Worshiping together again!!!

Today I travelled to Budapest to be with our church there as they gathered to worship for the first time in about three months. The government restrictions on meeting together due to Covid-19 have now relaxed as the numbers in Hungary have dropped significantly. Next Sunday our church community in Győr will meet for the first time some March 15th.

The Budapest team did an awesome job of preparing to meet. Hand sanitizer was out and compulsory to use and masks were also available if people forgot to bring one. They also had bottles of water available to keep people hydrated on a pleasant sunny day. We met in the garden and it was a joy to worship and be together!

Twenty people gathered for worship. Péter led our worship and Zsuzsi preached an excellent message from Acts *(I am biased of course but she is a very gifted and insightful speaker). It was Holy Spirit led and filled. If you are in Budapest be sure to visit!

Ukraine camp for veterans and their families

Dear Friends, I am posting below a letter from our ministry leaders in Ukraine. They are planning a camp for soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and their families. As you know, I have been involved in the past but due to the Covid-19 restrictions I cannot attend this year. Like most ministry, we need finances to see this run. I recognize that this is a tough time financially for many, if you cannot give, be blessed, if you can give, be blessed. Your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Dear Friends and Partners!

All of us are going through difficult times. The circumstances of this year dictate its’ ways of living and serving. The war in our country still continues and takes people’s lives, hurts people’s families, and destroys people’s hearts. We don’t know the future, what will it bring, but we believe that God knows it for sure, He controls everything, and we trust Him. Of course we are worried, complaining, and frightening; but it is much better to do something for God’s sake and for His Kingdom. Because serving others gives us immense pleasure, joy, and comfort; especially when God uses us in this time of difficulty.

Therefore, our core team of the Volunteer Center of Support, began to think that it would be good to start planning a camp for our veterans of war (familes or single), in the Carpathian Mountains. We united with a group of Christians, chaplains and the family of a veteran, to work together, ministering to these people who are true heroes of Ukraine, but at the same time who are “maimed” because of cruelty of war, and won’t return to the same life anymore. It is the smallest thing we can all do out of gratitude – a time to relax and refresh. But we all know that God is our healer and only He can give such peace.

We expect about 30 people (team included).

Vision: a camp for the whole family where a good spiritual and family program is combined with active recreation in the heart of the Carpathians.

Goals:

• Spend a good time in a natural and informal atmosphere rooted in Christian values

• Create a simple, friendly, home atmosphere for the participants

• Build/develop relationship with the families,that can be continued in the Rivne region.

Place: Carpathians, Iltsi village (30 km after Vorokhta), “Masada” Christian Recreation Center.

Dates: 11/07/2020 – 16/07/2020

Costs:

  • Accommodation and meals: 270.00 UAH (10 $) a day/ person * 5 days* 30 people=1 500 $
  • Transport expenses: bus (17 seats) + Van (8 seats) + car (5 seats): 350 $ + 150 $+50 $=550 $
  • Coffee break: 150 $
  •  Snacks: 50 $
  • Medicine: 40 $
  • Administrative costs : 70 $

TOTAL: 2 360 $

We pray for:

1. The quarantine to end.

2. Raising the needed funds.

2. The core team and all the participants, God’s protection and wisdom, God’s care and blessing.

3. Peace in Ukraine and for the victims of war.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about participation, funding, etc.,

Contact person: Misha Petrochenko

E – mail: mishapetrochenko86@gmail.com 

Set the captives free!

We are honoured to partner with the Set Free Movement. The global ministry of the Set Free Movement is just incredible! Led by Rev. Kevin Austin, the Set Free Movement is on the frontlines of combating human trafficking. With ministry in countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Thailand, Philippines and USA, the people involved are all committed to God and to fighting this evil.

Would you like to know more? Go to http://www.setfreemovement.com for more details and ways in which you can help and be support this ministry!

Jesus and Jam

Last year we ran a ministry in our church called ‘Jam for Jesus’. Sylvia, a then local church member, was deeply touched by the stories of need we told from Arad, Romania and our partners in ministry, Vis de Copil, who reach the poorest and most needy in that community. Sylvia felt called to bring the sweetness of Christ by feeding people with homemade jam. The project started small, a few jars here, a few jars there. Soon many church members and others in our community became involved. Eventually 104 jars of jam were made, and along with a cash donation, was brought to Arad, to be given to any who had need. Vis de Copil provide meals (along with a place to wash clothes and have a hot shower), so jam is a great food to help supplement diets a little.

This year, we began the ministry again. We are inviting anyone who wishes to donate their fruit, their finances, their time and labour, to be involved and join this wonderful ministry. Although we are living in strange times due to Covid-19, fruit continues to grow and those who are hungry will be blessed by jam to put on their bread. Please enjoy the video that Sylvia (now studying towards ordination) put together.

