Gathering to worship

This weekend has been a time of gathering to worship and to spend time with people. Kathy and I travelled from Pécs to Győr to lead a Bible study group and visit the kids at the orphanage in Győr. What a blessing to see the Bible study group grow in numbers and to go deep into the Book of Esther! Kathy, along with Pastor Sylvia and a church member, Judit, went to spend time with the kids at the orphanage. Pastor Sylvia is being very faithful and doing a wonderful job with them!

On Saturday, we visited and preached (on patience from Galatians 5) in Veszprém. Friends came from Budapest and Szigetvár to support this new group. We had a wonderful service, and discussion afterwards was superb. Thanks to Pastor Péter and Erin from Budapest and Kevin from Szigetvár. Péter and Detti worked well leading worship together!

On Sunday we got to meet several people for good discussion. It was great to catch up with friends. Some conversations were hard. People mourning, others worried because of ill health, family and financial issues. The Sunday sermon I preached from John 5 on the healing at the pool was timely.

I also got to make a new friend over coffee and cake 🙂

Quick visit to England

I had a good but rather short trip to Garstang, England this past weekend. I went to visit my friends and colleagues Misha and Lena Petrochenko, who along with their three kids, fled the war in March. We helped them find accommodation in Hungary for about two months before they went onward to England, to our partners in ministry at the Garstang Free Methodist Church. Garstang have done a great job of looking after them. As you can imagine, the Petrochenko family have continued to stay very committed to our vision for Ukraine and continue to serve from a distance.

I was privileged to speak in Garstand on Sunday evening and we had about 110 people present. Garstang have continued to be very supportive of our mission to Ukraine and I am very blessed by them.

I also enjoyed going to watch a football game (Preston North End lost 0-4 to Norwich) and managed fish and chips at the airport for lunch just before leaving! Big thanks to Pete and Sarah Blundell for all they do and for their wonderful hospitality!

A taste of Christmas worship in Győr

We had a blessed service in Győr this evening. Although we were in competition with the World Cup final, a large group of over 60 people came to worship in English, Hungarian and Ukrainian. Some photos and a video below to give you a taste!

A ministry filled weekend.

This past weekend was filled with ministry in Budapest, Győr and Veszprém. Our team in Budapest went to visit a safe home near Budapest. They visit every month and serve the kids and their mothers through leading worship, talking about the Word of God, playing with the kids and prayer. This month they also brought small Christmas packages for each child. On Sunday in Budapest, I had the privilege of preaching and Kathy was my translator. We really enjoyed being with that community of believers and it was made extra special as our youngest daughter, Katica, travelled to Budapest to worship with us.

In Győr, Sylvia and the church had worship and this week the giving went to our friends and ministry partners, Vis de Copil in Arad, Romania. The Győr church were very generous indeed and the kids in Arad will be greatly blessed. Pray for Sylvia and Sarah as they lead our community.

In Veszprém, Kathy and I, along with our daughter Zsuzsi and her family got to worship with our new community in Veszprém. Nils preached, Zsuzsi led prayer and Detti and two other ladies led worship. It was a lovely early Christmas service with nearly 20 people present and Nils preached a wonderful message. If you are in Hungary, would you like to visit one of our groups (we are in Pécs/Szigetvár also)? Contact me for details!

Here a few photos from the weekend.

Ethics

I am blessed and privileged to be currently teaching a class on Biblical and Pastoral Ethics. Twice a week for the next six weeks or so, five of us will meet to discuss ethics from a Christian viewpoint and discuss issues such as abortion, euthanasia, eugenics and war to mention just a few areas. All the students are using the book ‘introducing Christian Ethics: A short guide to making moral choices’ by Scott Rae. As well as reading the book, meeting for regular classes and discussion, each student will write a paper on ethics.

Would you join me in praying for these men and women who are studying and actively working towards ordination in the Free Methodist Church? Those participating are serving in Hungary, Romania and Sweden. Each person represents incredible ministry in their respective countries and each of them are often dealing with ethical issues in Pastoral ministry.

A week serving in Ukraine

This past week, myself and a small team have been serving across Western and Southern Ukraine (city/area names withheld for security reasons). Everyday we drove from Satu Mare in Romania across the border, into Ukraine and then on to different locations. We brought food, hygiene products, vitamins, generators, sleeping bags and emergency blankets. We carried out medical checks and spent a little time talking and praying with people. We would then drive back to Satu Mare, go shopping and prepare for the next day by getting customs documents ready. On average it was a 12 to 13 hour day without any coffee or lunch breaks. I don’t mind saying that I am exhausted! Occasional air raid sirens, constant checks by police and military and the difficult road conditions made it stressful. We did have a small car accident, please see Rock of Hope link at the end if you would like to give and support them to help repair damage.

