As part of the Set Free Movement, the Győr group organised a training day. Three presenters spoke on the following three areas: 1. The legal and practical steps of removing a child from a dangerous home situation. 2. Art therapy and understanding its use in helping aid treatment of mental health issues. 3. An introduction to mental health illness.
Our first speaker works in a safe home for mother’s and children and therefore, for her safety, we don’t have a photo of her. It was an excellent presentation with a lot of information! It brought home to those of us present, the realities of why children are sometimes removed from their families.
Erin Kingsley was our second presenter. Erin has a Masters degree in art with a special interest in art therapy. She presented very well and her presentation was interactive and very engaging.
Gerry presented on mental health. It was a lot of information on depression, PTSD, anxiety etc. The group were excellent with great questions. They already had a lot of knowledge and applied it well to the presentation.
Kevin from Szigetvár and Péter from Budapest led worship and it was a real blessing!
Partnership building in Ireland report
The past week and a half, Kathy and I had a wonderful time of partnership building in Ireland and we greatly enjoyed time with family and friends also. We are at a moment in our ministry where significant changes are happening and we are very grateful to our partners for their support! What a blessing, that as Europeans, we find the European Church (in this case in Ireland) as well as the church in America, supporting us as we reach people across Hungary and into Eastern Europe.
In total, we spoke at three churches. We spoke at Mallow Street Christian Hall in Limerick https://www.mallowstchristians.com/ which is my home church. Door of Hope Church also in Limerick, who gave of a very warm welcome. Find them on Sunday mornings at 11am at the old Krups factory (wonderful.worship!). Finally, we spoke at Grovesnor Baptist Church in Dublin. https://www.grosvenorbaptist.org/ Again, we were warmly welcomed and made to feel very much at home.
We also celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary whilst in Ireland (where do the years go)? We took a lovely trip to Kilkee and the Loop Head peninsula. Below are a few photos from our time.
Kaposvár prayer walk
Kathy and I continued our practice of prayer walks throughout Hungary today. Over the years we have gone on prayer walks in Budapest, Győr, Mosonmagyaróvár, Veszprém and Pécs to name just a few cities. Today we walked and prayed in Kaposvár in the south-west of Hungary. We have found that often the Lord has blessed these walks and allows us to make new connections.
Kaposvár is not a large city, with a population of about 65,000 people. It is the capital of Somogy County and a lovely town centre as can be seen from the photos. Whilst here we had a lovely surprise as we came across a Christian run coffee shop that is part of a local Baptist Church. The Connect coffee shop is part of the Reménység Kapuja (Gates of Hope) Baptist Church. It is a new coffee shop, that has only been opened a month. The managers of the coffee shop are also the pastors. It was very welcoming, great coffee and a good opportunity for us to find out what the Lord is doing in Kaposvár.
As Kathy and I look at our years of ministry in Hungary and across the region (Moldova, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine), we are amazed at how God has allowed us to connect with so many people in so many ways. Although ministry changes (it certainly has changed as we have committed to helping the people of Ukraine during wartime) and will certainly continue to change, we know that prayer walks will remain a constant act of entrusting Hungary into His hands and asking Him to open doors. We feel blessed to reach so many people in Central and Eastern Europe with the Gospel and will continue to do so God willing. We are steadfast in our commitment and look forward to new opportunities.
Easter in Győr and Szigetvár
We were blessed to attend and serve at two worship services this weekend. In Szigetvár (near the Croatian border), we worshipped, enjoyed fellowship and communion. Kevin did a wonderful job of leading worship and it is a pleasure to see God leading him and Szandra. A year ago, this group didn’t exist, this weekend we were 17 with five countries represented! Praise God!
Then in Győr we celebrated Easter with our most established church. We were about 80 and had worship led by Sarah and Sylvia preached the Word (I was blessed to translate for her). Both ladies were superb! We had an international group of students from Finland, Germany and Hungary. Below you will find them singing a piece of their own creation entitled ‘Peace’.
New ministry! New life in Christ!
Kathy and I had a very busy and very fun few days of ministry. We spent a lot of time in both Győr and Veszprém and are seeing some incredible growth! Here are some highlights from the past few days.
Gerry had the privilege of leading Bible study on Friday afternoon in Győr and them connecting with some of our team members who are fighting human trafficking. Sadly, a lot of those involved are currently ill with the flu, but it was a blessing to spend time as a group and learn more about ways to fight trafficking. The Director of the Set Free Movement was our guest.
On Saturday, both Kathy and I drove to Veszprém. First, we worshipped with and preached at our small international church group and afterwards met we an offshoot of that group, which are the international students who have begun to reach out in their student community. They are worshipping together every Sunday morning at 8am, handing out tracts to fellow students, planning evangelization in Veszprém and are on fire for God!!! Our meeting Saturday evening was a planning meeting for how we can support and love them. They reported that one student came to Christ last week through this ministry! Praise God!
Sunday at 8am, Esther lead worship, Nils preached and I served the Lord’s supper. Enjoy the short video!
At 10 am, we were the guests of the Veszprém Christian Fellowship and I had the privilege of preaching. It is a wonderful church group. Very friendly, kind and such moving worship! They kindly invited us to lunch, which allowed for good conversations.
After lunch, we drove to Győr and helped set up church. Pastor Sylvia did a great job of leading the service and I had the privilege of preaching for a third time this weekend (all different sermons by the way). Sylvia and I share birthdays which are very close together and the church blessed us by singing to us 🙂
All in all it was a good weekend. I can be honest and say it is time for a rest. Very recent trips into war-torn Ukraine to bring aid and medical care, overseeing work in Hungary that is growing and connecting with ministry partners in Romania (all in the last two weeks) mean the coming week of vacation are needed! Kathy has been very busy in helping with translation work, preparing for our upcoming camp at children’s home and connecting with people. Please pray we enjoy rest!
A glimpse of our time in Ukraine.
Along with partners, I have been delivering humanitarian-aid to Ukraine this week. Rice, pasta, oil, flour, canned meat, canned fruit and vegtables, nappies (diapers), UHT milk and so on have filled our van daily. We would drive from north western Romania every morning, wait at both border crossings (one day alone we had six hours of waiting) and then drive to our destination. Thank you to the Free Methodist Church for funding this trip. Thank you to Eliseo and Steli from Rock of Hope ministries for accompanying me and working so hard.
Air raid sirens were regular but not constant. The need for food, hygiene products and medical care is constant. 13 million Ukrainians have been displaced because of the war. https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2023/2/63f78c0a4/unhcr-year-russian-invasion-insecurity-clouds-return-intentions-displaced.html
The need is great. Each of us can make a difference. Pray. Fast. Give. Welcome those who come as refugees. Show love.
Over the last couple of years we have become more and more involved with the European Freedom Network (EFN). The EFN exists to help the European Church to combat and prevent human trafficking and sexual exploitation. As a network of like minded individuals we help one another with encouragrment, resources, training etc. On February 20th we will have a training webinar, that myself and three others will be leading, and you are welcome to join.
This is the registration link to the event: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/7216741994782/WN_-fThkRztTNmeV2wOFdOwOw
This will be the third webinar with EFN that I am involved in. The team are very professional, excellent speakers with a rich and varied background of qualifications and experience. The webinars are run very well with excellent translation available into multiple languages.
Those of you working with people who have suffered due to the war in Ukraine may find this training webinar of particular use.
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.