Well the countdown has begun – 27 days till we touch the Gulf of Mexico and the white sand of Moon Palace Grand Resort. We are really looking forward to spending our time with friends – the Soden clan.
With a 7 night stay, we get $1500 resort to credit to spend – almost – however we want. They have changed a few things so that now there is a limitation on the dollar amount you can spend at the spa. Unfortunately – to get the girls’ hair lassoed in the braids will take that entire $300 so I will end up paying for my own pampering.
We plan to do a day excursion to Tulum, another day to do the Ultimate Dolphin Swim, another day to experience the Paradise Adventure. Finally we will have a day for photos.
We were not that impressed with the “romantic dinner” for 2 for $300 so we are skipping that this year.
Next is trying to decide what to pack besides swimwear and workout clothes. I’m planning on doing some interval running on the beach early in the morning.
English club was amazing today. there was about a 1 to 1 ratio of native English speakers and Hungarians. and we played the “speed dating” game. The different men and women came and talked with me individually about different things whatever they wanted to talk about for 10-12 minutes. Usually we talked about my pictures– gardening and so forth my family their family and I did not have any conversations that I would consider spiritually significant conversation. After English club we went to the Stone residence and had sandwiches and a mixed vegetable salad. We took a tour of their garden and learned their life story– how they met and came into ministry . we talked about answered prayers . we talked about how Helen and I had been led of the Lord to come to hungry this trip and then it was time to go to icsb.
When we got to the school we struggled to find someone that could tell us what we needed to be doing. There was a bit of lag time with volunteers standing around. In the end it was all good but some were stressed and frustrated.
When we met with the elders for prayer on Wednesday night I noticed how serious sober and burdened they appeared regarding the ministry of the Hungarian church that meets in kelenföld. Without any paid staff of the church each man carries part of the ministry.one man is responsible for stewardship another for teaching another per missions and it is difficult to lead the church without a pastor. They long for a paid pastor. I could especially identify with their struggles to balance family career in ministry.
Today we went shopping at covered market we bought strawberries and some for ministry to the teenagers and we purchased souvenirs for our family’s. I bought Alexis and Rachel a surprise. We are at G. Coffeehouse for lunch and had hamburgers grilled here at the Ehringhaus for dinner. In the evening after dinner we cleaned the kitchen for Jody while she finished up some additional work for hearts at home. she also worked on the power points for the conference and she entertained us with many hilarious Tim Hawkins videos via youtube while Helen Kari and I tied testimony booklets to each goody bag.
Friday morning we will go to English club at the ministry center. afterwards we will go to Timmy’s house for lunch. In the evening we will go to school to decorate for the hearts at home conference and we will get all of our equipment ready to go. Praise The Lord that Andrea the art teacher is willing to paint a picture for me while I am talking Saturday. Today We were able to spend 10 minutes or so discussing logistics and going over my talk.
This afternoon I gave 2 talks on purity at Icsb. Both groups responded well to this message although I feel I did a better job the first time than the second. Doing back to back talks isn’t easy. The name tags were deemed cute –thanks to Sankey. We had white chocolate covered strawberries, cheesy biscuits, and cookies. The girls were respectful. I passed inspection with the principal who was reluctant to allow me to speak. I had an awkward moment of silence when the Holy Spirit told me to skip a section.
Overall it has been a trip full of laughter, patience and peace. Pray as women from many ministry come together to do final prep for hearts at home.
Today, Helen and I finally got to meet Timi in person. We had seen her on video; we had skyped with her. But today we got to give her a hug and see her in person. We were scheduled to go to a Hungarian home, but because of illnesses we ended up at the Kelenfold Ministry Center. (KMK) Two new moms came to the group today plus two regular moms plus the two of us. Helen and I shared our life stories and played with the children while we talked. We also got a brief tour of the building. It was very encouraging to hear how the women had been wanting a group like this where moms could get together and talk while their children play. We left materials for them to use and explained more how our meetings work.
We took pictures of the area surrounding the ministry center and bought oranges from gypsies at the market near the KMK on the way to the bus back to Diosd. Dozens of tall concrete apartment buildings (probably built in the communist era) surround the ministry center on three sides. A
Timi, Meg & Peter, and Elias
have been over 14 buildings, each with possibly 10 floors with little to no vacancy in each building. The harvest potential is huge!
We had turkey lunch meat sandwiches when we returned to the Revell’s home, went over some notes, and took a short nap before the evening.
The Mullets and the team from the Orchard EFC arrived here around 4. Tonight was our night to see city lights, eat palacsinta (crepes), and pray over the city. Helen had a potato pancake and an apple one. I had a mushroom one, a spinach one, and a coconut cream one with chocolate sprinkles on top! We ate on the upper level.
