Friday, October 6, 2017

Update and next steps

Praise the Lord for what He did through the apologetics training that took place in Debrecen this week!  Attendance was good and trainees were interested in learning how to better share their faith with people who have real questions and may be coming from a quite different worldview.  A big "thank you" to those who took part, to volunteers Donnie and Andre and Bob Hartman International Ministries, the translators, the hosting church Debrecen Baptist, and all who helped. 

The next step is a follow-up training event set to take place tomorrow, October 7; attendees will learn how to lead a simple, inductive Bible study for nonbelievers.  Pray with us that the Lord will use this training opportunity to initiate Bible studies that will have real Kingdom impact in many lives.

"...So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."  Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)
 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Apologetics volunteer team


Final plans are coming together for the Bob Hartman International Ministries apologetics volunteer team that will be in eastern Hungary Sept 30 - Oct 6. Pray for good attendance at the Oct 2 - 4 apologetics training seminar in Debrecen, and that attendees will use what they learn to better share the truths of the gospel message.  

Ask that the Lord will provide many opportunities for the volunteer team to share their faith with those they meet on campus and around the city, and that local believers will go with them to the streets to see this outreach modeled--and then to put aside their fears and join in the conversation!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Training youth to serve

Last week some really cool young guys, "G" and "M," came over to our place for dinner and for training in how to lead simple, inductive Bible studies. This is part of a partnership project with Grain Game and the Baptist church in Karcag, with the goal of providing the next step for young people as they age out of the regular Grain Game Bible camps.

Praise the Lord, it was truly encouraging to see these young guys eager to learn how to serve in this way, to make a difference for good in the lives of others! Pray that the Lord will use G and M to reach many youth with the gospel, and also to pass on this training to others.


"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."  I Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

40 Days of Prayer for European Peoples

This special prayer emphasis begins today!  Print the prayer calendar and join us in lifting up the peoples of Europe.  Our copy is posted on our refrigerator where I am sure I'll see it many times every day (probably more times than I should.)  ;-)

Thank you for your prayers for Hungary and for all of Europe - so many here have never heard of the hope they can have in Christ.  Of course lost people are everywhere, so don't forget to share the love of Jesus in your own neighborhood, too.

Subscribe to the weekly EuroPrayer Bulletin or view past issues at http://mailchi.mp/imbeurope/40-day-of-prayer-for-european-peoples (see links at the top left of that page.)

Friday, September 1, 2017

Volunteer urgently needed

There is an urgent need for a native English speaker to teach beginner-level English students grades K-4 at a Christian school in Debrecen, Hungary. (Note: this is for the Fall 2017 semester.) The teacher need not have a teaching certificate, but should be able to teach the alphabet, basic words, songs, etc. The regular teacher is dealing with a serious medical situation and is expected to be out at least three months. For more information please contact us. This is the school's website; it's in Hungarian, but you can see photos.

Even if you can't help by teaching, please forward to anyone who might be able to help, and please pray for the teacher and her family during this time of difficulty.  Thank you!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Berekfürdő ice cream shop

Enjoying ice cream cones as we prepare for Bible study
Friday not long before we were to leave for Bible study at the new mission point in Berekfürdő we received the sad message that the meeting was to be cancelled...some people were out of town, others were ill, and the keeper of the door key at the facility was not to be found to let us in.  Gary and I looked at each other, both of us knowing immediately that we still needed to be faithful to make the hour-long drive to the town.  If no one else was there and we couldn't get in to the room, then we would go and prayer walk the town; we had learned from experience that praying on site is invaluable in starting a new work. I sent a message to the Karcag church (mother church to the new group) to let them know that we were coming anyway and that anyone who could was welcome to join us.

When we arrived at the appointed place we saw one dear lady waiting across the street from the meeting room.  She hadn't heard the meeting was to be cancelled and had come on the bus from Karcag; trying unsuccessfully to get into the room, she was waiting, hoping someone else would come.

