Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Great news!!




Great News!!





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Now onto the great news!!
In this last year, thanks to many many people, we have been able to help provide over 200 bibles to people who WANT them!!!! How awesome is that?? These photos are just a few of the recipients getting some bibles either for themselves or for others.  The pastor in S. Hungary just broke down in tears when he was given these for some of the people in his church! (bottom photo) We had the honor of also giving him a NEW bible for himself, as well as one in English. He has a number of 'congregations' as he travels around to minister to people, PTL.

There are two bible funds you can help give to, should you choose.  One is a fund through International Ministries (whom we are seconded to) that helps not only provide modern translated bibles but also scholarships for campers. Here is the link:

https://portal.internationalministries.org/project-support?sfcampaign=7011N000000OUUqQAO

This other link is for bibles for Central Europe (where we are), in order to help provide bibles in more modern translations in different languages in this area, as the needs arise:
http://ww3.pioneers.org/donate/Bibles for Central/Eastern Europe/150944

So, those are some other helpful causes where you can make a difference, where you are! Many thanks ahead of time to you!

Some of the interesting Hungarian architecture we encounter

Our Newsletter:
  Many of you know we are technologically challenged, so when we try to put out a web based emailed newsletter, we try our best, but sometimes it needs to be re-tweeked.  Hence, if you have received 2 emailed newsletters (non printable, as far as I know), this was due to my need to modify it. I apologize if it was a frustration for you.

Email addresses: When we are on the road in the states, we try really hard to input all the email addresses we receive in a timely manner - but, we get snagged up with time & energy (who needs sleep, anyway?)  as well as internet connections. If we have missed you somehow, or you have changed your email address & would like our updates, please feel free to email us! Our email is located within this blog.



  Camp season is in full swing - Kurt is currently at a Grain Game camp in Péteri. Last weekend I was teaching at a Patchwork Camp here in Vecsés. Next week will be the beginnings of English Camp and after that, more Grain Game camps through August. "Never a dull day at Smalley Bay"!

 For those who may not know, Grain Game is a fun camp for kids between 8-14 yrs., and they play games as well as demonstrate biblical concepts. The kids LOVE it! This is an easy way to talk about God and to demonstrate some of His attributes without being 'preachy'. It's all about loving the kids for who they are, no other expectations. PTL, one young man a few weeks ago in a neighboring country asked Jesus to come into his heart!! We have a new brother, thanks to this outreach! (he was also given his own, newer translated bible!)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Challenges - Friend or Foe?

    I was reading a passage today speaking about challenges God puts in our path.  It was pointing out that some of these are to get us OUT of our comfort zone and to TRUST God.... Yet there are those who distrust the Almighty God, Creator of the heavens, the universe and all that is in it. So much so that they need to just keep with the flow, continue with their easy life - or difficult one - because what is 'known' to them is so much more comfortable than the unknown.

  All I could think of was, "Really? Distrust God so much that they wouldn't follow what He was asking them to do?"  Distrust seemed like a really strong word, yet when I thought about it, it was actually a spot on description. Does anyone think of the JOY of following the Lord?

  When Peter and the disciples were flailing about in the storm on the lake - think of it! The waves SO high that you just see the bow of the boat nearly over you or the side of the boat you are not on be taller than yourself & the boat was nearly sinking. Jesus was sleeping in the back of the boat . The disciples shook him awake and said, "Master, don't you care that we are perishing??"  Jesus commanded the storm to stop - and it did! Flailing about to calm in less than a second.

   Another storm on the lake, again flailing about, when they see something strange in the distance. As it got closer, Jesus is just strolling along towards them.  Wind & rain pulling at your hair and clothes, ropes from the sail hitting you in the face, the groans and creaks of the wood as it moves within the structure of the boat, boxes smashing into toes as they are unleashed from the ropes that held them there in calmer weather..... and Jesus is just strolling past them.  Peter called out to Jesus, and Jesus  encouraged him to walk on over to him.

    Have you ever wondered if Peter thought twice about it, or just was so in awe that Jesus was walking in calmness that he wanted the same thing?

   Peter got out and started walking in this storm on the lake, not seeming to think about it for at least a few steps.  Yet, as soon as he thinks about it, realizing the utter contrariness of the situation, he starts to sink and asks for Jesus' help.  We have all been in that state - for instance, learning how to walk, and then watching a young child walk  - nearly the same (without the storm).  Until you get your head around the fact you are actually walking, all is fine.  It's the FEAR of walking on your own, without holding someone's hand that gets to us.  Jesus was right there, just like our parents or other reliable people were with us.

   Jesus was right there!

   Jesus was right there!

