Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Thank You, Jesus..."

Has been the title sitting in my draft box for almost a week.

Has been the prayer whispered again and again.

I'm home. Hungary, one of the most incredible, unforgettable experiences of my life, is over. Even as our plane landed in *Sea-t*c, my heart, though crying to have to say good-bye,  whispered thankfulness.

Thank you, Jesus for teaching me through pleading, through tossing from bed to floor, through open computer and shut eyes, through laughter and silence, through burdens shared without words, through prayers that only God could understand, and tears of joy in victory gained.

 Time and time again when I recognized those victories, I fell to my knees recommitting my life. "Lord, wherever, however, whatever the battle is that I'm called to fight, I'm willing. Just let my every-breath be for souls won to Jesus."

But victory does not come without a fight...and some are lonelier, harder, and perhaps more terrible (yes, I know that not every post of duty is like FJT). It's okay.

Victory is beautiful.

Sabbath Evening.

 If you could stand with me by an above-ground, 4 ft tall tank on the seminary grounds in Pecel, you would understand- something of my joy. If you could see the souls, for whom you prayed late and early, leaving their old lives and starting new, if you could see your friends slip out of the choir and walk up close to take their stand, if you could hear the whisper, "Two more visitors from Ujpest, Vanessa, two more", you would know my joy- right now.

All I can say is, "Thank you, Jesus".

Somehow, joy is indescribable. 

Sabbath Night.

Visitors are driven back home. It's somewhat quiet at the seminary, our Hungarian home. There's only the FJT team left. Good-byes have to be said...staying up all night is a voted for alternative.

But there's one more story that has to be completely unwound. I've not been sure if we should go there, but they should know, and really, I should say something. (I'm really bad at saying the right thing as far as "congratulations"...I mean, what do you say?)

I have one more good-bye to say(1st round:). 

Me: "I'm not very good at saying what I want to say..." (Yea, that's why I just finished a evangelistic series!).

Richi: "Me neither- and then in English...."

Me: "But I want to say..."

Richi: "Just a second. translator?"

It's me, my sister, Richi*, Jenni*, Kamill*, their mom, and other dear friends. We laugh, share, realize that this has been God's working for all of us together.

Me: "We were praying for you since the beginning -praying that you would make decisions for Jesus. While you Mako* kids were meeting in your little prayer group (unbeknown to us until part-way through), we were praying in our room- Goosey girls and Ford girls together -pleading that you would stay-- just long enough to make a commitment, asking that you would give your lives to Christ."

Ms. Roszica: "At the same time, I was praying too- on the other side of the house".

Me: "When I found out that you were have no idea how I flew into the sermon-prep room where Goosey girls were finishing their sermons. I knew God had a purpose. We continued to plead for you, and you can't imagine what it was watching every step and every decision that you made- when you checked the card, when you said 'near future', I was was thankful, so thankful, but I prayed that we could be here."

Jenni: "I didn't know that you were doing that!"


Ms. Rosica: "Continue to pray for the rest of the kids in Mako* who haven't..."

I know. There are eight more out of eleven beautiful siblings plus wives, most of which witnessed the day. And there's a mother's heart longing for them to find home.
And I do. I pray. And not just for them.

I lay in bed and wish for sleep. The jet-lag always sets in on return trip.

I think of the young people in Hungary- young people standing in a very different world than mine, a world with different challenges, a world where so many stand so alone.

Now, mingled with my thanks is a continued plea- a plea that they would stand and be faithful. This work is not over...

I look through pictures. I remember blessings. I remember joy. I remember friends and good times.  But I remember most of all, the faithfulness of my God. 

Sunday morning 4 AM

We hug good-bye to sleepy-eyed, but sweet, sweet friends one more time. I tumble over the back seat and squeeze my hand through the crack of the van window. Good-bye Hungary. Good-bye FJT.

This experience is never to be forgotten!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

About the Driving

Just an add on or maybe a my sister's news feed:)

No one died. It was fine. It was fun. I had a great driver sitting next to me. Seriously, I've been driving automatic for 3+ yrs. Well maybe that's laughable to most of you who have been driving for who knows how long. But really, I sort of get the hang of the driving thing. Just had an itch to drive- missed it the last month (me seriously miss driving?!) But anyway, no automatics here.