We walked down the street together, praying for the town and the people that we saw.  When we came to a small ice cream shop with outdoor tables, we decided to stop and have Bible study and prayer there (our friend had not come prepared to do a lot of walking.)  It was a wonderful time of interactive Bible study and prayer...and the ice cream was downright tasty, too!  We were all so thankful for the time we had together.

"...Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt. 18:20


Please continue to pray with us for the people of Berekfürdő, and that the Lord would give clear direction about what He would have us do next - all to His glory!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

GG Camp update

Thank you again to all who prayed for the July 24-28 Grain Game camp in Karcag. Most of those at the camp were not "church kids," and a lot of gospel seeds were sown.  Please keep lifting up those who heard the Good News, and for those who also spent time in inductive Bible study with Gary.    The guys Gary was working with said that they believe in God but that they aren't ready to trust Him yet.  May that day come very soon!

We are thankful for the ministry of the Karcag Baptist church and for the work of Grain Game both in Hungary and around the world. Praise the Lord with us for how He is working through His Word, using His people in many creative ways. Here are some pictures from the week.

Our thanks to Grain Game and Grain Game photographer extraordinaire Marci Erdei for the use of the photos.

  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A time of refreshment

This past week Gary and I were in Poland for mission meeting.  In addition to providing opportunities for training and discussion with colleagues, for me it was a much-needed time of worship, fellowship, and encouragement. I hadn't realized how tired and "heavy" I had been feeling, and I am so thankful for what the Lord did in me throughout the week.  Our co-workers and the volunteers who came to minister to us were a huge blessing!  Gary and I also took a vacation day on the way, so we had time to spend just talking with each other and wandering through Katowice, Poland. 20,000 steps on my FitBit that day...SCORE! 😀

Please pray for ministers and Christian workers around the world who are feeling exhausted and weighed down in life and service, that times of refreshment and encouragement would come from the Lord.

Carolyn in Jelenia Góra, Poland

Gary in Prešov, Slovakia, on our way back to Hungary

 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Pig fat and prayer

It's been a marathon of activity here, but what a joy it is to see God working!  Gary has been assisting with a Grain Game Bible camp in Karcag, where he's had the opportunity to provide simple inductive Bible study for some of the older kids.  Some very serious conversations have been taking place!  Pray that these young men will open their hearts to the Lord as they look into His Word.

And tonight after camp is over for the day there will be a cookout -- the Hungarian delicacy of pig fat roasted on a stick over an open fire, with the tasty drippings drizzled over thick hunks of bread topped with slices of onion, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.  Along with food for the body will come some food for the soul.

Pray for Grain Game's Chip Riley and for Gary as they tell the story of how God orchestrated "random" people and events to kick off the crazy, creative wonderfulness that is the Grain Game - Bible teaching for kids unforgettably illustrated through active games, demonstrations, lots of water, shaving cream, balloons and more.  In addition to the Bible truths explored throughout the day, the gospel message will be shared very plainly tonight at the cookout with the campers, family members and friends who come, so pray with us that hearts will be open to receive the message. Pray that nothing--including rain, which caused the postponement of this event last night--will stand in the way of decisions for Christ!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

First meeting at Berekfürdő mission point

Pastor Csaba and small group setting up for meeting
Setting up for the first meeting
Thank the Lord with us for our first meeting in Berekfürdő, where we are establishing a mission point and praying for a church plant in partnership with Pastor Csaba Pesti of Karcag.

We are still looking for a permanent place for the Berekfürdő group to meet, but for now the Catholic priest--who is a friend of Pastor Csaba--is kindly allowing us to use a room belonging to his church.  

Only five of us were present at the July 7 gathering, but it was wonderful to actually be on site in the town for a time of worship, Bible study and prayer. At this point we will be meeting in the town every other week, with alternating Fridays spent in discipleship/evangelism training at the mother church in Karcag.

Continue to pray for Berekfürdő, asking that new connections will form, people will come to Christ, and that a vibrant, reproducing church will be planted.

