Monday, February 18, 2008

Evangelism at a Wedding

You read it correctly! I was the speaker at a wedding in Bucharest, Romania on Saturday, Feb. 16. The young couple are Christians, but the majority of the members of their families are not. So, they asked me to do evangelism because they love their families very much. One member of the family made a decision for Christ! Wow!

It was a beautiful wedding! Our young friends, Adrian and Nicoleta Ilie, are now husband and wife. They are a wonderful young couple and we are very happy for them. They are serving as missionaries in Romania to teenagers. May God bless them!

By the way, on the trip to Bucharest I enjoyed another birthday and received many email birthday greetings. So special!


Friday, February 08, 2008

What Am I Into Right Now?

I am focusing on several things. I am gearing up to do some writing. More on this later.

I am walking about 3.5 miles a day, taking vitamins. I am just about ready to start doing some exercises . . . takes me a while to get in the rhythm for doing this.

Of course, there are daily disciplines . . . reading the Bible, praying, reading books, etc.

I am speaking often in Hungarian churches; mainly the Brethren churches right now . . . messages to encourage the believers. It seems there is a great need for this. So, study time is necessary to prepare messages.

Behind the scenes ministry counseling/advising/encouraging several young adults on a daily basis or weekly basis soaks up quite a bit of my time. This is SO important. Young adults need encouragement . . . someone to believe in them. They have so much potential!

Taking over our website has taken a chunk of time and there is quite a learning curve. But, it feels good to have the website up to date. My blog site is an avenue to communicate and provides opportunity for ministry as well as informing donors/friends as to what I am doing or thinking. I want to add video to my blog site.

I am also quite active on Facebook, a social utility on the internet, which builds relationships. It seems to me that Facebook is a bridge to the future to minister to Generation X-ers or Millennials depending upon who uses which term. Ages 15 to 35 . . . want to do something, will sacrifice to do it and they believe that they can make a difference. We should capitalize on this and immobilize them . . . back to my earlier statement about me counseling young adults.

In addition, [as well as subtraction, division and multiplication] there is a lot to look after regarding a 501[c]3 organization [our mission]!

Camp Monty 2008, the youth camp in Montenegro, is in the process of being organized such as recruiting basketball coaches/players, English language teachers, somebody to teach crafts and starting to raise scholarships for needy campers.

Actually, there are a number of projects that holds my attention:

--Organizing meetings/concerts for The Hungarian Brass
--Another recording [it's a surprise!]
--Working on our support [the weak dollar is hurting the missionaries all over the world]
--Calendar Planning
--Recruiting work teams to renovate a conference center in Rackova Dolina, Slovakia for this fall
--Website improvement with the help of Laci Gaal Jr.
--Checking out Constant Contact or iContact or some similar program for bulk email for the Eric Murphy Update
--There’s more, but, the list is long enough for this blog posting. Gotta get to work!


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Young Friend Returning to Hungary

The Hungarian Brass is blessed with some outstanding young men! One of them has been away for six months working on a cruise ship to earn money so he can get married later this year. Krisztian [Christian, in English] Csapo departs Valparaiso, Chile, on February 25, to return to Budapest. He is an incredible trombonist! More than this, he is wonderful young man who has a heart for God. Christian is a christian! I was reading his blog and looking at his pictures noting his many experiences in the Meditterean area, then in South America. He is now playing his trombone in a band on The Splendour of the Seas cruise ship. It will be SO good to have him back!


Monday, February 04, 2008

Eger, Hungary [Meeting with a special man]

Eger is located in Northern Hungary near the main highway between Budapest and Miskolc. There is an old fortress there that was very important in the history of Hungary as they fought off the onslaught of the Turks. We drove two hours from our home to go to a Brethren Church to minister. Not a cloud in the sky, it was a gorgeous day. It was exciting to see the fortress again, but it was more important to visit with this church and a dear friend, Janos Soproni.

We first ministered there in 1991 and they spoke of this in the church service. Two of the adults, a married couple, in their 30s gave testimony of how they experienced our youth camp that summer in 1991 and that they enjoyed it very much. Both said it was life changing. The wife told how she won Eric's Run on two occasions. That brought back memories. Somehow Eric tortured his body making himself run that 1.5 mile race with the campers at 7 AM every Monday morning during camp for 15 summers! Just thinking about this made me groan with pain! Yes, I am Eric. I am the one who came up with that idea.

I looked at their two sons, Dani and Zozo, and saw so much potential! They are precious little boys and this couple is doing a good job raising them in the church.

They joined us for lunch at a restaurant after the church meeting and the meal was hosted by Janos and Maria Soproni. I sat next to Janos and enjoyed the fellowship with him. He is 76 now and has five major ministries or jobs right now! What an example! He is a musician and a song writer with many of his songs published in Hungary. In fact, he published them! His song books are used all across the country. He is still active as the church leader, very involved in a prison ministry, still publishing books and music, teaches guitar in a public school to supplement his retirement income and he mentioned something else that I cannot remember. I was tired enough after hearing about the first four tasks!

There are a group of Hungarians that are movers and pushers in the country in Christian circles. They have vision coupled with a dynamic work ethic. Janos Soproni is one of them. I know the rest of this group and could list some more names. All of them are well over 60; the majority are over 70 years of age!

As I was sitting in the church meeting during the first part of the worship service I thought about Janos and I wondered who would replace him when that time comes. It is a daunting question! Who will replace these gallant men in Hungary? One of them is now 80 and he recently started pastoring another church! He has built up three strong churches in the country and he is doing it again! Another is 81 and he is pushing the development of a small Christian conference center and seeking supporters. They finally convinced him not to drive anymore because his knees have worn out and he cannot use the foot pedals. By the way, Hungary is a safer country after this decision. Now, he gets people to take him where he needs to go as he continues to serve. Amazing!

Janos has a great sense of humor, so, the fellowship was excellent. He knows how to work and he has accomplished a lot in his lifetime. Yet, he spoke of new projects and new plans. What a blessing to have such a friend!


Friday, February 01, 2008

Oil Change: Lesson in Economics

Today I took our ministry van to get the oil changed. Jiffy Lube has not started a franchise in Budapest, Hungary, so the prices over here are substantially higher. Let me tell you, the price of oil is higher than the price of gasoline! [See my blog post on January 19, 2008]. Whew! I paid 23,000 forints for an oil change.

If 165 forints equals one dollar, then I paid $139.39!! Almost $140 for an oil change! Since it is synthetic oil it is goof for 10,000 kilometers or 6,250 miles. That makes me feel better! Well, not a whole lot.

By the way, some months ago the dollar was stronger with 200 forints equalling one dollar. That would make the oil change at that time ONLY $115.

I know that this is a blog, not a "rant". So, let me end with a report that the relationship that I am building with the car repair shop owner is developing quite well. He knows, to a certain extent, what I am doing in this section of the world. He does not have a relgious affiliation and was a bit gruff when I first started going to him three years ago and seem to be a closed person. But, this has changed and he is open for conversation. He smiles at me now and wants to learn some English. He checks my van carefully to make sure that it is running well. He is a good man. Furthermore, the three men who work in his shop are becoming more friendly with one of them being particularly interested in talking with me. So, God is at work and maybe there will be an opportunity for a serious conversation where I can help one or all of these men to start a personal relationship with God. If that would happen, I suppose that $140 would be well spent!