So yep, I've added it to my resume of new skills aquired in Hungary.

1. Ping-pong
2. Meta
3. Semi
4. manual driving

Just for the record:)

Sad this time is coming to a close, but my sister at home is already counting the hours. Miss everyone there.

But Stina-bee and I have brothers and sisters here that we can never forget. Brothers and sisters that will always have a place in hearts. Brothers and sisters that we hope to, no, we must meet in our Father's house.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's a Gift...

 for me to be here.

It was at the very beginning. Today, it's a double gift.

One that I would never dare ask for...but really the fact that I'm here today is the best birthday/Christmas/(any other reason to get a gift) present ever!!!!!!!!!!

And I'm thankful- so thankful to be here to witness the decisions being made even now.

Today, one of the people who has been near top of my prayer list decided that this Sabbath was his day to make that public commitment to Christ in baptism. It is so amazing to have a little part in people's decisions to give their lives to God. It's so amazing to see your prayers for souls being answered. It's so amazing to watch God work in ways you couldn't orchestrate.

Sabbath was a full day. I had the presentation on Spirit of Prophecy in the evening. I only found out I was doing the presentation a couple days before, so I was once again working at every possible min. to pull the thing together. Finally during church on Sabbath morning, I finished putting my outline together. There was six baptisms in the afternoon- one of those experiences I will never forget. But it took ALL afternoon. So with 15 min battery power and 20 min to the site, I finished putting my slides together. Told the girls at my site, "God is going to have to preach this sermon".

It's crazy how completely helpless I feel to be able to present truth clearly so that people can understand. God is so faithful to show me what my abilities and anything else I think I might have are in their true light. I know I've said it before. But it's so true. It's only God- only God who can do anything here that will make any difference.

God did preach the sermon and somehow He let me be apart of it. You can't imagine how much I've been blessed through this series, how much I've been learning, how much I've grown. This is why God gives us the awesome privilege to be co-workers with Him in this work. He knows that WE, that I need it.

After I get done preaching I feel like I've run a marathon. Esp. Sabbath night I was completely drained. As soon as I finished preaching I could hardly think, remember where I put stuff, remember that there was NOT going to be mtgs the next few days ect.  I was soo hungry. You get the picture:) But I realized so strongly that God had given me clearness of thought, energy, everything I need until the message was over. It was a miracle! There was only one instance where I had a brain "switch off" during the meeting. That was when I couldn't figure out where Amos was:) I'm the kind of person that has to sing through the alphabet to figure out where letters go (you know what I mean:). Unfortunately I'm like that with some of the books of the Bible too. So I was saying in my head, "Amos, Nehemiah, Esther, Job..." Anyway, I eventually got it together.

Where I am deficient God is ALL sufficient.

Keep praying for our visitors. Many of them are struggling with different things...

Yesterday, we had a lovely off day. We went up into the mountains and did some hiking (right up my alley:). It just makes me feel so at home, and you can't help but have fun with these kids. The great thing is that not only the FJK kids but also the church members and visitors come on the outings. After, we played Meta- a game that I think is similar to base ball but different and really enjoyable for everyone (including me- now that's somethin'!) Actually, I'm acquiring a couple new skills is table-tennis. Me hit a ball... ever? But I actually really like playing around the world table-tennis, and I'm not the only bad player who likes to play.

Today is a national holiday. We will be climbing a mountain tonight to watch the fireworks.

And...Ms. Leasa is arriving in two hours! Everyone's excited. 

Four more meetings to go. One more presentation for me. Time is ticking by too fast. Taking every moment as a gift cause that's what it is!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

This Battle

is called the GREAT CONTROVERSY.

Can see it happening on every side.

Decisions for Christ are about to be made and the devil is angry about it.

Our God is stronger. He will gain the victory.

Please pray for us tonight! ....All I have time to write for now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm in Hungary

This is for real.

I just have to remind myself of that fact once in awhile.

It's better than I could have ever dreamed up.

Just to see the God working is good enough for me.

It's even more of privilege to be able to be apart of this work.

