Camp in Győr :)

Erin and Kathy making 'hugs' for all the kids. Each child makes there own.

More aid to Ukraine

About 550 kilos (1200lbs) of needed supplies.
The staff in Lidl do not like seeing us enter the store…

Today (Friday June 17th), three of us made the trip into Ukraine to bring food, hygiene products, cleaning materials, medicines and other needed products. Yesterday we shopped, packed the van, prepared paperwork and today we are doing the 15 hour round trip journey from Romania to a couple of different destinations in Ukraine.

These visited these three families who are displaced because of the war. The husband of one of the ladies stayed in Odessa as he is a pastor and Gerry has been working with him to get food to families in need in the Odessa area. It was a blessing to bring food, medicines and soft toys along with a small gift of cash to help provide for their needs. The kids were so sweet… Sadly, UNICEF are reporting that 67% of all Ukrainian children have been displaced due to the war.

Set Free Movement pamphlets (written by my daughter Zsuzsi) also went to Ukraine as approximately 100,000-150,000 Hungarian speakers live there. These pamphlets warn of the danger of trafficking and tips on how to keep safe.

Pastor Valentin and his church are now serving lunch to 400 people a day. Just a month ago it was only 120… The need is unbelievable…

Thank you to Erin in Budapest who helped with some of the logistics of bringing goods to me so I could transport them from Hungary to Romania and then on to Ukraine!

Gerry was also able to offer medical assistance to a number of Ukrainian soldiers (male and female) at the border crossing. It was such a pleasure to serve today!

Thank you to everyone who has and continues to support aid to Ukraine!

Szigetvár

We have been living in Pécs for 11 months now. It is a beautiful city with so much to see and do. We are grateful to the Lord that he has allowed us to gain entry to a children’s home here and we can serve there on a regular basis. Another hope was that we could help begin a worship service here. Today was our first worship service in the area (we met in the nearby city of Szigetvár). A total of nine adults and two children gathered together. It was wonderful!!!

As we gathered, I recognised a beautiful image of heaven. English, Hungarian, Irish and Ukrainian all gathered to worship. Kevin did an excellent job of leading worship (he plays guitar really well). Szandra had lots of tea, muffins and other goodies waiting for us all. Zsuzsi and family were visiting and Stephen and Svetlana from Ukraine (they are now living near Szigetvár) made up the rest of the group.

I presented a message from the Gospel of Luke (the Prodigal Son) and we focused on how at different times in our lives we all have been far from God and on other occasions we have been the forgiving father or the jealous brother.

We truly appreciate your prayers. We are so excited to see spiritual growth around Hungary. With ministry in Budapest, Győr, Pécs, Szigetvár and Veszprém we are blessed to meet so many people who are a pursuing a closer relationship with God. Please pray that more people will come to faith and that more doors for ministry will open across Hungary.

Weekend of joy!

It was a wonderful weekend, filled with joy! Joy of serving, joy of teaching, joy of being with family and friends, the joy of good food and the joy of being in God’s beauty of creation as we walked by the Lake Balaton.

The booklet cover you can see is a publication that was written by our daughter Zsuzsi. Zsuzsi is a qualified social worker and a theologian. In partnership with the Set Free Movement, this booklet is to help warn children, teens and vulnerable individuals on the dangers of trafficking. We delivered copies to our partners in Veszprém. The church in Veszprém (under the leadership of Nils, he is pictured first, and two other men) will have copies ready to provide to people as needed. Then Askar, a PhD student in Veszprém who attends our International Church, took several copies for the University library.

On Friday in Győr it was a pleasure to connect with so many people over the course of the day. Bible study group is close to finishing the Book of Acts. It was great to have a new attendee join us and he was a blessing!

Worship in Győr was excellent. I had the joy of bringing a group of Ukrainians to church and our new translator was excellent! We also raised funds for little Bogi, one of our church kids. She has an operation in August for a serious issue with one of her eyes. I was so thankful for the way the church responded!!! People were so generous! Please pray for her healing! If you want to give, feel free to contact me.

Aid to Ukraine

Along with my colleagues and friends, Philip and Eliseo, we drove today from Arad, Romania into Ukraine to two different cities to deliver humanitarian aid. Pasta, spaghetti, rice, porridge, cereal, honey, jam, juice, milk, water, medical items and personal hygiene products. Also, we brought sleeping bags, mats, diesel and other needed items.

We visited a refugee camp with 120 people (location kept secret to prevent possible attacks against the people there). Here we delivered the aforementioned goods and I was able to talk with a doctor and discuss a return visit where I might be able to offer PTSD care and to deliver medical supplies. Most of the refugees were of course Ukrainian but there was also a lot of Koreans and we were blessed to help them also.

The second visit was to a church close to the Hungarian and Romanian borders. The church is offering a free two course lunch every day for up to 200 people. They also have worship every evening. Praise God they are seeing many people come to Christ!

At both locations we set up stand-up displays which are to warn people of the dangers of human trafficking which many face as the cross borders into other countries. Thank you to the Set Free Movement, along with the Bread of Life Foundation in Hungary and the European Freedom Network.