Medical care given to civilians, soldiers and all in need
What a privilege to serve and bring food to those in need.
Unfortunately, this is not for show, needed in case of attack…
Beautiful Ukraine. May you know peace.

Above you will find some photos to give you an idea of what we did and saw. Feel free to share them in your church. Big thanks to the Free Methodist Church for their generous support. As the only Free Methodist representative going into Ukraine with aid, I am thankful for you all and for your generosity. If you would like to support this ministry then please give here (marking it ‘Ukraine’): https://give.fmcusa.org/page.aspx?pid=1278

To support us, the McNamara family, please give here (we need support to keep doing this ministry): https://give.fmcusa.org/donation/mcnamara_missionary_support

To support Rock of Hope, our partners in ministry to Ukraine please give here: https://www.rockofhopeministries.org/about

It was also emotional this week. Meeting women who have lost their sons in the war. One poor lady had lost two sons who were serving as soldiers. Seeing refugees in need, experiencing no electricity as we delivered food to refugee centres. Hearing stories of pain. Really tough at times. Praying God will bring peace and healing.

Sarajevo and Pécs Walk for Freedom

As usual, Kathy and I have been keeping busy. I got back from Chisinau, Moldova on October 8th, had one night at home and then flew to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a conference on fighting human trafficking. Over the years, I have been to nearly all the capital cities in  Europe but this was my first time in Sarajevo. It is a small city, surrounded by beautiful mountains and has an incredible history, including being the city where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, effectively beginning WW1.

The city has a strong Islamic/Turkish influence. It was part of the Ottoman Empire for about 400 years and today just over 50% of the population is Muslim. Sarajevo has many mosques, many (but not the majority of) women wear the hijab and the cuisine has been influenced by Turkey.

The conference was very good and gave me an opportunity to network with others involved in anti trafficking whilst at the same time to learn from what others are doing. Sadly, the number of people being trafficked is terribly high, but wonderful Christian organisations from France to Hungary, Germany to Moldova, Luxembourg to UK are doing so much to help prevent it, fight it and help those recovering from it.

I arrived back on Friday evening to Hungary, where Kathy and I hosted a team from America, and had an excellent dinner with them and one of our leaders, Szandra. Earlier in the day, Kathy had taken the team on a prayer walk in Pécs and on a visit to a state children’s home we visit regularly to minister to the kids. The team were very generous and brought a lot of gifts for the children. The next day (Saturday), the team joined us as Szandra led the Walk for Freedom in Pécs. Over 20 of us gathered and walk through the city centre, handing out leaflets and highlighting the ever present sin of modern day slavery.

I was grateful to rest a little this morning and visit a local church here in Pécs for some needed spiritual refreshment. Thanks to Balázs and team at Calvary Chapel, Pécs for excellent worship and teaching.

Your prayers are appreciated and needed friends. I am currently preparing to teach a course on Biblical and moral ethics from November 1st. However, prior to the course staring, I have visits to our churches in Győr and Veszprém to preach and a week in Ukraine bringing humanitarian-aid. Prayers for strenght, good time managemet and needed rest please.

Pray for Moldova

Triumphal Arch in Chisinau

I am in Chisinau, Moldova this week. I was invited by Beginning of Life, a Christian organisation that focuses on helping the poor, fighting human trafficking and engaging their local community with the Gospel. Yesterday was a training day that I held for their staff. It was very well attended and I hope they and others will be blessed by the training time.

The focus of the training day was offering care and counselling to people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Beginning of Life deal with a lot of people who have suffered trauma and they are now actively engaged in helping Ukrainians who have fled the war. They also send humanitarian aid on a weekly basis to Ukraine.

As an organisation they offer art therapy, counselling and they have helped women set up in micro enterprise using creative arts (sewing for example) so they can provide for themselves and their children.

Chisinau is a charming city, but it is the capital of the poorest country in Europe. Many children and women are trafficked from here to Western Europe. Many people leave to find work in other countries. Over the years, corruption has been a very serious problem and has led to many of the economic problems that exist today in Moldova.

The war in Ukraine is a constant concern for the people of Moldova. The breakaway state of Transnistria (officially a part of Moldova) is under military occupation by Russian foces and this presents political and practical challenges for the average person here. Will you join with me in praying for Beginning of Life, the people they serve and indeed the people of Moldova?

Baptism, worship and more.