   Jesus was and is right there!

   Peter desired that calmness, that inner Joy that Jesus had within him more than sinking in a boat on the lake. He KNEW that the joy of following whatever Jesus had planned was SO much more than what was behind him.  Think about it - for the rest of their lives, who would have regretted that situation the most? Peter, who got out and followed, walking on the water? Or the other disciples, 'safely' back in a boat that was having a tough time of it in the storm?

   If God is asking us to do something, even before the storms of life, what is making us so hesitant?

  Jesus is right there!  Let's start 'practicing' our steps with him, our faith IN him to trust and walk in the path he is calling you to so that in the storms that will come (and they will!), we can get out of the boat, walk to him with confidence or call to the storm to obey, because Jesus is right there.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

God-Incidents

God-Incidents 

  Sometimes we see God working in normal life, but often it is within what would seem like funny, inconsequential 'chances' that add up to one big miracle, and then when those add up further, it is enough to blow your socks off!

   Today was one of those days, yet it started over 7 years ago, far, far away in a crowded food court at an airport with less than 20 tables, (2 chairs per table) in a space for hundreds of people ordering, at one time.
                 
          *********************************
Incident #1:
   We were one of the 'fortunate' few who were able to grab a table and two chairs, yet  we were so close to our neighbors  that when they blinked, you nearly felt their eyelashes!

  In this so humble a setting, a couple got up from the table next to us & before I could breathe, a gnarled hand plopped down a passport to 'reserve' the table and vanished!  Well, this idea may have worked years ago, but it is NOT the safest or most recommended manner nowadays...
 
  Nevertheless, we were thankful that we were sitting there and not some scoundrel who would have taken off with the passport and sold it on the black market! When the owner of the gnarled hand came back, it was to our great relief, and we expressed that this isn't the best way to reserve a table now.  Clearly, she hadn't been thinking along those lines... so starts our conversation with Mrs. X, who had previously been living in a certain nation for a number of years & had recently moved back to where she had been born.

  As we spoke about what she had been doing in that country, it was really amazing. When she moved back 'home', she was rather upended & trying to find a balance in a place that wasn't the same, didn't have the same 'type' of people living there, and her church was dwindling with those who had grown up in it, but those who had gone on to reside in the cemetery were more than the congregation.

  I had asked the Lord for some inspiration to help Mrs. X, and He gave it!  She went to catch her plane with a bounce in her step.

Incident #2:
   A few months later, we were on a different terrain & during the break of a conference were speaking with some of the other attendees.  When I had asked if they had ever tried some of the methods spoken about with the conference, they had affirmed that they had where they used to live, in a different country, and were now trying the same thing where they lived now.

    I have always been curious to know more about others, so after finding out what country they had lived in, I asked if they had ever known Mrs. X.  "YES!" was their reply. "Do you know her? How do you know her?" so started the story I briefly stated above.  In fact, they had worked with her for quite a while & had been genuinely concerned about her, but were thrilled that she had found more purpose again.

   What are the chances, to meet two people, who lived on the other side of the world from the one we met months earlier on happenstance and conversations were struck up with these strangers, who ended up knowing each other???  Pretty high, I would say. But GOD can orchestrate anything!!! He made platypus' didn't He??

Incident #3:
   Fast forward now to today...

   We live fairly close to the airport, so often we are called to help with what we term as 'airport runs' which consist of driving people from one place to or from the airport. That's fine, we like to drive, and it really helps out people, and we get to meet many people we otherwise never would have.

   So I left the house this morning about 6:30 am to pick up some people from a meeting a couple hours away to bring them to the airport.

    As we are driving along, I feel God telling me I need to tell this perfect stranger about Mrs. X...  "Really?",  I think.  Did I do it immediately? No, but I asked the Lord to tell me when it should come into place.   As the conversations were proceeding, one of the people I was driving used to live in a certain country, and I bet you can guess which one? Yes!  "Ok" I thought, "this is my time....". So I just casually asked if this person would have ever heard of Mrs. X.

  "Know her? No, I didn't get to know her, but I took her place when she left!!"  God incident #1.

  "Do you know 'Y' & 'Z'?" She asked.  It ends up they are dear friends!

   "Well, let me tell you about a story God wanted me to tell you..." and I began to tell the tales.

  "Wow, just the fact that you would have even MET Mrs. X is a complete miracle!" they said.  "And now here we are, connecting the dots even further!"

                 *****************************************************
 
  Ahhhh, so, this is a life with God-incidences, and yet I think the stories have only begun! :)

 Go ahead, dear ones, seek the Lord while He may be found, ask of Him to help you find His plans and stories that will unfold! You may be the only witness, other than God, but He will reveal them!