Small group after the meeting
Small group after the meeting. The courtyard has a very lovely, peaceful garden.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Baptism in western Ukraine

Baptism at the lake
Berehove Baptist church baptism at the lake
Praise the Lord for how God is working! Last week when Gary was serving in western Ukraine, he had the privilege of bringing a brief message at a baptismal service out by the lake. Our friend Pastor Valentin Nehro of the Berehove Baptist church officiated, with the main sermon at the church beforehand being delivered by Pastor István Borzási, former president of the Hungarian Baptist Union in Romania.

Three ethnic Hungarians and one ethnic Russian were being baptized, and besides the church folks that were there, quite a few lost relatives and community members were also on the scene. Some of the family members were antagonistic to the gospel, and we are thankful they were there to hear the Good News. Pray for the new believers as they continue to take a stand for the Lord; ask that they will keep growing and sharing their faith. Ask that God will soften the hearts of the lost ones who heard the gospel, and that one day soon they also will come to Christ.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Longing for the fruit of our labor

Garden harvest
OK, so our garden is yielding vegetables, not fruit!  But as I harvested some of the first produce from our little backyard garden today, I couldn't help but be reminded of our work and the longing of our hearts.

Ministry is full of seed-sowing, watering, tending...yes, there are weeds that must be pulled and pesky dangers that the new growth must be guarded against.  How we yearn to see more of the spiritual seeds that we have sown bear fruit, to have the joy of watching seedlings in the Kingdom garden growing toward maturity and bringing joy to our Creator God.

Pray with us for the work in Hungary, that the coming harvest will be bountiful!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Gardening project

Gardening advice about the Millers' raised bed*
Praise the Lord for the opportunities that come as believers use their gifts and life experiences to make connections and share the gospel!  We're always excited to see how God can use people from any field of study or career background to creatively minister around the world.

Last week Dr. Curtis Smith, horticulture expert from New Mexico, was here serving in eastern Hungary and western Ukraine.  He has been vision casting and sharing his knowledge as we partner with nationals to start a new ministry called "The Master's Gardeners."

 
Pray with us that local leaders will arise for this work  in many communities across the area, which will not only help provide food and business opportunities for needy families, but will also allow believers and churches to minister to their neighbors in new and very practical ways.



Vali and bro-in-law discuss soil quality
Ukrainian pastor Valentin Nehro & his brother-in-law discussed soil quality with Curtis*


Karcag research center measuring water absorption
Karcag ag center researcher Dr. Kovács explains measurement of soil's water absorption*





Karcag research center project to produce heartier wheat
Karcag research center project to produce hardier wheat. A reminder of the harvest we are praying for!
*


  *Photos compliments of the Smiths

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pentecost Monday outing to Hollókő

Young couple in native costume in the village
This is a photo from our Pentecost Monday (June 5) outing to Hollókő castle and historic village, up in northern Hungary.  Our full photo album is here if you'd like to see more.

We had already visited there last year as a part of cultural re-entry after being in the US for 10 months, but a group from the Karcag Baptist Church circle were going for the holiday and we went with them. It was a beautiful, bonding day with our friends,  leaving super-early to meet them in Karcag, going on from there on a chartered bus.

The folks at Hollókő were doing a lot of re-enactments in full costume, very dramatic. In the morning there was a ceremony welcoming all of us to the castle..."you came as free men, you may depart in peace as free men!"  (I was glad to hear that.)

There were some pretty warlike confrontations on the village streets between marauding bands of warriors from different parts of Hungary, as well as some Turks. One squabble was over some captive maidens, but after threatening speeches, saber rattling, guns fired into the air, and double-dog-daring to meet later by the castle gate, it all turned out OK.

Hungarian history is very long and interesting -- often tragic -- and learning more about it helps us to better understand the people we live among and minister to.  

Pray with us that God will move in a mighty way in Hungary, showing the people that He loves them and has had a purpose for them since the beginning of time; ask that they will turn to Him with all their hearts.



Friday, June 2, 2017

Goodbye to May, hello to June

Greetings, friends!