What a blessed weekend we have had. We started out in our church plant in Veszprém. You may recall that we started this as a group for international students but it has grown beyond that. Nils has had great vision for this group and after meeting over the summer and praying and planning together we moved it towards a worship service for English speakers in the Veszprém area. Yesterday 18 people gathered together for the launch of this church group! The Lord brought people from Brazil, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Germany, Mongolia, the Philippines and the UK. It was a blessed service, with great worship and Nils preached an excellent sermon. I was thrilled to welcome people, explain the history and vision of the church and end our time together with a blessing.

While we were worshipping in Veszprém, our daughter Katica was able to help a Ukrainian family in need. She brought them shopping for shoes and clothes for the colder weather. Thank you for continuing to support the people of Ukraine! The little girls enjoyed picking out new clothes!

Then today, Sunday, we had the pleasure of worshipping and speaking in Győr on the subject of El Olam, the everlasting God. I also had the pleasure of seeing Roland baptised by Pastor Sylvia. It is always a celebration and privilege to witness baptisms and the steps in faith that people are taking. I am so happy to see the continuing growth (both spiritually and in numbers) of the church in Győr and the wonderful impact they are having in the local community.

Ukraine aid trip

Today (September 9th), I and colleagues were privileged to bring aid into Ukraine. In total we brought 900 kilos (2000lbs) of goods. This included pasta, rice, sugar, oil, flour, vegetables, frozen meat, female sanitary products, canned fish, meat and beans along with chocolates for kids and tea and coffee for adults.

The day started at 4am and we expect to be back at 11pm. This 18 hour day has been filled with so much, it is hard to know what to include and what to leave out. Please forgive my writing if it is a little disjointed, it has been and continues to be a long day. Tomorrow I have another 8-10 hours of travel and am ready to rest at home!

We helped a Ukrainian family cross the border as they were walking and the guards would only allow them to cross via vehicle. It was an opportunity for us to give the kids chocolates, talk to them and pass on my business card if they need help in the future.

About 40 minutes after arriving in Ukraine a rather nasty warning alert came. It was making us aware of an attack by Russian forces on our general area. Thankfully we experienced no attack but it certainly brought the war a little closer to us.

We visited three locations and left food and other goods in each place. The need is very real. Several million Ukrainians are internally displaced. Many are living and sleeping in churches or finding refuge in all sorts of places such as hotels, restaurants and campgrounds.

We were also able to leave another display stand warning of the dangers of human trafficking. We left it at a major refugee centre in a large city that helps to feed and house people. Approximately 700 people a day eat there at the moment.

With Eliseo, my wonderful Italian friend and partner in ministry. Please pray for him, his wife and daughter and his sister-in-law, Sefora, as they serve so diligently in ministry.
Florence Nightingale would be horrified but every inch is needed for people to have somewhere to sleep.
Spot the soldier! Volunteers making camouflage. Do not repost or use this photo please.
Supplies of needed goods are running out! People in Ukraine will die this Winter due to the cold. Please be generous and give!

Please pray for Philip More also. He does incredible work in Arad, Romania, running g a centre for the very poor. He gives freely of his time and serves helping on these runs into Ukraine. He is a huge blessing and must be exhausted from so much work.

Thank you to the Free Methodist Church for your incredible generosity in providing the funds for all the supplies, diesel etc.

Summer time and the living is easy???

We are just back from 8 days in Ireland. It was a time to rest, to be with family and friends and to turn off phone and internet. Above is one of my favourite places in the world, Ballybunion in Co. Kerry. We spent a day here enjoying the sun, walking, dipping our toes in the Atlantic. I particularly enjoyed a ’99’, yum! If you don’t know what that is, look it up! It is a big favourite amongst the Irish!!!

Pastor Anton with a bullet proof vest to keep him a little safer as he serves by bringing physical and spiritual aid to those in desperate need in Ukraine. Thank you Mallow Street Gospel Hall, Limerick, Ireland for purchasing this for him.
Celebrating our beautiful youngest lady on her wedding day in July.
A rare evening off. Enjoying the beauty of Pécs after a very hot day!
So much need in Ukraine! Keep praying! Keep giving! Do not tire of doing good!
Ministry partners all across Ukraine making a difference! Here providing for children through arts and crafts.
Camp in Győr.

It was really a very busy Summer. Camp in Győr at the orphanage. Speaking engagements in Budapest, Győr, Pécs and in Ireland. Trip into Ukraine to bring aid. A visit to our ministry in Romania. Preparing for numerous trips into Ukraine in September and October. Raising support for Ukraine and organising finances to help ministry and people in cities such as Berehove, Munkachevo, Rivne and Odessa.

Please keep praying. For an end to the war. For wisdom and safety as we plan more trips into Ukraine. For the leading of the Holy Spirt to guide us. For our friends and partners in Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and in countries where being a believer is dangerous. For us to be filled with energy and love for others. Pray most of all for people to turn to Christ. Thank you for standing with us!