welcome to our first "church update" blog post. I figured it was about time that we entered the 21st century. we hope you check back often to see what's going on with us & Calvary Szeged.
summer is typically a "down time" for the church here in Szeged, as many of the students go home for the summer, and of course there are those whose time in Szeged comes to an end as they finish their schooling. this summer was no different. now that we're in the second half of August, we're starting to see people slowly come back. September is always an exciting time as there is a new influx of people and God always seems to bring people who want to get involved in the church. so I'm excited to see what's gonna happen in the church this September.
one thing we want to start this fall is at least one home group. I'd like it to be an "all hungarian" fellowship. I'm also praying about an "all english" fellowship cause we have a lot of english speaking people in our church. I'm not sure about this because many of our "english crowd" already get together for fellowship, so I'm leaning towards just seeking to support what they've already got going.
something happened this summer that really surprised me. God gave me a very clear vision about what He wants to do as a church here in Szeged. It all began in the beginning of July when Odi & I attended the Eastern European Missions Conference ("The Foundations") in Vajta. Pastor Bodi from Debrecen told all us pastors here in Hungary about a possibility he just found out about that applies to all of us. it's this; we as registered churches can request money from the governement to do pretty much any social service. social services here in Hungary include pre-schools, soup kitchens, old folks homes, homeless shelters, old folks day care, etc. when I heard about this, my heart was moved cause the Lord was beginning to show me that here in Hungary, if we want to be effective we need to meet the real needs of people. right now because of the political situation here in Hungary and the social changes they've broutht about, there will be in the next 12-18 months a greater need for these social services. when I came back to Szeged and told our elders, they liked the idea but felt it was "too good to be true" that the government is going to give us money to do ministry. I told them that I know this is where God is leading and we have to take this step. so I filed the papers with the government to get money for us to operate 2 pre-schools, a soup kitchen, and an old folks day care, starting next year.
what is amazing is that God has been bringing me in contact with people who can help get these things going. we've got a women in our church who has the qualifications to run a pre-school, and I know some social workers would would love to do these kinds of ministry. but our one big problem with this is facilities. we would need places to do this. i was talking with a neighbor cause i know he works for a company that writes tenders to get money for the city. i asked if he could help us cause we would need to try to get a grant for a place. he told me that his boss' full time job is he works for the city governement in the area of city development and is directly under the deputy mayor in charge of development. so he set up a meeting with me and his boss, and I told him what we want to do and what we need and he said that it shouldn't be a problem! next month he wants to set up a meeting with me, him, the deputy mayor, and the person responsible for running all the pre-schools here in Szeged so we can talk about where we can open up pre-schools next year.
anyways, I know I've written a lot about this, but we are all very excited about the future and these opportunities that we have as a church to meet people's needs and thus minister to them and share the good news with them.
so, as things progress, I will be blogging about them.
please keep all these things in prayer. thanks for standing with us.