Thursday, December 27, 2007

Reaching Out To Our Neighbors

Recently I was interviewed by Dr. Jimmy DeYoung who has a national radio program in the United States on 400+ radio stations. Jimmy was asking about Christmas in Hungary and how churches here recognize and honor Christ at Christmas time. Christmas has been secularized and commercialized by businesses and stores in Hungary which is a big change from 1990 when we moved here. Yet, Christians still honor Christ at Christmas time.

What Lynne and I did was to reach out to our neighbors on our street. We started this last year and invited them to come to our home again this year. On December 22, our home was full and each of us had our fill of tasty goodies that Lynne made ["finger foods" such as spicy meatballs, chicken wings, quesadillas, tortilla chips with salsa, cookies, banana bread, apple cake and more]. Yum!!

Since we had "finger foods" people either stood around the serving table munching and talking or filled their plates and moved to the living room where two or three would be in small groups talking. The conversations were excellent with people checking on each other to see how their health is or to learn how their families are doing or to discuss ideas and plans for the future.

As for me, I had two in-depth conversations on things of a spiritual nature with neighbors inquiring about what we are doing in our mission. Then, both of these people began talking about their spiritual needs or interests. The truth is, I did not force the conversation. They know who we are and what we stand for, so, they wanted to talk about their needs. Both conversations laid the foundation for future conversations that I want to have with these dear people. Hopefully, I will be able to hold at least one of these conversations in the next few days.

Oh yes, I had quite a fun conversation with four year old Fruzsina . . . what a personality! Talking with her made my day! What fun!

We have GREAT neighbors! Some are believers and some are not. Certainly, we know them much better after having them in our home this year and last year at Christmas time.

That's what we did right before Christmas . . . reach out to our neighbors on our street. They really seemed to enjoy this. We did!

Let's see, what can we organize as soon as the weather warms up? Grill some chicken and steak? Now, where is my calendar . . . ?


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Outreach at a Nursing Home

Lynne and I have ministered at Christmas time at a certain nursing home in Szentlorinckata, Hungary, for the last 12 years. These dear people tell us that this is the highlight of their year! Can you imagine this?

They have so little and the furnishings are simple and worn. One of the patients there used to cook for our youth camp in our former mission in Hungary. What a delight it was to see her again! I spent extra time with her to encourage her. She along with 70 others who live in this nursing home seemed to enjoy the music, the poetry [Hungarians love poetry!], the Bible reading and the message that I preached.

We gave them small gifts of a practical nature. They were stuffed into small Christmas stockings that were so colorful in green and red. They love the gifts!

Who received the greater blessing? Them? Us? Well, I think we did!! It touched our hearts! They are so special and so needy.

We will go back there next month to take pictures to them. Lynne always takes a picture of every patient and she makes both an individual copy for each person and a group photo that they hang in the entrance foyer. That brings plenty of smiles!!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Buying breakfast for a homeless man . . .

Lynne and I were eating breakfast at McDonald's in a suburb of Budapest this week. Lynne noticed a homeless man who had come in from the cold. He was rubbing his legs to warm up his legs and to get his circulation going. He cleared one table putting the used napkins and breakfast sandwich papers into the trash can. He seemed to be a nice man. Surely there is a story about his life with its ups and downs.

I gave him a coffee that had been given to me because my breakfast was "late". That was easy to do . . . I absolutely dislike coffee and have no use for the drink. After a few minutes I felt impressed to buy him breakfast. He was grateful and a bit surprised. He was grateful for the hash browns and the orange juice, but, he stared at the scrambled eggs and English muffin . . . it appeared that he had never had this before. But, he gladly ate everything.

Both Lynne and I feel better . . . we hope that he does as well.

This week we go to a nursing home in Szentlorinckata, Hungary, to do a Christmas program and to do outreach. We have been to this senior adult home for the last 11 or 12 years. They tell us that this meeting is the highlight of their year! Can you imagine?! These dear people, about 70 of them, have so little. 8 or more are squeezed into one room and the furniture is very simple, very old and very inadequate. They have great needs both physically and spiritually. Yet, their eyes brighten and they smile when we come.

We will sing some Christmas carols with them and provide some solos and duets. A friend will join us and read a poem. Hungarians love poetry. They enjoy the Bible being read to them. They listen very respectfully as I preach a short message in Hungarian. Then, we will pass out some simple gifts for them for Christmas. I'll update you after we go there on Thursday.


Monday, December 10, 2007

The Value of Encouragement

Perhaps you are like me and you can remember certain individuals who were great encouragers to you in your early years. What a blessing! Therefore, it is important for me to encourage others today. I need to pass on to others what I received earlier.

I find that it is important to reach out to others and not to focus on myself. Others need my words of encouragement, my positive influence, my smile, my listening ear, etc. It seems that others do better when I encourage them and act in a positive way with them. People are grateful for encouragement and seem to need it often.

How about you? Need an encouraging word? Need a listening ear? Need someone to believe in you and to encourage you? Sure you do! Then, think about others and give them the same! They will be grateful! And, it will come back to you in a positive way . . . you will be encouraged, too!

A smile almost always generates a smile a return. A kind word usually comes back to you with a kind word in return. A genuine compliment is welcomed and the one who receives it begins to think of something kind to say to show their appreciation.

So, I encourage you! Reach out to others with encouragement . . . and, you too, will be encouraged!