Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Costya finds his sister after 22 years

My friend Costya from Moldova went to Tallinn, Estonia, found his sister after 22 years, and she found Jesus. Read Reunited at Heartbeat Tallinn!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Answered prayers

Ryan is experiencing some amazing answers to prayers. We prayed a lot with our boys and with them but I want to encourage them to pray on their own.

One of the videos from the library got lost from his class to the library. We searched the home, the class and the library. Ryan looked in the “lost and found box” at the school. We asked his teacher. Nothing. It seems that the video disappeared.
Ryan decided that he need to pray for this problem "God you see everything. You know where the video is. You know where it is lost. Can you please help me to find it". The next day as I dropped Ryan to school I decided to stop by the library. The moment I stepped in the Librarian told me. Guess what! I just found the video that was missing. It was on the same shelf where the video are. It is a mystery as both of us searched those shelves couple of times and it wasn’t there.

As we were talking in the evening about the way God answered his prayer, Ryan told me "one more thing we still need to pray for: my watch. It is true that his watch was missing since we came back from the summer in US.  I remembered that I asked him at the Budapest airport what time was as we were waiting for our luggage. But since then no watch was to be found anywhere in the house. Ryan says so “I think is my time to pray for it now. God thank you for helping me to find the video. Now can you please help me to find my watch. You know how much I like it."
This morning the taxi came to take Dennis to the airport and the driver gave me Ryan's watch saying: I think this is yours. It has been a whole month in my car.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Friendly Playgrounds, Fear, and Isolation

We are back in Hungary for a month already and I realized that I didn’t get a chance to update the blog.  I was thinking what to write about to summarize our summer. We were blessed and amazed by God’s provision for us. We had great time but I was eager to come home and to get busy with ministry. So I decided to write just couple of things that I find very different between life here in Hungary and life in US.
Here are my observation.

1. How different life looks for retired people in US. You have the option of retirement homes, nursing homes which are not too common here. In Eastern Europe you need to depend on someone from your own family to care for you even if you don’t want to be a burden- you don’t have any other options.
2. Shopping is so easy in the US. Anything you want to cook you can do it any time. You don’t need to search a couple of stores to find that missing ingredient from your shopping list or to change your plan because they are out of that specific food you need.
3. We filled our suitcases with kids clothes of good quality and cheap prices in the US. I love that I can return something if they don’t fit. (we don’t have that luxury in Europe)
4. I enjoyed the beauty of people's gardens with flowers and nice lawns in America. On some streets I felt like I was walking through a botanical garden.
5.  It was nice  to be able to understand 100% of what people were saying in the US.
6.  Store clerks bothered me in the US. I like to go and look around, compare prices, and I couldn’t step in a store without someone coming and asking me if he/she can help me. I would say no but if I lingered too long by a shelf another clerk would come and try to help me.
7.  There are too many options!  Why do you need 15 types of corn tortillas? It was time consuming for me to decide which one is the best.
8. I find very sad that the American kids are growing up with a fear of strangers. At Walmart the first thing you see as you enter the store is a wall of missing children. At playgrounds the kids can’t run and play without close supervision. If a child came and I said something to him the parent was right there to see what I am talking about with his child.  This affects how children play, they don't share their toys with kids they don’t know. 
 I love the playgrounds here in Hungary. It is a friendly community where you meet people and share life. You drop your toys in the sand box and you let others use them and you can play with others kids’ toys. If you don’t have any sand toys…no problem, your child still can play. When it is time to leave, mom and kid pick his own toys from the sand. Kids are talking with you, asking your name, where are you from, how that you don’t speak Hungarian so well, how come your kids speak another language. Some of them will come and try their English words with you. Parents don't hover over their children so much and take their child’s side when they quarrel.  

It is time to take the kids to the playground now..

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stroller From Heaven

Actually it was right down the street from where we are staying, but it seemed to be from heaven. We enjoy taking walks as a family, which takes quite a while with our almost 2 year old.  It was as if God said, "What you need is a stroller." So there it was, this beautiful jogging stroller with a big sign on it saying "free", right on our street. It would be a big improvement on our stroller back in Budapest and the one we brought to the US we left for dead in Oregon. It had survived 3 boys with another family in Moscow, who then gave it to us, and it survived our 3 boys, almost. Now to see if we can get it on the plane.