Monday, October 16, 2017

This box isn't just for shoes....



   On a very chilly December evening, we helped unload sugar. We also unloaded potatoes and cans and LOTS of boxes. Some boxes were small, some were large and some were banana-sized, which went to a different part of a church.

   Then people unknown to us started coming in. Fear, mixed with hope and confusion in their eyes. There was astonishment as well because of the warmth and encouraging greetings. Then the spirit of oppression settled back down upon their heads, shoulders and hearts.  Each adult coming in responded in much the same way.  Some men offered to help, grateful for something to do to combat the feeling of awkwardness, yet still that oppression came settling back down.

   This was just months after we arrived in Hungary, yet I didn't need to know the language to understand that lack of hope. Children would come in with their parents - all would look longingly at the Christmas tree decorated (still a pretty new thing to have here), and the growing stacks of boxes under the tree.  Nearly all would then seem like they did a self-correction and you could nearly hear them thinking, "What am I doing thinking that we might be getting something like that? Who am I? We are always looking, yet never obtaining, trying to work, but nothing works out. Someone lucky will be getting those lovely packages. Maybe someday I can get one/provide one for my child..."

  Some came in with coats on. Some came in with heavy sweaters. Some came in with many layers of shirts.  All the 'guests' were beaten down by life.  Eyes would glance around. Children's eyes would glance again to the tree, to the presents, to parents, then back down to the floor. The church was filling up. It was also warming up more with all the bodies, and people were taking joy in just that alone. It was becoming apparent that people wore their best to this event. To a person from the 'west' it wouldn't necessarily seem like it, but they were.

   Then the 'service' started. Some were actively listening. Some were looking longingly at the tree and some were looking but not seeing, just trying to pay attention, because that's what you do.

   Songs were sung. The spirit of oppression was rising and falling as one would breathe. Bit by bit it was going away.

  I kept glancing at one particular family, seated on the side wall. Glancing at the tree and the gifts, then looking at each other as though, "That will never happen to us!" .  Sometimes, I would see the dad look on and dreamily see him thinking, "Oh, if only I could provide something like that for my family!" The older girl with them would look at the tree and the gifts, but you could tell she was trying really hard not to get her hopes up.

  A brief sermon was given about the reason for Christmas & the hope that it brings. A few people were really interested, but we are in a nation of VERY contemplative people & it can take years for decisions to be made like that - or a moment!

  Then names were being called out - each family was on high alert. I glanced over at the family I had been watching. They looked, then looked down. The girl's first glance was filled with hope, then realize that younger kids were getting some of these boxes. It looked like she was thinking, "Oh, that will never happen to me, there are lots of people here in the room and lots of kids. They will probably run out before they get to me." Yet there was hope, though dwindling.

   Other families whose wee ones did receive a shoebox (many from local donors, often wrapped) would gasp with delight. Sometimes you could hear a bit of the paper being torn, however most were just savored (they received one of those boxes!) or set aside by the parents to avoid temptation.

   With each age group, more anticipation was felt. Once again, with a glance to the girl on the side I would see hope, then the thought of "They will run out before they get to me." I was praying for this family, and for many others in the room, that God would speak mightily to each one of them.

    All of a sudden the family on the side sat up as though they got a brief jolt - HER name was called!! Could it really be?? "OH, HURRY!" They seemed to say to each other. "They may change their minds! Go get your box!" She tried to look as calm and collected as befitting her age, but the edges of a smile couldn't be denied! She meekly took the box and hurried back to her seat.

    As she sat down, the parents ooh'd and aaahhh'd over the wrapping. Each person of the family touching the box and the paper and ribbon as though they couldn't believe it was real. The parents glanced at each other in awe and you could tell that a joy and relief washed over them while they watched their daughter gently stroke and touch each and every part of that box. Hope did NOT die! She really received a box!! This box had HER name on it!

   A look around the room revealed many smiles (a rarity here), and a lightening from the oppressor's hand being lifted off.  There were bits of giggles around from some of the younger ones that you could hear.

    The service closed with another song or two, along with an announcement that men were needed to help bring in boxes of clothing that were being given to each and every member of the family, as well as some foodstuffs for the families as well.  Boxes and boxes of clothes and shoes were pouring in, filling every pew in the building and then the stage as well. Some boxes were put on the floor in front of pews.  Each shoebox given was preciously guarded by at least one member of the family while all the rest of the family started looking for items of clothing or shoes.  What surprised me the most was while people could take all they wanted or needed of the clothes, these people, who needed these items more intensely than you or I, took only one or two items for each member of the family! It was as though they had mutually agreed that there were others who needed some of these more than they did.