 

Typical ministry day in quarantine

Hungary will begin lifting some restrictions from May 4th (except for Budapest), however our quarantine experience has likely been similar to many of yours. Here is what a typical quarantine day looks like for us.

Yesterday was a day of video calls. I had a total of five video calls starting at 7am and ending about 8.45pm. These calls varied from 15 minutes to over two hours in length. In between I had time to answer a few emails, spend time in extra Bible study and look at my calendar to begin making decisions about planned upcoming ministry travel to Ukraine and Moldova in June (both trips doubtful at the moment). Kathy was also involved in video calls and several phone calls also.

Today, I was able to visit and go for a walk with a friend (we both wore masks), help our leaders in Ukraine with a financial issue and communicate with other leaders in Hungary and Romania. I also recorded a section for our church service on Sunday. Now I am about to get in a home workout of weights and aerobics. Kathy has been translating for the sermon for Sunday for the last two or three hours.

Many of these calls are connecting with others to make sure they are well physically, emotionally and spiritually. Many are lonely, many are frightened and many are just in need of a listening ear. Other calls are to talk about future ministry plans and we are already planning for Summer 2021!

Most days involve a number of video and phone calls with emails in between. Ministry continues, it just looks a little different. I do miss being with people… I also miss going out for coffee and getting to the gym. However we have been and are so blessed! We, our family, friends, church members are all free of Covid-19, have food to eat and beds to go to at night. We hope you are well and please know you are in our prayers!

Ministry during quarantine

As I’m sure is the same for you all, our lives have changed significantly due to Covid-19. I was due to have flown to America on March 6th to have spoken at a number of churches but thankfully I stayed in Hungary due to the restrictions put in place by President Trump.

So what have and are we doing? We had meetings in person until March 15th but then made the decision to stop meeting people for worship, Bible study and counselling. We do continue to counsel people through phone calls and online. We also as a church community have a daily devotional message on our Facebook page and a weekly worship service online on Sundays. I also continue to connect with colleagues across Europe and make sure they are doing well emotionally. I have also made several videos which I have sent to churches to keep them updated on missions in Europe. If you would like a video message for your online worship service please let me know.

Myself and our missionary colleague Wick are offering to purchase food and medicines for those unable to leave their homes. We will shop and drop it to those in need. This will become more difficult from tomorrow as the Hungarian government has introduced stricter lockdown rules which take effect from midnight tonight.

We appreciate your prayers as we try to navigate these difficult times and yet still be a witness of His love.

Cancelled USA trip

I was due to travel to America tomorrow to speak at five churches (Edgewood, Community of the Savior, Northgate, CVFree and Valley Chapel) in New York State. Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions (becuse of the Covid-19 virus) from Europe, put in place by President Trump, travel from European countries is prohibited for the next 30 days.

I am very sorry I cannot be with you in America friends but will try to find another time later this year.

As always, I am available to Skype into your worship services, Bible studies etc. I love to connect and desire to share all the exciting news of what is happening across Europe!

International women’s day

Such a blessing today to have celebrated international women’s day at church. Pastor Wick (our new pastor who releases me to do more ministry across Hungary and Europe) presented all the ladies at church with a tulip. It was a sweet moment to see an American pastor gift flowers to women from America, Congo, Hungary, Ireland and Mexico as a small example of the love of Christ. We had several ladies missing due to illness and travel but are grateful for those who were there.

Our small library is proving popular with a book or two taken out most weeks. It is a way for our church members to educate themselves and learn more of Christ.

Sarah Berta-Somogyi our Director of family ministry and lutheran missionary gave us an update on MOPS today. So many young mums coming! Usually 8-10 mums with their kids come and hear about the love of God. Both Sarah and my wife lead this wonderful ministry and we are happy to be a part of the MOPS family!

Blessed in Bulgaria

I was in Kyustendil and Sofia, Bulgaria for the past week. I was able to see several churches and ministries that the Free Methodist church is involved in and also had European Leadership team meetings.

One of the highlights was having several men ordained! It is always such a blessing and a challenge when people make this courageous decision in their lives after several years of study and training.

I also got to see the shop set up by my missionary colleagues Al and Diane Mellinger which supports micro enterprises. It has wonderful products and if you are interested in learning more don’t hesitate to contact me or check out this website https://squareup.com/store/marketplace-mannas-around-the-world-shop

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Partnership in Russia

*Note that I am not using the city name to protect our partners.

It has been an excellent few days in Russia. I came to meet with new partners in ministry and to teach a course. We explored a number of areas including the early Methodist movement, women in ordination, church structures and social justice ministry. I was very excited to hear their hopes and dreams for their city and country!

I also got to visit a crisis centre for children who are taken from their families for various reasons. This particular centre holds up to 55 kids from all across the former USSR. I had a very productive meeting with the director and will be back soon to teach at the centre on mental health care.