Monday, July 23, 2012

If you were born in Saudi Arabia you’d be a muslim

Question: I often hear this argument: If you were born in India you would be a Hindu, if you were born in Saudi Arabia you would be a Muslim. So your faith in God has no foundation, it’s just a geographical construct and therefore not true.
Answer: Yes, I remember hearing this argument from a business associate back in 1980. It really threw me. Perhaps because it contains a hidden accusation against God, that if there is a God, it isn't fair to condemn people to hell just because they were born in Saudi Arabia and had no exposure to the truth of the gospel.
Of course it is a dodge, since neither you nor the person with whom you are having the discussion were born in Saudi Arabia nor would we want to be. Why are they suddenly so concerned about people they never met? You could say the same thing about the native Americans before the arrival of the pilgrims; they had no exposure to the truth about the Christ.
What finally helped me was a pastor's advice regarding my doubts. "Are you 90% sure about your faith in Christ? What is the other 10%? Is it Islam? Go investigate it, then live 100% by what you decide." Even then I knew enough about Islam to know it wasn't true, could not be true.
So we want to be people who are open to learning, to new information, but that doesn't mean we should live in indecision or not act on what we know to be true. This is the error described in James 1, "being a double-minded man unstable in all his ways."

Perhaps the best response would be to point out how ridiculous the argument can become. We actually have a saying I used this morning when my boys kept coming in and out of the house leaving the door open. "Were you born in a barn?"
So if you were born in a barn, does that make you an animal? No. If you are born in Hungary does that make you Hungarian? No. When two of our boys were born in Hungary the birth documents said, "unknown citizenship". Since both parents are American, we then applied at the US embassy for US citizenship. The Bible really makes your eternal destiny a question of identity and citizenship. You have to be born again.

We could also point out that the premise isn't even true. Many people born in India are not Hindu but are Muslim or Christian. India is not a monolithic culture. The problem in Saudi Arabia is a lack of access to truth. I doubt that is what our friends want, to be isolated from truth so that they have no options. But even there it isn't really true that people in Islamic nations have no access to God. We see that today there are many amazing movements of God among Muslim peoples, some are hidden, with imams and sheikhs turning to Jesus. No doubt God has His people in Saudi Arabia as well.
This suppression of truth really upsets God, but He allows it and judges it. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:18-20
In the West we often think in terms of individual choice. It is true that God judges us as individuals. But we also see a God who judges nations. Much of the Old Testament deals with judgment of nations, cities, and empires. One possibility is that God is judging and will judge nations like Saudi Arabia for suppressing truth in unrighteousness. But then there are the bright exceptions like Rahab and Ruth, people who choose God over their own people and family.

Although post-modern philosophy shuns comparing one belief system with another, the book of Hebrews uses this approach. It shows how Jesus is superior to angels, to Moses, to Aaron, to the high priest, and how superior the old covenant is to the new. We could also do this effectively to show how vastly superior our message is to reincarnation or a religion like Islam with no assurance of escaping hell.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Too easily satisfied? What are you looking forward to?

Kevin has been talking a lot about going to 'Merica.
Today on our way across Budapest Luiza asked Kevin age 3: What are you looking forward to visiting in America?"
His answer: Toilets. Why? I need to go peepee. 
What else do you want to do in America? Answer: Watch TV
We laughed. Kevin hasn't been to the US in 2 years and doesn't really remember it or have any idea of what awaits him there. It is not his fault that his ambitions and dreams are toilets. That is like our view of heaven. We have no concept of what awaits us there. We just are thinking of the next 5 minutes in the here and now. Eternity with a God who paid such a price for us? We have no frame of reference.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why are you upset mommy?

 I hear this question a lot so I started to think why I am upset a lot. I know that the boys are not angels but why even the smallest disobedience upsets me so much.
So I got some time alone to think about this…I am not upset I am angry. Why? I felt that I didn’t have time to process my dad loss… busy with kids, guests over the holidays, trying to help my mom as she was here in her loss and grieving so I buried my emotions… I am angry that my dear dad is not here with us. I am angry that I had such a short time to say goodbye to him. I am angry that I couldn’t do anything to help him live longer. I don’t want to think about him in the past tense. I want him here to see Ryan reading his Bible. To see Kevin riding the bike he got it for Ryan when he was 3. To see Nate talking. I open my e-mails daily and deep in my heart I still desire to see a message from my dad. I miss to hear his voice on the phone.  I MISS HIM so much that it hurts and this makes me angry. I know that he is in a great place but I miss him and I can’t help.  I realized that I am angry when I snapped back to my mom about the inheritance. I felt that all those papers are just another reminder that he is not here anymore. I don’t want to fill anything. I will exchange the inheritance in a second with having my dad back again.
This week I went to dentist. Last time I went to dentist my dad came with me to keep me company.
Tonight I baked the traditional Easter cake (cozonac) and I thought how much my dad loved this cake.