    Later, arms full of clothes, boxes, bags of sugar, flour & canned goods, sacks of potatoes, the people started walking out of the church, placing the treasures on the family bicycle to be pushed home. Hope walked out the door with them as well. God willing, it will continue to encourage them along life's way, remembering this special night when their family in its entirety, was thought of by the Father through others.

 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Difficulties of Living Somewhere Else

Difficulties of Living Somewhere Else

K & C at a Grain Game Conference preparing to speak
Kurt helping a colleague with some house improvements











                                                                   


   
Don't take life for granted! That has been a resounding call to us all this year. Many of our friends & friend's families have passed away without any warning. Between that & natural disasters & other newsworthy items - God's word remains clear, "Choose YOU this day whom you will serve" 
           Joshua 24:15

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whoyou will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
  
   So many people will say, "Oh, I have plenty of time. I will take care of that when I get to that point" If you haven't all ready chosen, WAKE UP!! There may NOT be time before you die!  Others may say, "Well, you can have your way, and I will have mine."  That is true, but I would much rather serve the Creator of the universe, THE ONE who spoke the stars into being, Who breathed life into man, than a belief in a possibility or the opposite of God!

   Grief is difficult anytime, but it's especially difficult when you aren't living close to the ones you want to run to, to wrap your arms around them and help console them, to love on them as best you can, to sit with them in quietness and let them BE.  That is one of the most difficult things about living away!

   We can pick up the phone and call someone - even get to see them but the lack of touch, of personally being there is so hard! It happened again yesterday - I have no wonderful, consoling words, other than, "I am SO sorry to hear this!"  Yet what I want to do each time is get on a plane and BE with them. Yet I am called to be here. 

  However, one of the strongest, most powerful weapons is in my hand - my Bible and prayers!! I can help be on the other side of the world and cover the 24 hour prayer vigils! I can pray and God can be there to soothe the aching hearts and minds. HE hears our prayers, HE hears our thoughts HE knows my heart and mind want to be with those I care about!!! What a mighty, wonderful God we serve!



Friday, February 12, 2016

Practical Differences

    There are times when you wonder...."Did they say what I think they did?"   Really, everyone goes through that at one time or another, right?  Have you ever been embarrassed by what you THOUGHT you heard and what was actually said? I certainly have! Both of us have!

   Yesterday here is what is called, "Torkos Csütörtök" (I know, easy for you to say!) but it is a 'holiday' of sorts when restaurants who participate offer a great deal on their cuisine, so many people summon up the courage and try something different. One lady I spoke with yesterday who goes to the Patchwork Klub was going to try Mexican food (maybe for the first time ever). Kurt and I went out - a rare occasion!

    This morning, after helping some friends with a car problem, he learned that the basis of this 'holiday' with  the restaurants was because it was right before Lent started, and the restaruants needed to use up the food and supplies that may not be
used until after Lent. Very practical, these Hungarians!

   So, if you know us, you are aware this probably led into another conversation of silly things -  for example, when I was growing up in a Presbyterian household, I had always heard about people giving things up for "Lint".  This concerned me and I would ask my mom about it & she just stared at me or poo-poo'd the idea.  I remember being at the laundromat with her one time and she was going to throw the lint away... "But Mom, we need to save that!!"  "Why?" she asked.  "We need to save that for the springtime!" (I am sure she thought I needed to make a project out of it)... but you see, I thought the lint needed to be saved for "Lint" in the springtime!
    It wasn't until high school or so when I really found out what "Lint" was all about...

     I also had a best friend next door growing up ('till I moved across town when I was 8), whose mom was Puerto Rican. The mom's name was Hilda (I'll get to that in a minute), and when Hilda would go to the store, she would invite me along with her daughter. No problem. We were on a special trip called "arrinds" (and you MUST roll those r's!!!) again, it was years later when my mom and I were headed to the store (which is what we called it) and she said something about other errands. I asked what that was - again, a look from her like I just crawled out- and she said that it was when you go other places other than the store..."Oh, 'arrinds'! Like Hilda does!" Bing! The light came on in my mom's head of what I had culturally grown up with and what things really were....

   Then I took German in high school & was thoroughly confused. Mom was wondering what I was so confused about.  "Mom, why do they have a Puerto Rican name as one of the main people in this story?"  (My German teacher hadn't understood my confusion.)

  "What do you mean dear?"said my mom.

 "Well, they have Hilda doing this and Hilda saying this...".

   Bing!  Mom cracked up!  "I was wondering when we might get to this conversation!"  (Really, is it a wonder she has had white hair for so long with me around??)