Well, we're two days into June now, and I want to pause for a moment and thank those of you who prayed with us through the May prayer calendar.  Each of the prayer requests were carefully chosen because of their strategic importance in the work here and because of what is happening on the ground.  We'll be updating you as prayers are answered and things continue to progress.

Here's a link to our latest prayer update, hot off the press: IMB Eastern Hungary Prayer Update - May 2017

You can subscribe to get your own email copy each month using the link at the top left of that page, and you can also request the Hathcock family's weekly "Salt and Light" updates at http://www.heartforhungary.com/teams/eastern-hu-team/.  We'd love to share more with you about how God is working - He is worthy of all praise!

Thanks so much for praying with us and for us, and for the ministries in Hungary - we appreciate your involvement and want you to know that we consider you part of our team.  Please let us know how we can pray for you and your family, also.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Outreach and training in western Ukraine

Please pray for Gary this week as he serves in western Ukraine. Today he is doing a one-day Grain Game Bible camp for youth, demonstrating how it is done so that the local believers can learn to use these creative methods for reaching kids in the 10-15 age range. For the next week he will be working together with a volunteer from the US doing street evangelism and training believers in how to share their faith.


Pray that God will be glorified in all that is done, and that the outreach and training will bear fruit for the Kingdom.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Prayer is vital - join us in May month of prayer


It's time for our 15th annual 31 Days of Prayer for Eastern Hungary!   Join us by downloading your copy of the May prayer calendar and praying each day for the special prayer requests. Feel free to copy the calendar to share with your church, Sunday school class, or prayer group.

Download the prayer calendar in your choice of PDF or Word document.

Thank you for praying with us for the people of eastern Hungary and ethnic Hungarians beyond the borders! If you would like to learn more, check out our website and opt-in to our prayer updates.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Sunday in Újléta

We pray that you all had a wonderful Easter celebration. We are so thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and His glorious resurrection!

Easter afternoon we were invited by our friend and national partner Eduárd to serve with him at the small Baptist church in Újléta, which is about a 45-minute drive from our home in Debrecen.  The people at the church are very wonderful and welcoming, and it is always a joy to be with them.  Gary preached about the question, "does the world see hope in us?"  People all around us are in such need of real hope, and our lives should be lived in such a way that they can see the hope of Christ in us even in hard times.  Living out the new life that He gives us allows us to have true joy and peace!  I am thankful.

Pray for the small group of believers in Újléta, that they would be encouraged to keep living out their faith and being a witness in their town.  They told me Sunday that it is very hard for them to see so few younger people interested in knowing the Lord and coming to church.  Some have even suggested they should close the church down.  Ask the Lord to break down walls of indifference in the community and draw people to Himself.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Urgent prayer needed for potential church plant

Calling all praying friends.... 

Unexpected opposition has arisen to the new church we believe that God is leading us to plant in a town here in eastern Hungary, and permission to rent space in the community is being denied. Please pray with us for grace in the eyes of the authorities, for changed hearts, and that the Gospel will not be hindered.

Thank you very much for lifting up this situation!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Divine encounters in everyday places

Debrecen train station waiting area

Monday I took a trip to Budapest that I had considered "unplanned." As it turned out, it had apparently not been unplanned on God's part!  Throughout the day I had encounter after encounter with ladies who were either needing some help or just looking for a friendly person to chat with.

The most in-depth conversation I had was with a very sweet lady, "I," who had the seat across from me on the train.  She told me later that she didn't normally talk with people on public transportation, but in spite of that we immediately struck up a conversation that lasted the several hours it took to reach the capital city.  We talked about music, pets, family, and life--the good times and the bad.  When I brought the Lord into the conversation she didn't shut me down, but she also didn't show herself to be a person with a real relationship with God.

Pray for "I" and others like her who surround us in the everyday moments of life.  Ask the Lord to help us see these people with His eyes; ask Him to prompt us to give them a smile and start a conversation, to share the Hope we have in Christ. Pray that "I" and I will be able to deepen our friendship, and that soon she will come to know Jesus as her best friend and Savior of her soul.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Balmazújváros ministry weekend

Praise the Lord, the health fair and evangelistic service in Balmazújváros went great this weekend--God was really moving!  We are so thankful for the work of the Coastal Community Church volunteers, the Hungarian medical professionals, the national believers from the churches, and others who helped. Older people, families, and quite a few teenagers came to the health fair and interacted and asked questions during the presentations.  Useful health information was given, medical screenings were performed, and a Gospel witness was shared with many.