Many thanks to so many people and churches for all your support. Special thanks to the Free Methodist Church USA, Free Methodist Church Canada, Free Methodist Church UK, Free Methodist Church Spain and the Free Methodist Church Portugal. Also thanks to Daria Roesch at Edgewood Church in New York State for the wonderful cards I could bring to Ukrainian kids. Big thanks to my home church of Mallow Street Gospel Hall in Limerick, Ireland for your support and prayers.

England and speaking engagements

We spent the past week in England, with visits to Bristol and then Garstang and Fulwood which are both near Preston. On Sunday morning we had the privilege of speaking at the Garstang Free Methodist Church. It was a wonderful service with about 190 people in attendance. We brought the morning message which included stories of what is currently happening in Ukraine. Garstang have been longstanding partners with our ministry in Rivne. They have led the way in responding to the crisis and have truly been the hands and feet of Jesus.

Sunday evening we got to visit Fulwood Free Methodist Church. The new lead pastor is an old and very dear friend of mine. Ian and his wife Sarah are incredible servants of God, wonderfully gifted and loving shepherds. It was a superb service with excellent worship. About 100 people were present and we were blessed to be with them. Again, we got to bring the message and had many meaningful conversations afterwards.

The rest of the week had been filled with meetings and visiting some of the sites where both Charles and John Wesley lived and served. We also got to see a friend of mine from teenage years which was amazing!

Prayers are appreciated. Today Kathy and I travel from England to Hungary. On Thursday I travel to Romania and then on Friday into Ukraine to bring humanitarian aid and offer medical and spiritual care.

Győr, Veszprém and Kyrgyzstan?

This weekend I travelled to Győr on Friday where I held our monthly Bible study group. Afterwards I was interviewed twice by Justin Ross of International Child Care Ministries and you can view the shorter of the two videos here. The second video will be published in the future. https://fb.watch/cBcvx84XpA/

On Saturday I visited our International students group in Veszprém. We were a small group of four people as many of the students are very busy with writing their dissertations. One man, I met for the first time. ‘A’ has been a believer since 1994. He is now studying for his PhD in Veszprém. He comes from Kyrgyzstan, from a Muslim family. He gave his life to the Lord and his family wanted to kill him because of this. He had to flee. He is a man of faith who has seen much in his life. The photo is him with the gift of an English language Bible I could give him. What a blessing it was to share communion with this group yesterday.

Sunday, Kathy and I got to serve in Győr again. We had a great service with 40 people in attendance. We celebrated Easter again as a number of Ukrainians are making our church their temporary faith home.

These past couple of months have been uncommonly busy.We appreciate your prayers as we seek to help the people of Ukraine, serve faithfully in ministty across Hungary and others countries in Europe.

Whirlwind tour

Thursday morning I left Pécs and took two trains over a total of about nine hours to get to Arad, Romania. I spent Thursday evening through to Saturday lunchtime in Arad, connecting with Philip More at Vis de Copil, along with our newest colleague there, Daniella. Philip manages the centre which focuses on helping the poorest of the poor in Arad and Daniella works primarily with children as she is a qualified teacher.

Whilst in Arad, I also had an excellent meeting with a couple who are bringing food and hygiene products into Ukraine. We discussed potential ways to partner and help one another as I am currently planning my first humanitarian aid trip into Ukraine very soon.

On Saturday I travelled from Arad to Budapest. I spent on hour or so in the evening making a short video with my colleague Larry which will be an update about missions in Europe for an upcoming conference. Sunday morning I worshipped with our Budapest church and had lunch with them. It was the first time in over two years that the Budapest Church had lunch together (because of the Covid-19 restrictions).

After lunch I travelled from Budapest to Győr. I spoke at the Easter service, led the Lord’s Supper and a time of anointing with oil and prayer for healing. The service was conducted in three languages, English, Hungarian and Ukrainian and was well attended with 54 people in attendance. After church, the long trip back to Pécs and tomorrow I am looking forward to a needed day of rest, a trip to the gym and lots and lots of chocolate!

During all this, we still continued to help as we could with the situation in Ukraine. I’m happy to report that this is the second time we have got food to this family and the kids were delighted for some new clothes also.

Worship in English, Hungarian and Ukrainian

We had the pleasure of joining our church in Győr today for worship. It was great to see so many friends and such a blessing to see how they have welcomed Ukrainians and how the Ukrainians are already becoming part of the church. In the video below we see Sarah reading in English, Eszter in Hungarian and Misha in Ukrainian from Psalm 25. I didn’t get the camera ready quickly enough, so unfortunately part of Sarah reading got cut off.

Sylvia and Aron did an excellent job with the sermon and translation. It was a wonderful and very well prepared message on giving our all to Jesus.

For us, our day started early in the morning as Kathy and I travelled from Pécs to Győr. It was a very cold and somewhat snow day which is unusual for us in April. After worship we got to enjoy cakes at church and then dinner with the Petrochenko family.

Your prayers are appreciated for the week ahead. Apart from our usual ministry we will continue to help those displaced by the war, fund raise and begin planning a course I will be teaching on trauma and PTSD care. All that and planning for an upcoming trip to Romania and Ukraine (to bring aid to friends there).