There is an army of youth. It's not limited to any country or continent. Something special, undeniable, perhaps never seen in such force before IS happening. An army is being raised around this world- an army to preach this gospel.

This is for real.

And if you are alive to be reading this post you, yes you, are called to be apart of this work.

Count it a privilege!

Preached on the state of the dead yesterday...was a harder topic for me somehow..

God always, always, always shows me right before the meetings that I am absolutely incapable of presenting truth to make any difference in people's lives. It scares me to death, but I learn to lean on Him, to trust Him to teach.

Last night I started out really rough. But after stumbling through my beginning, I felt God taking over the whole thing, and I believe that the people understood. But the amazing thing was: the first person that came and talked to me at the door said how much she enjoyed the presentations. She said what she liked most about my speaking was that it was not rough, that I didn't stutter, and that it was smooth and clear...
I was shocked. Just to let you know, that was not me last night. I had had the worst time with those specific things.

All I can say is, "Thank You Jesus. Thank You for using a girl like me. Thank You for the privileged of working for souls. And thank You that this is Your work. Thank you that You speak, above all my imperfections, to men's hearts."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

God is Good

So good!

That has been the phrase that ever resounds in my mind. It has tried to make it on at least two other blog posts, but, due to the fullness of this life, they never reached completion.

It is true. God is so good.

I see it again and again.

Understanding comes in moments of desperation- when I realize that God and God alone can teach me what I have strained my brain to get but never completely did. (i.e. 2300 days:)

Trials come. And I am so thankful, oh, so thankful.

This is only because God is good.

 He knows my human heart, knows that I must again and again realize my nothingness, knows that I must recognize my utter dependence on Him that any thing be accomplished.

He is faithful.

Despite the fact that I begin each meeting with fear and trembling  I see Him work. What a privilege!

I wasn't speaking last night so I was assigned to pray with Eniku during the meeting. All that filled my heart was praise- praise that God would give me this opportunity to be apart of this group of Youth for Jesus, praise that God would allow me to be apart of an amazing work of bringing souls to Him.

Pretty much all the young people at my site were from the same area of Hungary. They all had obligations of work, preparing for school, extra, so they were planning on leaving on Monday. It has been top on my prayer list as I see that these kids are on the verge of making decisions for Christ. Besides that, they are the most awesome group of kids to work with, and their presence would be sooo missed. I've been praying that some kind of miracle happen not specifically that they would stay but that, somehow, God would break through.

The other day their group came together and decided that they really needed to pray about this. They did (all was unbeknown to the rest of us). Next morning, one of them was reading his Bible and found 2 Chronicles 15:7, "Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded." It was like God was speaking directly to their situation. Their plans were completely changed. Should of heard the cheering when the announcement was made yesterday that they are staying. My heart could not be more thrilled! But this is a test of faith for some of them...we pray that God will provide for their needs as they are faithful to His call. 

God IS good.

Our meetings are blessed. I've come to love the people at my site so much. I look forward to seeing them every night. I didn't see them tonight though -went to Christina's site to do special music. The two of us share a very strong sense of loyalty...we're not the kind that like to visit a new site every night:) But I did it tonight. Afterward, I realized that God arranged it for a purpose. We met a neat family that was visiting from a neighboring church. The husband spoke English so we were talking with them. He asked, "you know fountainview?"...we were like, "Of course, we love fountainview". He said, "I was there once -only three weeks, but it was one of the best things that ever happened to me." He started listing a few names that he remembered. Besides the Luchaks I didn't recognize any except "Mr. Ford". He said that he had a boy...and that he lived in the "new red house nearby". 

25 years later, on a totally different continent, most random country ever, at a little tiny evangelistic series, this guy was talking to the daughters of Mr. Ford's boy (Yep, that would be my Dad:). So do you remember George? 

Spent the afternoon singing in the little seminary room with a few of the other girls, so much fun. Homemade cake, and I mean, homemade from the grinding of the wheat, seems to be a mid-afternoon Sabbath treat. Our cook is awesome. I really like Hungarian food. It's definitely different from the food we have at home, but good stuff!

I start preparing for my next leg of the marathon of meetings tomorrow morning. I'll try and get Christina to keep you updated. I think I will be out of bloggy world again for awhile. 