At the Sunday service the people listened intently and responded when the Coastal Community team gave their testimonies and Gary preached, and several people acknowledged that they knew they were not on the right path in life and wanted prayer.  The church is following up with them.  The pastor of the church plant’s mother church said he knew that others were also impacted with the message and would be “soaking it in” over time, so pray that they will turn their lives totally over to Christ.

  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in the lives of those who were impacted this weekend, calling them to Himself. 
  • Lift up all the people of Balmazújváros, that they will see their need for the Savior and give their lives to Him.
  • Pray that the church plant will be encouraged and continue to grow both spiritually and in numbers, as they reach out to their community with the love of Christ.

Health fair
Health Fair

Testimonies of changed lives
Testimonies of changed lives at the evangelistic service
See more photos from the weekend in our Google album.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

National believer stepping out in faith

Pray for our friend Zsolt, who believes God is calling him to begin a weekly outreach "tea house" to form connections with people who are in a hard place in life but are not interested in church.  He is in a very difficult time in his own life and has no resources to work with, but he has faith that God wants to call people to Himself.  Right now we are talking with him about mission strategy and working through some practical matters he will need to consider.

We will be helping him the first time, Thursday, March 2, but after that we will not be in town, so pray that other believers will step up to assist both with the supplies and with serving and connecting with the people who come.

Planning and discussion in our living room


Pray that Zsolt will clearly hear God's voice and follow in obedience.  Pray that local churches and believers will step up and help in the new outreach, and that lost people will come for friendships and form a relationship with the best friend of all, Jesus.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday update

Praise the Lord for the Hathcock family's safe return to Hungary this last Sunday with all their luggage and one small, black dog.  They have been on Stateside Assignment in the US for a year, so they have a lot of resettling to do, reconnecting with friends, and getting back into language and life here.  Pray for them as they readjust and reorient themselves to service on this side of the ocean.  Keep lifting up their oldest daughter, Arianna, as she continues her studies at Dallas Baptist University.

Gary and I (Carolyn) have been taking turns being sick recently (ugh!)  We appreciate your prayers for us for health and for wisdom in when to push on, and when to take time off to rest. We are going into an even busier time of service, so we are asking the Lord for strength and endurance.

Thank you so much for your prayers!



Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hathcock family's return to Hungary

Pray for the Hathcock family, as they are currently in transit from the US to Hungary following their Stateside Assignment.  Their plane arrives in Budapest tomorrow, then they will come by car to Debrecen.  This is a bittersweet time for them since their oldest daughter, Arianna, is not returning with them; we know that she is doing well at Dallas Baptist University, but she will be greatly missed here in Hungary!

Pray for a safe trip for the family, for a good adjustment back into culture, language, and ministry, and for all of them as they adjust to being so far away from Arianna.  Lift her up before the throne as she continues to adjust to this new phase of life.

Praise the Lord for how He will continue to use the Hathcock family to share the love of Christ with students in eastern Hungary!

The Hathcock family at Arianna's graduation in May 2016.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

European Forum for Church Multiplication

Praise the Lord for the opportunity Gary and Hungarian believer Eduárd had to take part in the European Forum for Church Multiplication Feb. 8-10 in Barcelona.  It was a very useful time of panel presentations, discussions, and hearing from individuals who are working toward multiplicative movements.  The mutual encouragement and networking that took place were a very practical help to participants, who returned home with renewed passion and fresh ideas for church planting in their own context.

Pray for Gary, Eduárd, and others, who are now praying for wisdom in what new steps to take in ministry.

Our friend and national partner Eduárd in Barcelona.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Visit to Békási Golgota church

On January 29th I had the joy of visiting a small, family-style church in Békásmegyer.  This area of Budapest was actually an independent village until 1950, when it became a part of the capital city.  Here's how my visit came about....

