We also got to climb the steps and experience the wall that surrounds the castle. This is a visual reminder of the walls and strongholds of darkness we are fighting against together. It is also a reminder of how great our God is!
Yesterday, the team almost did the drama at a site right outside a mall, but somebody else was already performing there. Because of this, we just spent time praying over the site rather than performing. Our God does amazing things! As we mentioned before, we met another team doing drama ministry in Deak Ter. Today, we saw that team doing drama ministry in the exact spot we had prayed over yesterday. It is so exciting to see how God uses every part of the body of Christ for His glory!!
Tomorrow, we will jump back into drama ministry. We are excited to see what miracles the Lord does tomorrow! Please continue to pray for the team, the translators and every person who will hear the gospel!
—Team Eastern Europe Leaders
#TeamGambia has been enjoying switching off and doing different positions in the medical clinic and learning some new skills.
Yesterday there was over 500 people who came to the medical clinic. The team shared Bible stories, testimonies, had conversations and prayed with the people as they were in the clinic and outside. There were so many people there that we had to turn some away because we could no longer see to take care of the patients. But we know God brought those people to the clinic to hear about Him.
God is moving in people’s lives. Please pray for the truth that has been placed in these lives. Pray it would continue to grow and that people would come to Christ! Pray for the church members to be able to have a connection with the people so they can help grow the truth.
Thank you for your faithful prayers!
Spending time on the international mission field opens the spiritual eyes of those who have been following Jesus. There is just something about getting out of your comfort zone, going to an unfamiliar place, and engaging with a culture different from ours.
Francis Chan once commented, “I don’t go on the foreign mission field because I am so godly, but I go because I am not so godly, and I need God to rescue me from complacency, apathy and spiritual gluttony.”
This too is our prayer for our students: that they would walk away from their time in Panama with eyes wide open to see that God can do the same things in their community as He has done in Panama.
The beauty of what they have experienced also is that the church is alive and well in Panama and throughout the world, and God invites them to a grand adventure.
Today, we experienced this adventure as we continued our ministry in the San Blas Islands. One of our ministry teams led 11 kids to Christ after performing the drama.
Another one of our young ladies led her first person ever to Christ. As she shared this story while we were in our hammocks preparing for bed, the excitement in her voice was uncontainable.
Thank you for continuing to pray for our team! Would you pray for us that we would finish strong on our last day here in the islands and that many would come to know Christ?
—Team Panama Leadership