There is much to learn here; much to process. Please pray with me to God’s will and passion for Budapest.
It’s Wednesday morning, and I’m enjoying a delicious cup of coffee in my Montaz mug. It’s Brad Mullet’s favorite blend of coffee. yumm! I had raspberry yogurt and a granola bar for breakfast.
I experienced some jet lag last night and was up from midnight to 3am, at which time I decided to let the little pacing Shabella into my room. She laid down next to me and we both promptly fell asleep.
Today’s schedule is to go to the Ministry Center and meet with Timi and three other young moms. After lunch we will hang out at the Erden Haz (literally, house in Erd – Mark & Jodi’s place) untill the elder meeting tonight at 5.
I want to recap the last couple of days of travel. We left Chicago as scheduled. The girls had requested a one minute hug before I left, so we stood at the curbside drop off point, hugging and counting to 60. We encountered friendly TSA agents who were joking about going home early. Our flight was a bit turbulent but nothing too terrible. Both Helen and I hardly slept on the plane (if at all) because of some vocal children under 3. Our dinner was manicotti and breakfast was a hot croissant, yogurt and orange juice. As we made our descent into Zurich, we encountered more turbulence, causing me to grab “the bag.” Fortunately I didn’t need it. I kept praying through Psalm 23 throughout the flight. I was able to sleep on the short flight from Zurich to Budapest. On both flights, several Jewish men were on board. On the flight into Zurich, at sunup, a young man stood in the aisle with his phylacteries bound to his forehead, arms, and hands repeating his sacred text. It was a great reminder of the importance of keeping the Lord central to our life. The Shema says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” This command is to be so important to us that it drives our thinking and our actions.
The city of Budapest is a sprawling modern city full of buses, cars, trucks, pedestrians, bikes, trains, and trolley cars. Like other eastern European countries, the pipes are above ground in some areas. Some of the older communist-built apartments quads have now been painted a rainbow bright colors. I am excited to explore the city more this week.
The Lord has an open door for gospel advancement in Budapest. Less than 5% are evangelical believers and people search for meaning in their lives. I have been invited to participate in a women’s ministry event April 8-15, 2013 in Budapest. The Hearts at Home Conference draws over 150 women from the area, most not a part of any church. As I have prayed over this opportunity, I believe God is laying groundwork for a partnership with the women of our church and Hungary. The adrenalin rush of following God step by step will only be exceeded by seeing Him in heaven surrounded by dozens of women worshipping Him. What is your part in this story?
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hungary prayer letter
In my last post, we discussed that the master gardener may leave the plot fallow to allow the soil to rest and be ready to produce a greater harvest in the future.
After a fallow season, it’s time to re-plow the soil and plant seeds.
For many of us, 2012 has been quite the year. Without the perspective of time, it may seem that the Master Gardener has had no plan. Instead, it seems that this year, life has rampaged along like some fantastical dragon, twisting and turning, with momentary joys overshadowed by the deadly darkness of doubt, disappointment, dejection, and depression. When month in and month out we are faced with such unpredictability, how do we live without life getting the best of us? In biblical terms, how do we overcome? We overcome by planting the right seeds.
Pansy – seed of strength. Although a “pansy” can refer to a weak, cowardly person, this variety from the violet family is able to thrive in many climates. We planted pansies in our garden in Rhinelander, and to our surprise these flowers came back year after year, even though exposed to extreme temperatures. Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” Not in our own strength do we get through a topsy turvy year. You may feel like a weakling and in reality may even be weak – but what a perfect place to have Christ’s strength rest on you. Plant seeds of strength by memorizing God’s truth about His character. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Sunflower – seed of devotion. The sunflower derives its name because it is always following the sunlight. Jesus is the light of the world. If we walk in the light as He is in the light then we don’t stumble. We can live in harmony with each other because of Jesus’ cleansing.
Moss – seed of humility. Velvety moss grows in cool, dark, damp, secluded places, unnoticed. If transplanted, it dies. We can plant this seed when we choose to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. As Amy Charmichael wrote, “Make me like the low green moss, cool for His feet.”
Mustard – seed of faith. Every tomorrow can be handled either with anxiety or with faith. Plant the seed of faith and let it take root. Don’t uproot it. Hold on tight to it. Draw near to Jesus by telling Him the wrong things you’ve said and done. The seed of faith grows in this environment. Corrie Ten Boom says, “Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.”
