So, what are Jeannie and I doing with our time during this Pandemic? We have been at home in Phoenix now almost 7 months because we are unable to return to Hungary. Some of that time we have been on home lockdown due to the spikes of Covid 19. Are we sitting in our house and fretting until we get back to Central Europe? Hardly! There are just too many opportunities right now to take advantage of to build the Kingdom of God. Let me show you what I mean.
We are taking advantage of the opportunity to be the only game in town! Due to strict Covid 19 policies, Hungary was able to open up in mid June. This meant that our MEK Hungary Team (led by Laci and Eszter Daroczi-Csuhai) could plan and run three three-day children and youth camps in the villages of Apc, Zsambok and Boldog with help from a team of Word of Life Hungary students.
Since no other organizations were willing to take the risk of entering these communities, we were the only game in town. In Apc, the “God’s Heroes” Camp, based on the life of Samuel the Prophet, attracted over 60 activity-starved children plus interested parents. Numerous children, plus one courageous parent stood to pray Samuel’s prayer, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Each hot summer day of the Zsambok camp saw more children attend than the day before and more decisions to follow Jesus. The camp in Boldog was also well attended, even in the heat. Check out this video to see what the camps were like: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v28TT3Rh76I&t=6s. The best thing about our work is that our team members are regularly in these villages and will be able to follow-up those who made professions of faith.
We are taking advantage of the opportunity to spread the love of Jesus Christ! In our May newsletter we wrote about our Food for Community Service project in Boldog. Twenty-two families participated in this six-week project where they helped clean up their own community and received ‘wages” in the form of food and necessities for the week. The people were doubly blessed and saw the grace of God in action. We are preparing for a predicted Covid 19 spike this winter and a possible expansion of this program.
We are taking advantage of the opportunity to equip the saints better to do their works of ministry. Jeannie and I are coordinators for Community Health Evangelism teams (like MEK Hungary and ZZ Serbia) for Central Europe and the Balkans. We train our teams to be CHE wholistic community developers in a series of week-long modules. These training conferences are hard to schedule due to travel distances, poor roads, very busy schedules and the costs. Covid 19 gave us the opportunity to try to do an entire module of 32 hours of training online.
For 7 weeks 17 of us met on RingCentral (like Zoom) on Mondays and Thursdays. The training was excellent. The RingCentral medium was flexible and exciting to use. We used four trainers and graduated 13 CHE Team leaders. We are making plans to use this method again.
We are taking advantage of the opportunity to organize ourselves better for the busy days in the future. Covid 19 will not last forever. When it’s over we want to be ready to take advantage of the new open doors throughout Central Europe and the Balkans. We are using this time to reschedule canceled short-term teams and to schedule new ones. MEK Hungary, ZZ Serbia and CHE Central Europe Partners are working with us to better organize their Boards and add new members, do budgets and strategic planning for this fall and next year.
We are taking advantage of the opportunity to write. After working with Roma/Gypsies for over 10 years, we see two things: 1) They desperately need Jesus for eternal life and and a much more abundant life here on earth. 2) Almost all of them are victims of toxic stress. For over a year I have been working off-and-on in my active schedule on a CHE-style lesson series on Dealing with Toxic Stress. Covid 19 has given me opportunity to finish writing and editing these strategic lessons. I now hope to beta test them with an on-line group this fall.
We are taking advantage of the opportunity to read great books on my list. I have waited a very long time to dive into Hugh Ross’s books on science and scripture. But where does a pastor and then a CHE coordinator and Hungary Field Director get time to read science? The answer is “during a pandemic!” Wow, these books are good. I find myself blown away more by Jesus Christ the Creator/Scientist! What a great boost to my worship and faith.
We are taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with you. Since I am at home in Phoenix, I am nearer your time zones. I have had more opportunity to visit with some of you. But I’d love to chat with more if I can. If you want to connect for a visit, I am on Skype and my phone number is 586-419-8728. Give me a holler.
We are taking advantage of the opportunity to to pray. Each Wednesday, our CHE team members from Central Europe gather on-line for a one-hour War Room prayer time. We virtually march around our target village walls and pray for God to tear them down. Jeannie and I also meet with a great prayer team from Calvary Baptist in Reading, Pa. and with our church small group for fellowship and prayer. We even have more time to pray together as husband and wife. What a wonderful gift from the Lord.
If you’ve stayed with me through this blog, I hope you see that this pandemic is both a tragedy (I too have lost a close friend to Covid-19) and also a blessing to those who wait upon Him. We pray that it will soon be over, but we also pray that we will mine all of the God-given treasures out of it that we possible can.