   SO - now we are in Hungary... and learning a new language.... LOL!  I am SURE God is laughing at many things about this! "Sure, I'll just send off these two - it will be great! You guys are gonna laugh so hard! (God is speaking to angels in heaven) ... "He is praying for healing in his left ear since he can't hear well out of it and she has a wild imagination and sense of humor!" We will all have a great time! To top it off, it's nearly impossible to lip read what Hungarians say!"
 
   Now, don't get me wrong - I don't think God has a mean or nasty streak in Him, but I DO know He has a terrific sense of humor! He made platypus' for heaven's sake!! He made us!!  I think He just gets a kick out of some of the stuff that happens that truly is funny.

   So here in Hungary, we have the word for carpet, which is "szőnyeg".  There is the word for mosquito which is "szúnyog".  They sound VERY similar!  A couple summers ago, we were at a next door neighbor's house for a bograc (like a grill party) and the mosquitos were terrible because of all the rain we had had.... I remembered that I had some Cutter wipes at home, so I ran to get them. As I brought them back, I figured it would be good to show what they do (since they don't have anything like that here), so I had started wiping the insecticide onto my skin, clothing and hair. I was asked what these were and so I explained (in Hungarian) as I passed around the container offering them
one, that these were wipes to put some repellant onto your body so the mosquitos don't bother you.  As if orchestrated, everyone's head leaned over to the left at once and a curious look came over their faces...  I thought, "Uh oh, what have I said?" (see photo to the right:)

  One of the younger people there said, "Carrie neni, were you trying to speak of the little insects?"

   "Yes, I was - OH!!"  So I replied once more in Hungarian, " Oh well, mosquitos OR carpets...either way, these will work to keep them off you!"  to the laughter of them all as they grabbed the wipes.

   So, as you are working/shopping/ listening today, please, for the sake of others, enunciate well:) We will try to do the same. Food for thought:  (If a child looks at you strangely, perhaps you are introducing a new word into their vocabulary.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Updates from us!

Kurt helping to deliver Shoebox presents

 Happy New Year!

  Wow, we can't believe it has been so long since we posted anything! Please accept our apologies. We had a flurry of events happen and departed the states a week after we received our needed funding. To say it was a whirlwind is mild! PTL and thank you for all of you who helped get us back to the field!

  Since we got back at the end of September, we have been leaping back into ministry that normally happens here ( Bible Studies; Patchwork Club; Men's Club; Team Meetings; Assisting pastors; Serving at the Barka) plus some fun extras like helping with donations for the refugees; Friendship evangelism; Grain Game days; Men's outreaches and helping some other people. We have moved into a small apartment (first time we have ever lived in an apartment! God provided a large European fridge and an inside dryer!); Celebrated our 30th anniversary; Renewed friendships here; Carrie had her knee replacement surgery; Re-started language lessons - this time with a private, Christian tutor; Re-started physical therapy; Joined our team with some of the puppet ministry events;  Skyped with a few of you; Helped with some of the Christmas Shoebox deliveries,  and quite frankly, our return (thanks again to you), reassured the Hungarians that we were true to our word in saying we wanted to come back and we are committed to working with them. This says something huge in a culture that is quite suspect of what others say and do and how they act. Does this help you understand what it means to support missionaries?? See? You not only help us serve, but you are serving as well through us!

  During our 10 months in the states raising more support, we drove over 30,000 miles, Spoke at 61 specific functions we were invited to in order to tell about what God is doing in Hungary; met up with hundreds of you personally to talk about ministry, flew at least 10,000 (including trainings and conferences), met literally thousands of new people, revisited with many of you, renewed old friendships, prayed with many strangers and for many truckers, celebrated with 5 new couples at their weddings, celebrated Christmas with Carrie's mom AT Christmas-time, got to spend some great times with all of our sons and their wives, met new family members, said good-bye this side of heaven to many others, and EVERY single day God gave us an opportunity to tell someone about what God called us to in this new adventure in life. On the average, we had a different place to sleep at least two times a week for the entire time!

   We also had the privilege of having God direct our steps more than once. Often to us it looked like we were to go to one place for one reason... then God stepped in and a flurry of other opportunities bloomed because we were willing to trust Him with the one thing. Such is a life wholly depending on God, wherever a person is. God calls each of us to obedience, step by step and it is a process every day, no matter how old you are. There is never one way continually to do something, other than expense reports! Our God is SUCH a God of creativity!  What a joy to live for Him daily and rejoice in how He designs each day!

Our economical dryer outside... but as you can see from the icicles hanging from Kurt's sweater, it  has some drawbacks at times!