Pear – seed of hope. God’s glory will be realized in our life, whether our path is bright and normal or dark and wearisome. I have been meditating on Romans 5 this year. God has placed us in right standing with Him. We aren’t fighting against Him anymore because of the peace Jesus Christ mediated for us at the cross. For this we are happy and truly joyful. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And we rejoice in the bad stuff. Because suffering through bad stuff produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character produces hope; and hope doesn’t make us ashamed because of God’s unfailing love. In the midst of pain, plant the seed of hope in your heart. Plant the hope that God is up to something good and glorious for the sake of His Name.
Heliotrope – seed of love. The fragrant tropical heliotrope releases is beautiful fragrance in the warmth of the sun. When life gets crazy, just stop yourself. Embrace Jesus in that moment and His love will sing over you and His peace will guard you.
Gardening can drain the soil, especially when we plant the same crop year after year. Each plant leeches something from the soil while giving something else back. For example, soybeans leave nitrates in the soil while corn absorbs nitrates. To replenish the chemical composition of soil after a crop, some farmers let their land go fallow so that the soil can naturally restore its proper balance.
The past two weeks I have spent harvesting what I could use from my garden. Bean plants were ripped up and composted. Bell peppers have been chopped and frozen. I have made pasta sauce and salsa till my lower cabinets are nearly red with tomato juice stains. And now all the stakes, cages and trellises have been stored away for winter. The soil received some compost and was tilled one last time before the fallow season of fall and winter. The rich brown soil looks ready for another season of growth, but like traditional farmers before us, we are allowing the soil to lie fallow so that it might become more fruitful next year.
If your life is like my garden, are you in a fallow season? Maybe you have just completed a fruitful season on ministry and now you sense God’s leading you to rest. Perhaps you’ve been removed from fruitful life through a sudden transplanting or uprooting just prior to the great harvest. Or perhaps you’ve felt fruitless for a long long time. You read God’s word and nothing seems to grab you or motivate you. You sit there prayerfully confessing sins in hopes of a revival. You wonder where is God in this cold season. You saturate yourself with sermons, music, books — all the right things to stimulate God’s work in your life, yet it seems that God is far, far away. Your soil is fallow.
I urge you to continue to seek the Lord during this fallow time. Your Life’s soil still needs the water of God’s Word. Spend time with Him, and saturate yourself with His Word. Read it, have it read to you, memorize it, meditate on it, write songs about it. Keep on praying and calling out to God, because He is not far from you. The fallow season is a necessary period in the cycle of gardening and another time of verdant growth will come. Wait patiently for Him. He will come and plow the fallow ground and plant seeds which will produce a future harvest of righteousness.
Hosea 6:3 Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; for as surely as the dawn, He will come. He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
Hard times test our faith. Romans 5 tells us that our hard times are meant to produce perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
It is easy to realize that one purpose of trials is to cause us to lean hard on Jesus our Creator. And the longer we lean on Him, the closer we get to sticking through to the end of the heartache. And the longer we stick to Christ in the face of difficulty, the more our character is transformed by God into a holy, healthy, godly character. Then we arrive at hope. We often assume that this hope is hope of a miracle or a better life here on earth, that things will work out the way that we want them to, and that the outcome will be positive circumstances. The only way our hope will not disappoint us is if we realize that the ultimate priority of our hope is the glory of God. Our hope starts and ends with God who has poured His love into our hearts.
Two dear friends experienced a difficult pregnancies which were chock full of unknowns. In each case, friends prayed for a miracle — which according to Ephesians 3:14-20 we should pray for a miracle. We trust in the God who can do more than we could ever ask or imagine. Yet scripture does not promise that God will bring these babies into the world with no problems.
But in the middle of any storm, can we define hope as “God will absolutely positively answer our prayers for a normal, healthy, positive outcome”? Can we assume that because we claim a promise, God will do more that we could possibly ever dream of asking? Do we view God as if He were some Almighty Infinite Vending Machine? Put a prayer in, get a blessing out. In any circumstance, we know that God’s plan and God’s glory is primary over our wishes for a certain outcome.
And so while we scour medical reports for a glimmering thread of hope on which to hang our existence, we pray the one way we know God will answer.
In my life Lord, be glorified. be glorified.
Be glorified today.
We hope in the glory of God. We want answers to the barrage of questions that batter our minds. We want unknowns to be known and quantified. We want life to fall into a series of if then statements. We can pray big; however,our hope lies not in answered prayers, but in God’s glory. We know that at the end of time, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. We know that God’s house– God’s name–is at stake and He will not deny himself. The purpose of my pain is to bring glory to God through perseverance, character transformation, and a future hope.
Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him. Though He slay me yet will I trust him. Job 13:15.
I know that plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper – not to harm — you; plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.
My soul, wait thou only upon God for from Him is my expectation and my hope; my salvation and my deliverance come from God alone. Psalm 62:5
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.Romans 12:12
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5
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