Ministry and more ministry

These have been incredibly busy days of late. Like so many, we have been affected by the war in neighbouring Ukraine. We have embraced the opportunity to serve the church, to serve refugees and those still in Ukraine. So perhaps a small view of our ministry day may help you to pray, not only for us, but for so many others in ministry in the countries bordering Ukraine.

Although we are responding to the war and refugee crisis and trying to help as we can, regular ministry continues. Today we left home at 0830 to drive 30 minutes or so to help a wonderful couple in crisis (please pray for them). We sat and talked and prayed together until nearly 11 and then drove the 30 minutes home. Whilst Kathy went shopping and then cooked lunch, I caught up with a Ukrainian family our Győr church is hosting and we spoke for half an hour, making plans for the future. Pastor Sylvia and our mission partner Sarah (who serves with MCN) along with the Győr church are really loving and caring for this family!

After lunch it was time for administration, emails, and a couple of phone calls. Again, it was helping a family who fled the war (residents of but not citizens of Ukraine), this family needing assistance with a medical issue. Then it was soon time to take the nearly 3 hour train to Budapest from Pécs. I had hoped to use this time for my rest but lots of emails, messages and a couple of phone calls meant that time went quickly. Arriving by about 6.30 to Budapest, I had a meal with some team members and a couple of new missionaries. Tomorrow morning, along with a colleague, we will begin a two day orientation for new missionaries. Please pray for us to teach well and for our new colleagues to be blessed as they learn.

By 8pm I went and met with a family who fled Russia. We had helped them along the way by finding them a safe place with good friends for a couple of nights in Finland and then had them come to Budapest where the church here cared for them. It was my first time meeting their two kids and they are super cute! I got back to where I will sleep tonight by 10pm and am looking forward to a well earned sleep!

Please pray for all missionaries and aid workers who are serving in the countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova as we continue to minister and respond to the crisis. It is an honour to be called to help!

By the way, yes, we take time to rest. I go to the gym several times a week and we try to take an hour each day to just sit and chat, drink coffee or watch some Netflix show along with walking our dog as well.

The dangers of trafficking

Amongst the long ministry days of dealing with and helping refugees and getting aid to Ukraine, ministty at home continues. This afternoon Kathy and I took a couple of hours away from dealing with the war to go and talk to children about human trafficking and the early warning signs of how to spot a potential trafficker.

We spoke to nine children aged 10 to 17 on trafficking. The kids were very open and interested. Sadly, overall they were aware of the dangers as some of them have experience with trafficking in one form or another.

Their favourite part of the time together was role-playing. The got to see Kathy and I acting out the scenario of Kathy being potentially trafficked by her boyfriend (played by me). The kids were amazing and spotted that I used emotional blackmail, didn’t give concrete information on where we would go or what we would do etc. We talked about what to look out for when looking for work and what is and isn’t realistic when it comes to work.

We look forward to working with these kids on a weekly basis over the coming months. Please pray for them and for our colleagues in the Set Free Movement around the world as we fight this evil

Ukraine – how do Christians respond?

Broken-hearted. That is how I feel. My friends have had to leave their homes in the city to go to nearby villages to find a small measure of safety and security. Air raid sirens, mixed in with the sounds of artillery fire, fighter jets flying overhead, the distinct sound of helicopter blades, small arms fire and children crying are the new normal for families all across Ukraine.

I live in Hungary, we border Ukraine and I travel there regularly to serve in my role as a Christian minister with the Free Methodist Church. I love the country, the people, rhe culture, the cuisine. Kiev, Rivne, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk are all beautiful cities I have had the pleasure of travelling to on numerous occasions. Now those cities are facing destruction at the hands of Russian military forces.

Russian forces invaded in 2014, and took control of several areas of Ukraine at that time. Since then the fighting has gone on and about 14000 lives have been lost. In my role as a Mental Health professional in PTSD, I have travelled to Ukraine to work with soldiers who have endured so much because of the horrors of war. Yet, not only do soldiers suffer, but their loved ones who struggle to comprehend the changes that PTSD brings about. Anger, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, panic attacks, irrational fear and so much more are commonplace with PTSD.

Our church leaders in Ukraine have been caring for these soldiers and their families. They also care for alcohol and drug addicts and the elderly. They have been and continue to be the hands and feet of Christ, bringing love and care to the unloved and disenfranchised of Ukraine.

Now as the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has fully begun, as the bombs rain down, these men and women continue to serve. They are the Church. They respond by caring, they responding by putting others first, they respond by providing help wherever they can. They respond in love. So should we. Get on your knees and send a ‘knee mail’, ask God to protect and bring peace. Pray for those mourning tonight. Pray for those soldiers who must do the unthinkable. Pray for the defenceless.

You can also help practically. Give financially to churches and trustworthy relief agencies. Welcome refugees with love and help them settle into a new home (Jesus was a refugee also!). Give your time and expertise and come to Ukraine when the war is finished. Help on a medical team or with reconstruction or in any one of a number of ways.

Respond in prayer. Respond in love. Respond. Don’t be silent. Your response is incredibly important.