Gary and I had spent Friday and Saturday taking part in the Grain Game Hungary conference in Érd, after which Gary left with our friend Chip Riley (Grain Game founder) for a trip into Serbia for some meetings.  I didn't want to go back home to Debrecen on the late train, preferring to make the trip during daylight hours on Sunday (train stations are not always a good place to be at night for a woman alone.)  Our wonderful co-workers, the Baker family, graciously let me stay in their home that night.  The next morning they took me along to the church they have been attending, the Békási Golgota church. They were having a special service which included a lot of time for prayer and quiet contemplation, worship, and the observance of the Lord's Supper.

I returned home on the train that afternoon filled with the joy of His presence and the blessing of time spent with brothers and sisters in Christ. Praise the Lord for times of refreshment and fellowship!

Márkus Szilárd, pastor of the church


The praise team
  • Please pray for this church as they worship and grow; ask that the Lord will guide them in reaching out to the many, many lost people in their community.  
  • Pray for our co-workers, the Bakers, that God will give them wisdom in how to best partner with national believers in the awesome task of making Him known among the nations.
  • Continue to pray for the ministry of The Grain Game. They are currently beginning a new emphasis on starting new ongoing groups of young people - particularly those who are unchurched but spiritually open.  We pray that these groups will grow into church plants.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Grain Game Hungary Conference

Praise the Lord for how He is working!  Thank you so much for your prayers for the Grain Game and for their work in reaching young people for Christ.

The conference that took place in Érd on January 27 and 28 had about 150 in attendance, and it was encouraging to see so many people interested in learning more about how to reach kids in the often-neglected age group of 10-15.

Pray for us and others who will be doing follow-up training with workers for future Bible camps and ongoing small groups.

 
One of the demonstrations of creative Bible teaching by Chip


See more conference photos in our Google album.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A morning in Balmazújváros

On the road from Debrecen to Balmazújváros
This morning we headed to Balmazújváros, where we attended a weekly gathering led by Pastor Csaba Karancsi.  There was Scripture reading, discussion, and several testimonies of changed lives.  The atmosphere was of love and caring, no matter the place in life. Pray for those at the gathering who are seekers, that they will continue to learn more and will soon give their hearts totally to Christ.

When we told the group that people around the world are praying for them and Balmazújváros, they said "thank you" on behalf of their city.

After the gathering we stayed for a meeting with the pastor and other leaders. We discussed working together in an outreach planned for March. 

Praise the Lord that things are moving forward!  Pray that God will guide and be glorified as plans come together for further ministry.
 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Answered prayer in Balmazújváros

Sunday morning we had the great joy of visiting a church plant in the town of Balmazújváros.  This is a town that we have had on our hearts for many years; we have done projects there, had concerts, spent time prayerwalking and talking with the people.  At one point we thought we were about to see a church plant begin, but then a key family that we were working with in the town moved out of the country. 

So praise the Lord, it was awesome to see that God is working in new ways there, and a small group is regularly meeting.   Pastor Csaba Karancsi of the Újfehértó Baptist church is the supervising pastor, and a national believer is leading the Bible study each week. As we saw Sunday, the group is quite serious about studying the Word and in desiring to reach out to their community.

Pray for this group, that they will continue to grow and give God glory as they live as salt and light in their town.  Also pray for us and Pastor Csaba as we meet this week to discuss how we may partner together for further outreach in this town.


Join us in praying, using the Balmazújváros virtual prayerwalk that we made several years ago.  Now I want to make a revised version showing what God has been doing since that time!



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

National believer taking new steps

Pray with us for Sam*, a national believer we have been training and mentoring, as he is taking concrete steps toward starting a new outreach ministry in Debrecen.  He has a real passion for reaching the lost, and will be meeting today with someone regarding a possible ministry location.  Ask the Lord to lead him and get glory from all that is done, and also that He would give us wisdom in knowing what our part should be in this.  Thank you!


*Not his real name