Dennis was gracious and gave couple of evenings free to just go to our room and think about my dad and cry. So I looked back to pictures with him and cried. How wonderful man of God he was. Loving, kind, compassionate, encouraging always learning more about His Savior.
Dennis offered to take me to Romania for Easter. I told him that I can’t go. I can’t face being there without my dad. I need more time. Also my dear Dennis took the time to explained to the boys that sometime moms is upset because she miss Bunicu (grandpa) a lot. Ryan was sweet as usually and said “I’m sorry mom. I miss him too. I wish he was still here with us”. How much I wish this too.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lame Excuses

Today I taught Sunday School for middle school, ages 13-14. It has been over 30 years. Luiza helped me get ready and prepare a few games to get acquainted. The name game helped a lot to learn 18 names, most of them new to me. They were quite good at participating not only in the games, but in reading the Bible and discussion.

  We talked about "Lame Excuses", people in the Bible who made excuses, and Luke 14 and the lame excuses people made for not coming to God's party.  Our priorities show not just in choosing to come when the kingdom is ready and offered but by our daily choices to step aside and meet with our king. When we came to application one girl suggested we could be more like God and invite the poor and the outsider.

  It was amazing when we came to prayer requests that at least half the class had family members outside the country. One boy's father is returning from South America, another boy's father is headed to Boston to be with a sick daughter studying there, another boy has 3 siblings studying in the US, one girl and her family are returning to Kiev this week, several kids had parents in Moldova. What a group!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3 out of 5

I woke up not in the great mood. I didn’t sleep too well last night…let’s say that I didn’t sleep well for a week due to sick kids. It started on Friday night with a baby throwing up. After couple of attempts to clean up the crib I decided that keeping in the bathroom was the safest place. So I spend the night holding a baby in the bathroom. I put him down in the morning and in the next 5 minutes he was doing what he did most of the night.  He was doing well the next day and wanted to eat everything so I had another battle now, how to explain to a toddler that he can’t eat what he wants.

 Tuesday was already hard trying to get out of the door with 3 kids to get Ryan to school. Dennis left already for an outreach. Of course just before we were out the door the baby decided that it is a great time to use his diaper. Should I change it or not? My first thought was “no way” then I remember that we just got over an odious diaper rash that made Nate cry every time you changed him. Every time you tried to wipe him he will bleed. So I changed my mind and  I did the “dirty job”. Anyway we left the house 7 minutes before the school start.  Thankfully no police stopped me so I made it on time.  
Tuesday baby seems healthy so it is a good time for the immunization shot. I drove to the doctor and here are 15 people waiting in line.  I decided to wait but after 35 minutes she didn’t even started to take anyone. Kevin is asking me nonstop when we go in. I  am calculating 10 min/person x 15 =150 minutes…2 hours to wait. Impossible to entertain these 2 kids for such a long time. So I decided to leave and I will come 30 minutes before she will finish her schedule. Get to the car is another ordeal and I lost Nathan cute coat. I went back but I never find it. Got home , fed the boys , put the baby down for a nap. At 1.30 he is up. Great  I thought we run to the doctor again. I am there and Dennis is calling me that he is feeling very bad and will come home by bus. I can’t come to pick him as I have just one person in front of me in the line now.  Just arrived home and Dennis came couple of minutes later and he has the stomach bug.  Good,  put 2 kids in the car again and go and pick up Ryan from school, so Dennis can go lay down. At school Ryan is upset. His stomach hurts. I prayed all the way in the car that he will not give me a car to clean now. Prayers answered! We made home on time. But I have another one now sick through the night. I slept very little again and Ryan is up and feeling pretty good on Wednesday.

Wednesday night the baby was up 3 times crying. I am guessing he is not feeling well and I am hoping it is from the shot. This morning I just got him up from the bed and he is throwing up. I am tired and already frustrated. I feel that I don’t want to attend anyone needs today. I just want to crawl in bed and sleep. Now I have 3 sickies out of 5. (When my kids are sick the favorite person to hold them is…MOM and MOM only)

As I was holding the baby I got my heart to calm down. I had the day map out and this is a change in plans. I like to do what I plan and I don’t like suddenly changes. But it gives me a chance to trust God and let him use my weakness.  This is amazing about our relationship with God. When we feel weak and go to Him and ask for strength He will supply for us. I made it through the day and I had fun. I even fell asleep for 40 minutes.  Tonight Nate is full of love. Ryan still has a tummy ache, Kevin is going back and forth that his stomach hurt and then in 5 minutes it is not hurting. I don’t know what is he truth here.
Ready to go to bed…tomorrow is another day in which God will give me the strength I need. For this I am so thankful!