But just know: God is good.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Driven to My Knees

We are gaining a new appreciation for many things in life. I already love the simple, the casual, the spontaneous. And if anyone out there has not figured it out, I love people.

There is no exception in this country.

Most of the conversations that I engage in here are a mixture of broken English and rapid fire Hungarian. We get the general idea of some of  the conversations. Many times we don't. But I'm learning to enjoy what I can't understand and to truly appreciate what I can!

Everyday the other FJK students' English improves. Those that couldn't say anything before are trying out basic conversational phrases. Those who spoke a few words here and there are now engaging in deep conversations. It's amazing. What's also amazing is that this language that has sounded like one continuous string of noise for the past week and a half is now sounding like words. We are even venturing on saying basic phrases ourselves.

Still, we have some challenges in communicating, but we are embracing them.

Sabbath morning. I'm sitting by my new BFF (yes, I have many!). Chella is my co-speaker and just a beautiful, beautiful girl. Her English has improved a hundred percent since I've been here, and she's doing a lot of casual translating for me. It's still a challenge to translate stuff like sabbath school. You have to understand: our church here has a ministry for the blind- absolutely remarkable, but anyway...a blind girl was brought in and set by Chella. She lifted Chella's hand and examined it. All of the sudden, she brightened up and grabbed Chella. She absolutely knew who she was just by feeling her hand! Che-Che turned to me and explained that this girl spoke very good English and that she could interpret for me. She did. Amazing. Translation was incredible. She is one of the most intelligent people that I have ever ever met. Not only did she have great linguistic skills, she already knew the historical examples that were up on the screen. She knew the scientific terms for the the pictures that she couldn't see.

After the services, we had casual conversations about education, extra, but I soon realized this was no casual girl. She has education in political science, journalism, English, history and maybe psychology or sociology. It sounds like she's going on to get a doctrite in a specialized area of communication. Alot of it went over my head! More than her educational achievements, this girl loves and is loved by soo many people. Friendships don't take long to build and they are strong with this girl. I realized as she was translating everything for me that I'm more handicapped than she is. Nothing inhibits her.

This same girl brought her twin sister and her mother hiking with us today. Spent a lot of time with her- "leading" her. But she doesn't really need "leading". She is strong, athletic, and has won metals and awards in marathons. She climbed a tree in front of all our astonished eyes. She has very strong senses. She knows when there is a tree in the way. She knows when I am standing by her. She knows the difference between my hand and everybody elses. She even explained how she can sense the difference between different colors. "Red is very warm. Blue is cold. Yellow and... maybe green are in between." She told us why she and her twin are blind. Born three months early, they spent the beginnings of their lives in an incubator. Other than being extremely premature, they were fine. But the oxegen levels in the incubator were not kept where they were supposed to be - 99%. It was kept at 99.5%.  This is what completely changed their futures. They live in darkness but not hopelessness. Andrea only emphasised how grateful she is to be able to have her mental functions undisrupted. Apparently most kids who go through this end up with severe delays. She says, "I don't know what I'd do without my brain."

She told me her story of finding God. Very touching. She was soo excited to learn that I keep a journal of prayers or as she says, "letters to God". She thought she was the only "weird" one. But she shared how it was so encouraging for her for to look back at these entries. She found truth by "reading" the Bible for herself. She realized that the Catholic church was missing truth, and at fifteen years old she quit going to church and worshiped God according to how she found Him in the Bible. These were lonely days for her. She said it was very, very lonely. The local church here, though, reached out to her through their ministry for the blind. Today she is a Seventh-day Adventist. She stands alone. Her family was very upset when they found out that she wanted to be baptized, but she stuck with her commitment.When she asked me about my family and learned that they were Adventist, she was like, "Do you pray together before meals? Do you do activities (think she meant-family worship) together?" Yes, we do. But how can I explain how for so long I took these things for granted? How I, despite all the blessings of growing up in a Christian home, was a rebellious little girl? All I could say was "Yes, we do...but I still had to find Jesus for myself".

Standing alone is what so many of the young people here do.

Their stories are unfolding as they get more confident in their English. There are very few who have a mom and dad who both love Jesus. There are very few that get to go to church with their whole family. But there are many who live in divided families, broken homes. Many who are the only Christians in their families. There are many who stand absolutely ALONE with only God at their side.

