In June, several of us McNamara’s will be in Ireland for just over a week and we would be delighted to visit you and your church, home group and/or Bible study group and give a presentation on both our ministry work in Hungary and in the Middle East.
We will be available from June 17th to June 24th and we are willing to travel around Ireland. I will be speaking in Mallow Street Hall on June 21st and I will give a special presentation on the work of the persecuted church in the Middle East then and the work of smuggling Bibles that I have been involved in (we would love to see you, why not come and visit us in Limerick that morning!) If your group has an evening meeting on the 21st that is currently free but I suspect it will be filled soon, so first come first serve!
If you would like us to present then please feel free to use the form below to leave a comment or call me on 0036203846042.
This Sunday we had a wonderful time of Bible study, prayer, worship and fellowship as we celebrated the risen Lord! We were blessed by Yoli and Zsolti leading us in worship, Katica and Kathy taught the children and Gerry lead the teaching time. We remembered the sacrifice of Christ as we partook in communion together. Afterwards we enjoyed a wonderful meal and then had a serious discussion on the direction of our group and how we can reach more people for Christ. I am so blessed by all these great men and women of Christ and I’m very impressed at how the young people are growing in their faith.
The underground church in the Middle East met on Friday. Last year I was blessed to celebrate Easter with them. Please continue to pray for believers who are not free to worship Christ without fear of persecution.
Today then we had the Hungarian tradition of ‘locsolás’. On Easter Monday, males sprinkle their female relatives and close friends with water. It is one of the oldest traditions and it symbolizes rebirth, purity and fertility. The picture below is from last year and is of Zsuzsi being doused with water by Zsolti.
Part of ministering in a country where being a practicing Christian is illegal means being part of the underground church. What is the underground church? What does it mean? Where do they meet? Who goes there and when? Again I can’t go into very specific details as I need to protect those still there and on the off chance that my post is read by an enemy of the church, I don’t want them to gain any information they could use against believers.
First of all the church is the body of Christ. That means that each individual Christian is a member of the body. When the church is underground it is not immediately visible as it is hidden from the eyes of the agents of the government and the Enemy. It has no billboard outside with a name and service times. There is no church website with a photo of a smiling pastor. The underground church may meet in a home, in the basement of a building, out in the dessert or anywhere that believers can come together in safety. Meetings can be held at any time of the day or night and on any day of the week. However the weekend in the Middle East is Friday and Saturday and therefore the main worship meeting will often (but not always) happen sometime over the weekend. Meetings are often not open to everyone. Sadly ex-patriots and locals often do not worship together. A ‘bounty’ of about $1300 is offered by the government for information leading to the arrest of Christians who practice their faith and the government particularly targets those Christians who openly speak of their faith. Due to this, many ex-patriots have a deep distrust of allowing locals into their worship services, prayer meetings and Bible studies. Spies will infiltrate the church to then give in names of key leaders and times and places of meeting. Security is a key word for all concerned.
Why be so concerned you might ask? Sadly the punishment for meeting to worship the living and almighty God is possible imprisonment, lashes and deportation. The punishment for smuggling in Arabic language Bibles may even be as severe as beheading.
Yet the church is exploding! I know of one street alone where three (3) churches meet! I have preached in front of 150 people! I have even heard of a meeting of thousands of believers together at one time! We celebrated the Lord’s supper together every month! Worship is so Holy Spirit filled! God has raised up men and women who are gifted preachers and prayer warriors! God honours His people by blessing his Kingdom work.
Please join with me in prayer for couples like I and S and D and A who love Christ, who love His people and want to see the Kingdom of God built up in the Middle East. Please pray for brother J who has been arrested and released and still continues the work of the Lord.
Update December 1st 2015: The work in the Middle East goes from strength to strength. The Lord is blessing this work and now a total of seven groups are in operation (with over 200 people in fellowship). Please be in prayer for these faithful followers of Christ as they continue to reach out to the lost and needy. Please pray particularly for those leading the groups. Pray that those who wish them harm would be thwarted in their attempts and that the Gospel would continue to spread. Thank you!
As many of you know I have not been in Hungary very much this past year. I had the opportunity to go and serve the Lord in an Islamic country in the Middle East that is entirely closed (officially at least) to the Gospel message. It was a real challenge to spend so much time away from my family and I missed them dearly, yet the Lord blessed us greatly in so many ways.
I still need to be cautious about what I write in relation to the ministry in that country as I am worried for the believers who are there. Christians being arrested and thrown into jail for meeting together is commonplace. So I will not name the country here nor will I give details of names or times and dates.
I left Hungary over one year ago. I worked in a secular position and this allowed me to be involved in several Christian groups. The different groups met on a regular basis for worship, Bible study, fellowship and the breaking of bread. The incredible presence of the Holy Spirit as we worshiped was just amazing! Being a pastor was my main calling and I worked alongside some truly great men and women of God. I preached, counseled the lonely and depressed, reached out to the lost, encouraged the brothers and sisters and smuggled in Bibles and Christian literature. I had some tough discussions and presented the Gospel message to people who only know Christ from the Qur’an. At times I was concerned as I knew I could be imprisoned for smuggling in Bibles (in Arabic) or for witnessing. Yet Christ gave me many opportunities to reach Muslims (often several times a day) and I presented the Gospel message in a clear and easy to understand manner.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I apologize for not writing more at this time but my mind is overwhelmed. I returned to Hungary late last night and am praying for the Lord to continue to lead us and show us the way into the future. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated and if you would like more details or have any questions then please feel free to contact me. I will write again on this topic so keep an eye on our blog for more information.