It wasn’t all work and I got to enjoy some famous sights 🙂

Would you like to support this ministry? Do you desire to see God reach Russia? Write to me! Also to give online go here: https://give.fmcusa.org/donation/df-cpdrussia

Equipping new leaders

It is a joy this week to be involved in teaching three leaders who God is calling into deeper service. Philip, Sarah and Sylvia are all studying towards ordination. This week they are studying the history of Methodism and a number of the key figures such as John and Charles Wesley, B.T. Roberts and George Whitfield. They are also studying theology such as entire sanctification, Wesleyan quadrilateral and the order of salvation.

Next week I will travel to Russia (name of the city withheld to protect our leaders), to teach this course again to three leaders there who are also exploring how God may want them to serve. I appreciate your prayers as I prepare.

Christmas 2019 Newsletter

This post is the text of our recent Christmas newsletter. It was sent out to by regular post to partners in America, Ireland and the UK.

Dear Friends,
Greetings from Győr, Hungary! I hope that this letter finds each of you very well and blessed. As supporters of our ministry, we send you a newsletter once a year by snail mail at Christmas. However, if you want regular updates, please see our website, http://www.hungaryforchrist.com  It contains a lot of stories, photos and videos and is a great way to see more of what we are doing. You can also feel free to call me or write an email (numbers and address above) if you would like more information.

2019 was a year that was filled with ministry opportunities. The church in Győr continues to grow and reach more and more people every week. Our various groups continue to grow and we see new faces on a weekly basis. In particular the work in the orphanage, MOPS (mothers of pre-schoolers) and development of new leaders has seen very encouraging growth! At the orphanage, Kathy now has two other ladies who regularly join her on Wednesdays to minister to the kids on both the temporary and the permanent floors of the orphanage. We also hope to have some of the kids join us at worship on Sundays in the near future. MOPS continues to bring in more and more young women and we are starting to see some of them join us for worship on Sundays. I will hand over the role of pastor of the Győr church in January to a friend and colleague, Wick Anderson (Wick and his family are missionaries from America) and we will also appoint an assistant pastor, a Hungarian lady named Sylvia. Sylvia has begun her studies in theology and is feeling called by God to serve His people. Please pray for these wonderful leaders!

As I step out of the role as Győr church pastor, I will continue to minister but more on a national and international level. I now have responsibility for leadership and development of ministry in Hungary, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and am looking at some potential partnership(s) in Moldova. These ministries include church-planting, a rehab center for alcohol and drug addictions, work with orphans, the homeless, Bible studies and education for people considering ordained ministry. I cannot explain well the excitment and honour I feel at being involved with so much wonderful ministry! Many of those involved in these ministries face significant challenges financially and some even face persecution from authorities. Please pray.

Of course, all of these ministry opportunites and responsibilities also include a tremendous amount of travel. I have become no stranger to airports and by the end of this year I will have totalled 36 flight segments for ministry travel and several international car and train journeys also. 2020 will also include significant travel with flights already booked to America, Bulgaria and Russia. I am currently booked through to November of 2020 and have little room for extra travel but am always happy to connect with you and your church through Skype or Zoom. If possible we would be delighted to join your worship service via video and spend a few minutes sharing about ministry in Hungary and across Europe. For those of you in the New York State area, I will be in America March 13th to 24th and will speak at five churches. Please contact me if you would like to know times, dates and places of my speaking arrangements.

On a more personal note, we celebrated the wedding of our daughter Zsuzsi in April which was a blessed occassion. Both Csilla and Zsuzsi will graduate from University in February with Zsuzsi then continuing her studies in theology. Csilla is considering both further education and work possibilities. Katica is doing very well as she contiues her studies in physiotherapy. She is nearing the end of her third semester and next semester in April she will begin the first of her practical placements and will be in Győr for that. We are thankful that she will have more time at home! Kathy and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary in May and enjoyed a wonderful holiday together in October to celebrate. It was only a week away but it did much to recharge us both physically and spiritually. We all continue to pursue a number of hobbies and interests that include weightlifting, walking with our dogs, reading and enjoying coffee.

I would like to particularly thank those of you who so kindly hosted me this year at various times in your homes, took me out for a meal or bought me a coffee. I really enjoyed wonderful time with people in Oregon, Louisiana, UK, Ukraine and numerous other places. Thank you all! Your conversation, prayers, friendship and willingness to listen to what God is doing here in Europe means very much to me indeed.

You are our partners in this ministry and without your prayer and financial support, none of this would be possible. Please feel free to write to us, ask us more questions and send us encouraging notes We enjoy hearing from you!

Blessings,
Gerry, Kathy, Csilla, Zsuzsi and Katica McNamara