I can't even blog the stories.

But know this. If you are one of my friends back home, if you have a family who has loved you, guided you, prayed for you, brought you to church, YOU are blessed beyond measure. Do not, for a moment more take any of it for granted. You have no excuses. Do you love God? Are you willing to stand for Him in the face of rejection or loss? Face it. There are people here who have been given much less yet their faith is beautiful.

One of the students had worship for us the other morning. He step by step shared from a chapter in Isaiah the Love of God. It was awesome. After, he explained how this was what inspired him to share Christ. He said that since he has found the love of God he can't hold it in, and that he must share it with everyone. The words are evident in the way he works for souls. Very blessed to have him and a couple siblings at my site! Praying especially right now for his older brother - here and such a blessing, but has not yet made a commitment for God, only here for about a week more, than heads back to his contracting job. This time is short. Praying for a miracle.

Actually, I find myself driven to my knees more than ever before. There are so many people making eternal decisions right now. I plead that they would be reached. We have a good attendance at our sites so far. Wish I had time to tell you more of the stories, more of the experiences, the challenges, and the victories we have already seen, but I'm really busy just living them. I'm thankful for a small room, though, all to Christina and me. We are blessed to be together...yes, God is working in our lives too. But more than just our late night chats, I'm thankful to have a quiet place to pour out my petitions to God. Ms. Leasa promised us that we would feel an urgency to pray like never before, and it is so true.

If you have read through this blog post, you, perhaps, have too much time on your hands. (Joking.! I'm sure my mom will read this and no, she has no spare time with all the kiddos:) But please, you've had, maybe, a glimpse of the work here. You know there are people here who are deciding whether they will follow God or not.  Please take a moment and pray for these souls. You shall meet them very soon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


That is the abbreviation for Youth for Jesus (hint: this is Hungary).

Busy, busy...

Ever since all the kids arrived.


We're starting to get into a routine though.

Making friends with a bit of a language barrier can be a challenge. It takes effort. At supper last night, we decided the Americans could not sit together. The other kids couldn't understand it. They were all moving over to make spots where we could be together:) That's what I mean when I say sweet...very thoughtful and everything. We finally got through to them that we were trying to break a habit. They accepted.

Our conversations, our jokes, our laughter is over the simple stuff.

The food processor is will forever be the food professor.

People here have a last name and a Christian name....(until you find out that was a miss translation). They have a completely normal first and last name.

Hungarian kitties don't understand Hungarian "t-t-t-t-t" . You see, cats speak English because they come when we say, "Here kitty-kitty-kitty".

Only understood if you were here.  But these are the beginnings of friendships that I pray will last for eternity. Never want to forget these beginnings.

Culture-wise. At first glance, everything seems to be fairly close to US culture.  But there are alot of really neat things in this culture that are different than we've know.

I thought I was getting well trained every time we'd pray to stand up, but Charissa had to jab me this morning to remind me get on my feet.

Song services here are lovely. The girls have very beautiful, true voices, but only one other pianist. Christina and I play alot. We've had to adapt our tempos. Music here is pretty classic. They were a bit overwhelmed with all the instruments too. We are doing more with just one or two instruments. The voices here are the important part.

Food is scrumptious. Hopefully, I can learn to replicate some of the Hungarian dishes to try at home. There's no food lines here. We set the tables for all of the people -glass dishes, everything. Washing station is outside the eating tent and everyone does their own dishes. Actually most people do their own dishes ++. Work ethic here is impressive. These kids are not slackers at all. It's so fun to work with them. It's easy to sense a real spirit of service and a willingness to go the extra mile to help out.

Miss Leasa's classes have been excellent. She has challenged everyone to either start or deepen their devotional life. That is the theme for this month, but it is a new challenge for many of these kids. It makes it all the more beautiful to see them, Bible in hand, going out to find a quiet place with God in the morning.

Talked to my other me yesterday- actually my sister. I'm inspired by the testimonies. God is at work in His army of youth. There is no denying it. We are going home soon. Please pray for us here in Hungary. God has plans for FJK. I believe it!